Dream seasons for the Antelope and Capital Christian boys basketball teams may be in danger of ending after season-ending injuries to key big men.
Antelope will be without leading rebounder Isaiah Ellis, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, when it hosts St. Francis of Mountain View on Saturday in the Northern California Regional Division II playoffs. Ellis broke his foot as the Titans repeated as the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champions with a 70-63 victory over Grant on Saturday.
Antelope, seeded second in the NorCal field, will look for even more production from Isiah Quintero, said coach Rob Richards. Quintero, a 6-8 senior forward, blocked 10 shots against Grant, tying Ellis' single-game school record.
Quintero has overcome foot issues of his own this season to average 5.5 blocked shots in the section playoffs. He said he's hoping for a return trip to Sleep Train Arena, where he expects another crowd of 40 family members.
Antelope also has size in leading scorer Gabe Bealer (6-6), and it will now rely more on forwards Leonard Hazewood (6-4) and Nick Govolko (6-4).
Capital Christian beat Brookside Christian 40-39 Friday to repeat as the section D-V champion despite being without 6-8 junior forward D.J. Wilson, who was sidelined because of a bad back. The Cougars, seeded second in the NorCal D-V field, still have plenty of height with Trey Belton (6-6), Nifae Lealao (6-5), Nick Aibuedefe (6-5) and Tyler Schimpf (6-4).
But replacing Wilson, who averaged 10 points and provided immeasurable energy, will be difficult, Capital Christian coach DeVon Jones said.
"He's our most electric guy," said Jones, whose team hosts Head-Royce of Oakland on Saturday. "He plays all out. You can't easily replace that, but we will."
Karma absence Josh Williams' father has missed only two of his son's basketball games. And good things happened both times.
Williams, the first-year coach for the Liberty Ranch boys, celebrated a 55-52 NorCal D-IV opening victory over Half Moon Bay on Wednesday, the only disappointment being that his father, John, couldn't be there to see it.
John Williams, a lifelong Galt resident and the section assistant commissioner, stayed home because of pneumonia. The last time that John Williams missed one of his son's basketball games was in 1997, also because of illness. As a freshman at Galt High, Williams made the game-winning 17-footer to beat Folsom in the last game at the famed Nottoli Dome, named in honor of decades-long Galt High teacher and coach Don Nottoli.
Liberty Ranch will play second-seeded Riordan of San Francisco on Saturday. Josh Williams said he may urge his father to stay home and rest.
Rematch time Sacramento routed Pleasant Valley of Chico 76-45 in a NorCal D-II opener, earning a showdown it badly wanted. The Dragons play at Grant on Saturday, a rematch of a section semifinal thriller at Sleep Train Arena won by the Pacers 72-69 behind 6-7 senior guard De'Sean Parsons (26 points).
Aaron Cameron had 18 points to lead Sacramento against Pleasant Valley, and the senior guard vows to have a better showing against Grant than in the last meeting, when he made just 3 of 14 shots for 10 points.