Other than a few squads, San Mateo County in general, and the Peninsula Athletic League specifically, has never really been known as a hotbed for basketball.
Opinions may change, at least for this season. On Tuesday, the bulk of the Central Coast Section playoffs started and the PAL had a banner night as the league went 12-1 in both boys’ and girls’ brackets Tuesday night.
The only loss was the Oceana boys falling to Gonzales. Overall, the PAL is 12-2, with the Oceana girls’ losing in a game Monday.
Sequoia (Division I), Westmoor (DII), Terra Nova (DII), South City (DIII), San Mateo (DIII) and El Camino (DIII) all won on the boys’ side, while Aragon (DII), Capuchino (DIII), Hillsdale (DIII), Burlingame (DIII), Mills (DIII) and Half Moon Bay (DIV) were all victorious on the girls’ side.
PAL commissioner Terry Stogner credits PAL representatives Herb Yaptinchay, Westmoor boys’ coach, and Paul Carion, South City girls’ coach, for knowing the PAL’s strengths against the rest of the leagues in CCS.
As opposed to football and soccer, for example, CCS basketball seeds are not based on power points. So that means league representatives have to lobby for their teams and their leagues.
“I think they (Yaptinchay and Carion) do a great job of representing [the league at the CCS seeding meeting],” Stogner said. “It’s based on knowledge. We have some people who can tell you on the third game of the year how San Benito played (for example).”
Yaptinchay and Carion must know what they’re talking about because certainly there were some raised eyebrows when the likes of the San Mateo (8-15 overall) or El Camino (9-15) boys’ teams earning 12th and ninth seeds, respectively, or the Aragon girls’ (10-15) making the field as the No. 10 seed in their respective divisions.
Until you look at the results. Aragon crushed Lincoln-SJ 45-29, San Mateo blasted North Monterey County, 85-57 and El Camino thumped Gilroy, 80-55.
“There’s an example of a selection committee that knows what they’re doing,” Stogner said. “I think the level of basketball (in the PAL), as compared to the rest of CCS, is climbing.”
Gladiator Gym in Redwood City sent seven fighters to the Northern California Golden Gloves competition in Vacaville last weekend and came home with six gold medals and a silver.
“I’ve taken kids to local tournaments, but never to the Golden Gloves,” said Gladiator trainer/coach Antonio Renteria, who trains five of the seven fighters.
Eden Leznik, a 16-year-old Aragon student, captured the 123-pound title in the novice division. Elias Bac-Felix won the 152-pound crown, going undefeated in his amateur boxing debut.
“He doesn’t have any fights and he went 2-0,” Renteria said.
Jose Martinez won the 165-pound novice title, while Casey Jackson won the 165-pound open title, which qualifies him for the regional tournament.
“His chances of advancing (out of regionals to the state and national tournaments) are pretty high,” Renteria said.
Casey Jackson is coached by his father, Eugene “The Wolf” Jackson, who is one of the godfathers of mixed martial arts and founder of Gladiator Gym.
Paul Yapp took the 178-pound championship.
The 141-pound title bout was an all-Gladiator affair, with Edgar Mayorga edging Anthony Lawrence, who is also trained by Eugene Jackson.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You follow him on Twitter@CheckkThissOutt.