The big boys are coming to town with national recruiting profiles and enviable skill.
But The Bee's top-ranked teams aren't bracing for the arrival of two McDonald's All-Americans already on the radar of NBA teams.
They're embracing the challenge.
Saturday at Sleep Train Arena, Sheldon and Pleasant Grove will play Bay Area powerhouses Archbishop Mitty of San Jose and Deer Valley of Antioch with the quest of elevating the area's brand of high school basketball to new heights.
Sheldon plays Mitty, led by 6-foot-9 senior Aaron Gordon, in the first CIF Northern California Open Division championship game.
Pleasant Grove, hardened by three close losses to Delta River League rival Sheldon, challenges Deer Valley in the Division I final.
The Wolverines feature 6-10 senior Marcus Lee, a high-flying dunker and shot blocker headed to Kentucky and, many think eventually, the NBA. Like Gordon, who remains uncommitted to a college, Lee can handle the ball, run the floor and pass well.
MaxPreps national columnist Mitch Stephens said Gordon and Lee are "two of the greatest players to come out of the Bay Area."
Sheldon and Pleasant Grove will counter with balance and familiarity.
Sheldon has won four consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles - all at Sleep Train Arena. Also on the Kings' home court, the Huskies beat Jesuit in the section and NorCal D-I finals last season before falling to Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the state championship game.
Sheldon's quest is to finish the job.
"We're motivated to win it all," said Huskies wing Dakarai Allen.
Sheldon (27-5) is coming off an Open semifinal upset over state-ranked No. 1 Salesian of Richmond and is now the No. 1 team in Northern California, according to MaxPreps, one spot ahead of Mitty.
The Monarchs (28-4) won the past two CIF State D-II titles and would have been a heavy favorite to three-peat, but the CIF initiated the Open Division this year to set up big matchups such as Mitty-Sheldon and to allow public schools - such as Pleasant Grove and Deer Valley - to compete for titles.
Sheldon senior and team leader D'Erryl Williams turned his ankle against Salesian and may be slowed against Mitty. He insists that he will play, saying, "There's no way I don't."
Williams sat out a 71-65 loss to Mitty on Dec. 8 to rest an ankle injury. Washington-bound guard Darin Johnson, who scored 24 against Salesian, also missed that game for Sheldon.
Sheldon freshman guard Devin Greene had 23 points against Mitty and has been a steady ballhandler despite his youth. Then there's 6-5 Ryan Manning, who again will match up with Gordon in the paint. Gordon, the Cal-Hi State Player of the Year last season, averages 22 points and 15 rebounds.
"Ryan's our bulldog," Johnson said. "He'll do fine. We'll be fine."
Said Mitty coach Tim Kennedy: "They definitely have more firepower this time (with Johnson and Williams playing). It's hard to know where to begin defending these guys. Pick a poison."
Pleasant Grove coach John DePonte said he was impressed with Deer Valley's Lee when he saw him play in a nonleague game at Sheldon, a shootout won by the Huskies 97-92. Lee had 30 points, 15 rebounds and a number of dunks. Also in that game, UNLV-bound guard Kendall Smith had 31 points and 12 assists for Deer Valley.
Lee averages 18 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
"Lee's definitely a unique player," DePonte said. "He's not a typical big guy who can't move. He can really move, and he has a great feel for the game."
So does Pleasant Grove, headed by three-year starters in guards Matt Hayes (17.5 points per game) and Malik Thames (15.1) and forward Cole Nordquist (14.6). This game could come down to the play of Pleasant Grove's big men, 6-6 sophomore forward Marquese Chriss and 6-1 forward Matt Smrekar.
Pleasant Grove is coming off a wire-to-wire rout of De La Salle of Concord, which lost a close North Coast Section semifinal to Deer Valley.