Los Medanos College women's basketball coach Richard Villegas is flush with Mustangs pride.
His squad is two wins away from clinching its first conference title in 20 years.
Plus, Villegas, the Mustangs athletic director, enjoyed a surreal Super Bowl. Los Medanos was guaranteed a victory as ex-Mustangs Dave Tollefson (New York Giants) and Sterling Moore (New England Patriots) played in the big game won by the Giants 21-17.
"To have two former LMC players in the Super Bowl, that just shows you that any athlete that comes to a junior college, especially ours, can reach their goals," he said. "That's amazing. We are very proud."
On a much smaller stage, the Mustangs women are all the rage.
If Los Medanos (16-9, 8-1 Bay Valley Conference-Valley Division) beats host Napa Valley on Wednesday as expected and can avenge an earlier loss to Solano at home Friday, the Mustangs will enter the NorCal playoffs as the conference champion.
After years of struggle, Los Medanos went 22-9 last season -- its best finish in Villegas' 16 years guiding the team. With six sophomores this season, Los Medanos has won 11 of its past 13, including a 78-73 upset win over BVC-Bay leader Laney (20-6, 9-1), which is ranked 10th in Northern California by JCScores.com.
Los Medanos' veteran cast boasts a third-team All-State player from last season (Shelby Secor of Antioch), Kim Moffett (Pittsburg), and the dynamic backcourt of Heritage graduates Khyia Slone and Kaprice Simmons.
In lopsided wins over Napa Valley and Yuba last week, Slone, a speedy point guard, rang up 41 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and 24 steals combined.
The powerhouse inside duo of Moffett and Secor combines for an average of 22.3 rebounds a game. Another sophomore, Paola Flores (Ygnacio Valley), who played at Diablo Valley a few years ago, averages 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game. Secor swats a team-best 3.7 shots a game.
Villegas would love to hoist a championship basketball banner at LMC. Now wouldn't that be super.
CC MEN'S HOOPS: When the Ohlone men's basketball team dropped three straight games -- each by a point -- in December, the Renegades buckled down on defense. Then they got hot.
Ohlone (13-9, 6-2 Coast Conference-North) has won seven of nine since that maddening stretch. It beat rival Chabot 69-63 on Friday for its third win in a row.
Ohlone is ranked 14th in the state -- five spots behind Diablo Valley (20-4, 7-3 Big 8) -- and is in second place in the Coast-North behind City College of San Francisco (22-2, 8-0), which is top-ranked in the state.
The Renegades are led by freshmen Chris Read (Castro Valley), Mikhael McKinney (Washington) and international student Lauri Toivonen (Finland).
Ohlone coach John Peterson always knew his young team had promise.
"It's probably the most coachable team I've had," Peterson said. "It's a lot of fun to be around."
Las Positas (18-7, 4-5 Coast-North) has also been hot, winning three of its past five.
BROWN HONORED: Former Richmond High player Alexsis Brown, a senior forward at Cal Maritime Academy, was selected as NAIA Division II women's basketball player of the week after amassing 75 points combined in two wins in the California Pacific Conference last week.
Brown, a transfer from Mt. San Antonio College, has moved into the national scoring lead at 24.1 points a game.
contra costa BASEBALL ALUMNI GAME: The Contra Costa baseball team will have an alumni game on Feb. 11. For more information, contact longtime coach Marvin Webb at 510-235-7800, ext. 4613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Matt Schwab at email@example.com.