Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

Point guard Jordan Ford leads top-seeded Folsom into the NorCal Division II playoffs against St. Ignatius of San Francisco.

High school basketball notes: Capital Christian’s Lealao has basketball business to finish before football at Vanderbilt

Published: Friday, Mar. 14, 2014 - 9:41 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Mar. 14, 2014 - 11:04 pm

Nifae Lealao picked at his tri-tip Thursday night and kept adding to his written speech.

His mind was in three places at once. The Capital Christian High School senior then delivered the scholar-athlete response to cap the Sacramento Chapter of the National Football Foundation awards banquet at the Elks Lodge. Lealao is a Bee All-Metro lineman headed to Vanderbilt, but not before he leads The Bee’s top-ranked basketball team into the Northern California Open Division playoffs.

“I’ve got so many things going on, but it’s a great time of year,” said the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Lealao, whose Cougars play Tuesday after a first-round bye Friday.

In his speech, Lealao touched on the enjoyment of team play, making memories and appreciating good health and opportunity.

Alex Van Dyke of Cosumnes Oaks was also among 36 honored scholar-athletes, all wearing tuxedos. The UCLA-bound receiver is the leading scorer for the Wolfpack’s basketball team that plays Leigh of San Jose on Saturday night in a Division II quarterfinal. Cosumnes Oaks is the No. 3seed.

“We’re excited and we’re ready,” Van Dyke said.

Upset city – In one of the biggest wins in San Francisco Section playoff history, Lincoln of San Francisco stunned longtime state power De La Salle 54-47 in a D-I opener. Lincoln plays at second-seeded Jesuit on Saturday night. Bay Area coaches and media recalled Mike Gragnani, the popular Lincoln coach who died of a heart attack during the 2010-11 season at 50. He and De La Salle coach Frank Allocco were close friends, and Gragnani said the dream was to beat De La Salle.

Point guard duel – Top-seeded Folsom hosts St. Ignatius of San Francisco on Saturday in a D-II meeting of standout point guards. The Bulldogs are riding a 19-game winning streak with Jordan Ford leading the charge. The Wildcats, who beat defending Open Division champion Mitty of San Jose twice this season, are led by Trevor Dunbar.

St. Ignatius is a curious eight seed despite the Mitty wins and winning the Central Coast Section D-II title.

Pacers pounce – Grant traveled two hours Wednesday to beat Chico 65-46 in a D-II opener behind Cameron Oliver, Jordan Echols and point guard Donovan Brown. The seventh-seeded Pacers hit the road again Saturday night, playing at second-seeded Concord, which lost 74-70 to Open Division entry Newark Memorial in the North Coast Section D-II final.

D-III unpredictability – With El Cerrito and Bishop O’Dowd moved to the Open Division, Miramonte of Orinda slipped into the D-III field, and then as a No. 12seed beat Fairfield 74-70 in overtime. No. 11Christian Brothers beat No. 6 Acalanes of Lafayette 60-46 behind Joseph Degadillo (17 points) and Finn Whetstone (12). CBS plays No. 3 Riordan of San Francisco on Saturday.

Bulldogs bite – Encina lost to Natomas in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV title game but recovered to beat Corning on the road 60-57 behind unsung players. Dajon Green and Vadim Golovey each scored 15 points while the Bulldogs’ top scorers this season, Donald Jackson and Nate Jefferson, combined for 16. Encina, seeded eighth, plays at top-seeded Moreau Catholic of Hayward on Saturday.

D-I survivors – The girls’ D-I field still includes No. 2-seeded Oak Ridge, which hosts No. 7 Monte Vista of Danville; No. 5 McClatchy, which visits defending champion and No. 4 Berkeley; and No. 11 Pleasant Grove, which plays at No. 3 Wilcox of Santa Clara. Oak Ridge won three NorCal games last season before losing to Berkeley in the final.

D-II scramble – Sixth-seeded Del Oro rolled Windsor 67-29 in an opener and plays at No. 3 Presentation of San Jose tonight. Del Oro is led by guard Laura Heyn, who was knocked out of a section semifinal loss to Sacramento by an inadvertent elbow. She scored 21 against Windsor.

D-IV contenders – After a bye, No. 3 seed Bradshaw Christian hosts No. 6 Piedmont on Saturday. No. 4 West Campus, which lost to Bradshaw Christian in the D-IV section final, hosts No. 5 Justin-Siena of Napa. West Campus opened with a 56-38 rout of Corning behind Barbara Keomany’s 15 points.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.

Read more articles by Joe Davidson

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