Empire notes: Carrillo grad shines in Cal's bowl win

Class of 2015 Maria Carrillo grad Alex Netherda went out with a bang.

The fifth-year senior and multi-purpose player for the University of California had two key solo tackles on special teams as Cal beat Illinois 35-20 in the Redbox Bowl Monday. Netherda, The Press Democrat All-Empire Large School Athlete of the Year in 2015 also carried the ball twice for a total of eight yards in his final outing for the Golden Bears.

Eagles flying again

The Cloverdale girls basketball team looks like it is picking up where it left off last year. The Eagles were 27-6 overall and went 14-0 in the North Central I League last season.

They played their way into the NorCal Regional semifinals before losing 46-34 to No. 1-seeded St. Bernard's - the same team that beat the Eagles in the North Coast Section Division 5 finals. This year they are off to an 8-2 start with wins over Windsor, Ukiah, Vintage and Justin-Siena. The Eagles open NCL I play on the road Friday at Willits.

Hall named Frosh of the Year

St. Vincent running back Kai Hall was named North Coast Section freshman of the year by Prep2Prep. Hall, listed at 5 feet, 8 inches and 170 pounds, rushed for 1,773 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first season of high school football for the 9-2 Mustangs.

Hall averaged nearly 10-yard gains every time he touched the ball and had 100 or more yards in 10 of the Mustangs' 11 contests.

He now holds the St. Vincent record for freshman backs and is second on the school's all-time list behind Kris Farinha, who ran for 1,898 in 2009. St. Vincent - which played an independent schedule in the fall - will join the North Bay League next season.

Bear Cubs rolling behind Mundu

Santa Rosa Junior College men's basketball is 2-0 in the Big 8 heading into their road game against Modesto City College (5-9 overall, 1-1 in the Big 8) on Friday.

The Bear Cubs are coming off an 82-68 home win against Diablo Valley College on Saturday. Sophomore Atmar Mundu out of Washington High in Fremont paced the Bear Cubs with 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting and 5 of 8 from behind the 3-point arc. Sharp-shooting reserve Shannon Ferguson, a freshman who prepped at North High in Bakersfield, had 17 points off the bench.

The Bear Cubs are 10-4 overall heading into their road game against Modesto on Friday. They host Sacramento City College at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

SSU riding wins into homestand

The Sonoma State women's basketball team is 8-4 and on the cusp of a two-game homestand. The Seawolves host Cal Poly Pomona at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Cal State San Bernardino at 1 p.m. Saturday. It's the first action the team has since their 73-66 road win over Cal State LA on Dec. 21.

Cardinal Newman class of 2015 grad and Press Democrat All-Empire Player of the Year Kylie Kiech led the way in that win, putting up 21 points - including 12 free throws - and grabbing five rebounds. Ugochi Anudokem, a senior out of Homestead High in Cupertino, registered a double-double with her 15-point, 14-rebound performance.

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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