This year’s prep basketball season is one for the books.
The varsity boys at Rodriguez High set records for wins in a season, winning percentage and most consecutive wins. They also scored their first Northern California playoffs win Wednesday with a home-court victory.
Joining them in the playoffs run this year were the varsity boys and girls squads from Vanden High, and the varsity boys from Fairfield High. All four teams made it at least to the section semifinals with the Falcons and Mustangs boys making it to championship games last weekend in Sacramento. Both lost, but all four teams were rewarded with berths in the NorCal state tournament.
The Fairfield High and Vanden High boys teams were seeded to allow for a possible matchup in the NorCal championship game. Such a contest would have been the fourth of the season for the crosstown rivals, including a hard-fought win by Fairfield High in the section playoffs.
It was not meant to be. Fairfield High bowed out of the NorCal tournament Wednesday. The other three teams advanced to the quarterfinals Saturday. All played on the road. The Vanden girls posted the only win, rallying in the fourth quarter to advance. They play again Tuesday.
For two teams, Fairfield High and Rodriguez High, the possibility of even competing was once in doubt. Steep school budget cuts in the aftermath of the Great Recession placed prep sports on the chopping block in the Fairfield-Suisun School District. Yet the programs remained, in part due to community financial support but in larger part because the school board did not follow through with the announced program cuts.
It’s good that the school board kept sports alive. Yes, prep sports are not academic in nature. They do, however, teach valuable life skills: leadership, how to follow directions, how to work as part of a team, how to win with grace and perhaps more importantly, how to lose with dignity. They provide a sense of school spirit among those who do not compete themselves on the court, on the field, on the track or in the water. The loss of prep sports would have been a loss not only to the schools, but to the community.
It’s been a great run for all four teams. Congratulations to each for its respective successes on the court. To the Vanden girls we say: Go get ’em.