If you’re gonna host a tournament to open the season, you might as well show up ready to play.
The Las Positas College men’s basketball team, ranked No. 7 in the state preseason poll, did just that in reeling off three straight wins to take the championship of the eight-team Tony Costello Tip-Off Classic last week.
The impressive Hawks beat Siskiyous 109-74, Sacramento City 89-70 and Diablo Valley 99-67, averaging 99.0 points a game.
All tourney picks from the Hawks were J.T. Branch (Antioch) and Nick Evans (Freedom). Much-improved big man Anand Hundal (Manteca), who had a stellar first half in the championship game, was MVP. Freshman point guard John Ketchel (Freedom) had 24 points against the Vikings.
Look out for this team.
The Hawks, guided by head coach Clarence Morgan, will open the season at home against Redwoods at 7 p.m. Thursday, and then will host Lassen on Friday and Contra Costa on Saturday.
Las Positas is paced by six sophomores in Kimball High products Jenna Kol and Brittany Lee, along Chelsea LeVeille of San Ramon Valley, guard/forward Samantha Roney of Foothill, forward Cyerra Dillard of Irvington and guard/forward Taylor Freitas of Monte Vista.
Roney is coming off a strong season in which she averaged 14.8 points a game (No. 2 on the team). She led the Hawks with 7.8 rebounds a game. Kol averaged 8.9 points a game, which was No. 3 on the squad.
The Hawks’ freshmen are Ashley Hart of Millennium, Mikaela Malave of Foothill, Alexis Caringal of Millennial, and Monique Cannady of California High.
The Hawks (13-1-2, 8-0-0), who have already clinched the Coast-North title and have been brilliant all season, walloped Ohlone 4-0 on Halloween.
Sacramento State-bound Camila Fonseca led the way with two goals and two assists against the Renegades and Azariah Douglas had a goal and an assist. Rocio Perez added a goal and Meghan Giamona an assist in the Hawks’ 10th straight win and 11th game in a row with a loss.
Fonseca entered the week ranked No. 2 in the state in assists.
The Hawks will make final preparations for the regional playoffs with two more regular-season games, at Chabot (2-11-3, 1-7-1) on Tuesday and at home against Foothill (9-5-2, 5-0-1) on Friday. Foothill is leading the Coast-South.
The Hawks (12-3-5, 8-0-3) continued their remarkable season with tight wins last week over Evergreen Valley-San Jose 2-1 and De Anza 1-0, extending their unbeaten streak to 13 (9-0-4) and their winning streak to four.
Matt Hafizi scored what proved to be the winner against Evergreen Valley to break a 1-1 draw in the 30th minute off a double-assist from Alex Charvet and Nathan Robinson. Matt Dremalas scored in the 10th minute to give the Hawks an early 1-0 lead off an Omid Eibagi assist.
Goalkeeper Brannon Dwyer made seven saves.
Hafizi struck again with the winner against De Anza in the 18th minute off a double-assist from Charvet and Eibagi. Dwyer worked a clean sheet to nail it down with nine saves.
The Hawks close the regular season with two tough ones this week, at home against Coast-South champion West Valley (13-2-3, 9-0-2) at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and at Coast-North power CCSF (11-1-4, 6-1-3) on Friday.
The Hawks continued their best season with a second consecutive runner-up finish in the regional championship, finishing behind repeat champion and host Hartnell. The Hawks with 78 points earned one of seven spots in the CCCAA Championship.
In the individual race at Toro Park in Salinas, Hartnell’s Ricky Esqueda and CCCAA All-American David Frisbie set the early pace to the 1.6-mile crossover point where racers passed the finish line. Frisbie ultimately finished third over the four-mile course in a time of 20:42.
Esqueda was first in 20:15 (No. 2 all time on the course) and Christian Woolfolk of American River was second in 20:35.
The Hawks’ Zach Connolly also earned All-Region Honors (top 14 finishers) by placing 12th in 21:05. Las Positas freshman Thomas Gallagher was 18th in 21:23.6 and Sebastian Andersson was 21st in 21:28.8. Jordan Kirby was 24th in 21:40 round out the Hawks’ top five.
The state meet is Nov. 18 at Woodward Park in Fresno.
The Hawks (6-18, 2-5) had back-to-back defeats in the Coast Conference tourney at Cabrillo, falling 11-6 to Merced and 15-7 to Ohlone.
The Hawks routed CCSF 24-9 on Friday in the Coast Conference-North Championships to improve to 10-8 overall. Las Positas finished second in the conference standings with a 6-3 mark, behind only Foothill.