Joe Davidson

League races to start for area high school basketball teams

Guard Elishja Duplechan, right, is a reason Sheldon is favored to win a stacked Delta League. ... Duplechan is guarded by Folsom’s Alec Andrews during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Championship at Sleep Train Arena, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Sacramento.
Guard Elishja Duplechan, right, is a reason Sheldon is favored to win a stacked Delta League. ... Duplechan is guarded by Folsom’s Alec Andrews during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Championship at Sleep Train Arena, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Sacramento. rpench@sacbee.com

The preparation is done. League play is here.

Fresh off their nonleague schedule and holiday tournaments, area high school boys and girls basketball teams this week will begin playing games that really count.

Sheldon is The Sacramento Bee’s new No. 1 boys team after reaching the final of the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational, in which it fell to powerful Chino Hills 91-82. Chino Hills, No. 1 in several national polls, has won 52 consecutive games.

No. 2 Woodcreek, The Bee’s previous top-ranked team, lost to Chino Hills 108-93 in the Rancho Mirage quarterfinals. The Timberwolves then fell to Harvard-Westlake of Los Angeles 66-57. Sheldon beat Harvard-Westlake 60-48 before facing Chino Hills.

Sheldon or Woodcreek could face Chino Hills again as Open Division entries in the CIF State final in March. Chino Hills, which finished 35-0 last season, is the defending Open champion.

299 Victories for St. Francis coach Vic Pitton

Paced by guards Elishja Duplechan and Drew Cobb, Sheldon is favored to win the Delta League, which includes No. 6 Jesuit, No. 15 Grant and No. 19 Franklin.

Jesuit will begin Delta League play this week at Pleasant Grove and Davis. On Saturday, the Marauders will host the Father Kelly Tribute. No. 9 Vista del Lago will open the one-day event against Clovis North at 2 p.m., followed by No. 14 Granite Bay vs. Vanden, No. 3 Folsom against Newark Memorial and Sheldon vs. Monte Vista of Danville. Jesuit will face El Cerrito in the nightcap at 8 p.m.

Led by versatile big men, Woodcreek, Folsom and Granite Bay will vie for the Sierra Foothill League title. Woodcreek features Jordan Brown, Folsom has Mason Forbes, and Granite Bay has Darren Nelson, who has posted a 42-point game.

No. 4 Burbank, led by guards Isiah Davis and Keshawn Bruner, will battle No. 10 Kennedy and No. 11 Sacramento for the Metropolitan Conference title.

Fifth-ranked Capital Christian, led by guard Zach Chappell, seeks to repeat as Golden Empire League champion. No. 7 Christian Brothers, featuring swingman Elias King, and Vista del Lago will battle for the Capital Athletic League banner. No. 8 Placer is favored in the Pioneer Valley League, and No. 12 Rio Linda and No. 16 Inderkum headline the early contenders for the Tri-County Conference title.

No. 13 Whitney, No. 18 Cosumnes Oaks and No. 20 Antelope head the Capital Valley Conference race.

Girls – No. 1 McClatchy and No. 2 Sacramento again will battle for the Metropolitan Conference crown. McClatchy beat the rival Dragons 49-46 on Friday in the West Coast Jamboree in Livermore.

Both teams are led by standout guards, Jordan Cruz for McClatchy and RyAnne Walters for Sacramento.

299 Victories for St. Francis coach Vic Pitton

Third-ranked Oak Ridge and No. 4 Folsom headline the SFL race, with No. 8 Del Oro and No. 13 Rocklin set to challenge. Oak Ridge, led by Kassidy DeLapp, will visit Folsom, paced by McKenzie Forbes, in an SFL opener Wednesday. Forbes, the sister of Mason on the boys team, has been slowed by an ankle injury and may be two weeks away from returning.

Fifth-ranked Elk Grove, led by reigning Bee Player of the Year Mira Shulman, leads a Delta League race that includes No. 9 St. Francis, the defending champion, and No. 16 Davis. Elk Grove is the defending CIF Northern California Division II champion. St. Francis won the NorCal D-I title under 2015-16 Bee Coach of the Year Vic Pitton, who is a victory shy of 300 over 14 seasons.

Sixth-ranked West Campus, with the additions of sisters Nia and Nadia Johnson (transfers from Antelope), and No. 12 Capital Christian are the favorites in the GEL. No. 7 Antelope, No. 11 Roseville, No. 14 Whitney and Cosumnes Oaks are contenders in the CVC, and No. 15 Vista del Lago and No. 17 Rio Americano lead the CAL race.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

Boys Basketball

The Bee’s Top 20

(With previous ranking; records through Saturday)

1. Sheldon (2) 8-1

2. Woodcreek (1) 13-2

3. Folsom (3) 11-3

4. Burbank (5) 11-2

5. Capital Christian (4) 5-7

6. Jesuit (6) 5-5

7. Christian Brothers (9) 7-4

8. Placer (10) 14-1

9. Vista del Lago (8) 9-3

10. Kennedy (14) 7-5

11. Sacramento (7) 5-6

12. Rio Linda (11) 11-2

13. Whitney (12) 9-3

14. Granite Bay (13) 9-5

15. Grant (–) 7-4

16. Inderkum (15) 9-3

17. Liberty Ranch (17) 10-5

18. Cosumnes Oaks (18) 7-3

19. Franklin (19) 9-4

20. Antelope (16) 7-5

Girls

The Bee’s Top 20

(With previous ranking; records through Saturday)

1. McClatchy (1) 9-2

2. Sacramento (2) 6-6

3. Oak Ridge (3) 7-6

4. Folsom (4) 14-1

5. Elk Grove (5) 8-3

6. West Campus (6) 7-3

7. Antelope (7) 6-3

8. Del Oro (8) 12-2

9. St. Francis (9) 5-6

10. Rio Linda (10) 10-3

11. Roseville (11) 8-5

12. Capital Christian (12) 7-5

13. Rocklin (13) 9-6

14. Whitney (14) 8-3

15. Vista del Lago (15) 13-2

16. Davis (–) 7-4

17. Rio Americano (16) 9-4

18. River City (18) 9-6

19. Monterey Trail (19) 8-1

20. Colfax (20) 12-4

Joe Davidson

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