For Newman, dream was gone as fast as it came

SACRAMENTO -- It is an athlete's worst grind, to come so close to the dream, so close the athlete can see it, smell it, taste it, embrace it. So close it feels almost like a second skin, ready to inhabit you, to exhilarate you and then ...

"It's gone, right before your eyes," said Cardinal Newman forward Kyle King.

Poof. What was so outlined, so clear, so ready to acquire, poof. Gone. Evaporated. Into the ether of expectation. Newman's basketball team is grinding like that today. They saw themselves getting that close to the Division 4 State Championship Saturday afternoon at Sleep Train Arena. They were leading Pacific Hills, 46-45, with four minutes left. The Cardinals trailed, 50-48, with 2:30 left. A 15-point underdog by Cal-Hi Sports, Newman forgot to play like an underdog.

Cardinal Newman lost by six, 58-52, and for those who weren't here, the refrain will be universal: A Southern California team beat a Northern California team for the CIF championship! What did you expect? It's a given.

Before this weekend, the South has won 11 of the last 12 D1 titles, 13 of the last 17 in D2, 15 of the last 21 in D4 and 10 of the last 15 in D5. So this wasn't an upset. So goes the refrain.

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