Deonard Wilson summed it up for the surviving teams in the Northern California Regional basketball playoffs: “We’re still here.”
The Grant High School boys coach reminded his heartbroken team there were still games to play after a 63-62 loss to Folsom in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinals at Sleep Train Arena. The Pacers responded with NorCal wins at Chico (65-46) and second-seeded Concord (66-58) behind Cameron Oliver, Jeremee Churchill, Jordan Echols and Donovan Brown.
Grant (27-6) takes a shorter bus ride tonight to Elk Grove, where the Pacers will play Cosumnes Oaks (15-17 with forfeits and 30-2 on the court) in a semifinal, assuring the region will have at least one team in the NorCal final Saturday at noon at Sleep Train Arena.
Cosumnes Oaks, which lost to Folsom in the D-II section final, bounced back by beating Leigh of San Jose 82-63. The Wolfpack used a 24-4 run behind seniors Alex Van Dyke and Matt Muldavin and juniors Eric Toles, L.J. Reed and Jaaron Stallworth. Like Grant, Cosumnes Oaks prefers an up-tempo game.
In the other D-II semifinal, top-seeded Folsom (30-2) hosts No. 4 Serra (22-8) of San Mateo. The Bulldogs ran their winning streak to 20 by beating St. Ignatius of San Francisco 66-40 on Saturday. Serra beat St. Ignatius in West Catholic Athletic League play 70-64 and 48-44 and Saturday beat Montgomery of Santa Rosa 59-54, eliminating the team that knocked out Del Oro in a NorCal opener.
Back to work – Capital Christian (27-3) last played March 7, beating Central Catholic of Modesto 62-41 for its third consecutive section D-V section title. Seeded second in the NorCal Open Division behind Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland, Capital Christian on Tuesday hosts defending champion Mitty of San Jose (27-4), which beat El Cerrito 67-58 in the first round. Mitty’s Ben Kone, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, will battle inside against Capital Christian seniors Nifae Lealao (6-6) and D.J. Wilson (6-8). Capital has won 12 in a row since losing to O’Dowd 86-60 on Jan. 20. A rematch could materialize Saturday at Sleep Train Arena.
Marauders rolling – Jesuit (29-3), the secondseed in D-I, hosts No. 3 Freedom of Oakley on Tuesday, three days after blasting Lincoln of San Francisco 76-47. Freedom (25-7) is an athletic team that lost to NorCal top seed Monte Vista of Danville in the North Coast Section final.
Girl power – Four area girls teams remain in five divisions, and each hits the road on Tuesday to play higher seeds.
No. 11 Pleasant Grove (23-9) visits No. 7 Monte Vista of Danville. The Eagles beat No. 6 McClymonds 45-43 in Oaklandand No. 3 Wilcox 37-35 in Santa Clara in D-I, prompting Pleasant Grove coach James McKeever to say: “I’ve added more gray hairs, but I’m so proud of these girls. They’re just so calm when we get into these hostile environments.”
Reserve guard Patricia Castrence had a late three-pointer to beat Wilcox.
• In D-II, Del Oro is coming off a 53-52 win at Presentation of San Jose as Christa Lahmann hit a late three-pointer and Hannah Jordan sealed it with a jumper in the closing seconds. Sixth-seeded Del Oro (23-9) plays at second-seeded McNair of Stockton, which lost to Sacramento in the section final March 8, four days after Sacramento beat Del Oro in the semifinals.
• In D-III, No. 4 Florin (22-10) plays top-seeded Enterprise (26-2) in Redding. Enterprise is led by Jordan Kimbrough, Rachel Martin and Kamira Sanders, each having reached 1,000 career points. And in D-V, No. 6 Capital Christian (25-5) plays No. 2 Pinewood (27-3) of Los Altos Hills.
No. 1 Elk Grove hosts No. 5 Oak Ridge on Tuesday in nonleague play. Oak Ridge ace Austin Root is headed to Sacramento State. Elk Grove has a win over longtime power St. Mary’s of Stockton and close losses to NorCal No. 1 St. Francis of Mountain View and No. 2 Valley Christian of San Jose.
• No. 3 Davis hosts No. 2 Pleasant Grove on Tuesday as old coaching friends continue their nonleague rivalry. Davis coach Dan Ariola and Pleasant Grove coach Rob Rinaldi played for Ralph Rago at Davis in the early 1980s.
• Del Oro enters The Bee’s rankings at No. 20 after beating No. 9 Vista del Lago 4-1 at Raley Field behind a four-hitter by Kyle Yamada and three RBIs by Billy Rockefeller.
• No. 11 Grant beat Valley Christian 2-0 in a pitchers’ duel. Polo Portela of Grant and Jeremiah Moore (Sac State) each struck out 12, and Alexander Rudolph hit a two-run home run.
• Before Tuesday’s Grant-Inderkum game, the Tigers will honor Dylan Akins in a ceremony. Akins, a multi-sport star who graduated from Inderkum last spring, died in a car accident in July.