BigO Tyres

BigO
Sportstars
NCS/OAKLAND: By Chace Bryson | SJS: By Jim McCue To quote a popular ad slogan, “Here we go.” The road to the California Interscholastic Federation state basketball...

NCS/OAKLAND: By Chace Bryson | SJS: By Jim McCue


To quote a popular ad slogan, “Here we go.”

The road to the California Interscholastic Federation state basketball championships at Sacramento’s Power Balance Pavilion began on Feb. 21. More than 150 teams will lace up their sneaks and put it all on the line. 

In the North Coast Section boys tournaments, especially Division I-IV, the top seeds appear to the strongest across the board in some time. Three of those top seeds played for in the state final a year ago, and at least two of them are unquestionably stronger this season. Upsets this year may be at a premium, but if they happen, you’ll want to be in the building. 

As for the Sac-Joaquin Section and Oakland Athletic League playoffs, they appear more wide open.

Let’s dive in.

 

DIVISION I

 

North Coast Section

THE FAVORITE: De La Salle. The Spartans reached the Division I state final a year ago, nearly knocking off heavy favorite Mater Dei-Santa Ana. This year’s team is better, and deeper than its predecessor. 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Any Bay Valley Athletic League team. There are four in the field, three of which have 19 wins or more. League champ Deer Valley has the No. 2 seed, but Freedom or Liberty (which beat DV on Feb. 10) are equally dangerous. 

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Marcus Lee. The 6-foot-8 junior center nearly average of a triple double (13 points, 14 rebounds, 9 blocks) and has a chance to dominate the tournament.

FINALS PREDICTION: De La Salle 48, Freedom 39


Oakland Section

THE FAVORITE: McClymonds. The Warriors have been the favorites to win the Oakland Athletic League since things got underway in November. They should be peaking at the right time, too.

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Skyline. Even though Castlemont picked up a 50-47 win over Mack on Feb. 10, it’s the Titans that have played the Warriors the toughest this year (a 61-58 win on Jan. 11 and 57-51 loss on Feb. 8). 

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Paris Davis. The 6-foot-3 Skyline forward can be electric at times. He averages 21.9 points/game and 8.4 rebounds. He closed the year scoring 29, 30 and 24 against Oakland Tech, Castlemont and Fremont, respectively.

FINALS PREDICTION: McClymonds 65, Skyline 57


Sac-Joaquin Section

THE FAVORITE: Sheldon-Sacramento (22-5). The Huskies have only one loss against SJS opponents. Senior Kyi Thomas is a versatile threat and junior guards Dakarai Allen and D’Erryl Williams form one of the best postseason backcourts.

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove (21-5). Despite the loss of Arik Armstead to early graduation, the team’s fast-paced offense has not wavered. Senior two-sport star Cody Demps (15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists per game) is one of four Eagles averaging double figures in points.

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Parker Uu (Jesuit-Carmichael). The senior has a knack for coming up big in clutch situations. With the playoffs as his stage, Uu could make the big shots to help Jesuit (22-5) improve upon its runner-up finish from 2011.

FINALS PREDICTION: Sheldon 77, Jesuit 71


 

DIVISION II

North Coast

THE FAVORITE: Newark Memorial. The Cougars drop from Div. I, where they likely would’ve been the No. 2 seed to De La Salle, makes them nearly a hands-down favorite in this bracket. 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Maria Carrillo-Santa Rosa. The No. 7-seed Pumas probably don’t have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with Newark Memorial, but they certainly capable of an upset or two in the early rounds. They have a 51-48 win over No. 2 Windsor from late December.

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: While Casey Norris will draw most of the attention for top-seeded Newark Memorial, we say keep an eye on Joey Frenchwood. His on-ball defense is superb.

FINALS PREDICTION: Newark Memorial 61, College Park 47

 

Sac-Joaquin

THE FAVORITE: Sacramento (22-5). The second-seeded Dragons are three-time defending SJS champions, but all three titles came in Div. III. Derek Swafford recently won his 300th game as Sacramento’s coach and a loaded roster has plenty of weapons to add to his playoff win total. 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Bella Vista-Fair Oaks (23-4). Senior forward K.J. Logue is among the section’s top players, but head coach Dave Gonzalez can go 10-11 players deep. Bella Vista uses defensive pressure to wear down opponents with a steady flow of fresh players that could key an upset.

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Matt Hayes (Yuba City). Hayes ranks in the top five in the SJS in scoring (23.6 ppg) and rebounding (12.6 rpg) and has made most 3-point field goals (80). Yuba City (17-9) is seeded in the lower half of the field at No. 11, but Hayes makes them dangerous.

