Ohlone College basketball, Casey Norris hit their stride - Article, 2013-2014 Ohlone College Renegades Men's Basketball

Wednesday, February 26, 2014-Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

By Matt Schwab.

Ohlone College men's basketball coach John Peterson says sophomore guard Casey Norris does what it takes to win.

Whether it's diving on a loose ball, making the right pass or communicating with teammates, Norris, a former Newark Memorial High star, helps the Renegades find a way.

Norris and the sixth-seeded Renegades (22-6) open the Northern California Regional playoffs Friday against visiting No. 11 College of the Sequoias (15-13). Tipoff for the second-round game is 7 p.m.

"He has been phenomenal all year," Peterson said of Norris. "We just don't win 22 games without him. He just wins."

Chabot (22-7), the fourth seed, will open against No. 13 College of the Siskiyous (17-11) on Saturday. Merritt (17-10), the 14th seed, will travel to No. 3 Santa Rosa (19-8) on Saturday.

After a rough patch in the middle of the season, the Renegades have won five of their last six games, the only loss coming against powerful City College of San Francisco, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, 71-63 on Feb. 21.

In addition to Norris, Ohlone upstart Isaiah Omamogho, of Adelaide, Australia, has been turning heads of late. He averaged 14 points in conference play, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, after not even starting the first half of the season.

Peterson said Norris has received interest from numerous Division II schools, along with some Division I programs. He averaged 11.9 points a game overall.

Ohlone walloped Sequoias 74-48 on Dec. 6, paced by 20 points from Johan Stenberg and 15 from Marcelus Clay. But Peterson experts a tougher challenge this time.

"Since then they've won nine in a row and totally flipped the thing around," Peterson said of Sequoias. "In the middle of December, if you would have said they were going to the playoffs, I'd have said, 'No way.' Here they are."

Balanced Chabot seems poised for a postseason run. The Gladiators, who split games with Ohlone and finished tied with the Renegades for second place, boast four players who average around 11 points a game: Leo Smith (11.9 ppg), Greg Brown (11.2), Cortez Barrett (10.9) and Paris Davis (10.8)

"Chabot's really good," Peterson said. "Chabot can beat anybody. Really good point guard. Really good length. They rebound it well. When they're shooting it, they're really hard to beat."

Diablo Valley, the 17th seed, had a play-in game against No. 16 San Joaquin Delta (14-12) on Wednesday night.

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