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SoCalHoops High School News

CIF Boys State Finals Preview: Division V
Price v. Hoopa Valley--(March 15, 2000)

What: CIF State Finals--Division V Boys
When: Saturday, March 18, 2000
Time: 11:15 a.m.
Where:  Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
Who:  Price HS (32-1) v. Hoopa Valley HS (31-3)

Southern California D-V State Regionals
First round games
March 7, @ Home Schools * 7:30 p.m.
  SoCal Round II
March 9

@ Home Schools*
7:30 p.m.
  Regional Finals
March 11
The Pyramid, LBSU
4:00 p.m.
  State Finals
March 18
Immanuel (Reedley) 39 @ *Price (Los Angeles) 70 Calvary Chapel 69
Price 75

Price 72


El Cajon Christian 69



@Arco Arena
11:15 a.m.

Saturday 3/18


Hoopa Valley

Calvary Chapel (Downey) 69 @ *Layton (Layton) 58
Christian (El Cajon) 78 @ *St. Anthony (Long Beach) 66 Christian 59
Heritage Christian (Anaheim) 56 @ *La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 71
Northern California D-V State Regionals
First round games
March 7, @ Home Schools 7:30 p.m
NorCal Round II
March 9

@ Home Schools
Regional Finals
March 11
Delta College,
Stockton 4:00 p.m
Westwood (Westwood) 44 @ *Calvary Temple (Modesto) 79 Hoopa Valley 78
Calvary Temple 73

Hoopa Valley 64


Branson 45

Hoopa Valley (Hoopa) 69 @ *Eastside Prep (E. Palo Alto) 55
Brookside Christian (Stockton) 54 @ Mercy (@ Foothill HS, Redding) 52 (OT) Brookside 36
Branson 66
Valley Christian (Dublin) 30 @ *Branson (Ross) 61

Price v. Hoopa Valley.  You couldn't have asked for a greater contrast in styles, a more diverse cultural matchup. One team is from the largest city in the California, from the inner-city, a team that plays big and tough, and the other is from the quiet Humboldt-Del Norte League in the northernmost regions of rural California.   Price looks out over Vermont and Manchester; Hoopa Valley looks out over the tribal fisheries of the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Hoopa Valley?  Who are these guys, and where the heck is Hoopa Valley anyway? 

Hoopa Valley (sometimes spelled "Hupa") is the native home of the Hupa tribe. Hoopa Valley is a small town located in Northern California, really far north, about 70 miles south of the California-Oregon border, which is north of Eureka, and east of Humboldt, on the Trinity River.  The region is named for the Hupa tribe of native-Americans who first settled the region.  The town of Hoopa Valley itself is tiny, with three public elementary schools and two high schools (one is a continuation school), a couple of churces,  a native American reservation, not many hotels, and a tribal-run casino.  Most of the articles we could find on the internet having anything to do with Hoopa Valley were either about bingo or dealings with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and land-use management issues.

A little history about the region (for those not interested in such things who only care about basketball, you can just skip this part):  The Encarta Online Encylopedia has this to say:

"The Hupa, Native American tribe originally occupied a number of small villages along the Trinity River in the Hoopa Valley; the present Hupa population is less than 500, and most now live on a United States government reservation in the same region. Until 1848 the tribe was completely isolated, but in the next few years, as the Hoopa Valley was overrun during a gold rush, the Hupa were driven from their homes. Hupa culture is the southernmost example of the indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Like the tribes of the Northwest, the Hupa base many of their customs upon wealth. Wealth was acquired through the ownership of fishing sites and oak groves, as well as by hunting big game and fishing."

There's also a connection between the Hoopa Valley region and "baskets" (and basketball--- the tribe has a basketball  tournament each year).  The Hupa tribe was renowned for their baskets, many of which were worn as hats or used for keeping food. According to a paper published by the the California Historical Society, the region's native residents are renowned weavers:  "Hupa basket weavers have a saying: “It takes a year to make a basket.”  What they mean is that at least a year before any weaving begins, the many plants that make up a basket have to be gathered, each plant at its own time of year and in its own location."  Legend has it that the process of collecting and weaving, and the lore of where these special plants can be found and what times of the year they must be harvested goes all the way back to the time when the "Kixunai Immortal Beings" taught the first people in Hoopa Valley the secrets of making these baskets.

