December 18, 2013

The ups and downs of women’s basketball
By Nash Kurilko

College of Marin women's basketball head coach Tannea Nelson and starting point guard Kathleen Mira, 18, a freshman from San Rafael chat during practice. []

College of Marin women’s basketball head coach Tannea Nelson and starting point guard Kathleen Mira, 18, a freshman from San Rafael chat during practice. []

College of Marin’s women’s basketball went into the season with high hopes compared to last season, most of which was spent struggling to move out of fourth place in the Bay Area league. Their first game was against Santa Cruz’s Cabrillo Community College on November 21, and as if a portent of good things to come, the Mariner’s won it 52-43.

Much of this can be credited to veteran players on the team, most notably the three returning sophomores from last year. Last season’s lead scorer and current point guard Kathleen Mira is one of these three, and she’s finishing out her time on the 2012-2013 All Bay Valley Conference Team with this season.

“It’s been going good,” Head Coach Tannea Nelson said of the season. “We started off in a tournament and went one-and-two, we had two post-games, one we were able to pull out and one we didn’t play so well in. But it has been an eye-opener, as far as just competitiveness, and seeing where we’re at. And our weaknesses that we need to focus on. We’ve found that defensively we’ve been doing a really good job, but offensively it’s been a struggle.”

Despite early optimism and the early win, things have not gone strictly according to plan. The Mariners have since lost four games in a row, against Los Positas, Modesto, Shasta, and Monterrey respectively. At the time of this article, their next go-round was the December 17 game Skyline in San Bruno, where they intended to try and break the losing streak.

“I only have four,” Nelson said in reference to new players. But she does have some returning players from the previous season, six in total.

“I have my point-guard [Kathleen Mira], who was all-conference last year returning. She’s pretty much the one player which the team had to prepare for.”

Part of the team’s woes may stem from last year’s big center Christina Thermidor being red-shirted this season because of a knee injury. Conversely, sophomore guard Isela Dominquez is back on the team after sitting the last season out with a knee injury of her own.

“I think they have it now,” Nelson said of her team. “I expect things to get better, [I’m] very optimistic about what we have and where we can go with it.”

Upcoming games include Gavilan at Kentfield on the 21st, and then the commencement of the Bay Valley Conference games on January 2 against Napa, at Kentfield.

November 22, 2013

Men’s basketball season unfolds

COM’s basketball team prepares for its next home game against Napa, which will be held after the holidays on Thursday, January 2.

COM’s basketball team prepares for its next home game against Napa, which will be held after the holidays on Thursday, January 2.

By Shirley Beaman

The College of Marin men’s basketball team posted its first win of the season during a tournament at City College of San Francisco on November 9.  After shaking off a first round loss to Santa Rosa in the tournament, the Mariners were victorious over Napa the following day with a 51-38 win.

Head Coach Dave Granucci reported that  Neil Chavez, son of Pro-Am league legend Bucky Chavez, contributed by shooting a consistent 8 for 11 from the free throw line. Point guard T.J. Rhodes also played an important role by controlling the tempo of the game.

The win over Napa earned the Mariners a spot in the Consolation championship game against returning JC state champs, Mount San Antonio, the following day.  The Mariners trailed by just 5 points at halftime, 30-25. COM’s Pierre Carter led the charge for the Mariners, contributing 20 points, including two from three point range, and shooting 7-11 from the line. Miller Blake and Allen Santos contributed 15 and 12 points, respectively. Mt. SAC outshot COM at the free-throw line, and it was costly in the end, Mounties coming out on top, 67-56.

With 12 freshman on the roster this year, Granucci understands there might be a few bumps in the road early on.

“We have a lot of work to do to ultimately become the team we wish to be.  These are committed young men and I think we will get there,” Granucci said.  With the “first game jitters” out of the way, the Mariners have the rest of the season to work toward and  improve upon last year’s 16-10 record, the best season COM has had in 14 years.

Both Granucci and assistant coach Troy Ratto  are Marin natives and take pride in their teams’ success on and off the court.

Allen Santos, who contributed 15 points in the game against former state champions Mt. SAC, is also a business major with a 3.5 GPA.

