Randall Benton / The Bee

Oak Ridge, featuring Jenn Hoffman, reached the NorCal final last season.

NorCal Regional high school girls basketball playoff capsules

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014 - 11:23 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014 - 11:47 pm

The Open Division for the Northern California Regional basketball playoffs is in its second year, and you can still hear the applause of public school programs stretching from El Dorado Hills to Sacramento County and throughout the Bay Area.

The Open is designed to place the best teams – those who play national schedules and have national recruits – into the same bracket. Let the heavies duke it out, the thinking goes, while programs in the other divisions maintain a fighting chance to win titles.

The girls Open pulled in state powers Salesian of Richmond and St. Mary’s of Berkeley, creating optimism for public schools West Campus and Bear River in D-IV. The Open also includes St. Mary’s of Stockton, which beat sudden D-I favorite Oak Ridge in the Sac-Joaquin Section final. The Open plays no favorites to sentiment, either – the Sacramento girls won the Sac-Joaquin Section D-II title and were rewarded with the eighth – and last – seed in the Open.

Public boys schools Folsom, Cosumnes Oaks and Del Oro expect a deep run in D-II with Newark Memorial and Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in the Open. Jesuit is seeded second to public school Monte Vista of Danville in D-I. In the boys Open, Capital Christian is seeded second to Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland.

“The bottom line is you’ve got to win,” Capital Christian coach Devon Jones said.


OPEN DIVISION

FAVORITE

• Salesian-Richmond (27-6): The Pride beat top-seeded St. Mary’s of Albany three times in league play before losing to the Panthers in the section final.

CONTENDERS

•  St. Mary’s-Albany (26-7): The Panthers have two McDonald’s All-Americans in guards Gabby Green and Mikayla Cowling.

• St. Mary’s-Stockton (25-4): The Rams press, bomb threes and have been in 13 title games since 2000, winning eight.

• Miramonte-Orinda (28-1): The Matadors have lost only to Salesian and gas teams with pressure defense and the fast break.

• Carondelet-Concord (27-3): Longtime power plays pressure defense with Christina Chenault.

•  St. Ignatius-San Francisco (26-4): The Wildcats won the Central Coast Section Open but open NorCals against Salesian.

DARK HORSE

•  Sacramento (23-8): The Dragons have size inside with Ayanna Edwards and a lot of quick, defensive-minded guards to pull off upsets.


DIVISION I

FAVORITE

• Oak Ridge (26-5): The Trojans won three NorCal games last season to reach the final and have the experience to win second title since 2010.

CONTENDERS

• Deer Valley-Antioch (23-5): The Wolverines, quick and athletic, beat powerhouse Berkeley in section final.

•  Berkeley (21-8): The Yellowjackets, featuring Pacific-bound guard Desire Finnie, have won a record 12 NorCal titles, including the past three, and six since 2006.

•  Wilcox-Santa Clara (22-5): The Chargers have the best center in the field in 6-2 Joeseta Fatuesi (Utah) with losses only to Bay Area powers.

•  North Salinas (25-2): The Vikings have won 19 consecutive games and used defense to win the Central Coast Section title.

DARK HORSE

•  McClatchy (25-4): The Lions have strong inside play with Destiny Lee and Gigi Garcia along with steady ballhandlers, led by Lauren Nubla.


DIVISION II

FAVORITE

•  Mitty-San Jose (17-11): Coach Sue Phillips has won nine titles in various divisions and has the field’s top player in Kelli Hayes (UCLA).

CONTENDERS

•  McNair-Stockton (26-4): The Eagles narrowly lost to Sacramento in the section D-II final and have the size and speed to win.

• Del Oro (21-9): The Golden Eagles, section semifinal losers, are well coached by Mike Takayama and have a scorer in Lauren Heyn.

• Clayton Valley-Concord (23-7): The Ugly Eagles – yes, the school’s mascot – have won 10 of their past 11 behind forward Kayla Taylor.

• Presentation-San Jose (16-12): The Panthers limp into the NorCals on a three-game losing streak but beat contender Clayton Valley.

DARK HORSE

• Lynbrook-San Jose (20-8): The Vikings are on a five-game winning streak, including the Central Coast Section title.


DIVISION III

FAVORITE

• Enterprise-Redding (26-2): The Hornets are the best team to come out of the Northern Section since Willows and Red Bluff in the 1980s.

CONTENDERS

•  Florin (21-10): The Panthers lost a heartbreaker to Modesto Christian in the section final despite the efforts of standout senior Dalayna Sampton.

•  Modesto Christian (23-8): The Crusaders have size, speed and poised freshman guards such as Nicole Warwick.

•  Vanden (23-6): A section semifinal loser to Florin, the Vikings are healthy – and dangerous.

•  Encinal-Alameda (21-7): The Jets had their seven-game winning streak halted by Open contender Miramonte.

DARK HORSE

•  Patterson (25-5): The Tigers lost to Modesto Christian in the section semifinals after winning 14 in a row.


DIVISION IV

FAVORITE

•  Scotts Valley (24-5): Five players average eight or more points for the Falcons, who have a playoff win over D-II favorite Mitty.

CONTENDERS

•  Bradshaw Christian (20-6): Winners of five section titles, the Pride seeks its first NorCal championship with Erika Bean and Jordyn Bell.

•  Arcata-Eureka (24-4): The Tigers, who have won 12 of 13, make for the longest trip of any NorCal team.

•  West Campus (20-7): The Warriors pushed Bradshaw Christian in the D-IV section final and can get a rematch in the NorCal final.

DARK HORSE

•  Bear River (23-4): The Bruins lost to Bradshaw Christian in the section semifinals and have one of the field’s top players in Kaitlyn Reina.


DIVISION V

FAVORITE

•  Brookside Christian (26-4): The Knights are thrilled to be in this division after getting routed in the Open last season.

CONTENDERS

•  Pinewood-Los Altos Hills (26-3): Here’s tradition: Pinewood seeks its seventh title since 2005 behind defense and a balanced offense.

•  Capital Christian (24-5): The Cougars lost to Brookside in the section final, undone by missed free throws and layups.

•  International-San Francisco (18-10): Size and skill helped the Jaguars win their first North Coast Section title

•  Valley Christian-Dublin (26-4): The Vikings’ only losses this season came to NorCal contenders in other divisions.

DARK HORSE

•  Eastside Prep-East Palo Alto (18-10): The tough-minded and well-conditioned Panthers have just six players on the roster.

Read more articles by Joe Davidson



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