Empire roundup: Newman’s Bonfigli gets coach of year award

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Tom Bonfigli, architect of Cardinal Newman’s record-setting season, is the Cal-Hi Sports Division 4 Boys Basketball State Coach of the Year.

Directing the Cardinals to the Nor Cal championship and the California Interscholastic Federation state title game, Bonfigli did one of his best jobs in his 20th season with Cardinal Newman.

The Cardinals gave heavy favorite Pacific Hills all the West Hollywood powerhouse could handle, playing rugged defense and unselfish offense, signatures of Bonfigli teams. In a close contest, the Cardinals led late before Pacific Hills prevailed. Cardinal Newman finished 32-4 — a record win total for Empire large school boys’ basketball.

The fourth state title appearance for Cardinal Newman was the second for Bonfigli. The Cardinal Newman graduate also led the school to the 1989 championship game. Bonfigli has a career coaching mark of 656-260 over two stints with Cardinal Newman and a run with Justin-Siena, in Napa.

This special season ended with Cardinal Newman ranked ninth in the state for Boys Division 4 in the final Cal-Hi Sports poll.

CASA STANDOUT SHINES AT MARIN

Picking up where he left off at Casa Grande, former Empire basketball standout Joey Rodriguez earned all-conference honors for College of Marin this past season.

The second-year guard was a first-team selection in the nine-team Bay Valley Conference.

Rodriguez helped lead Marin to a winning season, finishing 16-10 overall, 9-7 in the Bay Valley.

Rodriguez was a two-time All-Empire selection at Casa Grande.

In his senior season, Rodriguez was a catalyst in the Gauchos’ run to the Sonoma County League tournament title. Casa Grande advanced far enough in the North Coast Section playoffs to earn a spot in the Northern California half of the CIF state tournament, where the Gauchos fell in the quarterfinals.

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