Forward Stan Kaya, an international student athlete from the Republic of the Congo, was honored as the All County Athlete of the Year out of St. Mary’s Ryken High School, in Maryland. Kaya can now add English to the list of three other languages he speaks fluently.

Granucci can relate, having played professionally in Italy, as well as in the Pro-Am league.

Three of last year’s starters received full ride scholarships to Division Two schools. Assistant coaches Troy Ratto, Ken Streckfus, Mike Mitchell, and Jesse Lumb are doing what they can to improve upon that.  Granucci and his staff have cultivated a family friendly atmosphere among their players that they hope will contribute to their teams’ quest for success on the court and in the classroom.

The team members are like family. They even break their huddles with “FAMILY!”

The head coach describes this year’s group of players as “mentally tough, confident, relentless, and hard working.All our guys work their tail off.  Keeping these guys together for the next two years is key.  Now we have a group in place we can build on forward.”

COM students, friends and family are invited to get in on the action by sporting school colors and joining the Sixth Man cheering section at home and away games.

February 25, 2013

Dedicated basketball fan woos players

Dedicated fan Sally Scott stands with her favorite basketball team.

Dedicated fan Sally Scott stands with her favorite basketball team.

By Johnny Bransford

A woman with a heart of gold, lungs of steel, a passion for basketball, and an eclectic wardrobe has been an iconic figure at College of Marin over the past few decades. Sally Scott has lived a few blocks away from the Kentfield campus for the last 30 years and has been a huge supporter of all local athletics, but College of Marin men’s basketball in particular.

Scott’s love for basketball came at the age of 6, when she began to attend her father’s basketball practices at Otterbein College, where he was head coach of the men’s team. Her father was a letterman athlete in college, and because of his love of sports he coached not only basketball, but also football.

Due to her father’s busy schedule not only as a coach, but a physician, Scott felt that going to his practices was the only way to see and spend time together. At a young age she realized what it took to play basketball competitively. Not only the amount of time and discipline required, but also maintaining good academics. In high school Scott participated in field hockey, soccer and swimming at an all girls’ school in Ohio. She said, “Attending an all girls’ school that was very strict when it came to academics taught me how to keep a good balance between sports and academics, this is why I believe school will always come first to student athletes.” Scott was a scholarship athlete in high school as well as at Ohio State, where she attended college.

After graduating from Ohio State, Scott moved out to San Francisco in 1972 for a job with American Airlines. In the city she spent her time working, volunteering and enjoying the sites of the city. She volunteered at Galileo High School in San Francisco and became acquainted with the players and coaches of their boys’ basketball team.

Shortly after she moved to Marin, she began following Branson High School, Dominican College and College of Marin athletics. Living near COM, she attended football and basketball games, bringing water and bananas to their practices when she found time. She made her first impression when she brought monogrammed towels for the men’s basketball team after noticing they had none. She said, “If the team was short on rides, I’d fill in. If the players needed Gatorade, I’d run to the store.”

Scott said, “I’ve always liked to portray myself as a second mother. It’s hard for players from out of town and out of state to leave home. I just want to help these dedicated men, and I feel like I’ve had a good impact on each and every single player I’ve crossed paths with.” Scott reminisced on a time when she ran into a player several years after he had left the team, and the ex-player asked if she was the one that helped them out. “That’s the impact I want to make,” she said. She’s repeatedly touched people’s lives through basketball, and she intends to keep doing so. This past Valentine’s Day she brought cookies and treats to the women’s basketball team, and bananas and drinks to the men’s team.

Since players are continuously cycling through year after year, Scott has gotten to know every player and continues to stay in contact with many players when their time is up. She said, “Every single player comes from a different background, a different life. They not only bring different unique traits but they are all beneficial to the team. Without these players, I wouldn’t be at College of Marin, so it’s really all about them.”

Her love for the game keeps bringing her back. Enjoying every second of every game, she said she loves the way the players must make smart, instantaneous decisions, while still performing moves and footwork like the kind you would see at a ballet performance. She doesn’t lose her voice like she used to, but still warns others to stay a distance away if they’re sensitive to noise.

Scott’s generosity and passion has continued to positively influence the many student athletes that have roamed the halls of College of Marin. Always giving more than she takes, Scott can sleep well at night with the many memories dribbling through her head.


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