Tragic death accentuates 3-19 season
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 16:05
Only three players on the women’s basketball team’s fluctuating six-player roster played in all 22 games throughout the 2011-2012 season, during which the squad finished with a 3-19 overall record (2-10 in the Bay Valley Conference).
Contra Costa College’s only sophomores, guards Jamie Capoot and Shay Mendes, suffered season-ending injuries.
Aside from academic and personal struggles that kept a host of potential team members from competing in 2011-12, the undersized, undermanned squad, and women’s basketball coach Paul DeBolt, not only was forced to enter battles without proper artillery, so to speak, but also had to contend with the loss of Capoot’s father Jim.
Jim Capoot, a former Marine and 19-year veteran Vallejo police officer, was murdered Nov. 17 pursuing a bank robbery suspect.
“We were numb. I can’t even remember November or December, it’s all such a blur,” DeBolt said of the weeks after the death of Capoot, the Vallejo High School girls’ basketball coach. “(Coaching this year) was by far the most painful thing I’ve ever had to deal with, being so close to (Jamie’s) family.”
Despite attending her father’s funeral the day before, Jamie Capoot took the court in the team’s first game of the Comet Classic against Los Medanos College on Dec. 1 and scored 27 points that night in a 64-47 loss.
“My dad would have wanted me to play,” Capoot told The Advocate after the game. “He always motivated me to do what I didn’t think was possible. I didn’t think I could play, but I just thought of him.”
Mendes saw her last action of the year when she tore her rotator cuff during the second day of the Comet Classic.
Capoot, the Comets’ leading scorer, dominated every game in which she played, until she broke her left leg in the first half of CCC’s 50-46 win over Napa Valley College on Jan. 11.
With only three players left on the team, the Comets were forced to recruit Comet athletes Lynn Iosua and Elvi Figueroa to join the team.
“Not being guaranteed five players every game made playing in games feel like a waste of time,” freshman guard Gandy said.
Comet guards Brittany Gandy, Famh Fong and Allyson Roberts were the only players to play every game this season.
CCC’s roster issues were evident at the end of games. Players often fouled out, leaving the team to finish some of its games with fewer than five players. DeBolt said 2011-12 was his toughest year of coaching.
“That season was a lesson in humility — a lesson in life,” he said.
The tribulations the team experienced added a great level of difficulty to the year, but it also brought the group closer together in the end.
“This is a good group,” DeBolt said. “This group will always be close after what they went through — experiencing tragedy up close and personal. I think it changed everybody.”