Joe Davidson

Sac-Joaquin Section basketball playoffs begin Friday

The McClatchy High girls basketball team celebrates following its 65-61 double-overtime victory over Serra in the CIF Division 1 state championship game on March 27, 2015, at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.
The McClatchy High girls basketball team celebrates following its 65-61 double-overtime victory over Serra in the CIF Division 1 state championship game on March 27, 2015, at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. jvillegas@sacbee.com

A group of 10 retired high school basketball coaches and administrators and existing Sac-Joaquin Section staff members assembled Thursday afternoon to crunch the numbers.

Stacks of paperwork – schedules, head-to-head results, key wins, key defeats and league finishes – were used to formulate six section playoff brackets each for girls and boys.

There were no real surprises in a power-packed Division I boys field that includes top-seeded Folsom, No. 2 Modesto Christian, No. 3 Sheldon, No. 4 Jesuit, No. 5 Woodcreek and No. 6 Granite Bay. This is as stacked a D-I field as any in section history, which started playoff action in 1972. Led by two-time Bee Player of the Year Jordan Ford, Folsom opened the season with close wins over Modesto Christian and Sheldon.

The biggest surprise was where defending CIF State D-I girls champion McClatchy landed in the seedings. Ranked No. 1 by The Bee for much of the early part of the season before finishing No. 2, the Lions managed just a No. 7 seed in the D-I scramble. This despite McClatchy (22-5) avenging its lone section loss to D-II power Sacramento – the teams split to share the Metropolitan Conference championship – and playing a strong early nonleague schedule.

The selection committee heavily factors in the MaxPreps computer rankings, broken down by division. The Lions were sixth in those rankings.

There was no surprise with national No. 1 St. Mary’s of Stockton earning the top girls seed in D-I, and Bee No. 1 Oak Ridge was the logical choice at No. 2. St. Francis earned the No. 3 seed, Folsom No. 4, Golden Valley of Merced No. 5 and Lincoln of Stockton No. 6. McClatchy arguably could have been seeded as high as third.

“The D-I field is stacked for boys, too, but not as much as girls,” said Will DeBoard, the section communications director and part of the seedings committee. “McClatchy could have gone anywhere from No. 4 to No. 8 or 9, and they were all high-quality and comparable teams. It was unanimous that St. Mary’s was 1 and Oak Ridge 2, and the vast majority of the committee agreed that St. Francis was No. 3.”

Here’s where it could get interesting: Should Oak Ridge and McClatchy win Tuesday openers, the longtime powers will meet in a second-round game Thursday in El Dorado Hills. The loser would be done, which is the rub for both programs. A seedings tweak for McClatchy could have created a potential semifinal meeting, and thus, a ticket to the NorCal rounds. All section semifinalists advance to NorCal Regional play in March.

Instead, an early Oak Ridge-McClatchy showdown will be as anticipated a second-round game in the history of the girls section playoffs, which started in 1975.

As expected, Bee No. 3 Antelope earned the top seed in D-II girls, followed by Vanden, Elk Grove and Sacramento.

In D-III girls, Christian Brothers is the top seed, opposite No. 2 East Union of Manteca. No. 3 Rio Linda and No. 4 Inderkum are rivals from the Tri-County Conference.

In D-IV girls, No. 1 Brookside Christian and No. 2 West Campus head a deep field that includes No. 5 Placer and No. 6 Colfax. Placer, led by San Diego State-bound senior forward Baylee Vanderdoes, edged Colfax on Wednesday night to win the Pioneer Valley League.

In D-V girls, defending champion Capital Christian is the top seed opposite No. 2 Argonaut. Sacramento Waldorf is the No. 1 seed in D-VI.

Bee No. 1 Sacramento is the overwhelming favorite in the D-II boys bracket behind four-year starters Christian Terrell and Solomon Young, with Antelope the No. 2 seed. It’s a deep field that includes playoff regular No. 3 Burbank, upstart No. 4 Whitney and dark-horse teams such as No. 7 Elk Grove, No. 8 Nevada Union, No. 9 Ponderosa and No. 12 Grant.

Valley Oak League rivals Weston Ranch of Stockton and Manteca earned the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, in D-III boys with No. 2 Capital Christian drawing consideration for top-seed honors. Capital Christian was a NorCal Open team – the elite of the elite – three years ago and reached the CIF State D-IV final last season.

In D-IV, Central Catholic of Modesto earned the top seed, its schedule deemed stronger overall than No. 2 Liberty Ranch of Galt, which at 27-0 is one of just three unbeaten teams in the state.

In D-V, Bradshaw Christian and Sacramento Country Day earned the top two seeds. Country Day won the D-VI title a year ago with a lineup of freshmen. Sacramento Waldorf is the No. 1 seed in D-VI.

Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs

All games begin at 7 p.m.

