Denair’s Season Ends with Basketball Playoff Loss

SACRAMENTO – Denair ran into a taller, stronger, faster team Monday night in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs, with predictable results.

Sacramento Adventist scored the first 14 points of the game and never looked back, cruising to a 67-36 victory and ending the Coyotes’ season.

“They’re bigger across the board. They were better and more skilled at most positions,” assessed Denair Coach R.J. Henderson.

The Capitals (25-5) limited the Coyotes (17-11) to just 13 points in the first half in building a 19-point lead.

“Their game plan didn’t alter,” Henderson said. “After makes, they went into a zone (defense) and after misses, they go man. We saw that in the three films we watched, but we didn’t handle it well.”

Despite its cold shooting, Denair trimmed Sacramento Adventist’s lead to 10 points entering the second quarter. The run coincided with insertion of junior Austin Upfold, who kept the Coyotes in the game.

“Austin came off the bench and sparked us, but we could never really make a push,” Henderson. “I thought if we could get it to eight or nine points by halftime, we’d have a chance. … We just didn’t make enough plays and enough shots.” Continue reading “Denair’s Season Ends with Basketball Playoff Loss” »

Denair Trustees Accepted $181,000 State Grant Aimed at Helping Students in Key Academic Areas

An $181,000 infusion of one-time state money will allow the Denair Unified School District to create more options on its campuses to help students struggling in core programs such as math, English, and science.

Superintendent Terry Metzger, the principals at each of Denair’s campuses and representatives the teachers union have collaborated on just how the money can be put to best use.

The plans they created, Metzger told Denair trustees Thursday night, “allow us some time to study evidence-based practices, work with teachers and support staff, and then provide resources and support for students.”

She described the grant as a “final gift” from former Gov. Jerry Brown in his 2018-19 state budget. The money must be spent by June 2021.

“Each plan includes language that allows us to think about how to create inviting spaces for students to access technology, collaborate, study and get tutoring before/after school,” Metzger said.

Also Thursday, the board voted 4-0, with Trustee Regina Gomes absent, to implement a new middle school math curriculum that has shown promising results during a pilot period.

Known as enVisionmath2.0 Common Core, the program is a comprehensive mathematics curriculum for grades six through eight. It uses problem-solving, interactive experiences and visual learning to engage students. Personalized math practice, built-in interventions, and customizable content deepen understanding and improve achievement.

Denair Middle School math teachers David Rodriguez and Anthony Narsi have been using the program since last fall. They told trustees last month they believe it will help to improve students’ math skills and, ultimately, their performance on state tests, which has been a concern.

The middle school program is consistent with what was introduced last year at Denair High School. Metzger said it is a hybrid of written materials as well as online programs and videos that students access via Chromebooks at school or their own computers at home. Continue reading “Denair Trustees Accepted $181,000 State Grant Aimed at Helping Students in Key Academic Areas” »

Denair High Win Basketball Playoff Opener in Overtime; Face Sacramento Adventist on Monday

Submitted by Denair High School

SACRAMENTO – Denair High School Coach R.J. Henderson calls senior shooting guard J.T. Smith a “marksman.” And one statistic illustrates that description better than any other. Of the 58 field goals Smith has made this season, 51 of them have been three-pointers.

“When’s he on, he’s changing the game,” Henderson said.

Smith definitely was a game-changer Wednesday night, hitting three of the biggest shots in Denair’s come-from-behind  68-61 overtime victory over Bradshaw Christian in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs.

The win was Denair’s first in the playoffs since 2007 and moved the 11th-seeded Coyotes (17-10) into Monday’s second round against No. 3 seed Sacramento Adventist (24-5), which routed 14th seed Leroy Greene 73-28.

Denair’s season is still alive thanks to some clutch shots from Smith. He drained a three-pointer with about 50 seconds left in regulation that cut Bradshaw’s lead to 52-50. After a missed shot by the Pride, Drew Pritchard – who led the Coyotes with 26 points – made a basket to tie the game.

Denair’s defense came through again, forcing another Bradshaw miss, but the Coyotes missed two free throws with 1.8 seconds that could have clinched the game.

No matter. Smith opened overtime with back-to-back three-pointers, opening a lead that Denair never relinquished despite starts Steffin Winston (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Mario Plasencia both fouling out early in the four-minute extra period.  Continue reading “Denair High Win Basketball Playoff Opener in Overtime; Face Sacramento Adventist on Monday” »

Denair High Boys Open Basketball Playoffs Wednesday

Submitted By Denair High School

Don’t blame the Denair High School boys basketball team for feeling disrespected. Despite finishing a strong second in the Southern League and winning 10 of their final 13 games, the Coyotes will open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs on Wednesday night on the road as the 11th seed against a team with a losing record.

No one ever said life, or playoff brackets, was fair.

Ahead of last Friday’s home game against Waterford, the predicted playoff scenario showed Denair as the possible No. 8 seed, which would have meant a first-round home game. That was one of the points Denair Coach R.J. Henderson stressed to his players, who rose to the challenge behind 34 points from senior guard Drew Pritchard to beat Waterford 78-74.

“What I’m confused about is how we dropped from eight to 11 after winning at home,” Henderson said. “I think it was predetermined to take the Southern League’s second team to No. 11.”

So, instead of a possible home game in front of a raucous crowd, the Coyotes (16-10 overall, 9-3 SL) must travel to Sacramento to take on Bradshaw Christian (10-18, 4-6 in Sierra Valley Conference). The Pride suffered a 10-game losing streak from mid-December to mid-January, but notable among its victories is a 72-66 win last Friday over Liberty Ranch (26-2), the top seed in the Division IV bracket.

“I may be confused by our seeding, but I’m not confused by how good Bradshaw is,” said Henderson, who has watched three games on tape. “They’re good. Their best four guys are sophomores. They have a couple of shooters. They’re more athletic than what we see in the Southern League.”  Continue reading “Denair High Boys Open Basketball Playoffs Wednesday” »

New Coyote Closet Helps Students, Families In Need

Submitted by Denair Middle School

A Spanish-speaking family who had lost everything in the Napa fires of 2017 moved to Denair early last year. In the course of registering her daughter at Denair Middle School, the mother shared with bilingual secretary Elvia Brizuela that they had very little. Their clothes, their bedding, their life’s possessions – all had been lost.

The mother – whose husband is a farm worker — was worried about her children and the effect having to wear the same clothes over and over was having on them.

Brizuela quietly went to work, asking members of the campus community to donate items. Many were happy to help. Others donated anonymously or provided money. The family was provided for and their crisis eased.

Not long after that, Brizuela encountered a single mother in a similar situation. She had one child in middle school and another in high school. She asked Brizuela if she knew anywhere that sold discounted furniture. Her children also needed clothes.

Again, Brizuela discreetly put the word out. And again, her co-workers responded. One anonymous donor even took the family shopping at Walmart.

“She was amazed,” Brizuela said of the mother. “Today, she’s back on her feet and she paid it forward” by helping out others in need.

From such generous and humble beginnings was born the Coyote Closet, an effort by the Denair Unified staff and the Legacy Health Endowment in conjunction with Sierra Vista Family Services, which oversees mental health programs for the district.  Continue reading “New Coyote Closet Helps Students, Families In Need” »