Joe Davidson

Rematches are the theme in NorCal basketball title games for 4 local teams

Jackson Hughes, center, and the Woodcreek High boys basketball team celebrate their victory over Sheldon in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship March 4 in Stockton. The teams will meet again in the CIF NorCal Regional Open Division final Saturday in Santa Clara.
Jackson Hughes, center, and the Woodcreek High boys basketball team celebrate their victory over Sheldon in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship March 4 in Stockton. The teams will meet again in the CIF NorCal Regional Open Division final Saturday in Santa Clara. aseng@sacbee.com

It’ll take some three hours, considering weekend-traffic congestion, for four area high school basketball teams to reach the final destination of the CIF Northern California Regional tournament.

But no complaints. Their seasons are still alive.

The goal now is to conclude the campaign closer to home, at the CIF State Championships on March 24-25 at Golden 1 Center.

Rivals McClatchy and Oak Ridge will meet in the NorCal Division I girls championship game at Santa Clara University on Saturday at 2 p.m. In the final title game of the day, top-seeded Woodcreek and No. 2 Sheldon will renew their rivalry in the boys Open Division finale.

McClatchy (30-4) dispatched No. 3 Heritage of Brentwood in a semifinal 76-46 on Tuesday night as Jordan Cruz had 22 points and Nia Lowery scored 15. It was the Lions’ 13th victory in their past 14 games. Oak Ridge (23-10) advanced by beating Sierra Foothill League rival Folsom 43-34 as Marie Olson scored 17.

McClatchy won NorCal and state D-I titles in 2015, five seasons after Oak Ridge did the same. McClatchy beat Oak Ridge 62-54 in Sac-Joaquin Section D-I semifinals on Feb. 28 in Stockton, leaving both teams eager for a rematch.

In the boys D-I section championship game March 4 in Stockton, Woodcreek squeaked past Sheldon 69-68 on two Jordan Brown free throws with a tenth of a second to go. Seeded first, Woodcreek and No. 2 Sheldon flip-flopped seedings for the NorCal Open and seemed destined to meet one more time for a trip to the state championship.

It’s the first time two Sacramento-area programs have been the top two seeds in a NorCal Open field, and it’s just the third time two area teams have met in an upper-division championship since the NorCal regional playoffs began in 1981. Sheldon defeated Jesuit 61-56 in D-I in 2012 and Folsom beat Cosumnes Oaks 68-51 in D-II in 2014.

Winners of 18 consecutive games, Woodcreek (31-2) beat De La Salle of Concord 51-46 in a semifinal Tuesday as the 6-foot-11 Brown had 20 points, 16 rebounds, seven blocked shots and five assists.

Sheldon (30-3) bounced Archbishop Mitty of San Jose 56-43 in the other semifinal behind Elishja Duplechan’s 25 points and a team-wide defensive effort, led by Drew Cobb and L.J. Williams.

“We wanted the rematch,” Duplechan said.

Those rematches will be some 120 miles away.

The NorCal finals have been held at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento for almost every season since 1999. Golden 1 Center, the new home of the Kings, is unavailable this weekend due to the NCAA Tournament’s first and second rounds.

Still, the four remaining coaches said familiarity with their opponents should make for intense rematches.

“We know each other, what we do,” Sheldon coach Joey Rollings said.

Oak Ridge girls coach Steve White said he’s pleased to have have another shot at McClatchy, which beat the Trojans 58-49 in the NorCal finals in 2015. Only one other time did two local teams meet in the NorCal D-I final – 1986, when Grant beat Bella Vista 55-46.

“It’s very seldom you get to this level and have a known entity (as an opponent),” White said. “A lot of times you’re traveling to the Bay Area and you’ve got somebody you’ve never seen before.”

Warriors roll – The West Campus girls are the only other area team – besides those competing in Santa Clara – to remain alive.

The top-seeded Warriors will host No. 2 St. Joseph of Alameda on Saturday for the D-IV championship at 6 p.m.

West Campus (28-4) has balanced scoring, led by its guards. Namiko Adams averages 12.4 points, Kiara Jefferson 10.6, Nia Johnson 10.3 and sister Nadia Johnson 9.1. The Warriors have won 10 consecutive games and 24 of 25.

