Joe Davidson

Prep basketball notes: Toughest football leagues carry over into basketball season

Led by The Bee’s 2013-14 Player of the Year, guard Jordan Ford, Folsom returned eight of its top nine players from its section and Northern California Division II championship team.
Led by The Bee’s 2013-14 Player of the Year, guard Jordan Ford, Folsom returned eight of its top nine players from its section and Northern California Division II championship team. sabeephotos@sacbee.com

The most competitive leagues in high school football will continue with the same theme in the basketball regular season.

Realignment transformed good leagues into potentially great ones with the Sierra Foothill and Delta starting league play this week. As many as six teams from each conference could advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs that start next month.

The Bee’s No. 1-ranked team, Folsom (11-2), heads the SFL that includes No. 3 Woodcreek (12-3), No. 8 Granite Bay (12-3) and No. 14 Oak Ridge (10-4), which visits the Bulldogs in a league opener on Tuesday night.

Led by The Bee’s 2013-14 Player of the Year, guard Jordan Ford, Folsom returned eight of its top nine players from its section and Northern California Division II championship team. The Bulldogs’ only losses this season have come against nationally ranked teams in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs.

Woodcreek is led by senior guard Noah Blackwell and 6-foot-9 freshman forward-center Jordan Brown.

The Delta is the deepest league in the section. It includes No. 6 Sheldon (3-3), No. 7 Grant (9-1), No. 9 Pleasant Grove (7-4), No. 12 Jesuit (6-4), No. 16 Monterey Trail (10-3), No. 18 Franklin (7-5) and No. 19 Elk Grove (9-4).

Jesuit, the defending section Division I champion, returned one of the region’s most prolific players in guard Isaiah Bailey. Marquese Chriss, a 6-8 center, is the lone holdover starter from Pleasant Grove’s 2013 CIF State Division I championship team. Rival Sheldon, which won four consecutive D-I section titles from 2010 to 2013 under coach Joey Rollings before missing the playoffs last season, has a talented, young team led by Isaiah Brooks, Devin Greene and Matt Manning.

Grant is off to one of its best starts in years behind the impressive play of freshman guard Treshon Smoots-Jones, who is now joined by Donovan Brown, an All-Metro football player, in the backcourt.

The Metropolitan League, the area’s best during the 1980s and early 1990s, is top-heavy with No. 2 Sacramento (8-3), No. 4 Kennedy (7-2) and No. 20 Florin (11-2).

Sacramento, which has no seniors, is led by center Solomon Young and guard Christian Terrell, both recruited by Pacific-12 Conference schools. Kennedy is strong at guard with Cole Taira and Colin Uda. Florin is enjoying its best start since the early 1990s behind guards-wings James Lopez, Jhalen Lumpkins, Dawson Saechao and Phillip Saephan.

The Capital Valley Conference includes No. 13 Cosumnes Oaks (6-3) and No. 15 Antelope. Cosumnes Oaks is led by returning starters Jaaron Stallworth and Eric Toles, both football stars, and Antelope is paced by football-turned-basketball stars Mister Harriell and Montel Aaron. Cosumnes Oaks lost to Folsom in the section and NorCal finals at Sleep Train Arena.

Coming off Saturday’s 55-47 win over Jesuit, No. 11 Christian Brothers is favored in the Capital Valley Conference. CBS is led by Joe Delgadillo, Elias King and Finn Whetstone.

Girls

Top-ranked McClatchy (5-5) heads the Metropolitan Conference, having lost only to out-of-area schools. The Lions are led by frontcourt players Destiny Lee and Gigi Garcia, and guards Jordan Cruz, Lauren Nubla and Kristi Wong.

No. 4 Sacramento (5-5), unbeaten against section competition, will battle its chief rival, the Lions, for the Metro title behind guards Courtesy Clark and Aliceah Hernandez.

In the SFL, No. 2 Oak Ridge (11-3), No. 5 Del Oro (11-3), No. 9 Folsom (11-3) and No. 17 Granite Bay (11-4) make for the section’s deepest league.

Oak Ridge is paced by guard Grace Derksen, Del Oro by forwards Lauren Heyn and Hannah Jordan, Folsom by versatile freshman McKenzie Forbes, and Granite Bay by leading scorer Daeja Black (19.2 points per game).

The CVC features No. 5 Antelope (10-1), No. 11 Bella Vista (10-2), No. 13 Ponderosa (9-4), No. 16 Cosumnes Oaks (8-4) and No. 18 Whitney (12-1).

Antelope, coached by 1980s All-Metro player Sean Chambers from Highlands, is led by the guard tandem of sisters Nadia and Nia Johnson, averaging a combined 32.4 points.

No. 3 Pleasant Grove (9-4) is favored in the Delta. The defending NorCal Division I champions are led by guard Kim Schmelz.

Also in the Delta hunt: No. 7 St. Francis (8-2), No. 10 Elk Grove (10-2), No. 14 Sheldon (6-5) and No. 19 Davis (8-2).

The Tri-County League is an early three-team race among No. 12 Inderkum (11-2), No. 15 Rio Linda (10-4) and No. 20 River City (8-5).

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.

THE BEE’S BOYS

BASKETBALL TOP 20

Records through Monday; last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. Folsom (1) 11-2

2. Sacramento (2) 8-3

3. Woodcreek (3) 12-3

4. Kennedy (4) 7-2

5. Capital Christian (6) 7-5

6. Sheldon (7) 3-3

7. Grant (8) 9-1

8. Granite Bay (9) 12-3

9. Pleasant Grove (17) 7-4

10. Liberty Ranch (10) 13-1

11. Christian Brothers (-) 9-5

12. Jesuit (5) 6-4

13. Cosumnes Oaks (11) 6-3

14. Oak Ridge (13) 10-4

15. Antelope (15) 11-2

16. Monterey Trail (12) 10-3

17. Cordova (-) 12-5

18. Franklin (14) 7-5

19. Elk Grove (16) 9-4

20. Florin (-) 11-2

Joe Davidson

THE BEE’S GIRLS

BASKETBALL TOP 20

Records through Monday; last week’s ranking in parentheses

1. McClatchy (1) 5-5

2. Oak Ridge (4) 11-3

3. Pleasant Grove (3) 9-4

4. Sacramento (2) 5-5

5. Antelope (5) 10-1

6. Del Oro (6) 11-3

7. St. Francis (7) 8-2

8. Bradshaw Christian (8) 6-6

9. Folsom (9) 11-3

10. Elk Grove (11) 10-2

11. Bella Vista (12) 10-2

12. Inderkum (13) 11-2

13. Ponderosa (10) 9-4

14. Sheldon (14) 6-5

15. Rio Linda (15) 10-4

16. Cosumnes Oaks (17) 8-4

17. Granite Bay (18) 11-4

18. Whitney (20) 12-1

19. Davis (19) 8-2

20. River City (-) 8-5

Joe Davidson

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