Paul Kitagaki Jr. /

D.J. Wilson of top-ranked Capital Christian is a standout in what may be the region’s most talented collection of big men.


Can the Capital Christian boys basketball team win the NorCal Open title?

Leading Off: In basketball, small schools can dream big

Published: Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014 - 11:11 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Mar. 7, 2014 - 7:38 am

The curious sometimes ask in a whisper, something like this: “Capital Christian is Division V. Can’t be that good, right?”

Quite the contrary.

The Capital Christian High School boys and girls basketball teams are championship good – and then some.

With national recruits and ambitious schedules, small schools can step out of the shadows of obscurity with impressive results.

The Capital Christian boys (26-3) have been top-ranked in the region by The Bee since the preseason, a first for a team below Division II. If the Cougars three-peat as Sac-Joaquin Section D-V champions today at Sleep Train Arena, they will be placed in the prestigious Northern California Regional Open Division, where the big boys play, teams like Sheldon last season and powers Mitty of San Jose and Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland

Capital Christian 6-foot-8 forward D.J. Wilson is the first area prospect to accept a basketball scholarship to Michigan. His frontcourt mate, 6-6, 295-pound Nifae Lealao, is off to Vanderbilt to play football and study music.

Capital Christian has made area basketball deeper than ever, joining Jesuit, the top seed in large-school D-I, top-seeded Folsom in D-II and top-seeded Encina in D-IV.

The Cougars girls (23-4) aren’t on the state radar yet as veteran coach Suzanne Baker seeks the team’s first section title today at Sleep Train behind guard Haleigh Filer.

The Cougars are a double reminder that small schools dream just as big as anyone.

– Joe Davidson

What to watch

NBA, Kings at Toronto, 4 p.m., CSNCA: Forward Rudy Gay plays in Toronto for the first time since the Kings acquired him from the Raptors on Dec. 9.

Today’s poll

Can the Capital Christian boys basketball team win the NorCal Open title?

• Yes, they have enough talent to compete with anyone.

• No, the school is just too small.

Vote above, or go to

Thursday’s results

How many Republic FC games do you plan to attend this season?

• All 14: 39%

• 8-13: 15%

• 1-7: 27%

• None: 19%

Total votes: 491

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