It’s the second NorCal title appearance for coach John Langston. He guided Sacramento High past St. Ignatius of San Francisco in overtime in 2006.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

CIF Northern California Regional Championships

Boys

Open Division

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 Woodcreek 51, No. 4 De La Salle 46

No. 2 Sheldon 56, No. 6 Mitty 43

Saturday’s final at Santa Clara University

No. 2 Sheldon (30-3) vs. No. 1 Woodcreek (31-2), 8 p.m.

Division I

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 9 Palo Alto 75, No. 5 St. Mary’s-Stockton 63

No. 3 Logan 58, No. 2 Heritage 51

Saturday’s final at Santa Clara University

No. 9 Palo Alto (26-4) vs. No. 3 James Logan (27-5), 4 p.m..

Division II

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 Saint. Francis (Mountain View) 75, No. 13 Del Oro 57

No. 3 Moreau Catholic 82, No. 15 Cardinal Newman 66

Saturday’s final

No. 3 Moreau Catholic (24-9) at No. 1 Saint. Francis (20-9), 6 p.m.

Division III

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 4 Mission-San Francisco (32-1) 64, No. 1 St. Ignatius 54

No. 3 Vanden 64 (29-3), No. 2 Vista del Lago-Folsom 52

Saturday’s final

No. 4 Mission-San Francisco (33-1) at No. 3 Vanden-Fairfield 64 (30-3), 8 p.m.

Division IV

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 Palma 64, No. 4 Central Catholic-Modesto 59

No. 3 St. Patrick-St. Vincent 73, No. 2 Lick-Wilmerding 55

Saturday’s final

No. 3 St. Patrick-St. Vincent (26-7) at No. 1 Palma (25-4), 6 p.m.

Division V

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 St. Francis-Watsonville 64, No. 5 Bentley 51

No. 2 Elliot Christian-Lodi 41, No. 3 Branson 34

Saturday’s final

No. 2 Elliot Christian-Lodi (29-4) at No. 1 St. Francis-Watsonville

(28-2), 6 p.m.

NorCal Division VI

Tuesday’s final

No. 1 Fall River-McArthur 75, No. 7 Liberty Christian-Redding 36

Girls

Open Division

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 Mitty 78, No. 4 St. Mary’s-Stockton 61

No. 7 Cardinal Newman 59, No. 3 Pinewood 57

Saturday’s final at Santa Clara University

No. 7 Cardinal Newman (30-3) vs. No. 1 Mitty (27-2), 6 p.m.

Division I

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 4 Oak Ridge 43, No. 9 Folsom 34

No. 2 McClatchy 76, No. 3 Heritage 46

Saturday’s final at Santa Clara University

No. 4 Oak Ridge (23-10) vs. No. 2 McClatchy (30-4), 2 p.m.

Division II

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 Vanden 77, No. 4 St. Francis-Mountain View 42

No. 2 Miramonte 69, No. 3 Valley Christian 63

Saturday’s final

No. 2 Miramonte (30-3) at No. 1 Vanden (29-5), 6 p.m.

Division III

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 4 St. Mary’s-Albany 68, No. 1 St. Ignatius 60

No. 2 Campolindo 67, No. 3 Pleasant Valley 58

Saturday’s final

No. 4 St. Mary’s-Albany (22-10) at No. 2 Campolindo (27-6), 6 p.m.

Division IV

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 West Campus 47, No. 4 Arcata 41

No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame 69, No. 6 Sacred Heart Prep 59

Saturday’s final

No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame (29-5) at No. 1 West Campus (28-4), 6 p.m.

Division V

Tuesday’s semifinals

No. 1 Eastside Prep 63, No. 4 Argonaut-Jackson 25

No. 2 Woodside Priory 61, No. 14 Mt. Shasta 35

Saturday’s final

No. 2 Woodside Priory (20-9) at No. 1 Eastside Prep (21-8), 6 p.m.

NorCal Division VI

Saturday’s semifinals

No. 1 Fall River-McArthur 76, No. 4 Valley Christian-Roseville 49

No. 3 Loyalton 41, No. 2 Rincon Valley Chr.-Santa Rosa 34

Tuesday’s final

No. 1 Fall River-McArthur 60, No. 3 Loyalton 59

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