LAS POSITAS PREPARES FOR PLAYOFFS

After splitting road contests in the final week of the regular season, the Las Positas men’s basketball team has received the 11th seed for the Northern California Regional playoffs.

The Hawks (21-6), who finished second in the Coast Conference-North Division, will travel to No. 6 Santa Rosa (21-7) on Friday in a NorCal quarterfinal matchup. The two programs met a year ago in the first round, when Santa Rosa took an 81-58 win.

To prepare for the playoffs, Las Positas upended Skyline 84-61 on Feb. 20 to clinch second place, and then fell to Canada-Redwood City 108-102 in overtime on Feb. 22.

Friday’s playoff matchup will showcase two premier players in Las Positas' Michael Hayes and Santa Rosa’s Skylar Chavez. Chavez leads the state in scoring at 27.8 points a game, and Hayes is ranked No. 3 at 23.7 ppg, to go with 9.6 rebounds a game (No. 13 in California).

Hayes, the State Male Athlete of the Month for January, led the Hawks against Skyline with 25 points. He had a double-double against Canada with 29 points and 12 rebounds.

A former coach at Cosumnes River for 11 years, Las Positas coach James Giacomazzi knows the Santa Rosa program well but hasn't faced the Bear Cubs this season.

"I'm still studying and watching them (on film)," Giacomazzi, the former two-time Big 8 Coach of the Year, said Tuesday morning. "What I do know they're gonna play very similar to how they have in the past, I would assume. … Obviously, Skylar Chavez is a handful. They play their roles, they spread the floor, they shoot the 3. They're gonna try to minimize driving lanes and try to keep people in front of them.

"It's gonna be heckuva ballgame, they're a really good team."

Also against Skyline, John Ketchel and Alafia Oluwosogo had double-doubles. Ketchel had 12 assists and 13 points and Oluwosogo added 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Hawks shot 50 percent from the floor and 48 percent from 3-point range. Hayes was 10 of 17 from the field and 3 of 4 on triples. Nana Appiah scored 16 points.

Against Canada, the Hawks looked in complete command up by 19 points at halftime before the game got away. Giacomazzi hopes his team can learn from that mistake which left a sting in practice this week. With the team’s nucleus playing at a high level, the Hawks are looking for Goose Persin and Wesley Burse to step it up in the playoffs.

Ketchel had 24 points and seven assists against Canada and Oluwosogo capped a big week with another double-double, with 16 points and 14 boards. Appiah had 18 points.

Santa Rosa finished second in the Big 8 Conference, capping the regular season with three straight wins. Chavez and Nick Cole both had 21 points in an 89-86 overtime win over Folsom Lake on Feb. 22 in their conference finale.

LAS POSITAS HONORS: 2019 Coast North All-Conference selections for Las Positas: 1st Team - Michael Hayes; 1st Team - John Ketchel; 2nd Team - Alafia Oluwosogo.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

The young Las Positas women’s basketball team finished conference play with a 77-54 loss at Skyline on Feb. 20. Ashley Hart led the Hawks with a triple-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Alexis Caringal and Taylor Freitas both had 10 points.
Hart, a sophomore star, finished the regular season ranked seventh in the state in scoring at 21.0 points a game.