While winning just two of 14 games during a tough preseason and starting 0-4 in Solano County Athletic Conference play, the American Canyon High girls basketball team kept its eyes on the prize and finished strong.
The Wolves prevailed 48-43 at Fairfield in their regular-season finale Tuesday night to finish in a tie for third place with Benicia, which routed Vallejo 51-34.
With three CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths available for the conference, and champion Vanden and runner-up Bethel having already clinched two of them, American Canyon and Benicia would have to break a tie.
Wolves head coach Angela Davis said she was trying to find out what would happen at press time. The section will hold some play-in games on Friday, with the first round starting next Tuesday.
With top scoring threats Robyn-Elizabeth Yan and Adriauna Samodio combining for just 13 points against Fairfield, nine under the two juniors’ combined average, American Canyon needed others to step up.
That the team’s four seniors did, and may have extended their playing careers.
Mariah Carlyle had one of her biggest games of the season with team highs of 15 points and 14 rebounds, as did Trinity Tapia with 12 points, three rebounds and an assist. Lauren Summers supplied two points, six rebounds and an assist, and Erika Culannay two points and a rebound.
Yan had 10 points, four assists and six rebounds, Samodio tallied three points, four rebounds and three assists, and sophomore Louralei Salanga chipped in two points.
Five Wolves will compete in this Friday and Saturday’s SJS-Northern Section Masters Championships at McNair High in Stockton.
Seniors Maricela Seronio and Adrienne Dominguez, juniors Yvonne Cruz and Alexis Schuller, and freshman Maylin Reyes qualified with top-eight finishes at the Feb. 2-3 North Regional Qualifier at Natomas High in Sacramento.
Reyes went 4-2 to place fourth at 106 pounds, improving to 32-10 overall.
She pinned Cosumnes Oaks senior Adriana Fuerte in the second period (3:08) before getting pinned in 49 seconds by the eventual runner-up, Rodriguez sophomore Emma Lopez. But Reyes came back with three straight wins – first-period pins of Live Oak freshman Alejandra Gil in 1:41 and Armijo freshman Guadalupe Hernandez in 1:40, and a 12-3 decision over El Camino freshman Zoie Harper. She was pinned in the third-place match by Benicia sophomore Mia Bonatan.
Seronio went 3-2 to place seventh at 101 pounds, improving to 16-7 overall.
She opened with a first-period pin (1:30) of Orland sophomore Christin Obrego, then was pinned with just two seconds left in her quarterfinal by Sheldon sophomore Simone Infante, the eventual fifth-placer. But she came back with a 9-4 win over Del Oro freshman Leila Sidhu, lost a 4-2 nailbiter to the eventual third-placer, Rodriguez junior Angelina Ferrer, before beating Benicia freshman Keila Martinez 11-6 in the seventh-place match.
Cruz went 4-2 to place eighth at 116 pounds, improving to 29-11 overall.
She opened with a 10-0 major decision over Bear River freshman Ashlyn Canizalez, but was pinned in 46 seconds by Benicia senior and No. 1 seed Tara Othman. She came back with three wins in a row – a second-period (2:52) pin of Pleasant Valley sophomore Angela Gao, a 16-0 technical fall over Inderkum freshman Taylor Stull, and a 4-0 decision over Cordova junior Angelina Cuevas, before getting pinned in the third period (4:41) by Casa Roble senior Sarah Norris. She lost her seventh-place match to Del Oro freshman Annastasia Culmer, 16-7.
Schuller went 3-3 to place sixth at 160 pounds, improving to 32-13 overall.
She won her opener, 10-0, over Live Oak sophomore Rosie Lopez, then was pinned in the second period (2:58) by Rodriguez senior Zakkaya Nichols. She then pinned El Dorado junior Kyliana Segura in the third period (4:06) and beat Lopez again, 9-6, before getting pinned in the second period (2:25) by Franklin senior Kylala Ethan. That put her in a rematch against Nichols for fifth place, and she fell 13-5.
Dominguez went 4-1 to place third at 170 pounds, improving to 32-9 overall.
