Joe Davidson

Powerhouse programs meet in section basketball opener

Folsom’s Mason Forbes (25) and Jesuit’s Malik Duffy (32) watch the ball bounce away during the fourth quarter of the 2016 Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinal playoff game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
Folsom’s Mason Forbes (25) and Jesuit’s Malik Duffy (32) watch the ball bounce away during the fourth quarter of the 2016 Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 semifinal playoff game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Bouncing around the regional sports landscape:

Heavies collide – It must be an unusual season for high school basketball when these two meet in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Not just any game, mind you. An opener.

Folsom hosts Jesuit in Division I on Wednesday with a lot of tradition and hardware in tow. The programs have won seven championships since 2011 with 10 total title appearances in that stretch in D-I or II. The Bulldogs and Marauders have combined to win 16 section championships, though both are deemed dark horses in this race with top-seeded Sheldon and No. 2 Woodcreek towering over the field as prohibitive favorites to meet in the finals March 4 at Pacific. Folsom, led by center Mason Forbes, placed second in the Sierra Foothill League behind Woodcreek. Jesuit, paced by guards Isaiah Rutherford, Jake Virga and Matt Ehrlich, finished third in the Delta League behind Sheldon and Grant.

Injuries and illness have hampered Folsom and Jesuit, to the point Folsom coach Mike Wall called it “the weirdest year.”

Second-round doozy? – In girls D-I, sixth-seeded St. Francis could face No. 3 Oak Ridge on Thursday in El Dorado Hills in second-round action. It would mark the second successive season the Trojans have hosted a defending champion so early.

A year ago, Oak Ridge eliminated 2015 CIF State Division I champion McClatchy, which drew an unusually low seed by the selection committee. Did it happen again here? St. Francis is the defending Northern California D-I champion and winner of this season’s Delta League race with two victories over D-II contender Elk Grove. The Troubadours have won 13 consecutive games, but a 63-52 loss in December to Folsom, seeded fifth in the field, dropped St. Francis to sixth.

Football bits – Bee All-Metro lineman Taylor “Tank” Tonda of Granite Bay has signed with Cal Poly, where he will join Bee Player of the Year Mason Hurst, Del Oro’s all-purpose star.

Del Oro has extended its application process as it seeks to replace Casey Taylor, who coached the Golden Eagles to championship heights in his 15 seasons before accepting the post at Capital Christian. A Del Oro search committee has reached out to area coaches, and coaches have reached out to the school. Christian Brothers, another high-profile job, is also still open after Bee Coach of the Year Dan Carmazzi retired.

Malcolm Floyd, who coached his alma mater McClatchy from 2008-12, has been hired to head the program again. He was a football and basketball star at McClatchy in the late 1980s, when he went by Malcolm Seabron.

Soccer soaker – Section member schools voted to have the girls and boys soccer seasons moved to the winter to align with the rest of the state, thus making a true state playoff a reality.

But as luck would have it, scores of regional games have been played in driving rain, or were rained out, postponed or canceled entirely. Crowds were virtually nonexistent in many cases. Teams that use grass fields were especially hampered.

Now there is a petition by parents to get the boys season pushed back to the fall and the girls back to the spring. And more wet luck: Rain is forecast for the early part of this week as the playoffs start.

Folsom and Jesuit are the boys top seeds in D-I, Rocklin and Ponderosa in D-II, East Union and Vista del Lago in D-III, Galt and Pacheco in D-IV, West Campus and Escalon in D-V, Orestimba and Encina in D-VI and Cristo Rey and Le Grand in D-VII.

In girls, the top seeds are Davis and Woodcreek in D-I, Tracy and Vacaville in D-II, Vista del Lago and Sierra in D-III, Woodland and Liberty Ranch in D-IV, Amador and Capital Christian in D-V, Bradshaw Christian and Hughson in D-VI and Buckingham Charter and Holt Academy in D-VII.

Visit the Sac-Joaquin Section website for full brackets at cifsjs.org.

Joe Davidson – 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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