Monday, April 20, 2009

Rikke Van Johnson Seeks Donations for Basketball Team

San Bernardino City Council Member Rikke Van Johnson seeks donations to buy championship rings for the San Bernardino High School girls' basketball team.

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Mayor Pro Tem Rikke Van Johnson is calling for donations to honor a record-breaking San Bernardino high school team. “The Cajon High School girls varsity basketball team, also known as the Cowgirls, had an outstanding season,” Johnson said. “They won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) top division and went further in the state playoffs than any team in San Bernardino history.”

Johnson said the team has been conducting fundraising events all year, but is still short $2,000 to pay for the CIF Championship rings honoring 10 players. Each ring cost $200 a piece. Donations can be mailed to Cajon High School, c/o Coach Mark Lehman, 1200 Hill Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92407. Johnson said the goal is to raise enough money to reward the players with a championship dinner as well. The remaining proceeds will go towards next season’s travel expenses.

Johnson, the Westside Action Group (WAG), Fontana City Mayor Pro Tem Acquanetta Warren and Ray Culberson, director of Youth Services, San Bernardino City Unified School District, have already agreed to be sponsors.

“The Cowgirls finished the season with a 32-3 record. Two of the three losses were to top-ranked teams in the nation,” Johnson said. “The Cowgirls were ranked No. 6 in the nation, by Maxpreps (a company that tracks statistics for high school sports.)”

The team also won the Best of the West, Girls Can Hoop and Brea Olinda tournaments, which are considered among the top three in Southern California.

Other Cowgirls honors include:

  • Layshia Clarendon was named CIF Player of the Year, for the second year running. She was also a Parade magazine All-American and received a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Darshae Burnside was named to the all CIF team and is the leading rebounder in CIF history. Burnside is the No. 2 all-time California rebounder and received a scholarship to the University of Arkansas.
  • Coach Mark Lehman was named 2008 Coach of the Year (CIF Division 2A) by the Southern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association.

 Lehman attributed the great season to dedication and practice. “The girls have been working hard for a year practicing every day,” Lehman said. “It took a lot of dedication and commitment to reach these goals.”

Johnson said the Cowgirls are a shining example of San Bernardino youth. “I think in today’s world, young people should always be honored for outstanding and positive achievements,” Johnson said.

Rikke Van Johnson represents the Sixth Ward on the City Council of San Bernardino.