Boys BB: 2018s Take NorCal Clash

Class of 2018 players defeat 2017 players in Seventh Annual NorCal Clash. Zach Chappell, a junior at Capital Christian, leads the 2018s.

In an annual end of summer boys basketball game pitting rising seniors versus rising juniors from Northern California, the juniors (Class of 2018) served notice they will have a big impact on the region’s hoops this upcoming season with a 96-93 victory in the NorCal Clash at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.

Zach Chappell, a 6-foot-4 guard out of Capital Christian of Sacramento ranked No. 16 in the most recent Cal-Hi Sports player rankings for the Class of 2018, led the way for the juniors. His team trailed at halftime 43-42, but his big second half performance  (17 points) was the major factor in the outcome of the game. Chappell finished with 21 points, six rebounds, five steals, four assists and three blocked shots and was named player of the game. He was 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line overall, and 5-of-6 and 7-of-8 in those categories in the second half, respectively.

“We were down at the half and I told my teammates I felt I didn’t do enough, so I just knew I had to pick it up ,” Chappell told our own Harold Abend, who was in attendance evaluating the talent and reporting while also taking statistics. Abend reports Chappell holds an offer from UC Davis and carries a reported 3.3 GPA.

If the seniors (2017s) would have won, 6-foot-4 shooting guard Joey Calcaterra of Marin Catholic in Kentfield likely would have been player of the game. He finished with a game-high 25 points with seven rebounds. Calcaterra was 4-of-9 from 3-point range in a game in which neither club shot particularly well from behind the arc. Calcaterra had a strong summer playing for Splash City on the Under Armour Association and is currently ranked No. 30 in the 2017 Cal-Hi Sports Hot 100.

The 2018s were more aggressive offensively and went to the free throw line 42 times, making 29. The 2017s made 13-of-18 from the charity stripe.

The seniors  had the ball with an opportunity to tie the game with 2.9 seconds remaining, but Chappell doubled on Calcaterra and blocked a desperation shot as the horn sounded.

The 2017s played without Moreau Catholic of Hayward standout Damari Milstead, who was invited but sat out nursing a hand injury. That hurt the senior club against a strong 2018 backcourt that included James Akinjo, a 5-foot-11 guard from Salesian of Richmond. Akinjo, ranked No. 19 in California’s 2018 class, finished with 12 points, eight assists and four steals.

The victorious 2018 team was coached by Mark DeLuca, the first-year coach at Valley Christian of San Jose who led Berkeley to a CIF Division I Northern California title last season. The coach of the 2017 team was Mike Wall of Folsom, one of the top coaches in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section who has a CIF Northern Regional Division II title to his credit.

For more detailed information on the NorCal Clash, please visit

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