State basketball: Valencia boys dominate late to win title

Bryce Bedgood plucked a rebound out of the air, flung an outlet cross as much as teammate Mikah Ballew, and stopped for a second. He’d executed his job.

Ballew and Jacob Michel-Zavala had a two-on-two in transition late within the second quarter towards Half Moon Bay within the Division IV boys’ basketball state championship recreation, and an amazing bodily benefit. As Ballew went right into a euro-step, Bedgood’s half-hearted jogs again up the court docket slowed to a halt.

That wasn’t the mentality that bought Valencia right here, that turned a 7-9 begin — coming off a 5-20 season — right into a dominant run to a Southern Section Division 4AA title and Saturday’s berth within the state closing. And it definitely wasn’t the mentality that father and coach Bill Bedgood tried to instill all these years in his sprouting 6-foot-9 beanpole of a son.

So as Michel-Zavala loaded up for a nook three, Bryce Bedgood galloped again down the court docket like a runaway gazelle, obliterated a Half Moon Bay participant half his measurement attempting to field him out, snared the rebound over one other Cougars participant and completed a tricky put-back layup.

It was a microcosm of Bedgood’s season, a child who admitted he used to stumble over his personal limbs maximizing a progress spurt — 4 inches over the course of the season — by sheer effort. And in main Valencia to an 89-59 win and Division IV state title, he closed out a lifelong journey together with his dad, the elder Bedgood strolling away with a trophy within the closing recreation of his teaching profession.

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“What’s more important to me is just being a dad,” Bill Bedgood stated postgame, the 6-foot-6 veteran coach’s eyes turning pink. “And I think being a dad makes you a better coach. But I don’t know if being a coach makes you a better dad, always.”

Coaching Bryce was the toughest factor he’d executed as a coach. It was arduous in that 5-20 season, having to abdomen all of the dropping. It was arduous on Bryce, who merely stated taking part in for his dad was nice however typically he needed to stand as much as his father to not appear to be a “suck-up.”

It was nonetheless arduous when the calendar modified to 2023, and that 7-9 file was all of the Vikings may take into consideration, Bryce stated. All they may carry up. So of their first observe within the new yr, coach Bedgood had his gamers sit in a circle and write basketball-inspired resolutions on a bit of paper — how they every felt they may assist a program spinning its wheels.

Bryce, a cerebral child with a 4.3 grade-point common and Ivy League hopes, stored it easy. Focus on the defensive finish. Buy right into a big-man function. Grab each rebound and push the tempo always.

“How can you affect the game positively without the ball in your hands?” Bryce described.

On Saturday, he was a swirling mass of arms across the rim, spiking away Half Moon Bay layups like a merciless dad taking part in Nerf hoops towards a 3-year-old. After a valiant show of ball motion and taking pictures from the Cougars produced a tie rating on the finish of the primary quarter, Bryce’s effort grew to become the distinction within the Vikings pulling away, culminating within the second-quarter hustle putback.

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“Even 7-9, halfway through the year, I would’ve not made the play, cause I’d be lazy,” Bryce stated. “But I just know that I’ve got to run the floor and play hard all the time.”

He bought going offensively within the second half, showcasing nice footwork and contact in ending with 22 factors, 13 rebounds and 7 blocked pictures. Ballew, who had transferred from Bishop Alemany, scored 25 factors, and level guard Kai Davis added a gradual hand with 17 factors and eight assists.

After the sport, Bryce spoke extremely of his dad, and the coach supplied a real smile and a gentle faucet on his son’s leg. Time to place down the clipboard. Time to only be a father.