The first year of the CIF holding its state basketball championships at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento appears to be a success.
Fans had plenty of good seats. Players shot better in an arena setting than in the old Sleep Train Arena. And the facility was clearly first class. Even more important, fans showed up in greater numbers, with 20,135 for the two days. Last season, there was a little more than 11,000.
Mark Hill, whose Esperanza team won the Division II boys title, said none of his players voiced any concern about shooting in an arena setting.
"We made six of 18 from three-point range," he said. "That was our single best shooting percentage from threes all year."
Girls' players, in particular, shot the ball with great precision from three-point range. A record eight threes was made.
"Outside the fact you can't get a lot of fans to travel up, it was a great experience," said Hill, who was coaching in his first state championship game. "CIF did a great job hosting. I thought the arena was beautiful. I didn't hear any complaints from the kids about shooting."
Roosevelt Coach Stephen Singleton called it "a great experience." His team won the Division I title. He does recommend one change.
"The only thing I would change is to have a designated area to sit close to the locker room" as his team waited to play, he said. The team was never directed where to sit.
There's one more year on the latest contract to play at Golden 1 Center. Yes, it would be good to hold a championship in Southern California again, but as long as crowds are coming out, then Golden 1 Center should be fine.
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