High school basketball action within the Sac-Joaquin Section tournament didn’t necessarily mark the end for regional teams who tasted defeat in the semifinal or final rounds. There is new life for those teams with the start of the CIF Northern California rounds that span six divisions each for boys and girls.
And for those programs fresh off winning section championships, there is a chance for sustained momentum, though two area champions are miffed at their low NorCal seeds.
All told, nine area boys teams are dotted across the brackets and 16 in girls brackets.
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Sheldon earned the No. 2 in the boys Open Division — the best of the best — after rallying to defeat Modesto Christian 64-61 on Saturday night at Golden 1 Center to win the section Division I championship.
Sheldon is the defending NorCal Open champion and starts with a bye along with Cal-Hi State No. 1 Salesian of Richmond, the top NorCal Open seed. Sheldon’s “home” playoff games could very well wind up at Cosumnes River College, as the CIF requires heavy-draw teams to have ample seating.
Sheldon is deep, experienced and hungry, and it may get a boost with the return of its top player. Marcus Bagley, a 6-foot-8 national recruit junior guard/wing, has not played in the postseason as he nurses a sore back.
“We know it’s going to be tough and that Salesian is very tough,” Sheldon coach Joey Rollings said of the Open bracket. “But maybe we’ll have Marcus come back and we’ve traveled all over (the state for games).
“We couldn’t have that (potential NorCal title) game at our place, and we know they can’t have it at (Salesian’s due to inadequate seating), so it will be a neutral court no matter where we go.”
The Sacramento Dragons earned the No. 1 seed in girls Division I after edging Antelope for the section D-II title. The Dragons open with a bye and could face No. 8 McClatchy in the second round in a meeting of decades-long Metro League rivals.
Antelope is the No. 7 seed in D-I.
But section championship success did not grant every team a favorable seed in the NorCals.
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Bradshaw Christian beat Christian Brothers 52-49 in the section D-III girls final but was awarded a surprisingly low No. 16 seed in D-II. The NorCal tournament the past two seasons has been seeded based on competitive equity and not enrollment like decades past, as the selection committee breaks down strength of schedules, sections and head-to-head competition.
The Pride were deemed worthy of D-II status but deemed the lowest-rated team in that bracket. This is the first time an area section champion has landed a No. 16 seed. Bradshaw Christian has already proven it can win as an underdog, plowing through the section playoffs as a No. 8 seed. It is in a field that includes teams that did not reach a section final in No. 7 Cosumnes Oaks, No. 14 Whitney and No. 15 Elk Grove.
Meanwhile, Christian Brothers has gone from section-title game loss despair to sudden good fortune. The Falcons landed the top seed in D-III and can host all the way through the NorCal finals, as that round for all divisions will be held at home sites on March 5, a Tuesday.
West Campus three-peated as section D-IV girls champion, topping Union Mine 49-45 in overtime, and was moved up to D-III for the NorCal rounds, but only as a No. 13 seed. Union Mine is the No. 16 seed and opens at Christian Brothers.
The Folsom boys lost to Modesto Christian in the section D-I semifinals and landed a No. 9 seed in NorCal D-I play after competing in the Open last season.
The D-II boys bracket includes five area teams: No. 3 Grant, No. 7 Sacramento, No. 12 Rio Americano, No. 13 Rocklin and No. 15 Oak Ridge.
