PD Preps Insider: Rancho Cotate boys moving on without stars


Losing one starter to a season-ending injury is bad enough, but Rancho Cotate’s boys basketball team has lost two.

Starting center Nick Tuttle was the latest to go down. The junior fractured his left ankle in the first quarter Friday night against Montgomery when he came down awkwardly after making a basket.

He’ll join guard Michael Wambold in street clothes. Wambold tore his ACL during practice on Dec. 11 and will have surgery Jan. 24.

“It’s disappointing, but at least both players should be healthy for their senior seasons,” coach Dennis Magatelli said. “We’ve got to look at the bright side: It opens the door for someone else to step up.”

Panther girls ranked 11th

The Santa Rosa girls basketball team is No. 11 in the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area Top 25 this week.

The Panthers (12-1, 2-0 NBL) are led by 6-foot-4 senior Morgan Bertsch, who averages 17.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Junior Devin Murphy, a 6-foot-2 forward, is averaging 16.3 points and 6.1 rebounds. No other Empire teams are ranked in the Top 20, though Windsor (11-3, 2-1 NBL) is listed in the category “Teams on the Bubble.” There are no Empire boys teams in the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area Top 20 ratings, but Montgomery (10-4) is on the bubble.

Empire players in top 5

Several Empire basketball players are ranked in the top 5 in scoring and rebounding in the North Coast Section this season, according to stats tracked by MaxPreps.

In boys basketball, Cloverdale senior Isiah Warren ranks fifth in scoring with 19.5 points per game. Analy’s Chance Ortega, a junior, is fourth in rebounding with 10.4 per game.

In girls basketball, no players rank in the top 5 in scoring but four of the top five rebounders in NCS are from the Empire. Lower Lake senior Zobee Miller is first with 17.2 rebounds per game, followed by Piner senior Daisha Hall (15.2). Santa Rosa senior Morgan Bertsch (11.7) and Sonoma Valley junior Mackenzie Albrecht (10.3) are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.

CIF mulls Poulsen’s fate

North Coast Section commissioner Gil Lemmon confirmed that an eligibility hearing hosted by the California Interscholastic Federation appeals panel regarding Montgomery’s Erik Poulsen took place last Friday.

Poulsen attended school and played basketball at Analy last season. The transfer request for him to play for the Vikings was denied by the NCS office in San Ramon. The appeals panel will make an official ruling within 15 business days of the original hearing.

UC Davis adds Empire stars

The UC Davis men’s soccer team is adding two Empire prep players.

North Bay League Player of the Year Noah Wilson and Sonoma County League Most Valuable Player Marco Barragan are part of the Davis recruiting class for 2014.

Wilson is a senior at Casa Grande, Barragan a senior at Piner.

At the club level, Wilson plays for the Marin FC program and Barragan plays for Atletico Santa Rosa.

Diaz, LaForge reunited

Middletown soccer sensation Hannah Diaz didn’t head to St. Mary’s College in January by herself. El Molino star Valerie LaForge has also committed to continue her soccer career in Moraga. They have been teammates with Santa Rosa United.

Said St. Mary’s coach Kai Edwards: “Hannah is a dynamic attacker with a killer instinct in the final third of the field. She is one of the best attacking players in the country. Val is a no-nonsense defender. She can defend the best players in the country with her athletic ability and her strong-willed mentality.”

The Press Democrat’s Michael Coit, Ted Sillanpaa and Peter Fournier, and Press Democrat correspondent Howard Senzell contributed to this report.

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