Whitney tops Amador Valley for third in Tip-Off

By: Cameron Salerno
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ROCKLIN– It is challenging enough to help put together the only 16-team tournament in Northern California and quite another to finish third in it two years in a row.


But the Whitney High boys basketball team did just that, defeating Amador Valley, 57-50, Saturday at William Jessup University to end the Wildcats’ tournament run.


Whitney held the edge throughout the contest, although only leading 26-23 at halftime.


“We’re so young and everybody is so new that right now, we’re just trying to find the right groups, the right combinations,” Whitney head coach Nick French said.


Clovis West 61, Whitney 59, Nov. 30


In Friday’s semifinal, taking on last year’s defending champion, as well as French’s former coach Vance Walberg, Whitney proved they most certainly belonged on the same floor with the 5-0 Golden Eagles from Fresno, but it was the first loss of the new season for the Wildcats.


Whitney 82, Laguna Creek 57, Nov. 29


After coming off a game in which French said the ‘Cats “stunk it up” in the first game of the tournament, like last year, they came back to repeat capturing third place.


“Again, we’ve got to get better,” said French after Game 1. “I mean, we will. We’ll be fine.”


Whitney 60, Cordova 45, Nov. 28


Jacob Fink hit four 3-point shots to lead the ‘Cats against the Lancers with 14 points. But in true Whitney fashion, 11 other players also scored to help secure the win.


“The last two games, we’ve been zoned. I think we’re going to get zoned a lot this year,” said French. “So when you get zoned, it’s my job and my fault as a coach for not working on it maybe not as much as we should. We just have to find the right combinations.”


Using a full-court press, Cordova struggled. But in the second frame, the Lancers outscored the ‘Cats, 10-5. At the 6:15 mark of the third quarter, Cordova actually led 30-29.


However, back-to-back 3s by Fink put Whitney back on track to lead 49-36 at the end of the third period.


“They’re good kids,” said French of his team. “They’re not happy about their performance, so we’ll get better.”


And they did.