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Column: Admiring the heartwarming moments at the state basketball championships

“I love my dad very much”.

Those were the words spoken by Bryce Bedgood, a 6-foot-9 junior at Valencia High, standing in a deserted hallway outside the press room at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Saturday afternoon shortly after his father, Bill, announced that he was retiring as the Vikings coach because he “wants to be a dad again.”

Over two days and nights watching 12 games at the CIF State Basketball Championships, the emotional ups and downs kept coming, with coaches crying goodbye to the players they had come to love and players professing lifelong loyalty to their teammates.

“Stay in touch forever, bro,” Ventura Buena’s Zane Carter snapped at teammate Colin Guether as he turned his head from one side of the media podium to the other after the loss in the Division III final. Quarterback and receiver in football and guards in basketball, the best friends gave a lesson in the magic of high school sports.

“Proud” was the word most used by the coaches after every game, whether their team wins or loses. When they spend so much time together over their senior year in the gym, the weight room, on the bus, in the classroom, in the locker room, they become family. And when the journey ends suddenly, whether temporarily or forever, the scene can be poignant, uncomfortable, and complex.

The elder Bedgood tried to explain the departure from a 24-year coaching career that included stints at Mission Hills Bishop Germany, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (he coached Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton) and Saugus.

“Being a father makes you a better coach, but I don’t know if being a coach makes you a better father,” he said.

Away from the microphones after winning the Division IV state championship, Bryce, 17, who has a 4.3 GPA, offered insight into the balancing act of a father coaching a son.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, but I feel what he brings to me as a coach, even if he’s a father, I want him to yell at me because I feel like sometimes I get in my own head and he’s the only person who helps me get going. ,” he said. “Sometimes I don’t start very well, maybe I miss a few shots, he yells at me to wake up and play better and I appreciate it”.

A teenager who admits that he wants his father to yell at him?

It’s complicated.

“I remember having not-so-good arguments in court,” Bryce said. “Sometimes I see him as my dad, not my coach, and I talk to him as my dad and I can’t do that because that’s my coach. I have to respect him all the time, which I do. He’s a great guy, an amazing guy. Some people think that our relationship is more or less good. Our relationship is great.”

Seeing how the coaches interacted with their players this weekend was memorable.

Studio City Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo was buoyed in the final moments of his team’s 76-65 Open Division championship win against Santa Maria St. Joseph because one of his players was celebrating too soon while his team was trying to protect his steer. Through his loud voice, biting words, and hard stare, he reminded everyone that the game wasn’t over, showing his kids that sometimes an adult has to be the killjoy until it’s time to celebrate.

It was a weekend of coaching excellence, none more remarkable than the leadership and wisdom of Etiwanda girls’ coach Stan Delus. Listening to him in the team meeting with him trailing San Jose Archbishop Mitty by five points with 2:14 remaining in the women’s Open Division final was like witnessing a coaching masterclass.

“Play the moment,” he told his players.

They would clinch a 69-67 victory on a follow-up shot over the buzzer from Jada Sanders.

As the individual performances go, seeing 14-year-old freshman Jason Crowe Jr. score 34 points to help Lynwood win the V Division championship for his father and coach Jason Sr. will be one for the fans. record books. He finished the season with 1,295 points and averaged 36 points per game in the highest offensive production by a freshman in state history.

There were so many great players, from Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame’s Caleb Foster, Etiwanda’s Kennedy Smith and Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos freshman Jackie Polk.

Celebrating after scoring 30 points and grabbing 13 rebounds at the end of a challenging season, Smith said: “I played through sweat and tears. I got to work.”

Yes, it did, and many others too.