Building from the hardwood up

By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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If you lack pride, Rocklin High School is not for you. The school may be less than two decades old but it is not the campus where the timid need tread. In fact, Rocklin is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps that’s why losing a basketball game to Del Oro wounds as deeply as it does. And, like a double-edged sword when taking in consideration both the boys and girls basketball teams. One club got nipped at the buzzer and the other … well let’s just say it didn’t go well. Yes, the Golden Eagles are located in the small community of Loomis and not a metropolis like Rocklin. Loomis doesn’t have a Little League, Rocklin has two. And before Rocklin High was born many Rocklin students attended the school adorned in black and gold. Del Oro has its rivalries, but perhaps the unspoken one is Rocklin … and that includes Whitney High, although the Wildcats are not in the same league – the Sierra Foothill League, this is. Del Oro opened league play by handing Rocklin two defeats. The Golden Eagles girls picked up their 60th consecutive league win by defeating the Thunder by two points with a shot at the buzzer. The Bird boys didn’t need any shots at the buzzer as they cruised past the Thunder in their league opener. To put things in perspective, Del Oro has been around since 1959; Rocklin about 30 years later. That gives Del Oro a head start, but do not think that makes a difference to the Thunder. Still, it takes hard (very hard) work and dedication to develop a tradition like that of Del Oro. “It all goes back to the fact that we are young,” said Rocklin boys basketball head coach Mike Lorente as to his most recent loss to the Eagles. “We’re just now figuring out we have to go 110 percent.” Of course, Lorente was referring to his present team and not the school’s progress. Rocklin has won its share of championships but like Loomis it prefers to win them in succession, like the Thunder volleyball team. Rocklin High has to divide its students with Whitney, and Del Oro. There are still those students who prefer attending the Loomis school because of its winning tradition. That won’t last forever. “Every winning streak ends,” said Thunder girls basketball head coach Rob Ferraro after his club nearly ended Del Oro’s last week. “If you want to be the best you have to beat the best.” And Ferraro is right, even the United States lost yachting’s America’s Cup after nearly a century of victories. Nothing lasts forever … but Rocklin just might. Things change but tradition dies hard. Del Oro will fight to stay on top but the competition is fierce, and none more so than comes from its neighbor to the south. As I said, it’s pride, and certainly not every school or community has it. But when it comes to Rocklin there is no shortage of it; even if it means touching bottom and starting back up again.