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Del Oro hits hardwood for Foundation Game

By: Eric J. Gourley, Gold Country News Service
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COLFAX — For Belle Obert and her Del Oro High teammates, Monday night’s Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation Game was a chance to feel nervous before the calendar even turned to the official kickoff month of the prep basketball season. Obert scored a game-high 18 points and had 10 rebounds as the Golden Eagles routed Colfax 54-30 in the first game of a well-attended girls and boys doubleheader. The games, which benefit the section’s scholarship fund, have a midseason atmosphere even though they don’t affect teams in the win-loss column. “Even the scrimmages don’t have that real feel to it, so it’s kind of the first time to get out with officials and have actual nerves,” said Mike Takayama, Del Oro’s veteran head coach. “I think in scrimmages there are hardly any nerves because it definitely doesn’t mean anything. Even though this doesn’t go on your win-loss record, it feels like the real thing and people are still battling for position. We get to see the girls in a real game environment.” Both teams had trouble maintaining possession in the opening minutes. Becky Duncan’s layup off an Obert steal with 3:16 left in the first quarter put the Eagles on top for good, 10-9, after the Falcons had scored the game’s first three points. Obert added a three-point play later in the first, part of a 16-5 run that helped Del Oro pull away. “I liked the way we played from the second quarter on,” Takayama said. “We kind of wore them out after a while just having so much pressure up and down the floor. These games are really important to us from the standpoint of getting people involved who haven’t gotten a lot of playing time.” Madeline Campbell scored 10 for the Eagles, while freshman Brianna Ruiz added seven points. Del Oro officially kicks things off today at the Sonora Kiwanis Tournament, which it has won four years in a row. The Eagles open their defense against Johansen of Modesto at 3:30 p.m.