High school girls basketball playoff preview

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 - 10:20 pm

DIVISION I

FAVORITE

•  St. Mary’s (21-5): Behind a pressing defense and three-point shooting, the Rams of Stockton seek a record 15th section title and seventh in a row in various divisions.

CONTENDERS

• Oak Ridge (23-4): The Trojans seek their fourth title under coach Steve White, whose team is led by four-year players Ali Bettencourt and Jenn Hoffman.

• Nevada Union (22-4): The Miners split with Oak Ridge in nonleague games and could draw McClatchy in a second-round showdown.

• Napa (25-1): The Indians beat Nevada Union and lost only to D-III top seed Vanden.

• Pleasant Grove (19-8): The Eagles are battle tested from the Delta River League.

•  McClatchy (23-3): Young Lions have inside play with Destiny Lee and Gigi Garcia and a shooter in Jordan Cruz to make a run; wins vs. Sacramento and Vanden.

DARK HORSE

• River City (23-4): The Raiders are in the D-I field for the first time, having enjoyed success in lower divisions under coach Jamie King.

DIVISION II

FAVORITE

• Sacramento (19-8): The Dragons have battled injuries and are motivated for a fifth title, including a D-II repeat, behind standouts Ayanna Edwards and Najah Queenland.

CONTENDERS

• McNair (23-4): The section’s rising power in Stockton with a close loss to St. Mary’s in league play, the Eagles are led by Mandy Coleman and Tiara Tucker.

• Del Oro (19-8): The Golden Eagles, coached by Mike Takayama, are always a factor. They placed second in the Sierra Foothill League to Nevada Union.

• Rio Linda (19-8): A year after winning five games, the Knights look to make a difference here.

• Antelope (16-7): The first-time Capital Athletic League champion is led by freshman Nadia Johnson (19.1 points).

• Bethel (15-8): The Jaguars of Vallejo have size and depth with competitive losses to top section seeds.

DARK HORSE

• Cosumnes Oaks (20-7): The first-time league champion, led by versatile sophomore guard Madison Witcher (15.3 points), wants more.

DIVISION III

FAVORITE

• Vanden (21-5): The Vikings, led by Kayla Blair (15.3 points), are the only team to beat D-I Napa.

CONTENDERS

• Modesto Christian (19-8): The Crusaders, looking for a sixth title and winners of 15 of 16 games, are paced by Lexi Tubbs (16.6 points).

• Florin (18-9): The Panthers, led by four-year starter Dalayna Sampton (16.9 points, 14.8 rebounds), are in the D-III mix for the first time.

• Patterson (23-4): The Tigers have won 19 of their last 20, losing only to D-I contender Napa.

DARK HORSE

• Christian Brothers (17-10): The Falcons, with versatile junior Kira McKechnie, have won 14 of 15.

DIVISION IV

FAVORITE

•  Bear River (22-3): The Bruins, seeking their 11th title, are led by Kaitlyn Reina (15.0 points, 8.9 rebounds).

CONTENDERS

• Bradshaw Christian (16-6): The experienced Pride, with Jordyn Bell and Erika Bean, seeks its sixth title since 2008 and second straight.

• West Campus (17-6): The Warriors, led by seniors Barbara Keomany and Eunique Nelson, have a nine-game winning streak.

• Colfax (16-10): Under first-year coach Rich Simpton, the Falcons seek a 10th title.

• Riverbank (21-4): The Bruins, led by Olivia Luu (14.5 points), win with defense.

• Bret Harte (23-4): The Bullfrogs have reached a section final seven times since winning D-III in 1981.

DARK HORSE

• Argonaut (21-6): The Mustangs of Jackson, who last reached a final in 2010, handed Bret Harte its only league loss.

DIVISION V

FAVORITE

• Brookside Christian (23-4): Even without star guard Tiara Tucker, now with McNair, the Knights seek a three-peat.

CONTENDERS

• Capital Christian (22-4): Haleigh Filer (17.0 points) and sisters Monique and Nicole Colbert (a combined 29.4 points, 17.3 rebounds) aim to return to the final.

• Ripon Christian (21-3): The Knights, led by Teagan Manus (17.4 points), have an 18-game winning streak.

DARK HORSE

• Woodland Christian (22-2): Riding a 15-game winning streak, the Cardinals are led by Paige Randolph (16.3 points) and Rebecca Williams (15.9).

DIVISION VI

FAVORITE

•  Valley Christian (19-5): The Lions, who reached the final last season, aim to win it with Lily Hagerty (16.0 points).

CONTENDERS

• Victory Christian (18-9): The defending champion is led by Mary Novak (17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds) but has a three-game losing streak.

• Sacramento Adventist (19-6): The Capitals are a win away from doubling last season’s victory total.

DARK HORSE

• Wilton Christian (10-8): Kayla Brown (25.6 points, 8.7 rebounds) alone makes the Patriots competitive.

– Joe Davidson



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