Zebra hoops on the rise

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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First, I hope all had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

As for the New Year, it’s beginning to look like Fighting Zebras’ basketball fans might just have a great one.

Both the boys and girls are showing such vast improvement that the once-distant playoff possibilities are beginning to look very real. Oh, there will be strong opposition for both clubs in the Pioneer Valley League but over time that will only make the Zebras’ better.

Head coaches Robert Ash and Dan Hicks deserve a world of credit for what they’ve both accomplished in a very short time.

I would be remiss if I didn’t again mention the Lincoln girls basketball team’s annual Invitational tournament beginning this Thursday.

 Some terrific teams will be coming in including Bear River. The Bruins took the Coach “G” Memorial Tournament at Placer High Dec. 15. Unbeaten in 11 games, Bear River will be a force to reckon with in the PVL race.

River Valley is now 7-4 and opens against Rio Americano (9-3). The Falcons lost 49-38 to the Raiders earlier this year so they’ll be poised for revenge.

Rio Americano would have to improve on their 63-40 losing performance against Placer if they hope to get by Bear River in the tournament. River Valley handily knocked off Marysville 63-22 but took it on the chin against Roseville 52-25 in the Falcons’ last game.

Bear River faces San Juan (8-4) in the second game. The Spartans would like nothing more than to bring the Bruins back down to earth.

San Juan has done well so far this season with a pair of wins over Mira Loma and they hung with Bella Vista before dropping a 61-55 decision. The Spartans are coming in fresh off a 66-49 win over Laguna Creek.

Granite Bay (6-6) takes on Rio Linda; the Knights are also back from the Classic. Both teams have struggled this preseason so a win by either could go a long way.

The Grizzlies seem to be on a win-one, lose-one pace. They will enter the Invitational coming off a 54-38 victory over Natomas.

The Knights haven’t been posting many of their scores but did not fare well in the Christmas Classic losing to Forest Lake Christian and Yuba City.

Then, your Fighting Zebras (7-3) will host Wheatland (6-5). Lincoln has one win over the Pirates and will be gunning for another. However, Wheatland has posted a couple victories this past week over East Nicolaus, 38-32, and Lindhurst 35-33.

Lincoln and Wheatland are non-league rivals; this should be a good one.

The junior varsity Zebras will host a JV tournament in the small gym as well. The teams will be much the same as the varsity except Mesa Verde replaces San Juan and River City comes in for Granite Bay.

Get out and support your winning Zebras!