Racking up miles on the playoff grind
Any parent, coach, sports writer or radio announcer who has had to endure a playoff tournament schedule on the road will appreciate the loss of time and space you experience when you literally do not remember where you are or what day it is.
So it has been for our dedicated group of television broadcasters as we plowed our way through the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, culminating at Arco Arena this past weekend. Too be clear, we are blessed by having so many great foothill teams to cover. This year, seven out of the 10 local teams qualified for the postseason, many of them with at least one home game.
Ending with Colfax’s loss Saturday night at Arco, we had recorded 10 playoff games in the last 12 days. Every game was played at a different location in an odyssey that took us to every sports venue in the foothills and three neutral sites totaling over 900 miles.
Our adventures began last Tuesday Feb. 19 where we would begin to shoot five playoff games in five days. That night in Auburn, the Pioneer Valley League Champion Placer Lady Hillmen defeated the Dixon Rams. On Wednesday, we traveled to Bear River where we witnessed our first upset as the No. 12 Christian Brothers Falcons eliminated the No. 4 seed Bear River Bruins.
Thursday brought us to Ali gymnasium at Nevada Union as the Lady Miners swatted away the Tracy Bulldogs in an unusually physical game.
Thus ended the first round.
On Friday, the second round began and we traveled to Colfax to see the PVL Champion No. 1 seed Falcons beat the Amador Buffaloes.
On Saturday, saw our first game down the hill as we went to Cosumnes River College to see the Lady Miners lose to the No. 1 seed Kennedy. So ended week one and two rounds of the playoffs. What had started with seven local teams had now dwindled to only three, all of them named Falcons.
Meanwhile, during that first week both teams from Forest Lake Christian were quietly plowing their way through the competition and had now qualified for the semifinals at Galt High School.
Anyone with any local knowledge of Galt High School knows that Warrior gymnasium is the burial site of many-a-foothill’s team season. That is why the Lady Miners were delighted not to go there this year. So it was on Tuesday Feb. 26 that we began our second week of playoff coverage traveling the 164-mile round trip to Galt to see the Forest Lake Lady Flacons fall to the Bradshaw Christian Pride. In the second game of the Forest Lake doubleheader, we saw a different outcome as the Forest Lake Falcons upset the Sierra Christian Bears to advance in to the section finals at Arco for the first time since 2001.
On Wednesday, it was a 195-mile round trip to Tokay High School in Lodi, where we saw the two time defending section champion and No. 1 seed Colfax Falcons earn the right to go to Arco by defeating the Christian Brothers Falcons. That night, we took the Commander directly to Arco and returned on Thursday to set up our broadcast position. Then on Friday, the section finals finally arrived with two foothill teams remanning.
Our first telecast saw Forest Lake defeat Brookside Christian for the school’s first ever boys section title. Then on Saturday, we returned to Arco to record the Colfax Falcons lose to Modesto Christian.
And our journey is not over yet.
Because Forest Lake won the section they received the fourth seed in the Division V NorCal playoff bracket and will play host Woodside Priory on Tuesday.
Since either winner will play the No. 1 seed on the road in the second round, Tuesday’s telecast will be our 11th and final basketball game of the year.
I encourage every basketball fan and family from every school to go to Forest Lake 7 p.m. Tuesday. It will be your final opportunity to see high school basketball in our area till next November and it will be a great way to end the year with a packed house, full of local basketball fans cheering on a truly deserving Forest Lake team.
As for us, it is time to get ready for the spring sports of baseball, softball, volleyball and swimming.
Our 11 playoff broadcast are currently airing on NCTV Channel 11 in Grass Valley and Nevada City and on Suddenlink Channel 16 in Alta Sierra and Bear River throughout the month of March.
It’s sort of our own local March madness.
I hope you find the time to tune in to see our foothill teams “Road to Arco Arena” and enjoy the games as much as Marty Mortensen, Paul Brown, Brandon Duckett, Maverick King, Miles Everett, Chris Glass, Gary Feise, Cassie Walker, Lyn Dominguez and myself did traveling the playoff circuit to bring it all to you.
Gil Dominguez is a local sports broadcaster for TouchDown Productions and can be reached at 274-2206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.