Around the horn

Around the horn
BIG MAN BANFORD BACK IN THE KEY 
The streaky Diablo Valley College men's basketball team, which has won four in a row after losing five in a row, is excited to have big man Damien Banford back for its final push.  
The 6-foot-7 Newark Memorial High graduate sat out a nail-biting 56-55 win over Sacramento on Feb. 11, after suffering a high ankle sprain early in a 71-68 win over Sierra on Feb. 9.  
DVC (14-12, 6-6 Big 8), which has been playing well, will conclude the regular season with back-to-back home games against Cosumnes River on Tuesday and Modesto on Friday, and will probably need to win them both to make the playoffs. 
Banford, who plays with a lot of passion and looks like a football guy, is averaging 9.5 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds a game.  
DVC coach Steve Coccimiglio has 597 career wins, meaning the Vikings will need to sweep both games this week and win a playoff game for him to reach the magical 600 plateau.   
 
Softball  
Nicole Nordahl fired a five-hit shutout and the unbeaten Vikings won their sixth straight game, 9-0 over visiting Folsom Lake on Feb. 13.  
Nordahl entered the week first in the state in strikeouts with 54 over 44 innings pitched, and is tied for first in wins with six, to go along with a 1.43 ERA.  
The Vikings (6-0-1) are hosting Solano (2-2) in a doubleheader on Tuesday.  
 
Baseball  
The Vikings (5-1) saw their five-game winning streak end with a 7-5 loss at Marin on Feb. 13. Four Vikings each had two hits: shortstop Anthony Taliaferro, center fielder Ryan Tom, catcher Drew Downing and third baseman Ryan Gosiengfiao.  
Right fielder Ryan Meisenheimer has been swinging a hot bat with .462 batting average, putting him tied for 37th in the state. He has 12 hits in 26 at bats and a .500 slugging percentage.   
Freshman Billy Babb has a 2-0 pitching record with a 2.25 ERA, 13 strikeouts and two walks. Sophomore Andrew Merken is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA, seven strikeouts and no walks.   
The Vikings are at Los Medanos Feb. 16, at Mission on Feb. 17 and host Los Medanos on Feb. 19.  
 
Track and field  
The Vikings continue to look sharp in early season meets.  
Pinole Valley High graduate Strangenae Campbell achieved a State "A" standard at the Bakersfield meet with a time of 24.04 seconds in the 200 meters.   
By reaching the "A" standard competitors will qualify for the state meet provided they also finish in the top four at the NorCal regional.  
Also meeting the State "A" standard were the DVC women's 4x400 relay team of Angelina Dazasanchez (Alhambra), Campbell, Kennedy Wade (Vallejo) and Tia Harper (Deer Valley), who ran a time of 4:00.55; and high-jumpers Juliette Alliaume (Sacred Heart Prep) and Patrice Beattie (Benicia), who tied for first place clearing 1.57 meters.   
Alliaume cleared 1.62 meters the previous week at Hartnell.  
In men's highlights, Isaiah Mobley (Making Waves Academy) opened up with a 49.76 in the 400 meters, and Geoffrey Weseman (Merrill West), a newcomer to track and field who played mostly baseball in high school, had the impressive overall winning mark in the men's 800 (1:56.92).  
 
Swimming  
The powerful Vikings will test the water against many of the top swimmers in Northern California at the Hawk Invitational at Las Positas College Friday and Saturday.  
 
Women's Basketball  
The Vikings, in a four-team battle second place in the Big 8, are looking to rebound strongly from back-to-back losses  
With playoff seedings at stake, the Vikings (18-9, 7-5)  will play host to two teams they've beaten: Cosumnes River on Tuesday and Modesto on Friday.  
The Vikings (18-9, 7-5) lost a 77-72 overtime heartbreaker to first-place Sierra on Feb. 9 in Pleasant Hill, and then fell 67-58 at Sacramento City. Brandy Williams had 26 points and 18 boards against Sierra, and Jojuan Carrington had 28 points and 11 rebounds against Sac City.