Joe Davidson

Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs figure to be a wild ride, from favorites to dark horses

Sheldon center Chris Wriedt (23) and Jesuit Marauders Nick Miller (33) battle for position under the basket on Jan. 12. The Huskies and Marauders are part of the loaded Division I bracket for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
Sheldon center Chris Wriedt (23) and Jesuit Marauders Nick Miller (33) battle for position under the basket on Jan. 12. The Huskies and Marauders are part of the loaded Division I bracket for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Bring on the playoffs.

The Sac-Joaquin Section girls and boys basketball postseason will heat up in the coming weeks, punctuated by the championship rounds at Pacific on March 2 and 3.

A committee of retired coaches and former athletic directors met at the section office to crunch data: win-loss records, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups and more to seed the six divisions. Play-in games are Friday for the girls (none for the boys). The rest of the action starts next week at home sites Tuesday for the girls and Wednesday for the boys.

Bee No. 1 Sheldon is the top seed in the boys Division I field, which is loaded with storied programs and is as deep a field as it has ever been.

The Huskies are coming off their fourth successive Delta League championship behind Bee Player of the Year candidate Dale Currie, a senior guard. Sheldon reached the section final last season, losing to Woodcreek in the closing seconds, and the Huskies remain the only D-I program to win four consecutive section championships, from 2010-13 under coach Joey Rollings.

Modesto Christian, which has won a record 18 section banners, including its third in D-I in 2016, is the second seed. Capital Christian, a five-time section champion at lower divisions, is seeded third. The Cougars were in D-III last season but because they competed in the prestigious CIF Northern California Open Division, they were bumped to D-I for section play this season. Sheldon, Woodcreek and Modesto Christian were also in the NorCal Open field last season.

And Folsom, a seven-time section champion, including three in D-I since 2008, is the No. 4 seed with another Bee Player of the Year candidate anchoring the defense in Harvard-bound center Mason Forbes. And there’s seven-time section winner Sacramento, back in D-I, looming as a No. 5 seed with surging Franklin at No. 6 and nine-time section winner Jesuit at No. 7. The Marauders are led by one of the section’s top players in 6-foot-8 forward Elias King.

In girls D-I, five-time reigning champion St. Mary’s of Stockton was the easy choice for the top seed. The Rams, long a national power, have won a record 18 section titles in various divisions.

Folsom, with its best start in school history, is the No. 2 seed, largely due to the efforts of five-star recruit McKenzie Forbes, a guard headed to Cal and Mason’s sister. Cosumnes Oaks is the third seed, Edison of Stockton the fourth seed and McClatchy was a bit of a surprise as the No. 5 seed despite being ranked second by The Bee behind Folsom.

Edison beat McClatchy this season and Cosumnes Oaks hails from a stronger league than McClatchy, the 2015 CIF State Division I champion. McClatchy’s Metropolitan Conference is not deemed a strong league outside McClatchy and Sacramento, ranked third by The Bee.

In boys D-II, Antelope earned the No. 1 seed, opposite of St. Mary’s of Stockton. Whitney, which split with Antelope in the wildly competitive Capital Valley Conference, is the No. 3 seed. Other D-II boys contenders include No. 5 Grant, No. 6 River Valley, No. 7 Roseville and No. 8 Del Oro.

In girls D-II, Antelope earned the top seed opposite of Bear Creek of Stockton. Whitney is the No. 3 seed, Del Oro No. 4 and Sacramento No. 5 despite having the region’s most daunting schedule, including a competitive loss to national No. 1 Mitty of San Jose. Dark horses include eight-time section champion and eighth seed St. Francis and No. 10 Elk Grove, led by coach Larry Price, who has won a lot of playoff games, including a NorCal championship in 2016.

Central Catholic of Modesto is the No. 1 seed in boys D-III and Sonora is the top seed in D-IV, opposite of Liberty Ranch, led by prolific sophomore guard Jalen Patterson. Argonaut is the top seed in D-V, opposite of Colfax, led by standout forward Garren O’Keefe. Defending champion Sacramento Adventist is the No. 1 seed in D-VI boys.

Christian Brothers, the defending D-III girls champion, is the top seed, with Kimball of Tracy second.

Foothill, led by standout guard Makaila Sanders and her 26.4 ppg average, is the top seed in D-IV and one-loss Union Mine is second. Defending CIF State D-IV champion West Campus is the No. 3 seed, making for a top-heavy bracket that also includes No. 6 Placer and No. 7 Bear River of the competitive Pioneer Valley League, which includes Colfax, the top seed in D-V.

