Empire Notebook: Elsie’s Hoeup represents Cambodia hoops

Elsie Allen grad and Hardin Simmons University standout basketball player Joe Hoeup closed out his career as a Cowboy last winter, but was picked to represent Cambodia at the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia, which opened Nov. 30. Hoeup graduated from Elsie Allen in 2015 was a starter at Hardin Simmons since his sophomore year. He averaged 17 points per game as a junior and 16 as a senior. Cambodian team was in a group with Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Phillipines men’s team won the tournament for the 13th-straight year, beating Thailand 115-81. Earlier in the tournament the Philipines beat Cambodia 100-71.

Gonzalez gets moment against Liverpool

Santa Rosa native Jonathan Gonzalez had a moment young soccer players dream of - a shot at suiting up against Liverpool. But alas, it was only a moment. Gonzalez was born and raised in Santa Rosa and lived in Sonoma County until he was 14 when he signed with Monterrey in Mexico’s Liga MX league. He has been a regular starter, but not on Thursday in the semifinal of the Club World Cup in Qatar. As Monterrey’s third sub of the game, Gonzalez came on to replace Rodolfo Pizarro with less than a minute to play in regulation, just before the referee signaled there would be three minutes of added time. Liverpool wouldn’t need it. Roberto Firmino scored about 20 seconds into added time to make it 2-1 and end the game.

Pavitt to be a Mustang

Fresh off of their CIF State Championship win, Cardinal Newman quarterback Jackson Pavitt announced he will continue his football career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Pavitt threw for 2,750 yards as a senior and completed nearly 70 percent of his passes. He had 30 touchdowns and two interceptions on the season. A dual threat, Pavitt rushed for 744 yards, averaging five yards per carry, this season and had 11 rushing touchdowns.

Curran hands up his whistle at Mesa

Todd Curran very nearly went out on top. The coach of the San Diego Mesa community college women’s soccer team for the past 22 years, Curran, a class of 1990 Cardinal Newman grad, earned 325 career victories for the Olympians. But the Olympians were denied one last win and fell 2-0 Dec. 8 in the state title game against San Diego Canyon. Curran is also a professor at Mesa, teaching exercise physiology, health education, weight training, soccer and spin. He was named Pacific Coach Conference Coach of the Year for the 2000 season and was the conference coach of the year in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Vikings are cruising

It was supposed to be a marquee matchup of the early season but in the end, it didn’t deliver. Not really. The Montgomery Vikings boys’ soccer team dispatched the previously unbeaten Vintage Crushers 5-2 on a cold rainy Dec. 18 night. The Crushers, defending Vine Valley Athletic League champs, came into the game 5-0. But the Vikings scored three first half goals en route to the win. The Vikings, who are now 7-0 after dispatching Piner 2-1 two days later. Next up is a big one: A rematch with the Berkeley High squad that sent them out of the Div. 1 NorCal playoffs last season. That game is at 3 p.m. Jan 4 at Montgomery.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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