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Woodcreek, Granite Bay loom as league contenders

Sierra Foothill League boys outlook
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In past years, the Kendall Arnett basketball tournament in Auburn served as a final tune-up for the Del Oro High boys teams as the Golden Eagles readied themselves for the start of Sierra Foothill League play the first week of January. But with the implementation of a newly configured SFL after CIF Sac-Joaquin Section realignment went into effect this year, Del Oro and other SFL teams will have an extra week-and-a-half to prepare for league play which gets underway Jan. 13 when the Golden Eagles visit Rocklin. Because there are only six teams that make up the SFL this season after losing Oakmont to the Capital Valley Conference, the SFL’s double round robin schedule features only 10 league games without “byes” placed in the first and second half of the slate. This season, Del Oro will start the new year off with non-league games at Lincoln on Jan. 4, at home versus Folsom on Jan. 7, and at Christian Brothers on Jan. 11. And once the Golden Eagles head to Rocklin for the SFL tip off, Del Oro is expecting nothing less than an all-out dogfight for league honors this season. Two SFL schools — Woodcreek and Granite Bay — are off to 12-1 season starts through non-league games played through the middle of this week. “It should be a good, tough league race,” said Del Oro coach Geoff Broyles. “There are a lot of teams who are very capable.” Here’s a capsule look at how the SFL boys race should shape up: Woodcreek (12-1) — The Timberwolves lost four starters and coach Bernie Pinkerton from last season’s high-octane team that went 28-6 and advanced all the way to the CIF NorCal Div. II championship game. However, new coach Paul Hayes and players like John Peska and Devin Murphy have the Roseville school rolling once again. One of Woodcreek’s wins in preseason is a 65-43 rout of Del Oro at the Rocklin Tournament two weeks ago. Granite Bay (12-1) — Jason Sitterud, a former standout in his playing days at Oakmont in the early 1990s, has the Grizzlies on the prowl. Led by forward Robert Duncan, Granite Bay has won two tournaments this season including an impressive four-game sweep at last weekend’s elite Mission Prep Classic in San Luis Obispo. Del Oro (6-2) — The Golden Eagles were 19-9 a year ago and advanced to the playoffs’ second round before being eliminated by Center. Broyles has three steady performers in his son Jordan, a two-year varsity player, forward Austin Soldano and 6 foot 7 inch pivot Kyle Russell. Nevada Union (5-5) — The Miners have one of the league’s premier scorers in Colin Lee, a 6-4 senior guard who is playing his fourth varsity season and is scoring at just under 20 points a game. Coach Dale Latimer also will be looking to scoring from guard Chris Porter and 6-6 center Cody Wilcox. Roseville (6-7) — Roseville had an up and down preseason and is gaining experience with a young line-up. Football standout Nick Blaser is a player to watch in the backcourt for the Tigers. Rocklin (3-6) — After gaining the CIF Section Div. II finals and falling to Woodcreek, the Thunder defeated Pleasant Valley of Chico in the regional opening round before finally being eliminated by eventual state finalist St. Francis. Following that game, longtime Rocklin coach Steve Taylor stepped down from his coaching post and with it took a record of 102-23 over the past four seasons. This season, new coach Mike Lorente is rebuilding the Thunder, with Kyle Peterson and Andre Jones emerging as the team’s scoring leaders. ~ Staff report