The San Ramon Valley High boys basketball team may be having one of its best seasons in recent memory. But the goals the Wolves set for themselves a few months back are all still possible.
A year removed from a 13-13 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the East Bay Athletic League, San Ramon Valley -- now 22-3 after a 67-40 victory over Amador Valley on Tuesday -- can capture its first EBAL title in four years with a victory over host Monte Vista on Friday in the regular-season finale for both teams. Monte Vista is 12-1 in the EBAL, and San Ramon Valley is 11-2 and already owns a win over the crosstown rival Mustangs.
Following their 36-31 loss to De La Salle, the Wolves regrouped and have won eight straight to put themselves in this position.
"I think they felt that they were not achieving what they had set out to do in terms of making this a championship journey," San Ramon Valley coach John Raynor said of his team's 3-2 start in league play. "We are on a championship journey quest, and we've got a chance now."
Raynor said chemistry and unselfishness have played integral roles in the Wolves' success. Starters Jerry Karczewski and David Gunn have provided senior leadership, juniors Keith Smith, a guard, and center Gregg Polosky have made dramatic improvements and the team's lone sophomore, Austin Henderson, provides another perimeter threat.
Now the Wolves face Monte Vista, winners of six straight, with the league title on the line.
"Last year, after a not super successful season, it's nice to know that we have each other's backs," Polosky said. "Hopefully we can get it done."
NO BENCH, NO PROBLEM: Even with just seven available players, the Piedmont girls have remained a factor in the ultra-tough WACC-Foothill Division.
With seniors Lauren Seyranian, JoNae Gonzales and Bailey Thompson all playing at a high level, the Highlanders are in third place in arguably the East Bay's deepest league.
Piedmont's roster wasn't supposed to be so tiny. But with starting post Kelsey Fennell leaving to study abroad and four transfer students from Oakland Athletic League schools being denied their athletic eligibility by the North Coast Section, there's little margin for foul trouble or injuries.
Still, the Highlanders (16-8) stand a good shot to win at least 20 games for the fourth time in five years.
Plus, the challenge of the WACC-Foothill could have them primed for a strong postseason run. Last year, the Highlanders reached the NorCal Division IV final.
"(The league) does play a role in the playoffs because you've seen everything," Piedmont coach Bryan Gardere said. "If you run into ball pressure or bigger players, you're not too overwhelmed."
The Highlanders also have a scoring machine in Seyranian. The 5-foot-11 guard, who picked UC Davis despite interest from several bigger programs, is averaging 26 points and 11 rebounds in WACC play.
Over a two-day period last week, she scored 35 points against Hayward and 36 in a nonleague win over St. Vincent-Petaluma.
"Being a senior, she's confident and shooting the ball extremely well," Gardere said.
As for the transfer students, Gardere is hopeful there could finally be a resolution to their situation next week.
Even though they aren't allowed to participate in games, the four players are allowed to practice with the team and sit on the bench during games. Gardere said they've been an asset to the short-handed Highlanders.
MILESTONE NIGHT: Carondelet point guard Natalie Romeo reached 2,000 career points Tuesday night while also becoming the program's No. 2 all-time scorer, behind only Jayne Appel.
Romeo, who will play at Nebraska, is also approaching school records in career steals and assists.
Staff writer Stephanie Hammon contributed to this notebook.