It’s a compelling debate in high school football, so why not basketball?
What’s the best regional league?
In football, it was far and away the Sierra Foothill League, headed by Folsom, Oak Ridge, Granite Bay, Del Oro and Rocklin.
In hoops, for the boys, the SFL is stout, as evidenced by strong starts as area teams ramp up for league play this week. The SFL is led by Folsom, ranked No. 2 by The Bee, followed by No. 4 Oak Ridge, No. 6 Del Oro, No. 12 and defending champion Woodcreek and No. 14 Granite Bay. Rocklin has also been ranked this season.
Folsom is paced by 6-foot-9 center Mason Forbes, who has signed with Harvard.
The Delta League is formidable with No. 3 Sheldon, No. 5 Jesuit, No. 8 Grant and No. 15 Franklin. Davis and Monterey Trail have also been ranked this season.
Sheldon hosts Jesuit on Friday in what has been a good rivalry over the years, including in the playoffs. Under coach Joey Rollings, the Huskies seek a Delta three-peat, having won 38 consecutive league games, including back-to-back 14-0 showings. Sheldon has won 43 of its last 44 league games.
The Huskies (10-3) reached the Northern California Open Division final last season, falling to Woodcreek 66-59.
With only one in-state loss, the Huskies are guard heavy with Dale Currie, Dom Johnson and Justin Nguyen and have had strong play from forwards Ronald Agebsar and Xavier Brown. Another guard, Kaito Williams, was cleared to play last week after sitting out 30 days per CIF transfer rules (he was at nearby Bradshaw Christian last season).
Jesuit (10-2) is also guard heavy and welcomed an impressive transfer last week as 6-9 wing Elias King was cleared after his switch from Christian Brothers. King scored 30 and 29 points in his first two games. King’s uncle, Josh King, was a key member of Jesuit’s 1993 and ’94 teams that won Northern California Division I championships.
The Marauders, led by coach Jon Rotz, also feature 6-6 shooter Chris Simpson and guards Jake Virga and Branden Rutherford, younger brother of national football recruit Isaiah Rutherford, who left the basketball team to focus on track and field and football.
The Marauders have lost only to Brophy Prep of Arizona and Berkeley.
Top-ranked Capital Christian towers over the Golden Empire League again and has no local losses amid a national early schedule. The Cougars are guard heavy with Rick Barros, Zach Chappell and Trey Jones, and they have early wins over Folsom and Sheldon when those teams were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
The Capital Valley Conference includes No. 11 Antelope, No. 13 Whitney, No. 16 Roseville and No. 17 Del Campo.
The Metropolitan Conference is top heavy with No. 9 Sacramento and No. 10 Burbank. The teams play Friday at Sacramento in the second half of a double-header as the girls take on Centennial of Las Vegas. The Dragons boys play at Grant in a nonleague game on Saturday night.
No. 7 Liberty Ranch is favored to win the Sierra Valley Conference again, thanks in part to sophomore guard Jalen Patterson, who had four consecutive games of 30 or more points, including a buzzer-beater to top West Campus in the St. Hope Elite Classic. Patterson is averaging 23.1 points.
Girls basketball – The SFL is the region’s deepest league in girls basketball, headed by No. 1 Folsom, No. 8 Oak Ridge, No. 14 Del Oro, No. 15 Woodcreek, No. 17 Granite Bay and No. 20 Rocklin.
Led by Cal-bound guard McKenzie Forbes, Folsom has no local losses and rolled then-No. 2 West Campus 62-26 and preseason No. 1 McClatchy 72-50.
The Metro includes No. 2 Sacramento, No. 4 McClatchy and No. 19 Valley. McClatchy and Sacramento represent one of the most spirited rivalries in the section as both programs play taxing nonleague schedules and regularly advance players to the next level via scholarship. The programs pack their gyms in head-to-head meetings.
The teams play Jan. 24 and Feb. 14.
The Capital Valley Conference includes No. 5 Cosumnes Oaks, No. 7 Antelope, No. 10 Roseville and No. 13 Whitney.
Cosumnes Oaks (12-1) is off to a school-record start and has lost only to St. Ignatius of San Francisco with wins over No. 6 Foothill, No. 8 Oak Ridge, No. 10 Roseville, No. 11 Christian Brothers and No. 15 Woodcreek.
Cosumnes Oaks is led by Jordyn Rosette (9.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game), Jasmine Hess (9.6 points) and Jaden Coleman (7.8 points).
The Pioneer Valley League is headed by No. 6 Foothill and No. 9 Colfax. Foothill is paced by one of the state’s dynamic scorers in UC Davis-bound Makaila Sanders, averaging 27.7 points and 8.1 rebounds a game.
The Bee’s Top 20
With last ranking in parentheses.
1. Capital Christian (1) 9-5
2. Folsom (2) 13-3
3. Sheldon (3) 10-3
4. Oak Ridge (4) 11-4
5. Jesuit (5) 10-2
6. Del Oro (11) 13-3
7. Liberty Ranch (9) 14-2
8. Grant (6) 10-3
9. Sacramento (7) 9-3
10. Burbank (8) 11-4
11. Antelope (12) 11-3
12. Woodcreek (13) 11-5
13. Whitney (14) 11-2
14. Granite Bay (15) 10-7
15. Franklin (16) 10-5
16. Roseville (-) 11-3
17. Del Campo (10) 10-4
18. Davis (17) 10-5
19. Lincoln (-) 13-3
20. West Campus (-) 9-4
1. Folsom (1) 13-2
2. Sacramento (2) 8-6
3. West Campus (3) 8-7
4. McClatchy (4) 9-4
5. Cosumnes Oaks (5) 12-1
6. Foothill (9) 14-2
7. Antelope (8) 9-3
8. Oak Ridge (10) 7-8
9. Colfax (11) 15-1
10. Roseville (6) 10-4
11. Christian Brothers (7) 8-5
12. St. Francis (12) 6-6
13. Whitney (13) 9-5
14. Del Oro (13) 11-3
15. Woodcreek (15) 12-4
16. Franklin (16) 9-3
17. Granite Bay (17) 14-3
18. Elk Grove (18) 6-8
19. Valley (20) 10-3
20. Rocklin (-) 10-6