Boys Basketball: Castro Valley Set for Rematch With Sheldon

Trojans face the team that put an end to last year's season.

It was one of the most dramatic games in the California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Division I boys basketball playoffs last year.

Sheldon High-Sacramento beat  in an epic double-overtime thriller 85-82 in a first-round matchup.

It capped a solid season for the Trojans, who finished with a 23-7 overall record and second to Bishop O'Dowd in the Hayward Area Athletic League.

That loss was the third improbable finish to Castro Valley's season in as many years.

In the 2008-09 season Castro Valley suffered a 64-60 overtime loss to Monte Vista in the North Coast Section Division I quarterfinals.

The 2007-08 season ended in the NCS Division I semifinals with a 74-70 double-overtime loss to Newark Memorial.

"I think collectively we understand how close we've been the past couple of years," Castro Valley coach Nick Jones said. "We understand we need to coach better and execute better down the stretch. Can we get over the hump? We've been there three years where we had the game won."

On Saturday, the Trojans get their chance at redemption in a highly anticipated rematch with Sheldon in the fourth annual NorCal Tip Off Classic at Newark Memorial. It will be the main event and is slated to start at 8:30 p.m. after seven other games.

"This is good for the kids," Jones said. "Right out of the gate we face Sheldon, which is a big-time game. They're a big-time program with a good history. We're lucky to have our first game against them. We get to pick up where we left off. I hope to have a little better outcome."

Castro Valley enters this season with very high hopes. The Trojans return a solid trio in Juan Anderson, a 6-foot-7 wing, point guard Roderick Bobbitt (6-2) and forward Chris Reed (6-4). They return nine players in all.

"Last year we had three players back (Anderson, Bobbitt and Reed) and the rest were new. They all played JV the year before," Jones said. "There was that awe factor of being out there. This year, I think everyone is going to be able to settle in sooner and play better."

The event, which begins at 11 a.m., when San Leandro takes on Deer Valley, will feature nearly 30 Division I prospects. That includes three from Oakland High (Jabari Brown, Dominique Taplin and T.J. Taylor), which is considered one of the top teams in Northern California. Oakland will face defending Division I NorCal champion Newark at 7 p.m.

Sheldon, which lost to Newark to end its season last year, is led by all-everything senior Darius Nelson. The 6-6 UTEP-bound Nelson is the younger brother of DeMarcus Nelson, who played at Duke and had a stint with the Golden State Warriors in 2008.

Darius Nelson led Sheldon with 49 points in its win over Castro Valley last year. His 3-pointer with 4.9 second left in regulation tied the game at 69-69 and sent the game into overtime.

"One thing we're trying to do is not let the other guy's best player beat us," Jones said. "We need to do a better job of making someone else beat us."


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