Joe Davidson

Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center to host prep basketball championships

Elk Grove's Maddie Wong says state championship quest is a 'dream come true'

Maddie Wong, the all-time leading career scorer for Elk Grove High School girls basketball, says the discipline instilled in the Thundering Herd by coach Larry Price has been one of the keys to success that has put the team into the state Division
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Maddie Wong, the all-time leading career scorer for Elk Grove High School girls basketball, says the discipline instilled in the Thundering Herd by coach Larry Price has been one of the keys to success that has put the team into the state Division

The concluding weekend of the high school basketball season will play out for at least two more seasons in Sacramento.

The CIF executive committee and the Kings announced Thursday that Golden 1 Center will host the 2017 and 2018 CIF State Basketball Championships, extending a partnership that started at Arco Arena, now Sleep Train Arena, in 1992. This year’s state championships are being played Thursday and Saturday at Sleep Train.

Sleep Train Arena has been home to the CIF NorCal and state finals 19 times, including 1998-2009 and 2011-14. The title games were held at Cal last season because of a scheduling conflict at Sleep Train, which will not host basketball after the Kings end their 2015-16 season.

The CIF accepted bids from across the state for future state title rounds. Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

CIF executive director Roger Blake said new state-of-the-art Golden 1 Center will meet the CIF’s desire to provide a “wow” factor for the championships.

“To have an opportunity for our high school athletes to be able to play in a world-class facility, wow, that’s exciting,” Blake said. “I told the Kings people that I had a concern that we wouldn’t be able to afford Golden 1. They told me, ‘We’re not building Golden 1 so high school students would get blocked out.’ That tells you a lot about the Kings and their commitment to high school sports.”

Kings president Chris Granger in a statement said: “It is an honor to continue to host student-athletes, coaches and educators from around the state as they compete at the highest level. We’re proud Sacramento and Golden 1 Center will be home to treasured memories and special experiences.”

The Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF NorCal Regional Championships also have been held regularly at Sleep Train over the decades. Scheduling conflicts at Golden 1 Center for the next two years have prompted the CIF to consider other venues for those tournaments.

Sacramento State hosted the CIF State Football Bowl Championships for the first time in December, replacing Carson, which had been the site since the games started in 2006. They will return to Sac State for at least two more years.

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CIF’s stated goal is to balance championship events between Northern and Southern California. SoCal venues have placed bids to the CIF for state basketball before, but none could beat Sleep Train, and now, Golden 1 Center. The CIF Wrestling Championships have been a fixture in Bakersfield, and the CIF State Track and Field Championships have made Fresno their longtime home.

This year’s CIF State Basketball Championships are Thursday and Saturday. All of the games are televised on Comcast SportsNet California or Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. The Kings host the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

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St. Francis (29-5) plays Brea Olinda (28-4) on Thursday at 6 p.m. for the girls Division I championship, and Elk Grove (24-10) takes on Cajon of San Bernardino (26-6) on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Tia Hay is the standout senior point guard for the St. Francis Troubadours, who play Brea Olinda on Thursday night for the CIF State Division I basketball championship.

Elk Grove High School girls basketball stars Paiton Demps, Madison Wong and Mira Shulman break down their championship footwear and their 46-45 NorCal Division II championship win over Sacramento High Dragons.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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