Joe Davidson

Prep notes: Sheldon boys, McClatchy girls start basketball season ranked No. 1

Devin Greene, right, is among the top six returning players to Sheldon High this season. ... Green drives past Woodcreek’s Donn Corbin during the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Boys Basketball Playoffs at Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
Devin Greene, right, is among the top six returning players to Sheldon High this season. ... Green drives past Woodcreek’s Donn Corbin during the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Boys Basketball Playoffs at Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

In what appears to be an up year for high school boys basketball, traditional powers dominate the rankings in The Bee’s preseason Top 20, headed by the top-ranked Sheldon Huskies.

And it’s more of the same in girls basketball, as defending CIF State Division I champion McClatchy starts where it finished – ranked No. 1.

Sheldon and coach Joey Rollings peeled off a section-championship four-peat in Division I from 2010 to 2013 and lost to Folsom by a point in the D-I finals last season. The Huskies return their top six players from last season’s 21-8 team in guards Isaiah Brooks, Elishja Duplechan, Devin Greene and Drew Cobb, and front-court players Matt Manning and Blake Mason. Manning, also a hard-throwing major-league pitching prospect, is the younger brother of former Huskies star Ryan Manning, now playing at Air Force, and the son of 1988 Bee Player of the Year Rich Manning when he played at Center.

“We’ve got everyone back, and we work hard, shoot the ball, and we’re fast and really unselfish,” Rollings said. “The guys are hungry. We have the potential to go far in the playoffs, maybe win a section and get into the NorCals. We’re excited.”

Second-ranked Folsom was The Bee’s preseason No. 1 team last season and ended there as well after winning the program’s fourth section championship since 2008 with coach Mike Wall before losing to eventual CIF State Open Division champion Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland in the Northern California regional playoffs.

The Bulldogs are led by two-time Bee Player of the Year Jordan Ford, a smooth point guard headed to Saint Mary’s on scholarship, and returning guards Alec Andrews, Tre Finch and Jared Wall, son of the coach.

Folsom plays at Sheldon on Wednesday in a nonleague game. Both teams will be in action Saturday in the ninth Prep2Prep Tip-Off Classic at Newark Memorial High School, a seven-game showcase that includes regional and state powers. Sheldon plays Army-Navy of Carlsbad at 3:45 p.m., followed by Modesto Christian against Folsom at 5:30. Modesto Christian is the top-ranked team in Northern California, according to Cal-Hi Sports.

Bee No. 3 Woodcreek of Roseville, led by 6-foot-9 national recruit sophomore Jordan Brown, plays Newark Memorial at 7 p.m. NorCal Preps preseason No. 1 Moreau Catholic of Hayward takes on Cal-Hi state-ranked No. 2 Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth at 8:30 p.m. Sheldon is ranked second by NorCal Preps, Folsom sixth, Sacramento seventh, Capital Christian 10th and Woodcreek 11th.

Bee No. 4 Sacramento is paced by four-year starters Christian Terrell, a guard, and forward Solomon Young. Terrell is headed to UC Santa Barbara on scholarship and Young to Iowa State. No. 5 Capital Christian is led by guard Tiegen Jones, son of coach Devon Jones, and fellow returning starting guard Zach Chappell. Incoming transfers Austin Alexander, a forward, and guard Mehki Williams, give the Cougars a potentially dynamic lineup.

The McClatchy girls will play this season without Bee Player of the Year Gigi Garcia, a forward/center who signed on scholarship with Washington. The senior is out with a torn ACL. The Lions, 27-7 a year ago with Bee Coach of the Year Jessica Kunisaki, return guards Jordan Cruz and twins Kelsey and Kristi Wong and welcome Sacramento High transfer Courtesy Clark, a guard. McClatchy opens its season Thursday against Whitney in the Dorothy Speck Tournament in Davis.

Sacramento is ranked second, expecting a bounce-back season after the longtime power was eliminated in the first round of the 2015 playoffs by Ponderosa. The Dragons are led by UC Santa Barbara-bound guard Aliceah Hernandez and a roster that coach Michele Massari calls her best since taking over the program in 2008.

Third-ranked Antelope returns its top three scorers from a 27-3 team in Angelica Baylon and sisters Nadia and Nia Johnson. No. 4 Oak Ridge has won 25 or more games in eight of the last nine seasons under coach Steve White, including the CIF State D-I title in 2010. No. 5 Folsom is paced by 6-foot sophomore wing McKenzie Forbes, sister of Folsom boys forward Mason Forbes.

Cross Country – Davis likes its chances of a high placement in the 29th CIF State Cross Country Championships this Saturday at Woodward Park in Clovis, especially with two-time state girls champion Fiona O’Keeffe back in the mix. The senior, who recently signed a letter of intent with Stanford, has been sidelined down the stretch of the season to rest a sore foot. Davis is also led by Elise Chu, Abbey Fisk, Sofia Lodigiani, Olivia O’Keeffe – Fiona’s sister – and Sage Taylor.

McClatchy also hopes to place after setting numerous school records behind Sophia deBoer, Melanie Holst and Sydney Walthall.

Jesuit edged Davis for the section boys team Division I title and both teams expect to place at the state meet. Jesuit’s top runners include Benjamin Holland, Patrick Cummings, Michael Lackner, Sean Kurdy and Brendan Jones. Davis is paced by section champion Michael Vernau, Kellen Browning, Nick Borowsky and Joe Blackwell.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD


Boys basketball rankings

With last year’s record

1. Sheldon (21-8)

2. Folsom (28-5)

3. Woodcreek (27-4)

4. Sacramento (28-6)

5. Capital Christian (27-9)

6. Kennedy (22-6)

7. Jesuit (17-11)

8. Burbank (15-13)

9. Oak Ridge (18-10)

10. Antelope (23-7)

11. Granite Bay (17-11)

12. Christian Brothers (22-7)

13. Grant (10-16)

14. Pleasant Grove (22-10)

15. Franklin (18-10)

16. Davis (9-17)

17. Placer (21-6)

18. Cosumnes Oaks (23-9)

19. Liberty Ranch (27-6)

20. West Campus (19-11)

Joe Davidson


Girls basketball rankings

With last year’s record

1. McClatchy (27-7)

2. Sacramento (18-10)

3. Antelope (27-3)

4. Oak Ridge (27-5)

5. Folsom

6. Ponderosa (20-9)

7. Elk Grove (19-10)

8. Pleasant Grove (22-7)

9. Rio Linda (26-7)

10. Del Oro (24-7)

11. Placer (21-7)

12. West Campus (20-8)

13. Christian Brothers (17-12)

14. St. Francis (20-8)

15. Inderkum (24-4)

16. Cosumnes Oaks (13-14)

17. Bella Vista (19-8)

18. Sheldon (12-15)

19. Capital Christian (19-12)

20. River City (19-10)

Joe Davidson