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High Schools | BOYS' BASKETBALL COACH OF THE YEAR

Sweeney Put King in Position to Win

April 07, 2002|Ben Bolch

It looked like checkmate for Tim Sweeney Jr. and Riverside King High.

The Wolves had lost to Redondo Union in the Southern Section Division II-A boys' basketball championship game on a last-second three-pointer, an off-balance shot that Sweeney lamented "you couldn't make one out of 10 times on a playground."

With top-seeded Santa Ana Mater Dei looming in the Southern California Regionals, King would go on, maybe win another game or two, and call it a season.

Hardly.

The Wolves knocked off Mater Dei and went on to win the state Division II championship, becoming the first team from Riverside County to win a state boys' basketball title.

The Times' boys' basketball coach of the year made his players believe. That was a tall order for a team in only its second varsity season.

Yet, King played its best in its biggest games because its coach put it in a position to win.

"I didn't expect this for four or five years, to be truly competitive," Sweeney said. "It's really neat to see a true community school with community players have the kids develop the way they have and just show the character and really be able to adapt to the system. It's a testament to the kids we have in the program."

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Ben Bolch

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