By Ray Hamill — What a thrill. What a ride. What a season.
It was the sort of campaign that will be remembered for years to come, one that set a new standard for College of the Redwoods basketball, and one that 20 years from now we’ll still talk excitedly about.
North Coast fans can only marvel at what these two teams achieved simultaneously this year, and how they put Corsairs athletics on the map, each of them reaching the Sweet 16 of state play and doing so by playing an exciting brand of basketball and with mostly local players.
It had the wow factor.
On Saturday night it all came to an end, as expected, when both Redwoods teams lost on the road to the top teams in the state.
They each may very well have lost to the eventual state champs, and there’s no shame in that.
Not for any school, and certainly not for one the size of CR with the unique challenges the Corsairs face to compete on the athletic stage.
The men fell 108-64 to a City College of San Francisco squad that is now 30-0 on the season, while the women fell 78-46 to San Joaquin Delta, which is almost as impressive with a record of 29-1.
The CR women kept it close for the first half, and only trailed by four at halftime, but the home team pulled away in the second half.
Ultimately, it was a bridge too far for a pair of talented CR teams that captivated the North Coast this winter, gladly taking us all along on their thrilling journey.
And it was a thrilling journey.
Anyone in attendance at last weekend’s historic playoff doubleheader will testify to that.
Actually, anyone in attendance at any of this year’s home games will testify to that.
Two conference champions, two playoff wins, two highly-entertaining teams.
And not a single loss between them on the North Coast this season.
Both teams feature several talented freshmen and two coaches who appear to have a vision for CR basketball, each of whom has built something special and each of whom now has momentum.
CR is not just an easier sell to local (or any) talent right now, it’s an enticing destination.
What local high school player in their right mind wouldn’t want to play in front of a crowd like that?
I’d hazard a guess not too many community college teams in the nation play in front of a crowd like that, if any.
And all of that augurs well for the future of both of these teams, and should have North Coast fans excited.
This year was special, and while there’s no guarantee we’ll see a repeat of it any time soon, there’s every reason to feel optimistic we will.
Only 238 days to go until next season.
Are you getting excited yet?
CR men’s scoring: Thomas Nelson 25, Zac Claus 12, Isaac Puzz 9, Donald Willis 8, Drew Gillette 5, Anthony Stubbs 3, Bradley Willis 2
CR women’s scoring: Dennise Horton 11, Ashley Quigley 10, Darienne Kartes 9, Julianna Ortega-Miranda 6, Theresia Dickey 5, Brianna Green 3, Bree Northern 2