“We played like a team and we knew we could pull it out,” said Alan Dearman, who scored the winning goal for the Falcons late in the fourth quarter.
Behind stellar seasons from a cast of standouts including Nelson White, Chris Veselich, Matt Peters, Danny Mock, Rane Colvin and Division VI co-Player of the Year Tristan Winterhalter, the Falcons finished with 26 wins, an unbeaten run in league and the top prize of the postseason.
“The personal growth and the maturity they’ve gone through to put themselves in a position to hold a one-goal lead late in the game, that all goes back to their hard work and staying together,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju, whose team also notched wins over Chadwick and Pasadena Poly in the playoffs.
2 Renaissance Academy basketball advances to state:Renaissance Academy basketball advances to state: Just when it looked as if 2008 might be the year the Wildcats took a step back in the postseason — dropping out of the Division III-A playoffs in the semifinals after reaching a CIF final the previous three years — the tiny basketball powerhouse pulled off its most stunning run yet.
Winning three Division V state playoff games with buzzer-beating shots and clutch defensive stands to reach the championship game against Ross Branson at Arco Arena in Sacramento on March 15, Renaissance became only the second team in area history to advance as far as a state title game.
“It’s a dream come true,” Wildcats forward Justin Cook said. “Not a lot of players get to make it to a state championship.”