Rocklin knocks off Pleasant Valley; Hayward up next

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High beat visiting Pleasant Valley 71-57 Tuesday night and the Thunder will now host Hayward at 7 p.m. Thursday night as the NorCal playoffs continue. The winner of the Rocklin (30-2) - Hayward (20-8) game will advance to Arco Arena on Saturday to play in the NorCal finals at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will play for the state championship at Arco Arena at 8 p.m. on March 20. Rocklin won this first-round NorCal game last year as well but lost its next game against visiting Fairfield. The Thunder have never advanced to the NorCal finals in the history of the school. “(Hayward) is a big, athletic team and they have a 6-foot-8 guy,” said Rocklin 6-10 center Brendan Lane. Lane scored 19 points in Tuesday night’s victory over Pleasant Valley while teammates Jackson Cummings (10 points), Anthony Romero (nine), Joel Day (nine), Pat Stover (eight) and Tony Williams (seven) also chipped in offensively. Day, Romero and Cummings combined to make seven 3-pointers. Senior forward Mycal Swaim scored 15 points to lead Pleasant Valley. Rocklin led 21-15 after the first quarter and 41-31 at the half before outscoring the Vikings 21-11 in the third. Rocklin led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter. “We weren’t rotating very well (on defense in the first half) but we liked the tempo,” Stover said. “We were lackadaisical at practice yesterday and we’ll set it straight. It won’t happen again.” Pleasant Valley was physical with the Thunder. “Be more physical (is what Rocklin learned from this game),” Lane said. “The refs let a lot go and we have to be more physical.” Rocklin topped Fairfield on Saturday night to win the Division II, Sac-Joaquin Section title. Thunder coach Steve Taylor thought there may have been a let down Tuesday night. “We thought they’d be tough and physical and they were . . . We were a little flat,” Taylor said. “You hope not but there is a little natural (let down) – you are on such a high and then you have to get right back at it . . . We just need to get back down to work and prepare.”