High School Sports

‘You’ve got to get locked in’: It’s section playoff time in basketball and soccer

Coach Jon Rotz leads the Jesuit boys basketball team, which will host Lincoln of Stockton in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff opener Wednesday. The host Marauders, seeded seventh, face the No. 10 Trojans.
Coach Jon Rotz leads the Jesuit boys basketball team, which will host Lincoln of Stockton in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff opener Wednesday. The host Marauders, seeded seventh, face the No. 10 Trojans. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Now is the time for the storied programs to flex their muscle, for the upstarts to make a stand and for the underdogs to pounce.

The Sac-Joaquin Section girls basketball playoffs start in earnest Tuesday, with the boys tipping off Wednesday.

So, how does one survive and advance? It boils down to fundamentals.

“It comes down to rebounding, toughness, communication, playing through adversity,” Jesuit boys coach Jon Rotz said. “That’s playoff basketball. You’ve got to get locked in.”

Rotz locked in during his days at Jesuit in the early 1990s, playing guard for section championship teams. Jesuit over the decades has reached 18 section title games, winning 11, but tradition doesn’t box out and rebound or make free throws. Players do.

Jesuit is seeded seventh in as loaded a Division I field as there has been since the tournament started in 1972. The Marauders host 10th-seeded Lincoln of Stockton, and the winner likely earns second-seeded Modesto Christian, winner of a section-record 18 banners. That is, if Modesto Christian tops No. 15 seed Turlock, as 15 seeds have bounced 2 seeds before.

Lincoln is led by 6-foot-8, Cal-bound forward Andre Kelly, who will go against Jesuit’s 6-9 forward Elias King.

“Lincoln’s the best 10 seed in section history,” Rotz said.

Other playoff nuggets to ponder:

Timberwolves time – A year ago, Woodcreek was the top-ranked boys team in Northern California, and backed it up with thrilling, last-minute section D-I and Northern California Open Division titles over Sheldon.

The loss of 6-11 All-American center Jordan Brown to Prolific Prep in Napa didn’t derail the Timberwolves. They earned a No. 9 seed and play at Tracy, where a win could land them into a rematch scenario with Sheldon, the top seed with a 16-game winning streak, thanks to terrific defense and a flurry of guards in Dale Currie, Dom Johnson, Justin Nguyen and Kaito Williams.

Standing tall – In a D-I field featuring size, two bigs to consider are Sheldon’s 6-10 center Chris Wriedt and Folsom’s 6-9 Mason Forbes (7-1 with the ’fro). Defense will be telling.

Staying power – Foothill is in the boys playoffs for a section-best 28th consecutive season, a good many of those under Drew Hibbs, the only regional coach to win two CIF State basketball championships (1994, 2003).

Stephen Colton has coached Foothill the last two seasons. He was on the 2003 Mustangs championship team. The Mustangs play El Dorado in a Division IV opener.

Déjà vu – A year ago, Vista del Lago stunned top-seeded Vanden in overtime in a D-III boys semifinal. The teams play in a D-III opener, with Vanden again the heavy favorite.

Vanden exacted a measure of revenge last season in the NorCal playoffs, prevailing by 12.

They’re back – Ranked No. 1 in the state at Division VI for boys by MaxPreps, here comes Sacramento Adventist again. A year after winning the first section title for any sport in school history, the Capitals of Carmichael are led by program career-scoring leader Griffin Trull, a 5-11 senior guard who has 1,264 points over three varsity seasons and is averaging 19.3 this winter.

Girls basketball

Que Ngo is the tireless assistant coach to Jeff Ota of McClatchy, the defending NorCal D-I champions which loom as a D-I section threat as a No. 5 seed. The Lions open against Brookside Christian of Stockton, a program Ngo willed into a powerhouse, punctuated by a 30-4 season and a state D-V championship in 2012.

The Lions are skilled with size behind Kayla Fermil, Bella Garcia, Kamryn Hall, Nia Lowery and Richelle Turney.

Alumni flashback – Michele Massari will face her old school in a D-II opener, when Sacramento hosts Nevada Union.

Massari, in her 10th season with the Dragons, played at NU in the 1990s under coach Craig Strohm, who led a section powerhouse. Massari is a lot like her mentor: constant energy, animated and proud. They talk regularly.

Soccer

Folsom, ranked second in the state by MaxPreps, is the top seed in the D-I section boys playoffs with a score to settle.

The Bulldogs were the overwhelming favorite to win it last season but a 5-0 semifinal win over Sheldon was forfeited due to a player having competed with a club team on a trip to Germany. That player, Ethan Atteberry, is back, and the 18-0-4 Bulldogs aim to finish this one out. Kevin Grewal and Quinten Petcu lead Folsom with 23 and 14 goals, respectively.

Jesuit, the No. 2 seed in D-I, won the title last season and seeks its ongoing section record 13th banner, all under coach Paul Rose, whose 724 victories are the most in California history. Jordon Vice leads Jesuit with 25 goals.

Folsom beat Jesuit 1-0 Dec. 21 on a Chris Cearlock goal.

