For just the second time since 1998, the high school basketball state championships will not be played at Sleep Train Arena.
With Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood concerts filling the Kings’ arena Friday and Saturday, the CIF state championships this weekend will be held at Cal’s Haas Pavilion in Berkeley for the first time, though the Bay Area is not new to this event. The Oakland Coliseum Arena, as it was known then, was the original site of the state championships from 1981 to 1996. Since then Sacramento and its arena has hosted most of the state title games, with the women’s NCAA Tournament in 2010 prompting the CIF to host the championships in Bakersfield.
Cal was given a trial run of sorts during the Martin Luther King Jr. Showcase in January, with CIF officials on hand to scope out logistics. They came away pleased and encouraged. Cal’s 11,877 seating capacity could be ideal for the high school title rounds, CIF executives say.
Two Sacramento-area teams are left standing as first-time Northern California Regional champions. The McClatchy girls (26-7) play Serra-Gardena (23-10) at 6 p.m. Friday, and the Capital Christian boys (27-8) take on Crespi of Encino (28-7) at noon on Saturday.
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Sacramento teams are 1-7 all-time in Division I girls state title games, with Oak Ridge beating nationally ranked No. 2 Long Beach Poly 55-42 in 2010 at Bakersfield. The Sacramento region is 0-2 all-time in D-IV boys state title games, with Christian Brothers falling to Verbum Dei of Los Angeles 74-63 in 1999 two years after Encina lost 93-57 to Crossroads of Santa Monica.
“We’re excited and we’re ready,” McClatchy forward Gigi Garcia said.
Said Capital Christian coach Devon Jones: “We’re ready for that next challenge. We know we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”
A 6-foot-2 junior, Garcia leads McClatchy in scoring at 14.5 points per game with guards Jordan Cruz (9.4), Lauren Nubla (8.6), Kristi Wong (7.4) and Alex Washington (6.6) providing depth with inside and outside scoring.
Cruz had 19 points, including four three-pointers, in McClatchy’s 58-49 win over Oak Ridge for the NorCal title, a game in which the Trojans were held scoreless the final 3:20.
Serra of the Southern Section is led by guards Briana Johnson (13.7 points) and Nautica Morrow (12.6), and forwards Camille Hailey (8.8) and Brijaye Brackett (8.4).
A year after relying on inside play, Capital Christian is guard dominant with leading scorers Tiegen Jones (12.9 points), Justice Shelton-Mosley (12.3) and freshman Zach Chappell (10.6).
Forward Marcus Fowler, averaging 6.9 points and 2.9 rebounds, produced career-bests of 18 points and 14 rebounds in the Cougars’ 60-47 NorCal win over Saint Mary’s of Albany.
The state Open Divison finals represent the most intriguing matchups. In girls play, St. Mary’s of Stockton faces Mater Dei of Santa Ana at 6 p.m., on Saturday. St. Mary’s is ranked No. 1 by Cal-Hi Sports and ranked third nationally by MaxPreps while Mater Dei is rated second and 10th.
The Open boys game at 8 p.m., is a rematch between state No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland and Mater Dei, which won last season 70-61 for the school’s ongoing state record 11th championship in 15 appearances.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.
CIF STATE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Where: Cal’s Haas Pavilion
Tickets: $16 per day; children/students/seniors $10; parking is $10
D-V girls: La Jolla Country Day vs. Eastside College Prep, 10 a.m., CSNCA
D-V boys: Sierra Canyon vs. University-San Francisco, noon, CSNCA
D-III girls: Brea Olinda vs. Bishop O’Dowd, 2 p.m., CSNCA
D-III boys: Damien vs. Campolindo, 4 p.m., CSN+
D-I girls: McClatchy vs. Serra-Gardena, 6 p.m., CSN+
D-I boys: Chino Hills vs. San Ramon Valley-Danville, 8 p.m., CSNCA
D-IV girls: Sierra Canyon vs Brookside Christian, 10 a.m., CSNBA
D-IV boys: Crespi vs Capital Christian, noon, CSN+
D-II girls: Keppel vs Archbishop Mitty, 2 p.m., CSNCA
D-II boys: La Mirada vs Archbishop Mitty, 4 p.m., CSNCA
Open girls: Mater Dei vs St. Mary’s-Stockton, 6 p.m., CSNCA
Open boys: Mater Dei vs Bishop O’Dowd, 8 p.m., CSNCA