Sports

Shawn Jansen: This year's crop has staying power

Shawn Jansen
Shawn Jansen

Danny Crosby broke out a new three-piece suit for the Le Grand girls playoff opener Tuesday night.

"I've been saving it," the Le Grand coach said. "It's olive green."

Crosby was still celebrating Le Grand's 44-26 win.

"I can't believe we've won with you here," Crosby said.

The "you" was directed at me. Yes, the old "Jansen curse."

I've written about it a few times over the years. Many teams have fallen victim to it.

I'm as much to blame as anybody for the shortcomings of our local heroes in the playoffs.

It seems when I show up to cover a game, one of our local teams bites the dust.

Just ask the Livingston boys.

Angelo Naldi did everything he could to get his team ready for the playoffs.

Naldi's boys played a tough preseason schedule loaded with Division I teams.

Livingston was set up for a nice playoff run until I stepped into the gym Wednesday night.

Even Harnarinder Johal's 34 points and 17 rebounds weren't enough to overcome the "Jansen curse."

Natomas won 96-94 in overtime.

The Golden Valley girls are the only team to win a section title while I've been employed at the Sun-Star.

That was in 2000.

The Golden Valley boys and Hilmar girls came close a few years ago. Both teams fell short in the championship game.

For most the part it's been one and done.

Just look at the Merced boys.

Merced finally broke "the curse" last year when it won its first playoff game since 1997 with a first-round win over Modesto.

However, Merced was then upset by Stockton Edison in the next round.

Call me crazy, but I think we'll see a change this year.

Le Grand proved on Tuesday that my powers may be weakening.

I believe we have teams this year which will stick around in the playoffs.

Merced and Golden Valley have the talent to make deep runs.

Maybe all the way to Arco Arena.

I really like Merced's spot in the brackets if Marcus Knott's boys can get by Nevada Union on Friday.

Something tells me if Merced can get to the University of the Pacific, Allen Huddleston is going to put on a show in his future home.

Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter has told me more than once this year he feels his team is good enough to beat anybody.

Hunter also feels he has the type of team that can lose to anybody.

If Alex Fletcher and company can get hot, who knows how far they can go.

The Hilmar girls have already made their way into the second round and have a home game tonight.

The Le Grand girls did the same thing loading its schedule against bigger school.

Crosby's girls defeated Golden Valley in a foundation game and knocked off Merrill West in Tracy.

My advice to Crosby: Keep wearing the green suit.

It just might be my kryptonite.

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

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