RVC boys stymied in NCS final

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Host Ferndale took control of the game from the start and cruised to a 57-44 victory over Rincon Valley Christian in the North Coast Section Division 6 boys basketball championship game Saturday night.

RVC's T.J. Robert, shown in a game in January, scored 14 points for the Eagles in Saturday's loss to Ferndale in the NCS final. (Press Democrat file photo)

“Their zone defense caused us a lot of problems,” Eagles coach Darren Nelson said. “We turned the ball over numerous times early and Ferndale took advantage by scoring a lot of easy points.

“It was a packed house and when the home team got in front right away, the crowd really got into it.”

Ferndale, the No. 1 seed, led 20-10 after one quarter and stretched the margin to 17 points at halftime.

RVC, thanks to long-range shooting by T.J. Robert and Kasey Cazet, got within 11 in the fourth quarter.

“We would’ve had to play an awfully good game to beat them,” Nelson said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t smart the with the ball a lot of the time.

“We weren’t quite as aggressive or confident as we’d been lately. Some of that was because we’re a young team and the kids were on a big stage. The crowd and the Ferndale defense got us rattled.”

Jon Losa led the Wildcats with 22 points; James Slade had 10.

Robert, a 5-foot-11 junior, paced the Eagles with 14 points, including four 3-point goals. Cazet had nine points, all on 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Stephen Fisher finished with eight points.

RVC, champs of the North Central League-II South and the No. 2 seed, ended the season 22-8.

Nelson, who at 22 is the youngest coach in the Redwood Empire, took over for Ed Waller this year.

“This was only the third time an RVC boys basketball team made it to a title game,” Nelson said.

“This group of kids will always be remembered for that.

“No one expected us to get this far. We only had three seniors on the team, so we have a lot to look forward to.

“I’m so proud of these guys. It’s been a super ride for a first-year coach.”

The Eagles went 2-1 in the tournament, defeating San Francisco Waldorf on a last-second basket on Wednesday and trouncing St. Bernard’s in the opening round.

Ferndale, winner of the Humboldt Del Norte Little 4 League, wound up 19-6.