Woodcreek, Granite Bay, Oakmont honored with first teamers

Rocklin's Lane hoops MVP
By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
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Rocklin High’s Brendan Lane commanded most of the headlines in Sierra Foothill League boys basketball this season, and with good reason. The 6-foot-10 UCLA-bound center took his team on a ride that did not end until it lost in the state title game last Friday night at Arco Arena. For his efforts, Lane was rewarded as the MVP of the league for the 2008-2009 season. While Rocklin had a total of four players named to the all-league first team, Woodcreek joined Del Oro in place two of its players on the first team. Senior point guard Nick Alongi was the point guard who directed the Woodcreek offense, leading the league in assists while averaging 10 points per game. He punctuated an outstanding season with an amazing shooting display in which he scored 17 fourth-quarter points in leading his team back from a double-digit deficit to fall just short of Bella Vista in a second-round playoff game. “He was the one guy you had to contain every time you played Woodcreek,” said Oakmont coach Rick Campbell. “Nick is one of the area leaders in assists,” said Woodcreek coach Burnel Pinkerton. “He is the straw that stirs the drink to me.” Forward Nik Milani joined Alongi on the first team. With five Timberwolves averaging in double figures, Milani was the leading scorer with 11.8 points per game. The junior also pulled down more than six rebounds per contest and was one of the league’s all-effort players. “I am glad that the coaches recognized the great all-around game of Milani,” Pinkerton said. “He is one of the smartest basketball I have ever coached. He does so many things for us.” Oakmont center Tony Gill was the constant force amid change for the Vikings. The Oakmont starting lineup was in a state of flux from the outset this year, as coach Rick Campbell adjusted on the fly to injuries and other off-court issues with his team. With all of the changes going on around him, Gill was a rock every single night, leading the team in scoring and rebounding and using his size (6-foot-7) to provide a presence in the paint for Oakmont. “Tony is a great kid with soft hands and great shooting skills for a big guy,” Campbell said. “He adjusted well to the physicality of the SFL and continually improved as we moved on. In addition, he adapted well to our lineup changes as we got everybody back. He was a leader on the floor for us.” On a team that leaned heavily on a trio of junior guards night in and night out, the most consistent performance for Granite Bay was delivered by Ryan Motsenbocker. The 5-foot-10 guard was able to hit the big 3-pointer, but also took the ball to the rim when the opportunity presented itself. With an undersized team, the Grizzlies relied heavily on awareness and hustle at the defensive end to compensate for their lack of interior presence, and Motsenbocker’s game was well suited to contribute in that area. The SFL coaches noticed his game and honored him with a first-team selection. “Ryan did a great job leading our team and making the big plays when we needed them,” said Granite Bay coach Jason Sitterud. “He worked equally hard on both ends of the court and never backed down from any challenges that he faced.” Full all-SFL team: MVP: Brendan Lane, Rocklin First team: Spencer Butterfield, Del Oro; Aaron Hendricks, Del Oro; Tony Gill, Oakmont; Pat Stover, Rocklin; Cody Kale, Rocklin; Jackson Cummings, Rocklin; Ryan Motsenbocker, Granite Bay; Mark Kendall, Nevada Union; Nick Alongi, Woodcreek; Nik Milani, Woodcreek Second team: Anthony Romero, Rocklin; Tony Williams, Rocklin; Jon Root, Del Oro; Brian Rowe, Del Oro; Nico Ruiz, Del Oro; Doug Kircher, Granite Bay; John Davis, Granite Bay; Colin Lee, Nevada Union; Kevin Crabb, Roseville; Nick Blaser, Roseville; Mike Kurtz, Woodcreek; Ryan Milat, Woodcreek; Jordan Franks, Woodcreek