SACRAMENTO (KSEE/KGPE) – On ‘State Championship Saturday,’ the two teams from the Central Section in Division II were the last two teams standing: The San Joaquin Memorial boys and the Central girls.
They each won state championships in their first-ever appearance in a state championship game.
“The guys that we’ve had. The twins and Quincy were on a team together, and I coached Jalen Green for three years,” said Memorial head coach Brad Roznovsky.
Jalen Green, a second-year NBA player with the Houston Rockets, actually texted Coach Roznovsky this week that he is excited the Panthers were going to state.
San Joaquin Memorial got a double-double from Mike Davis, Jr (17 points, 14 rebounds), and 13 points from Armari Carraway to beat Pacifica Christian-Newport Beach for the second time this season.
“We have a lot of talent on this team,” said Carraway. “So, once we started to gel together, played great basketball, it was up from there.”
Added Roznovsky, “Not too many people lose in the quarterfinals of their section and win a state championship, but that was where we were.”
Where the Central girls were was in third place in their league! Central finished behind both Clovis West and Clovis in the TRAC.
Yet, the Grizzlies won a state championship on Saturday.
“The TRAC is just so tough, and that prepared us for this moment,” said head coach Paul Kariuki.
The Grizzlies’ opponent on Saturday was Bonita Vista, a team from the San Diego Section. The Barons shot just 18.5% for the game, and they also could not stop Talia Maxwell.
She had a double-double: 24 points, 24 rebounds.
“First off, she’s the best player in the valley. We gotta start there,” said Kariuki.
Said Maxwell, “Look for the gaps, look for the open pass, just play team ball.”
The Central girls and the Memorial boys both end the year as state champions, but what is really interesting is neither of them is a section champion! In fact, neither of them even played for a section championship at Selland Arena.
However, they both end the year at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.