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May 19, 2019
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Worden is walk-off winner SSU Equestrian wins third Credo closes season with a win The Gryphon dominates the Eagles Credo wins softball rematch Cougars pounce on Tigers Boys lacrosse played last home game Vasquez digs in hard Seawolves bow out in round 1 of NCAAs Rancho plays last home game Titans secure division win! Rancho Senior Varsity and Coach Hotaling Ranch boys and girls played mixed Wait, I have it! “To be a Cougar, you have to have a heart of a Warrior” Technology High Seniors being honored Credo/Technology volley ball Cardenas makes good use of errors Honoring Tech High Lady Titans 24-hours of Lemons at Sonoma Raceway O’Daniel makes it back INDYCAR Showcase Honoring Tech High Lady Titans Phan, player of the year Rancho Cotate High School Credo over Tech, 8-1 Youth tennis camp is huge success Lacrosse holds free clinic Sept. 21 Advancing to the next round Anudokem leaps for the basket Technology High Cougars lose grip in final minutes Cougars score narrow win Panthers trounce Cougars A collision bound to happen Not where I wanted it Warriors struggled during semi-finals Warriors and All Star Blue RC Girls’ basketball won invitational Cougar seniors wave farewell RC Cougar fan facing surgery receives outpouring of support Heading for a goal Seschin and Curry watch with interest Scott goes up for a shot Roseland beats Tech High Titans A well-deserved win Parking lot rally brings families together A nice tight race Nguyen shows thanks Worden lays it up Heart break for Cougars Cougars trounce Pumas Rancho graduate signs with Holy Names University Laughlin makes a diving save Senior night for the volleyball team Cougars shutout Eagles Excitement for new football season  Cougars triumph over Vikings Cougars overcome Pumas Tech baseball, a learning season Move aside Man of Steel, we’ve got Ironman: Ironman triathlon returns to Sonoma County Getting it over the net Kuhlman watches the orb sail Lady Titan’s vs St. Helena Royals win bronze Cougar Ladies dominated Cougars stumble in overtime Winding up for an out Rancho ends losing streak Girls played last game Going for a goal Misi ready for the big hit Great job Lady Titans Sandoval scores against Piner Roby goes high Wildcats beat Seawolves Rancho stumbles against Terra Linda Race to the stars Seniors were defeated by the staff Hayes comes in first Titan’s vs. Anderson Valley Balint, pitcher for the U of Oregon signing autographs Ca. School for the Deaf wins 72-60 RP prepares for opening day Parker reaches for a basket Oppenheim, Sarudiansky, Nudell Named All-PacWest Local playing with Ducks Northern California locals round out SCCA Championship Runoffs Rancho girls beat El Molino SSU briefs Titans’ baseball: Learning respect for the game Game on home turf SSU Sports Briefs Cross country standouts Mata player of the match 8th Annual John’s march against Stomach Cancer Titans lose to Wildcats SSU Track and Field season opener 15 hits fuel SSUs 11 run victory SSU Smith blocks A world of difference Scoring the final goal Tech High started a blaze Getting better all the time Cougars fought and lost hard Strong showing at Hornet Invitational Tech Titans: A Band of brothers and sisters Credo defeats Tech 15 to 3 39 years for championship Gryphons advance to semi-finals Seawolves place first Cougars clash with Cardinals Morie with determination Rancho NBL Redwood Champions After the last game of the season Seawolves top Jacks in series final two games A much-needed win Cars and coffee at the Speedway Pumas defeat Cougars Credo out on the road next week Seawolves sweep over Cal State East Bay Backhanding very nicely Rancho Cotate defeats Santa Rosa Cougar win breaks 39-year dry spell Finished up with a win Tech High Seniors honored Tam defeats Cougars Tigers sweep it all! I am the leader of the pack Jaguars crush Cougars Exhibition match brings out the stars Cougars march toward playoffs Cougars finish season with a win Playing the last home game Seawolves earn team ethics and sportsmanship award Rancho beat Ross Valley Cronin is safe A solar car will be on the track Rain does not stop Credo softball Cougars' winning streak continues Tomales defeats Tech High Coyotes bring down Titans Credo stumbles in overtime Gray battles to the hoop Racing begins March 9th Is the ball in there? Finding victory in defeat Tech High Reim swimming Roseland Beats Tech High Cougars remain undefeated RCHS girls’ basketball team honored their seniors Cougars rain on Lobos’ parade First year gymnasts come in third Will I do it? Rancho alumnus signs with New York Red Bulls Wildcats beat Cougars Healdsburg takes the win Martinez has a powerful kick Hayman flips it up Tech High doesn’t have enough steam Lambrecht puts on pressure Alfaro makes a hit

