Padecky: Final scores tarnish luster of gymnasium glitter


DUBLIN — The setting was perfect for a D2 section championship Friday night. The gym at Dublin High School glistened like crystal. Only two years old, it should be the envy of some college programs. In every other high school gym, it seems, you can bring food and drink inside from the concession stand. Not this place. Eat in the lobby. The place is pristine, first class. Even smells good.

The results, for Casa’s girls and Windsor’s boys, were not so perfect. Both were underdogs. Both were playing higher seeds. Both found out why the Carondelet girls and the Newark Memorial boys were ranked higher.

Carondelet has that air of what it usually is, a champion, and when it had that 20-2 run in the third quarter, pressing the issue against a fatigued Casa, the Cougars didn’t act surprised. Sure, Casa made only three of 28 field goals attempts (10.7 percent) in the second half. But as Casa coach Dan Sack said later, it wasn’t his girls shooting poorly as much Carondelet just ratcheted up the intensity, finding some extra juice. This is what happens when champions feel threatened. And so they won, 60-45.

“That (20-2) run gave them even more confidence,” Sack said, “than they had when they came to the gym.”

Newark Memorial is a testament to the adage — speed never slumps or takes the day off. These Cougars — same nickname as Carondelet — had three game plans. Go fast, go faster and go so fast it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake or two — you’ll be going so fast you can retrieve those lost passes or missed shots. And so they won, 60-41.

“There’s no way you can simulate that speed in practice,” said Windsor coach Steve Kramer. “There’s no way you can practice against that. They took us out of most everything.”

But the beauty of the NCS is that there’s life after the NCS. NorCals is next week and if there’s something like a golden parachute that doesn’t involve a cushy fat income upon retirement, the NorCal tournament is it. It decides the Northern California representative for the state championship. The golden parachute NorCals was already there for Casa and Windsor, regardless of Friday’s outcome, and Friday night it might have seemed like a consolation prize after the defeats.

“But we’re 30-2 and we’re still playing,” said Gretchen Harrigan who scored of Casa’s 45 points.

“We’re 27-6 and we got at least one game next week,” Kramer said.

And that’s about all — at this time — that is known about next week. All the section commissioners will meet Sunday and seed teams 1-12. It will be done in secret — wait for the puff of smoke to signal a decision. The first four seeded teams get byes and for the D2 girls, Sack offered his top four.

“St. Mary’s (of Stockton), Carondelet, Archbishop Mitty and St. Ignatius would be my picks,” Sack said.

The 5-8 seeds will play its first game at home.

“I think we should get a home game,” Sack said.

Kramer wouldn’t attempt to rank his D2 opponents but “Serra, Mitty and this team (Newark Memorial) will be in the top four.”

It is assumed that the four section champions will get the top four seeds in the NorCals but that isn’t so. The commissioners have the option to pick a second-place finisher before a section champion if they feel the second-place team is stronger than a champion. The chances of that happening are not impossible but highly unlikely. The cachet involved in winning a section would be difficult to overturn with a strong defeat.

Neither Casa or Windsor will get a first-round bye but then again neither team will complain about it. In each gender they will be among the final 12 teams in Northern California who still are playing D2 basketball.

“We’ve had a great season already,” Kramer said.

Said Sack, “What was that I heard? Yeah, gravy. It’s all gravy from here.”

Yes indeed, because Casa and Windsor both made it this far, to this glitter gym in Dublin, where everything glittered except the final score.

For more North Bay sports go to Bob Padecky’s blog at You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or