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March 24, 2019
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Winding up for an out Rancho stumbles against Terra Linda RP prepares for opening day Titans’ baseball: Learning respect for the game 15 hits fuel SSUs 11 run victory Seawolves bow out in round 1 of NCAAs Strong showing at Hornet Invitational Titans secure division win! Rancho Senior Varsity and Coach Hotaling Seawolves place first Wait, I have it! “To be a Cougar, you have to have a heart of a Warrior” Technology High Seawolves top Jacks in series final two games Credo/Technology volley ball Cardenas makes good use of errors Honoring Tech High Lady Titans 24-hours of Lemons at Sonoma Raceway Seawolves sweep over Cal State East Bay INDYCAR Showcase Honoring Tech High Lady Titans Phan, player of the year Rancho Cotate High School 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 Cronin is safe 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 Is the ball in there? 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 Will I do it? Parking lot rally brings families together A nice tight race Nguyen shows thanks Worden lays it up Heart break for Cougars Tam defeats Cougars Rancho graduate signs with Holy Names University Laughlin makes a diving save Senior night for the volleyball team Rancho beat Ross Valley Excitement for new football season  Cougars triumph over Vikings Cougars overcome Pumas Racing begins March 9th 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 Going for a goal Misi ready for the big hit Great job Lady Titans Sandoval scores against Piner Roby goes high Wildcats beat Seawolves 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 Local playing with Ducks Northern California locals round out SCCA Championship Runoffs Rancho girls beat El Molino Shots don’t win the game SSU 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 Scoring the final goal Tech High started a blaze Getting better all the time Cougars fought and lost hard 39 years for championship Gryphons advance to semi-finals Rancho NBL Redwood Champions After the last game of the season Pumas defeat Cougars Credo out on the road next week Cougar win breaks 39-year dry spell Finished up with a win Tech High Seniors honored 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 Cougars' winning streak continues Tomales defeats Tech High Coyotes bring down Titans Credo stumbles in overtime Gray battles to the hoop 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 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

Tigers sweep it all!

  • Front row left to right from team picture: 40 Kylan Hale, 21 Landin Morie, 27 Austin Long, 12 Kamden Titus, 53 Logan Langdale, 1 Ryder Nelson. Back row left to right: Coach Joe Bertolina,??24 Austin Bertolina,??28 Gavin Stewart, 54 Jayden Hernandez, 29 Nathan Lukins, 32 Koa Little, Assistant Coach Trevor Stewart

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
March 15, 2019

The St. Elizabeth Tigers raised their fists in triumph Sun. evening when they closed out their fifth and final win of the weekend to sweep the COA Tournament in Tomales and finish off their season undefeated. 

It wasn’t a small season, either. The Tigers fought through 16 games and returned with 16 wins—no small feat for any team, much less a horde of raucous third-graders. Yet win they did. Through trials and tribulations, the Tigers rose above every opponent pit against them, and when the dust finally cleared and the season ended, they stood alone, victorious amidst a field of fallen challengers. 

So, what made the difference? Well, according to the Tigers’ coach, Joe Bertolina, the wins were all thanks to the team’s unique philosophy. 

“These are competitors but they’re also third graders. You’ve got to let them have some fun—to let them love the game itself,” Bertolina said. “My thought was to just not put any stress on them. (...) I’ve found coaches that put a lot of pressure on their team make it tough to be successful.”

But the road to victory is long and winding and for the Tigers their path was seeded with more than their fair share of brambles. At the start of the season some Tigers didn’t have basketball experience. For many, this was their first season or indeed their first team sport and so the whole group needed to pull together in the short span time from the start of practices in Oct. to their first game in Nov. 

Pull together they did. The Tigers prioritized a defensive strategy that focused on the fundamentals to limit their opponents’ shooting opportunities. The plan was this: keep the other team within six to seven points and then all they needed to score was eight. Simple enough, and it worked, mostly, until tragedy struck. 

Around mid-season one of the Tigers’ star players, Koa Little, contracted pneumonia. It kept him on the bench for a good portion of the years’ games and the Tigers felt the absence. Rather than dwell on Koa’s misfortune, however, they pulled together to wish their teammate well. 

“When the team found out they wanted to do something really nice for [Koa]. They made him a really cool card. It was like a basketball court with all the little players’ heads on it,” Bertolina said. “Just to see [Koa’s] face light up when we gave him the card...he said it was the best one he’d ever gotten in his life.”

It was a touching gesture and the perfect encapsulation of everything youth sports is supposed to embody, according to Koa’s mother, Kristi Lua. 

“It’s about building friendships and teaching them to follow through,” Lua said. “I like to see them having fun. I was never a very competitive person, so I just wanted to see them making friends.”

Everything told, the Tigers rose above 22 other teams at the COA Tournament. 

Their first match was early Sat. morning against the St. Sebastian Wolves, which they beat 27-11. Next was the St. Eugene Jaguars, 27-14, and then the St. Francis Tigers, 27-18. On Sunday the Tigers played in the semi-finals against the St. Eugene Lions. It was a close one, but the Tigers pulled ahead in the final few seconds and closed out the game 31-30. 

The Lions weren’t done. They battled through the losers’ bracket and returned in the finals, but round two went the same as the first. The Tigers closed out the finals with a comfortable 30-21.