Shots don’t win the game

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
February 15, 2019

Leslie Bejaran, a junior at Rancho Cotate High School, fights for the ball during the girls’ basketball game against Newark Memorial High school Tues., Feb. 12 at Rancho.  Rancho defeated Newark 62-48 and for the first time in the school’s history, the Lady Cougars won a NCS playoff game and will move on to play in the quarterfinals Fri., Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. against Montgomery High School. The teams will play at Montgomery and fight for a win so they can move into the semifinals.   Photo by  Jane Peleti

See story below.

Height lent the Rancho Cotate Cougars the advantage in their victory Tues. night over the Newark Memorial Cougars, 62-48, at their playoff game held at Rancho Cotate High School. 

In a nutshell it all came down to physicality. Skill and proficiency certainly factored in, but at the end of the day basketball is a numbers game; the team that takes the most shots will most likely pull in the most points. Rebounds are the key. Every rebound means another shot and there’s no better advantage when it comes to getting the rebound than a couple of extra inches. 

Which is exactly what Rancho Cotate had over Newark Memorial. Two of Rancho’s players, Kierra Johnson and Katie Shiebold, stand over six feet tall, whereas Newark’s tallest tops out at five feet, ten inches.  

Rancho’s coach, Mario Newton, was perfectly aware of his team’s advantage. It played central to his strategy. 

“We are blessed with some height,” Newton said. “I wanted to take advantage of our height. We want to try and get as many one, two, or three shot opportunities that we can. When the ball goes up we hit the courts hard.” 

The game began slow. Newark ran a two-woman press, which means they left two players on Rancho’s side of the court each time the ball changed possession. It placed no small amount of pressure on Rancho’s offense and it took them well into the first quarter before they managed to formulate a response. 

But a press only works when one team is faster than the other. It can leave gaps in a defensive pattern that an offensive lineup can slip through, which is exactly what happened when Newark attempted to press Rancho’s Leslie Bejaran. 

Bejaran got possession after Newark let the ball fall out of bounds. Two of Newark’s defenders harassed Bejaran as she moved up the court. She kept cool, though, and tossed the ball over their heads to Rancho’s Makenna Menton-Porter. Porter caught the ball at the half court mark, which put the two Newark defenders behind her. Three remained under the basket. 

Porter charged. She muscled through a gap in Newark’s defensive pattern and went for a layup. There was nothing Newark could do. The ball bounced off the backboard and fell into the basket. “We need to learn to do a more consistent job of boxing out the bigger kids,” Darryl Reina, Newark’s coach, said. “I don’t know how many points on the paint they had, but that’s what killed us: shots in the paint and drives we just couldn’t stop.”

Rancho Cotate might have dominated the paint but did so at the cost of the three-point line. Newark realized quickly that they couldn’t compete in brute physicality with Rancho Cotate—so they got smart. 

Newark’s Rylee Sarasua gained possession in the second half after a Rancho basket and if there’s one defining trait to Sarasua’s playstyle it’s that she’s patient. She’ll take the entire shot clock if she has to. It’s all for a purpose, though, and she spent a good 25 seconds dribbling the ball at half court, just out of reach. 

The play worked. In that instant a pair of Rancho defenders abandoned their position to pressure Sarasua, she passed to her teammate, Jasmin Magpoc. Magpoc, now uncovered, leisurely sank a three-point shot, pulling Newark within just a couple points of Rancho’s lead at the close of the third quarter. 

Yet three-point shots don’t win games. They’re too inconsistent. Eventually a team will miss and if they can’t follow up then they start to crumble. Which is exactly what happened to Newark in the fourth quarter. 

Rancho began to pull ahead and then Kierra Johnson caught a rebound after a missed Newark three-point attempt. She easily shook the two defenders Newark left behind to guard her and went for the basket, dodging between outstretched hands. The ball left her fingers and fell through the net. 

She kept going. In the next 20 seconds Johnson scored another three baskets. Her offensive proved too much and Newark closed out the game 16 points behind. 

Rancho Cotate’s triumph over Newark marks the team’s first playoff victory in living memory. In 2017 and 2018 Rancho qualified for the playoffs, but they always fell short, never advancing past the first round. 

This year is different, according to Johnson. 

“I felt pretty happy that my team this year got to do it—to make it all the way to the playoffs,” Johnson said. “Our chemistry is better. We all vibe together. We play as a team and talk and communicate.”