Much has been made of Sacramento High's talented freshman boys class that is helping the No. 5 Dragons varsity excel this season.
But the top-ranked Dragons girls team has some ninth-grade bragging rights, too.
Guards Aliceah Hernandez, Alana Myers and Andrea Butler have helped the Dragons to extend their league winning streak to 83 games entering tonight's Metro Conference home game against No. 5 McClatchy.
"I can't say enough about our freshmen," Sac High coach Michele Massari said. "They've been poised, and they make an impact."
They were busy again Thursday as the Dragons beat No. 3 Kennedy 53-49 in a Metro showdown and battle of defending Sac-Joaquin Section champions in Greenhaven.
The 5-foot-6 Hernandez, a starter, had seven points, including two game-clinching free throws with 7.7 seconds to play. The 5-6 Myers hit a three-pointer midway through the third quarter that put Sacramento ahead to stay, 32-30, after the Cougars had rallied to take the lead.
"Alana is a lefty and a beyond-her-years player," Massari said. "Aliceah brings toughness and swag. Both know the game really well."
The duo accounted for more than half of Sacramento's points in a 41-40 win over Kincaid of Houston in the West Coast Jamboree in Antioch on Dec. 27.
While the 5-3 Butler is less of a scoring threat, she offers savvy and pinpoint passing as a backup point guard to Zonyia Cormier.
The freshmen have helped fill the vacuum left by the loss of Cal State Fullerton signee Casey Williams, a senior out for the season after shoulder surgery.
They also have bonded well with Sacramento's core veterans: seniors Allie Green and Breanna Garrett and juniors Cormier, Chaya Durr and imposing 6-4 post Ayanna Edwards.
Troubadours up and down No. 9 St. Francis seems to take its fans on a roller-coaster ride every game.
The Troubadours fell 58-54 in overtime Jan. 15 at No. 2 Oak Ridge in a Delta River League game, then routed No. 10 Pleasant Grove 57-37 in league play Friday behind Susie Rogers' 18 points.
St. Francis then fell 47-43 to No. 8 Del Oro on Saturday and beat No. 11 Florin 63-57 at Monday's Martin Luther King showcase at St. Mary's in Stockton. Najah Queenland led the Troubadours with 21 points.
St. Francis plays at Folsom on Friday, then Saturday hosts Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco, a 56-51 winner Saturday over league rival Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, the defending CIF D-II state champion.
Showdown in Loomis Last season, No. 4 Nevada Union ended Del Oro's 63-game Sierra Foothill League winning streak with a 44-42 win in Loomis.
So the Miners' goal this season, entering tonight's game at Del Oro, is to end the Golden Eagles' seven-year reign as league champions.
Nevada Union, riding a 12-game winning steak, continues to show consistent balance. Junior Sydney Porter is the team's only double-figure scorer at 12.2 points per game.
Other key contributors are seniors Nicole Lierly and Kaylin Martin, juniors Emma Peterson, Erin Selleck and Melanie O'Brien and sophomore Sammy DeHart.