Forest Lake Christian is the top seed in D-VI.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

Sac-Joaquin Section basketball playoffs

Boys

Division I

Wednesday openers at home sites

No. 16 Edison at No. 1 Sheldon

No. 9 Woodcreek at No. 8 Tracy

No. 12 Oak Ridge at No. 5 Sacramento

No. 13 River City at No. 4 Folsom

No. 14 Vacaville at No. 3 Capital Christian

No. 11 Gregori at No. 6 Franklin

No. 10 Lincoln-Stockton at No. 7 Jesuit

No. 15 Turlock at No. 2 Modesto Christian

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division II

No. 16 Rodriguez at No. 1 Antelope

No. 9 Laguna Creek at No. 8 Del Oro

No. 12 Wood at No. 5 Grant

No. 13 Bear Creek at No. 4 El Capitan

No. 14 Lincoln at No. 3 Whitney

No. 11 Rocklin at No. 6 River Valley

No. 10 Burbank at No. 7 Roseville

No. 15 Stagg at No. 2 St. Mary’s

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division III

No. 9 Christian Brothers at No. 8 American Canyon

No. 12 Benicia at No. 5 Patterson

No. 13 Cordova at No. 4 Del Campo

No. 14 Vista del Lago at No. 3 Vanden

No. 11 Yuba City at No. 6 Rio Americano

No. 10 Manteca at No. 7 Golden Valley

No. 15 Los Banos at No. 2 Beyer

Bye: No. 1 Central Catholic

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division IV

No. 9 Foothill at No. 8 El Dorado

No. 12 Marysville at No. 5 Weston Ranch

No. 13 Hughson at No. 4 West Campus

No. 14 Highlands at No. 3 Dixon

No. 11 Union Mine at No. 6 Placer

No. 10 Calaveras at No. 7 Ripon

No. 15 Livingston at No. 2 Liberty Ranch

Bye: No. 1 Sonora

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division V

No. 9 Western Sierra at No. 8 Golden Sierra

No. 12 Le Grand at No. 5 Elliot Christian

No. 13 Holt Academy at No. 4 Bradshaw Christian

No. 11 Denair at No. 6 Summerville

No. 10 Hughes Academy at No. 7 Mariposa

Byes: No. 1 Argonaut, No. 2 Colfax, No. 3 Brookside Christian

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division VI

No. 9 Stockton Christian at No. 8 Big Valley Christian

No. 12 Forest Lake Christian at No. 5 Sacramento Country Day

No. 13 New Life Christian at No. 4 Sacramento Waldorf

No. 11 Alpha Charter at No. 6 Vacaville Christian

No. 10 Valley Christian at No. 7 Foresthill

Byes: No. 1 Sacramento Adventist, No. 2 Ripon Christian, No. 3 Faith Christian

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Girls

Division I

Friday play-in game

No. 17 Chavez at No. 16 Enochs

Tuesday home openers

Chavez-Encohs winner at No. 1 St. Mary’s

No. 9 Woodcreek at No. 8 Turlock

No. 12 Brookside Christian at No. 5 McClatchy

No. 13 Pitman at No. 4 Edison

No. 14 Vintage at No. 3 Cosumnes Oaks

No. 11 Franklin at No. 6 Oak Ridge

No. 10 Lincoln-Stockton at No. 7 Davis

No. 15 River City at No. 2 Folsom

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division II

No. 16 Lodi at No. 1 Antelope

No. 9 Roseville at No. 8 St. Francis

No. 12 Nevada Union at No. 5 Sacramento

No. 13 Wood at No. 4 Del Oro

No. 14 Rodriguez at No. 3 Whitney

No. 11 Inderkum at No. 6 Vanden

No. 10 Elk Grove at No. 7 Granite Bay

No. 15 Modesto Christian at No. 2 Bear Creek

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division III

No. 16 American Canyon at No. 1 Christian Brothers

No. 9 Vista del Lago at No. 8 East Union

No. 12 Valley at No. 5 Bradshaw Christian

No. 13 Bethel at No. 4 Merced

No. 14 Rio Americano at No. 3 River Valley

No. 11 Los Banos at No. 6 Beyer

No. 10 Manteca at No. 7 Patterson

No. 15 Rosemont at No. 2 Kimball

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division IV

No. 16 Orestimba at No. 1 Foothill

No. 9 Sonora at No. 8 El Dorado

No. 12 Calaveras at No. 5 Ripon

No. 13 Hilmar at No. 4 Lathrop

No. 14 Livingston at No. 3 West Campus

No. 11 Liberty Ranch at No. 6 Placer

No. 10 Mountain House at No. 7 Bear River

No. 15 Dixon at No. 2 Union Mine

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

Division V

No. 9 Buckingham Charter at No. 8 Waterford

No. 12 Greene Academy at No. 5 Mariposa

No. 13 Adams Academy at No. 4 Summerville

No. 11 Holt Academy at No. 6 Western Sierra

No. 10 Hughes at No. 7 Golden Sierra

Byes: No. 1 Colfax, No. 2 Argonaut, No. 3 Capital Christian

Finals: March 3 at Pacific

Division VI

Friday play-in

No. 9 Turlock Christian at No. 8 El Dorado Adventist

No. 10 Stockton Christian at No. 7 Big Valley Christian

Tuesday openers:

El Dorado Adventist/Turlock Christian at No. 1 Forest Lake Christian

No. 5 Vacaville Christian at No. 4 Valley Christian

No. 6 Sacramento Waldorf at No. 3 Ripon Christian

Stockton Christian/Big Valley Christian at No. 2 Woodland Christian

Finals: March 2 at Pacific

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