Boys

Division I

Friday play-in

No. 17 Turlock at No. 16 Pitman

Wednesday first round

Pitman/Turlock at No. 1 Folsom

No. 9 Wood at No. 8 St. Mary's

No. 12 Bella Vista at No. 5 Woodcreek

No. 13 Chavez at No. 4 Jesuit

No. 14 Kennedy at No. 3 Sheldon

No. 11 Edison at No. 6 Granite Bay

No. 10 Lodi at No. 7 Oak Ridge

No. 15 West at No. 2 Modesto Christian

Division II

Friday play-in

No. 17 Buhach Colony at No. 16 Vacaville

Wednesday first round

Buhach Colony/Vacaville at No. 1 Sacramento

No. 9 Ponderosa at No. 8 Nevada Union

No. 12 Grant at No. 5 Beyer

No. 13 Grace Davis at No. 4 Whitney

No. 14 McNair at No. 3 Burbank

No. 11 Yuba City at No. 6 Vanden

No. 10 Bethel at No. 7 Elk Grove

No. 15 Rodriguez at No. 2 Antelope

Division III

Friday play-in

No. 17 Ceres at No. 16 Cordova

Wednesday first round

Cordova/Ceres at No. 1 Weston Ranch

No. 9 El Camino at No. 8 Johnson

No. 12 Benicia at No. 5 Inderkum

No. 13 Rio Linda at No. 4 Placer

No. 14 El Capitan at No. 3 Manteca

No. 11 Christian Brothers at No. 6 Lincoln

No. 10 Sierra at No. 7 Vista del Lago

No. 15 Patterson at No. 2 Capital Christian

Division IV

Wednesday first round

No. 16 Delhi at No. 1 Central Catholic

No. 9 Union Mine at No. 8 Ripon

No. 12 Escalon at No. 5 Summerville

No. 13 San Juan at No. 4 Mesa Verde

No. 14 Venture Academy at No. 3 West Campus

No. 11 Foothill at No. 6 Calaveras

No. 10 Sonora at No. 7 Highlands

No. 15 Orestimba 15 at No. 2 Liberty Ranch

Division V

Friday play-in

No. 9 Hughes Academy at No. 8 Vacaville Christian

No. 11 Holt Academy at No. 6 Argonaut

No. 10 Western Sierra at No. 7 Elliot

Wednesday first round

Vacaville Christian/Hughes Academy at No. 1 Bradshaw Christian

No. 5 Ripon Christian at No. 4 Mariposa

Argonaut/Holt Academy at No. 3 Brookside Christian

Western Sierra/Elliot Christian at No. 2 Sacramento Country Day

Division VI

Friday play-in

No. 9 New Life Christian at No. 8 Faith Christian

Wednesday first round

Faith Christian/New Life Christian at No. 1 Sacramento Waldorf

No. 5 Foresthill at No. 4 Sacramento Adventist

No. 6 Valley Christian at No. 3 Victory Christian

No. 7 Forest Lake Christian at No. 2 Stockton Christian

Girls

Division I

Friday play-in

No. 17 Armijo at No. 16 Edison

Tuesday first round

Edison/Armijo at No. 1 St. Mary's

No. 9 Pleasant Grove at No. 8 Modesto Christian

No. 12 Franklin at No. 5 Golden Valley

No. 13 Napa at No. 4 Folsom

No. 14 Woodcreek at No. 3 St. Francis

No. 11 Davis at No. 6 Lincoln

No. 10 Cosumnes Oaks at No. 7 McClatchy

No. 15 Enochs at No. 2 Oak Ridge

Division II

Friday play-in

No. 17 Stagg at No. 16 Wood

Tuesday first round

Wood/Stagg at No. 1 Antelope

No. 9 Rocklin at No. 8 Lodi

No. 12 Bear Creek at No. 5 Ponderosa

No. 13 Beyer at No. 4 Sacramento

No. 14 Atwater at No. 3 Elk Grove

No. 11 Pitman at No. 6 Bella Vista

No. 10 Del Oro at No. 7 Roseville

No. 15 Kennedy at No. 2 Vanden

Division III

Friday play-in

No. 17 Cordova at No. 16 Patterson

Tuesday first round

Patterson/Cordova at No. 1 Christian Brothers

No. 9 American Canyon at No. 8 Rosemont

No. 12 El Dorado at No. 5 Manteca

No. 13 Vista del Lago at No. 4 Inderkum

No. 14 El Camino at No. 3 Rio Linda

No. 11 Oakmont at No. 6 Bradshaw Christian

No. 10 Fairfield at No. 7 River Valley

No. 15 Central Valley at No. 2 East Union

Division IV

Friday play-in

No. 17 Highlands at No. 16 Mountain House

Tuesday first round

Mountain House/Highlands at No. 1 Brookside Christian

No. 9 Central Catholic at No. 8 Dixon

No. 12 Livingston at No. 5 Placer

No. 13 Bear River at No. 4 Sonora

No. 14 Ripon at No. 3 Venture Academy

No. 11 Marysville at No. 6 Colfax

No. 10 Lathrop at No. 7 Calaveras

No. 15 Orestimba at No. 2 West Campus

Division V

Friday play-in

No. 9 Western Sierra at No. 8 Waterford

No. 10 Delta Charter at No. 7 Millennium

Tuesday first round

Waterford/Western Sierra at No. 1 Capital Christian

No. 5 Ripon Christian at No. 4 Rio Vista

No. 6 Holt Academy at No. 3 Mariposa

Millennium/Delta Charter at No. 2 Argonaut

Division VI

Saturday play-in

No. 9 Freedom Christian at No. 8 Sacramento Adventist

Tuesday first-round

Sacramento Adventist/Freedom Christian at No. 1 Sacramento Waldorf

No. 5 Victory Christian at No. 4 Valley Christian

No. 6 Sacramento Country Day at No. 3 Stockton Christian

No. 7 Forest Lake Christian at No. 2 Turlock Christian

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