Ok, so what does this have to do with basketball, you ask?   Probably not much, but it's an interesting sidebar about the place called Hoopa Valley.  Ok, here's the segue: Hoopa Valley head coach Inker McCovey has weaved this year's team into a winning unit, and like the process of making these special baskets, it's also taken him a full year to do it too.  This year's team is the same team which lost to Branson in last year's NorCal final, and this time they got a measure of revenge last Saturday by beating Branson 75-66 for the Northern Regional Championship.    And in winning the NorCal Regional title, the Hoopa Valley Warriors, seeded No. 5 in the NorCal Regionals, have also done what no other Humboldt-Del Norte League team has ever accomplished, and that's make it to a State Finals.

Hoopa is currently 31-3, and they got to the finals by defeating the NorCal Regional Tournament's top seed, Calvary Temple of Modesto, and then finished off Branson in the NorCal Regionals. Against Branson on Saturday at San Joaquin Delta College, Hoopa Valley surprised a lot of people, but they never trailed in the game.   Joe Smith, Hoopa's leading scorer finished with a game high 25 points, while Adam Ponikvar finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds and three asissts. Branson which finished the season at 28-2,  had defeated the Warriors previously 75-66 for the North Coast Section title.  But this time out, it was all Hoopa Valley, as Smith shot 8-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. Senior forward Jake Gilliam also had 10 points and made all three of his 3-point attempts as the Warriors finished 9-of-20 from behind the arc.

In contrast to Hoopa Valley, Price has been the No. 1 ranked team throughout the season in Southern Section Division V-A, and they were the defending Southern Section titlists in their division;  they're from South Central Los Angeles, and they don't do any basket-weaving, just a lot of dunking and high-flying.  The Knights, led by head coach Michael Lynch,  play tough, fast-break hoops, and there's no doubt that they are a city team.  Last year Price lost in the SoCal Regionals to Santa Clara, the eventual State Champions in Division V.    Hoopa Valley is 31-3, and at least on paper, they probably match up well with the Price Knights.

Price, Los Angeles
Coach: Michael Lynch
Hoopa Valley Warriors
Coach: Inker McCovey
4   Chris Alexander   6'-3" Jr. G
5   Jermaine Jamison   6'-4" Jr. F
10   Mychal Lynch   6'-1" Sr. G
12   Andre Jones   6'-3" Sr. G
15   Oscar Edwards   6'-4" Fr. F
20   Jabril N'Daiye   6'-3" Jr. F
21   Michael Daniel    6'-6" Sr. C
23   Andrew Howard   6'-0" Jr. G
32   Aaron Allen   6'-0" Sr. G
33   Jason Walker   6'-1" Sr. G/F
34   Othell Johnson   6'-5" Sr. F
4   Graham Ailned   6'-1" Sr. F
5   Joe Marshall   6'-0" Sr. G  
10   Robert Jackson   5'-10" Jr. G  
11   Jason Smith   6'-0" Sr. F  
12   Joe Smith   5'-10" Jr. G)  
15   Willie Lamebear   5'-9" Sr. G  
20   Adam Pinikvar   6'-3" Sr. C  
21   Mick Briggs   6'-1" Sr. F  
22   Matt Wright   6'-5" Sr. C  
23   Blaine McKinnon   6'-0" Jr. F
25   Jude Marshall   5'-11" Fr. G
33   Bill Keith   6'-5" Jr. C
42   Jake Gilliam   6'-2" Sr. F

