Cordova Basketball Season Ends in Playoffs

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG)  |  By Mike Bush
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Cordova guard Calvin Augusta drives the lane past a Capital Christian player in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener last week. --Photo by Rick Sloan

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Cordova guard Markell Briggs takes the shot against Capital Christian in last week’s playoff game. --Photo by Rick Sloan

In the first half of its Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener last week, the Cordova High School boys basketball team played solid with one of the top teams in the division and section.

That lasted only one half.

Cordova, the No. 15th seed, stayed toe-to-toe with No. 2 seed Capital Christian in the first half. But in the second half, the host Cougars sped up to post an 85-38 victory over the Lancers at the Cougars’ gym on Feb. 22nd.

The loss ends the Lancers’ season at 15-12 that includes an 8-2 mark in the Sierra Valley Conference for second place.

The first half had Cordova stay within four and three points in the first and second quarters respectively with Capital Christian (21-7). By the end of each quarter, the Cougars led 13-9 and 18-15.

“It wasn’t too fast of a start,” said Cordova head coach Fletcher Johnson of Capital Christian, which won the Golden Empire League title. “Offensively, we just wanted to make sure that we didn’t turn the ball over, hold the ball and get some movement.”

Cordova followed its game plan for the first half, which led to staying within reach of Capital Christian at 31-24.

But in the second half, the Cougars’ defense came and dominated the Lancers. Capital Christian forced Cordova into turnovers, and slowed down their offense that led to Cordova scoring a combined 14 points in the final 16 minutes of the game. The Lancers had only four points in the fourth quarter. The Cougars led 58-34 after three quarters.

“Coming out of the second half, whatever we had been doing in the first, we stopped (in the second half),” Johnson said.

Leading scorers for the Lancers were guard Joe Danielyan with 10 points. Guard Calvin Augusta followed with nine points, guard Markell Briggs five, forwards Mike Brown and Caleb Clark four points each, and guards Jason Novik and Najee Clark three points each.

The Cougars’ leading scorer was Kendall Munson with 19 points. Conor Jeffery and Austin Alexander followed with 14 points each, and Micah Filer 13.

Throughout the regular season, the Lancers were dealt with many injuries. But depth played a factor for Cordova, which took second place in the SVC behind champion Liberty Ranch.

“It’s been great,” said Johnson of the season. “As a young team, we had only three seniors.”

Those seniors are Brown, Najee Clark and Novik, who was the team’s second leading scorer with 14.2 points per game. Briggs was first in scoring at 14.9, and Augusta 13.6. Briggs and Augusta are two juniors, and nine total on the team.

Cordova guard Calvin Augusta drives the lane past a Capital Christian player in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener last week. 
--Photo by Rick SloanCordova guard Markell Briggs takes the shot against Capital Christian in last week’s playoff game. 
--Photo by Rick Sloan