Pleasanton Preps: Underdog Dons off to strong start in NCS girls basketball tourney

Also: Nail-biters end postseason runs for Amador boys basketball, girls soccer

The Amador Valley varsity girls basketball team, the No. 12 seed in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs, pulled a pair of upsets last week to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

In the opening round, the Dons knocked off No. 5 American 45-42 to advance to the quarterfinals.

There, Amador faced No. 4 California and came away with the 59-50 win. Emily Tincher had 16 points for the Dons, with Julia Balestreri adding 14 and Jennie Yang 10.

The wins set the Dons up for a semifinal matchup at top-seeded Carondelet this Wednesday evening, with a berth in the NCS Division I championship game on the line.

Amador girls soccer

After winning five of their last six games in East Bay Athletic League play, including a 3-2 Senior Night victory over Foothill, the Dons qualified for the NCS Division I playoffs.

The Dons' first-round opponent was the Granada Matadors, whom they had defeated 3-0 earlier this month. However, the Matadors prevailed 2-1 on a cold and windy night at Amador on Feb. 13.

Granada struck first with a goal late in the first half, with junior Allie Jones netting the equalizer midway through the second half with an assist from freshman Maddie Benson. The Matadors scored a late winning goal to move on to the second round.

The Dons were paced this year by their three seniors: Kate Shriber, Brooke Delaney and Bailee Alvarez-Walls. The defense was anchored by junior Julia Gonsman, and leading scorers were junior Kate Reedy and sophomore Kennedy Mayo. They finished the season with a 9-9 record.

Amador boys basketball

The Dons advanced to the second round of the NCS playoffs but were eliminated by a tough loss to De La Salle.

In the opening round, Amador beat Liberty 55-53, knocking off a Lions team that was undefeated in its league and was on a 16-game winning streak.

Jaden Sheppard had 16 points to lead the way, with Jules Bellosgaurdo adding 15 and Brad Couture with 9 for the Dons.

That set up the second-round game at De La Salle. The Dons had a three-point lead at one point in the fourth quarter and trailed by only one with 1:54 to play before the Spartans pulled away for the win.

Sheppard had 14 for Amador, with Bellosguardo and Tyler Nanney adding 8 points each. The Dons finished the season 19-9.

Golf Ball Drop

Ballistic United Soccer Club will host its first Helicopter Golf Ball Drop fundraiser on March 16 at the Pleasanton Golf Center and Patelco Sports Complex.

The Golf Ball Drop will feature a $3,000 prize for closest to the pin. Prices are as follows: $10 for one ball, $45 for five balls, $100 for 12 balls and $200 for 30 balls.

There will also be cash prizes for second and third closest, as well as a prize for the furthest away. Entrants do not need to be present to win.

There will be a food truck at Patelco, as well as live stream of the drop. At 5 p.m., there will be an Under-17 USSDA match between Ballistic United and the San Jose Earthquakes. For more information, go to

Spring sports underway

The busy spring sports season has gotten underway -- that is, the sports that can be played when there isn't a downpour.

That means it is time to get your results in so we can write about the hard work the student athletes are turning in at Amador and Foothill! It will take a volunteer all of 15 minutes maximum a week to shoot me an email by Sunday with the results for your son's or daughter's team from the week.

You don't have to be a writer -- that's my job -- so just send me the results, as well as top performers each week and I will put it together. Send your email to me at by noon each Sunday and see the result in print the following Friday.

Of course, we are always looking for photos as well, so send those along with the identification for the players, along with details on who gets the credit for taking the picture.

Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact Miller or submit local high school sports scores, game highlights and photographs for his weekly Pleasanton Preps column, email him at

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