FINALS PREDICTION: Sacramento 68, Antelope 64

 

DIVISION III


North Coast

THE FAVORITE: Bishop O’Dowd. There is no reason to think the Dragons aren’t poised for another deep postseason run. All five of their regular season losses are to Div. I opponents, and none of them were NCS teams. 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: El Cerrito. The Gauchos might be the best No. 4 seed in any of the boys tournaments. Senior swingman Justin Johnson leads a very balanced roster that is underrated defensively. Unfortunately, they’ll need to upset O’Dowd to reach the final. 

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Kiran Shastri, Miramonte’s 6-foot-5 junior, can fill it up. He averaged 22 points/game and added 7.5 rebounds. If he’s on, the Matadors are the favorite in the bottom half of the bracket.

FINALS PREDICTION: Bishop O’Dowd 58, Miramonte 50


Sac-Joaquin

 

THE FAVORITE: Foothill-Sacramento (24-3). The Mustangs have won 19 straight with their three losses coming by a combined 10 points. Coach Drew Hibbs’ senior-laden team sees its title hopes improve with the move of three-time defending champ Sacramento’s move up to Div. II. Defense will be key to the team’s title hopes.

 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Center-Antelope (19-7). The third-seeded Cougars defeated Foothill in early December at the Jack Scott Tournament. Christopher Smith, who averages 20.9 points/game, missed five games with a sprained ankle before returning for the final two games of the season. Smith scored 25 in his first game back, a loss to Foothill.

 

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Michael Bryson (Foothill). Bryson is among the Section’s top scorers at 20 points/game. Headed for UC Santa Barbara in the Fall, the senior guard is a scoring threat anywhere on the floor.

 

FINALS PREDICTION: Foothill 66, Sierra-Manteca 54

 


 

 

DIVISION IV

North Coast

THE FAVORITE: Salesian. The Pride is easily the strongest No. 1 seed of any of the NCS boys brackets. The No. 3 team in the state should find little resistance in claiming its DIv. IV title in four years. 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Cardinal Newman. The No. 3 seed chalked up a 24 wins, the most in the bracket other than Salesian’s 26. Despite a young roster, the Cardinals are perennial visitors to the postseason and typically show the discipline/fortitude to win tight games.  

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Salesian has a slew of guys to watch, but the big ticket player is Jabari Bird (which is why he’s on the cover of this issue.) One of the the top recruits in the country for the Class 2013, he creates all sorts of matchup problems.

FINALS PREDICTION: Salesian 74, Cardinal Newman 59


Sac-Joaquin

 

THE FAVORITE: Modesto Christian (21-5). The Crusaders have won 14 of 15 entering the playoffs. Junior guard Raymond Bowles has scored in double figures in 23 of the team’s 26 games. The Crusaders, Div. IV champs from 2008-10, lost in the semifinals as the top seed a year ago.

 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: San Juan-Citrus Heights (17-9). The No. 6 seed Spartans have lost only once in 12 games in 2012. Senior forward Kevin Daniels (18.3 points/game and 5.2 rebounds) missed five league games before returning to score 22 in the regular season finale. 

 

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Rolaun Dunham (Riverbank). Dunham is just a sophomore, but he leads the team in scoring (14.2 points/game) and rebounding (8.2) despite playing guard. His versatility has helped the third-seeded Bruins to a 20-3 overall record.

 

FINALS PREDICTION: Modesto Christian 80, Riverbank 67

 

 

DIVISION V


North Coast

THE FAVORITE: St. Joseph Notre Dame. The top-seeded Pilots haven’t lost to a Div. V team all year. The defending NorCal champions aren’t bulletproof, but it’ll take a very strong effort to knock them off. 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Hoopa Valley. The No. 6-seed Warriors are always a tough matchup come playoff time, especially at home a mere six hours north of the Bay Area. And their league champion status means the only team they’d have to travel to is No. 2 Branson-Ross, which wouldn’t be until the semis. 

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: When you think of game-changing players you don’t think of Marin Academy. Think again. 6-foot-4 swingman Luke Winfield averages 23 points and seven rebounds for the No. 10 seed.

FINALS PREDICTION: Branson 54, St. Joseph 52


Sac-Joaquin

 

THE FAVORITE: Capital Christian (22-5). The Cougars had their 15-game winning streak snapped in their regular season finale, but still earned the top seed. Senior forward Matt Donlan (17.2 points/game) is one of only two seniors on the young team. Freshman power forward Trey Belton scored in double figures in each of the team’s final 14 contests.

 

THE BRACKETBUSTER: Elliott Christian-Lodi (23-4). The Eagles are seeded fifth after closing the year on an 18-game winning streak. Senior guard Sam Gotelli and younger brother Adam, a sophomore, combine for 26 points and 7.5 assists per game.

 

ONE PLAYER TO WATCH: Christopher Schwartz-Edmisten (Sacramento Waldorf). The senior guard led the state in scoring at 34.6 points/game for the fourth-seeded Waves. He made 52 percent of his field goals and 45 percent from beyond the 3-point line. 

 

FINALS PREDICTION: Capital Christian 79, Ripon Christian 72


johnwooton

SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *