Here’s what you get when you win an NCAA championship:

A trip to the state capitol in Sacramento.

Just days before COVID- 19 struck everyone down, on March 10, Cal State San Bernardino’s women’s volleyball team -- 33-0 late last fall, led by longtime coach Kim Cherniss, plus a handful of players -- showed up with some of the school’s administrators.

It was recognition day for the Lady Coyotes.

A team, said State Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), are “the first team from California to claim a Division II title since 1989.”

It was Leyva who presented the team in the Senate chamber.

“So these women are pretty amazing,” she said.

It’s an appearance that’s been in the works for awhile, she said.

Even before showing up in the Senate chamber, San Bernardino Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes helped recognize the team in the state assembly chamber.

Five players, namely Sascha Dominique, Jalyn Hayes, Mehana Ma’a, Alexis Cardoza and Kaili Scott were honored, along with longtime assistant coach Danny Scott. Athletic Director Shawn Farrell and Paz Oliverez were also on hand as vice-president of student affairs.

That’s one way to make it to the state capitol.

* * *

It didn’t take Michael Brusig long to talk about his hockey days while growing up in Colorado. “Football,” he said, “wasn’t my sport. But I could play hockey.”

And so could his son, Jordan, who happens to be reigning CIF Coach of the Year on a football field.

“Hockey was his main sport growing up,” said Mike Brusig, standing along a wall at Aquinas High’s gymnasium during a basketball playoff game. “Jordan was good, too.”

* * *

Aquinas taking on Indian Springs just sizzled in a boys’ basketball playoff back on Feb. 18. Lots of emotion. Some pushing and shoving. Police involvement in brief skirmish. In a word, it’s the playoffs. A lot was on the line.

Aquinas’ Nick Hopkins delivered. Both against Indian Springs and, a couple nights later, at Montclair. Coach David Johnson’s defense had paid off in a nice run to a near CIF-4AA championship.

The only possible way that Feb. 18 Indian Springs-at-Aquinas game could’ve been a bigger showdown is if the Coyotes and Falcons were playing for a CIF championship. Too much to ask for, I guess. 

It’s not all that normal for schools to launch teams into both a CIF football championship, then in a basketball final in the same school year. Aquinas has managed to pull that off.

Throw this in: Wrestling heavyweight Dylan Valencia, a state finalist at Bakersfield, was seeking a California crown at the 285-pound division.

Yes, he was a junior nose guard on the Falcons’ football squad.

There are a few other football players on Johnson’s Falcons’ basketball roster. Rodarial Abercrombie, Terayon Sweet and Francis Mauigoa might’ve been more athletes getting two rings in one school year?

Wonder if any of them play baseball or run track -- spring sports that could’ve given any of them a chance to land a third ring. No spring sports, of course, will be concluded.

That’s a lot of jewelry for a kid.

Footnote: They give medals, not rings, to wrestling champs.

Footnote II: Can hardly wait to see this year’s All-CIF teams announced. There should be a dose of Hopkins and Sheldon Grant.

Footnote III: Stay tuned for an announcement from the CIF-Southern Section, which could announce at any time that spring sports will be officially cancelled.

* * *

Post-game gatherings are a normal part of the post-game ritual at almost any matchup. That’s win or lose.

Around these parts, those include T-Ball teams right up to college teams. Most coaches like that post-game chat.

It could last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Forget the fact that all their pre-game meetings got them to that winning or losing stage.

Coaches like to communicate, whether it’s the attaboy (or attagirl) stage after winning, or the let’s-take-a-look-at-ourselves-in-the-mirror stage after losing.

So when Citrus Valley’s girls notched its first-ever CIF basketball playoff triumph in Orange County against Garden Grove Santiago on Feb. 12, interim coach Shaun Battle was asked about post-game celebrations.

In-and-Out Burger? Pizza? Some other stop on the way home?

“No,” said Battle, recognizing the magnitude of the victory. “They just did something amazing, something that had never been done at this school.

“I wanted them to be with their parents. Those are the ones they should celebrate with.”

* * *

Evan Oliver, a sophomore standout at Citrus Valley back in 2017-2018, transferred to Riverside Poly prior to last season. The son of onetime Cal State San Bernardino coach Jeff Oliver was a big part of the Bears’ second-round win over Long Beach Poly back on Feb. 14.

It was eventually onto the finals for Poly -- and Oliver.

A week, or so, later Oliver was involved in a 6-overtime -- repeat, SIX, overtime game -- in a Southern California Regional semifinal. Poly lost, despite 58 points from his teammate, D.J. Davis. Oliver had 18.

Seven paragraphs into a daily newspaper describing this insane game was, finally, mention of Davis’ unbelievable performance. Seven paragraphs?

(Want to chat about sports? Got a sports tip? Contact me at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.