For complete brackets: cifstate.org
CIF Northern California Regional Basketball Championships
No. 5 Mitty at No. 4 Modesto Christian
No. 6 Weston Ranch at No. 3 De La Salle
Byes: No. 1 Salesian, No. 2 Sheldon
No. 9 Folsom at No. 8 Riordan
No. 12 Bishop O’Dowd at No. 5 San Leandro
No. 13 Memorial a No. 4 Dublin
No. 14 Menlo-Atherton at No. 3 Clovis West
No. 11 Bellarmine at No. 6 Moreau Catholic
No. 10 Sacred Heart Cathedral at No. 7 Bullard
Byes: No. 1 James Logan, No. 2 Branson
No. 16 Carmel at No. 1 St. Mary’s
No. 9 Serra at No. 8 St. Patrick-St. Vincent
No. 12 Rio Americano at No. 5 Pleasant Valley
No. 13 Rocklin at No. 4 Clovis West
No. 14 Saint Francis at No. 3 Grant
No. 11 St. Ignatius at No. 6 St. Joseph
No. 10 Albany at No. 7 Sacramento
No. 15 Oak Ridge at No. 2 Campolindo
No. 16 Santa Cruz at No. 1 Redwood
No. 9 Manteca at No. 8 Monterey
No. 12 Palo Alto at No. 5 Sonora
No. 13 Leland at No. 4 Stuart Hall
No. 14 Piedmont Hills at No. 3 University
No. 11 Mountain View at No. 6 Central Catholic
No. 10 Liberty Ranch at No. 7 Fortuna
No. 15 Foothill at No. 2 Las Lomas
No. 1 Enterprise at No. 1 Saint Mary’s-Albany
No. 9 West Campus at No. 8 Mission
No. 12 Leigh at No. 5 Immanuel
No. 13 Brookside Christian at No. 4 Carlmont
No. 14 Ripon at No. 3 University Prep
No. 11 West Valley at No. 6 Wood
No. 10 Cupertino at No. 7 Oakland Tech
No. 15 Aptos at No. 2 Piedmont
No. 16 Ripon Christian at No. 1 Mt. Shasta
No. 9 Hoopa Valley at No. 8 Pierce
No. 12 Nueva School at No. 5 Liberty
No. 14 McClymonds at No. 3 Clear Lake
No. 11 Durham at No. 6 Lincoln
No. 10 Paradise at No. 7 Argonaut
No. 15 Sacramento Adventist at No. 2 Dinuba
No. 8 Turlock Christian at No. 1 Cornerstone Christian
No. 5 Point Arena at No. 4 American Christian Academy
No. 6 Vacaville Christian at No. 3 Jewish Community
No. 7 Mendocino at No. 2 Redding Christian
CIF Northern California Regional Basketball Championships
Wednesday openers, 7 p.m.
No. 5 St. Joseph at No. 4 Salesian
No. 6 St. Mary’s at No. 3 Pinewood
Byes: No. 1 Mitty, No. 2 Carondolet
No. 9 San Ramon Valley at No. 8 McClatchy
No. 12 St. Ignatius at No. 5 Miramonte
No. 13 Presentation at No. 4 Bishop O’Dowd
No. 14 Saint Francis at No. 3 Cardinal Newman
No. 11 Valley Christian at No. 6 Bear Creek
No. 10 St. Patrick-St. Vincent at No. 7 Antelope
Byes: No. 1 Sacramento, No. 2 Heritage
No. 16 Bradshaw Christian at No. 1 Menlo School
No. 9 Aptos at No. 8 Central
No. 12 Memorial at No. 5 Montgomery
No. 13 Yosemite at No. 4 East College Prep
No. 14 Whitney at No. 3 Enterprise
No. 11 Palo Alto at No. 6 Del Norte
No. 10 Sequoia at No. 7 Cosumnes Oaks
No. 15 Elk Grove at No. 2 Clovis
No. 16 Union Mine at No. 1 Christian Brothers
No. 9 Aragon at No. 8 Eureka
No. 12 Marin Catholic at No. 5 Sacred Heart Prep
No. 13 West Campus at No. 4 Seaside
No. 14 Lynbrook at No. 3 South San Francisco
No. 11 Selma at No. 6 Woodside Priory
No. 10 Placer at No. 7 Lick-Wilmerding
No. 15 Wilcox at No. 2 Oakland
No. 16 Lincoln-S.F. at No. 1 Silver Creek
No. 9 Monterey Trail at No. 8 Fresno
No. 12 Lassen at No. 5 Redwood
No. 13 Nevada Union at No. 4 Oakland Tech
No. 14 Amador Valley at No. 3 Lowell
No. 11 Pleasant Valley at No. 6 Piedmont
No. 10 Colfax at No. 7 Foothill
No. 15 Argonaut at No. 2 Menlo-Atherton
No. 16 Western Sierra at No. 1 St. Bernard’s
No. 9 University at No. 8 Notre Dame
No. 12 Biggs at No. 5 Rincon Valley Christian
No. 13 Trinity at No. 4 Cloverdale
No. 14 Woodland Christian at No. 3 Caruthers
No. 11 West Valley at No. 6 Mariposa County
No. 10 Gridley at No. 7 El Dorado
No. 15 Portola at No. 2 Willows
No. 8 Calistoga at No. 1 Redding Christian
No. 5 Forest Lake Christian at No. 4 School for the Deaf
Joe Davidson has covered sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988 and is award-winning authority on high school sports, specializing in going behind the scenes. Davidson was a high school athlete in Oregon, where he participated in football and track.
One thing Jerry Reynolds does especially well is speak, and the Kings fixture will be the guest voice for Sacramento State’s Hall of Fame event that recognizes former players who became high school coaches.