Price leads off with Jermaine Jackson, a high-flying, athletic scoring wing player, Chris Alexander, another athletic combo guard who can also get up and rebound and dunk, Mychal Lynch at the two, Othel Johnson at the five, and Andrew Howard usually off the bench, but occasionally starting.  Jamison has been scoring well in previous playoff games, and usually if its not him, then someone else will step up to have a big game, and its often a different player in each game.  In the Regional finals on Saturday against El Cajon Christian, Alexander and Howard both scored 17 points while Jamison scored 9;  in the Southern Section finals, it was Jamison with the big scoring night at 19 and Mychal Lynch at 15.  In the second round of the State Regionals, it was Jamison with 20, Howard with 18, and Othel Johnson with 12. This is an especially dangerous team because they have so many offensive and defensive weapons that if you manage to shut one aspect of their game down, they'll just turn someone else loose.  Price is the kind of team that will also go on huge offensive runs, and on Saturday, that proved to be the undoing of El Cajon Christian as the Knights went on a 20-4 run in the second quarter. . . of course, at times their defense is suspect and you have to wonder how the Knights, with all that offensive scoring power and a 20-4 run, only led 25-18 at the half of the game against El Cajon. . . The key though to the Knights, at least for Hoopa Valley will be to prevent Price from going on these huge unanswered runs and to pick apart their defensive lapses.

Hoopa will counter Price's athleticism with some impressive three point shooting and with an extremely solid backcourt which consists of junior Joe Smith (currently averaging around 20 ppg through the playoffs) and senior Joe Marshall. Smith along with senior center Adam Ponikvar led the team in scoring this season. Smith, who averaged 18.7 ppg in the regular season, scored 13 points in each playoff game against Branson in the last two weeks while Ponikvar, who missed a portion of the first Branson game because he was taking the SAT, scored a team-high 21 points in the NCS final. Ponikvar averaged 16.8 points per game. through the regular season and Hoopa also features versatile senior forwards Jason Smith and Jake Gilliam.

A lot has been said about schedule comparisons, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the teams that these two schools played to get to the finals.  The level of league competition that both teams faced in league was probably comparable, although Price played a few tougher teams during the preseason and in tournaments, and beat a lot of teams from bigger divisions, and this was also true in the Regional tournament, where Price beat Calvary Chapel and El Cajon Christian, which had been ranked by Cal-Hi as the No. 1 team in D-V for quite a while this year.   We can't really assess all of the opponents completely, but there's also little doubt that Price has played a tougher schedule against bigger and faster teams than Hoopa Valley.   And while we don't have the final scores for each of Hoopa's regular season and pre-season games (listed below), keep in mind that they only lost two games prior to the playoffs, one to Branson in the North Coast Section finals, and regardless of the strength of schedule, that's still quite an accomplishment.  We're not sure which two teams Hoopa lost to, nor do we have the names of all the teams they faced at the tournaments in which the Warriors participated, but this list below should give you an better idea of the types of competition that these two teams faced.

Price (*Coastal Life League)
League Record: 25-1
Southern Section V-A Champions

CIF Southern Regional V Champions 
Overall Record: 32-1
Hoopa Valley (*Humboldt Del Norte Conference)
League Record: Unknown

North Coast Section V Runner-Up
CIF Northern Regional V Champions
Overall Record: 31-3
Kilpatrick W 67-38
Cathedral W   86-33
Notre Dame Sherman Oaks   W   59-51
Montclair Prep   W   70-66
So. Bay Lutheran   W   93-47
St. John Bosco   W   78-53
Brethren Christian   W   80-50
Norwalk   W   107-27
Calvary Chapel Downey   W   79-61
LA San Pedro   W   104-36
Windward   W   107-31
Brethren Christian   W   102-54
St. Anthony   W   75-53
Orange Lutheran   W   69-48
Serra   W   84-67
Milken   W   78-46
*Glendale Academy   W   94-43
Pasadena Marshall   L   58-61
*San Gabriel Academy   W   130-62
*Glendale Acadmey   W   81-29
Valley Christian Santa Maria   W   86-61
*Shalhevet   W   83-32
*Light & Life   W 2-0 (forfeit)
*Shalhevet   W   87-34
LA Washington   W   68-56
*San Gabriel Academy   W   not reported  
Arcata (scrimmage)
Mckinleyvill (scrimmage)
Redwood Classic Boonevill Tournament
Cloverdale Tournament
Tennyson Lancer Classic Tournament
Liberty Classic Redding
South Fork
St. Bernard
Del Norte
South Fork
St. Bernard

For both Price and Hoopa Valley, this will be a first-time experience: Neither has been to a State Finals before. This will be  a fast, high scoring game, and we only hope that Hoopa Valley brings it's "A" game, because against the Price team, they'll need it.  And we should know, because these guys are, after all, from SoCal.

See you there. 

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