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Former MHS, RC stars see action in NCAA Tournament
ALUM March Madness
Local products Cade Alger, left, and Tydus Verhoeven have represented their respective schools in the NCAA Tournament. SDSU and Northwestern athletics courtesy photos

Cade Alger and Tydus Verhoeven played in many big games during their decorated prep careers for at local schools.

Now, they’re getting to play on the biggest stages at the NCAA Division I level.

It was a homecoming for Verhoeven last week, as the 2017 Manteca High grad got to play in front of friends and family at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, where he and Northwestern competed in two West Regional contests.

Meanwhile, Alger, a 2019 Ripon Christian alumnus, was on the other side of the country, as he suited up for San Diego State’s South Regional games at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. The Aztecs, in fact, have advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time and will take on Alabama — the top seed in the South — this Friday in Kentucky.

Both are 6-foot-9 forwards who play key roles off the bench.

Seeded seventh in the West, Northwestern (22-12) — making just its second NCAA Tournament appearance — defeated No. 10 Boise State 75-67 last Thursday. Verhoeven contributed three rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes.

On Saturday, the Wildcats ended one of their best seasons in program history with a competitive 68-63 loss to No. 2 UCLA. Verhoeven played nine minutes in the second-round tilt.

The former Manteca standout played in all 34 of Northwestern’s games, averaging 2.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 15.8 minutes while shooting 54% from the field.

Verhoeven starred on Manteca High’s Division III state championship team in the 2015-16 season and is now a graduate student at Northwestern pursuing a masters in sports administration. He transferred to the Big Ten school out of Illinois after three seasons at UTEP, where he made the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll every year and averaged 6.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks.

Verhoeven originally signed with Duquesne of Pittsburgh, Penn and led the Atlantic 10 with 2.33 blocks per game while breaking the school record for most blocks in a season by a freshman with 71. He was sidelined for the 2018-19 season, his first at UTEP, because of NCAA transfer rules.

Alger is a junior for nationally-ranked San Diego State, the No. 5 seed in the South. The two-time defending Mountain West champion Aztecs (29-6) took care of No. 12 Charleston 63-57 in their opener and eliminated No. 13 Furman on Saturday, 75-52. Alger played two minutes against Furman.

San Diego State faces Alabama at the KFC Yum! Center this Friday starting at 3:30 p.m. The Aztecs are looking to reach the Elite 8 for the first time.

Like Verhoeven, Alger was an early transfer after high school. At Ripon Christian, he helped the Knights capture the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI championship in 2018. The following year, he led RC’s football and volleyball teams to Section finals.  

Alger signed with another Division I school in Seattle University. He left after red-shirting his freshman year and found a home as a walk-on at San Diego State. This season, he has appeared in eight games and scored a career-best 13 points.

Alger is majoring in business administration.