She opened with a pair of first-period pins – over Cosumnes Oaks junior Jane Xiong in 1:36 and Valley sophomore Arianna Pena in 1:16, before dropping a 3-2 decision to the eventual champion, Elk Grove freshman Jasmine Hibbs. She came back with a second-period pin of Del Oro junior Mary Lubiens, before pinning Lindhurst junior Ariana Burr-Barrera with 28 seconds left in the third-place match.
Eleven Wolves reached the postseason with top-five finishes at the SCAC Championships last Friday at Vallejo High, where they placed second as a team.
Zachary Ferrer (120 pounds) and Lucas Gramlick (285) advanced to this Friday and Saturday’s CIF Division II Sac-Joaquin subsection meet at Benicia with first-place finishes.
Aaron Villa Carlos (125) and Aviyen Ferreira (160) moved by placing second; Elijah Beronilla (106), Joseph Brumm (170) and Fabian Moreno (145) each took third; Mateo de la Fuente (113), Joshua Salazar (152) and Jesus Sanchez (220) were all fourth; and Justin Del Rosario (138) placed fifth.
American Canyon was also second as a team in the junior varsity meet.
Jason Hester led the Wolves with a first-place finish at 106 pounds. Placing second were Gabriel Camacho (106), Christian Gomez (120) and Davion Salanga (150). Taking third were Devin Garingarao (125), Evandrick Bagta (150), Julian Hester (145), Thomas Manibusan (140) and Glenn Garduce (195). Placing fourth were Sebastian Lopez (115), Colten Pittman (160) and Marben Centeno (170).
Ana Herrera had a goal and two assists and Seleena Bains and Tanya Rivas also scored as the Wolves not only defeated Vanden, 3-2, but climbed past the Vikings into second place Friday night.
Greta Fast made 13 saves in goal as American Canyon (10-9-3, 6-2-1 SCAC) avenged last month’s 3-0 home loss to the Vikings (6-3 SCAC) and secured a section playoff berth for the third straight season.
Herrera and Jaylynn Del Rosario, who lead the Wolves with 17 and 14 goals, respectively, are two of six seniors who will were to be honored before their Senior Night game against Fairfield on Wednesday. The Wolves hoped to not only win that game but for Vallejo to beat first-place Benicia so they could share the title with the Panthers (7-1-1 SCAC). The playoffs start Feb. 21.
The Wolves clinched a section playoff berth for the fourth time in five seasons with Thursday night’s 7-0 home win.
Jose Lopez turned in a hat trick against the last-place Vikings for the second time in two weeks, and the junior upped his team scoring lead to 14 goals. Adding one goal apiece were seniors Mario Diaz, Alexander Gonzalez and Eduardo Hernandez – his first of the season – and sophomore Adrian Ayala.
It was Senior Night for the Wolves, who before the game honored the aforementioned seniors along with Rafael Farias, David Campos, Roberto Aguilar, Bryan Ayala, Luis Flores, Gabriel Hernandez, Daniel Torres, Isaac Hernandez and Miguel Bejar.
American Canyon (7-4-5, 4-2-4 SCAC) visited Fairfield for its SCAC finale Tuesday before prepping for a Feb. 20 playoff opener on the road.
The Wolves clinched a section playoff berth for second year in a row Feb. 7 with a 63-44 victory at Vallejo.
“Playing a tough preseason the last two years has helped,” head coach Brett Wedding said.
Malik Ghiden had a team-high 24 points, along with six rebounds and two steals. John Wade had 14 points, Joee Gantan 12 points, six rebounds and two steals, Lavar Seay had six points and nine rebounds, and Davin Lusung chipped in another six points.
Wedding said Seay not only had one of his best scoring and rebounding games but “set some nice hard screens, too.”
Vallejo losing also clinched a playoff berth for third-place Benicia.
Ghiden was called for two technical fouls in the Vallejo game and was ejected. Wedding disagreed with them and appealed, but lost the appeal.
That meant American Canyon had to play at first-place Vanden on Friday without Ghiden. The Wolves lost 76-51, falling to 6-3 in the SCAC and 15-11 overall but remaining alone in second place due to third-place Benicia’s 84-82 loss at Fairfield.
Gantan had 11 points and four rebounds, Wade nine points, Anthony Nguyen eight points, and Matt Clinton and Seay five rebounds apiece.
American Canyon was to host Fairfield in its Senior Night game on Valentine’s Day.