Davis is the top seed in girls D-I, seeking a three-peat and the program’s seventh championship. Under coach Sara Stone, Davis has not lost since 2015 in compiling a 61-0-7 record.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS

All games start at 7 p.m., unless noted

Boys

Division I

Wednesday

No. 16 Edison at No. 1 Sheldon

No. 9 Woodcreek at No. 8 Tracy

No. 12 Oak Ridge at No. 5 Sacramento

No. 13 River City at No. 4 Folsom

No. 14 Vacaville at No. 3 Capital Christian

No. 11 Gregori at No. 6 Franklin

No. 10 Lincoln-Stockton at No. 7 Jesuit

No. 15 Turlock at No. 2 Modesto Christian

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division II

No. 16 Rodriguez at No. 1 Antelope

No. 9 Laguna Creek at No. 8 Del Oro

No. 12 Wood at No. 5 Grant

No. 13 Bear Creek at No. 4 El Capitan

No. 14 Lincoln at No. 3 Whitney

No. 11 Rocklin at No. 6 River Valley

No. 10 Burbank at No. 7 Roseville

No. 15 Stagg at No. 2 St. Mary’s

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division III

No. 9 Christian Brothers at No. 8 American Canyon

No. 12 Benicia at No. 5 Patterson

No. 13 Cordova at No. 4 Del Campo

No. 14 Vista del Lago at No. 3 Vanden

No. 11 Yuba City at No. 6 Rio Americano

No. 10 Manteca at No. 7 Golden Valley

No. 15 Los Banos at No. 2 Beyer

Bye: No. 1 Central Catholic

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division IV

No. 9 Foothill at No. 8 El Dorado

No. 12 Marysville at No. 5 Weston Ranch

No. 13 Hughson at No. 4 West Campus

No. 14 Highlands at No. 3 Dixon

No. 11 Union Mine at No. 6 Placer

No. 10 Calaveras at No. 7 Ripon

No. 15 Livingston at No. 2 Liberty Ranch

Bye: No. 1 Sonora

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division V

No. 9 Western Sierra at No. 8 Golden Sierra

No. 12 Le Grand at No. 5 Elliot Christian

No. 13 Holt Academy at No. 4 Bradshaw Christian

No. 11 Denair at No. 6 Summerville

No. 10 Hughes Academy at No. 7 Mariposa

Byes: No. 1 Argonaut, No. 2 Colfax, No. 3 Brookside Christian

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division VI

Feb. 16

No. 9 Stockton Christian 73, No. 8 Big Valley Christian 69

No. 12 Forest Lake Christian 50, No. 5 Sacramento Country Day 42

No. 4 Sacramento Waldorf 68, No. 13 New Life Christian 31

No. 6 Vacaville Christian 62, No. 11 Alpha Charter 38

No. 7 Foresthill 87, No. 10 Valley Christian 64

Byes: No. 1 Sacramento Adventist, No. 2 Ripon Christian, No. 3 Faith Christian

Wednesday

No. 9 Stockton Christian at No. 1 Sacramento Adventist, 7:30 p.m.

No. 12 Forest Lake Christian at No. 4 Sacramento Waldorf

No. 6 Vacaville Christian at No. 3 Faith Christian

No. 7 Foresthill at No. 2 Ripon Christian

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Girls

Division I

Feb. 16

No. 15 Kennedy 50, No. 18 River City 46

No. 16 Enochs 71, No. 17 Chavez 47

Tuesday

No. 16 Enochs at No. 1 St. Mary’s

No. 9 Woodcreek at No. 8 Turlock

No. 12 Brookside Christian at No. 5 McClatchy

No. 13 Pitman at No. 4 Edison

No. 14 Vintage at No. 3 Cosumnes Oaks

No. 11 Franklin at No. 6 Oak Ridge

No. 10 Lincoln-Stockton at No. 7 Davis

No. 15 Kennedy at No. 2 Folsom

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division II

No. 16 Lodi at No. 1 Antelope

No. 9 Roseville at No. 8 St. Francis

No. 12 Nevada Union at No. 5 Sacramento

No. 13 Wood at No. 4 Del Oro

No. 14 Rodriguez at No. 3 Whitney

No. 11 Inderkum at No. 6 Vanden

No. 10 Elk Grove at No. 7 Granite Bay

No. 15 Modesto Christian at No. 2 Bear Creek

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division III

No. 16 American Canyon at No. 1 Christian Brothers

No. 9 Vista del Lago at No. 8 East Union

No. 12 Valley at No. 5 Bradshaw Christian

No. 13 Bethel at No. 4 Merced

No. 14 Rio Americano at No. 3 River Valley

No. 11 Los Banos at No. 6 Beyer

No. 10 Manteca at No. 7 Patterson

No. 15 Rosemont at No. 2 Kimball

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division IV

No. 16 Orestimba at No. 1 Foothill

No. 9 Sonora at No. 8 El Dorado

No. 12 Calaveras at No. 5 Ripon

No. 13 Hilmar at No. 4 Lathrop

No. 14 Livingston at No. 3 West Campus

No. 11 Liberty Ranch at No. 6 Placer

No. 10 Mountain House at No. 7 Bear River

No. 15 Dixon at No. 2 Union Mine

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division V

No. 9 Buckingham Charter at No. 8 Waterford

No. 12 Greene Academy at No. 5 Mariposa

No. 13 Adams Academy at No. 4 Summerville

No. 11 Holt Academy at No. 6 Western Sierra

No. 10 Hughes at No. 7 Golden Sierra

Byes: No. 1 Colfax, No. 2 Argonaut, No. 3 Capital Christian

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division VI

Feb. 16

No. 10 Stockton Christian 45, No. 7 Big Valley Christian 40

Monday

No. 9 Turlock Christian at No. 8 El Dorado Adventist

No. 5 Vacaville Christian at No. 4 Valley Christian

Tuesday

El Dorado Adventist/Turlock Christian winner at No. 1 Forest Lake Christian

No. 6 Sacramento Waldorf at No. 3 Ripon Christian

No. 10 Stockton Christian at No. 2 Woodland Christian

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

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