Both boys’ and girls’ basketball state playoff brackets have been announced for Divisions I through VI, and the first round features some intriguing match-ups for San Francisco teams.
No. 9 Folsom at No. 8 Riordan at 7 pm on Feb. 26 (winner plays at James Logan at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28) … Riordan, which lost 68-61 to Bellarmine in the Central Coast Section semifinals, faces a 25-6 Folsom team that lost in the Division I semifinals for the Sac-Joaquin Section against Modesto Christian. The Crusaders feature a very defensively sound team, headed by the Examiner’s All-City All-Defensive team nominees Chimae Ugbaja and Zach Quanico, but the offense can be exciting with cousins Je’Lani Clark and Bryce Monroe. When those two go cold, though, it’s tough for Riordan to score.
No. 10 Sacred Heart Cathedral at No. 7 Fresno-Bullard at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays in Ross, Calif., at Branson on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.) … After an improbable CCS Open Division crown, the Irish face a Bullard team that went 26-5 and reached the Central Section finals, before falling to Clovis West. Center Oscar Cheng is the featured talent, but junior Kori McCoy — playing in the shadow of personal tragedy — and clutch freshman Ray John Jackson complement distributor Cedric Reed Jr. and defensive standout Elijah Flowers. Oisin McCormack, a former soccer player, is also tough on the glass for the Irish. All the previously mentioned players are playing arguably their best basketball of the season at the moment, and playing it together. It’s hard to pick against a team that’s this locked in.
No. 9 Serra at No. 8 St. Patrick-St. Vincent in Vallejo at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 1 Stockton-St. Mary’s and No. 16 Carmel) … The Padres stunningly lost in the quarterfinals of the CCS Open Division playoffs and finished the year 17-9 overall and tied for third place in the competitive WCAL. The Bruins went 20-11 overall, beating a down El Cerrito team twice and narrowly losing to Bishop O’Dowd (63-60), but also getting blasted by state champ favorite Salesian (60-39), as well as Moreau Catholic (62-45) before losing 70-68 to Campolindo in the semifinals for the North Coast Section Division III. In other words, this is a perfect 8-9 matchup of teams that could probably have achieved more, but are right about in the middle of the pack.
No. 11 St. Ignatius at No. 6 St. Joseph-Notre Dame at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 3 Sacramento-Grant and No. 14 St. Francis) … The Wildcats won in the CCS Open Division consolation game, after bowing out of the CCS Open Division quarterfinals in a three-point loss to Bellarmine. At 13-13 this year, Rob Marcaletti’s team has had quite a few ups and downs, but Neal Begovich and Wrenn Robinson are a tough duo to count out, as both are in consideration for our All-City team, and both took home All-WCAL honors. The Pilots, Jason Kidd’s alma mater, went 19-7 this year and won 12 games in a row down the stretch before falling to Salesian in the NCS Division III semifinals, 54-41. An additional storyline: Marcaletti will be coaching against his own high school coach, Donald Lippi, a Bay Area coaching legend.
No. 13 San Jose-Leland vs. No. 4 Stuart Hall at Kezar Pavilion at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 5 Sonora and No. 12 Palo Alto) … The Knights shockingly fell to rival University this past weekend in the CCS Division V final after beating the Red Devils in three previous meetings this season. They’re a heavy favorite because of the depth of their lineup, and strength one through five. Alex Byrd is a dogged defender, Miles Amos an athletic driver, Nigel Burris a threat in the post as well as being a spot-up shooter from mid-range and outside the arc, Tomas Wolber is an effective distributor and Spencer O’Brien-Steele is a tough matchup on the glass. Leland, though, is 24-3 on the season, having won 11 straight before a grind-it-out defensive struggle against Mountain View, which the Chargers lost, 36-34, in the CCS Division II final.
No. 3 University vs. 14 San Jose-Piedmont Hills at Kezar Pavilion at 8 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays Feb. 28 against winner of No. 6 Modesto-Central Catholic and No. 11 Mountain view) … The Red Devils are an intriguing team. Charley Moore is an athletic driver and inconsistent shooter who’s more at home on the baseball diamond, but his bounciness and length are very tough to account for. Max Fried, despite being listed as a guard, is probably one of the more sound rebounders in the City. University has spent a lot of time at Kezar Pavilion between the Bay Counties League Tournament and the CCS bracket, so the Red Devils know the fickle rims of the aging facility better than the Pirates, coming up north from San Jose. Piedmont Hills is 22-5 on the year, having come in second in the Blossom Valley-Mt. Hamilton League and making it all the way to the CCS Division I title game against Palo Alto, where they fell 42-33.
No. 9 Sacramento-West Campus vs. No. 8 Mission at Kezar Pavilion at 5 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 1 Albany-St. Mary’s and No. 16 Redding-Enterprise) … The Bears completed yet another perfect season in Academic Athletic Association play, having won their 54th straight game against AAA competition to take home their fifth straight San Francisco Section title. They’re well-coached, disciplined and don’t make many mistakes. Led by senior Ben Knight (19.5 ppg), they also have a perimeter sniper in Jauraghn Torno (14.5 ppg, 36-percent 3-point FG%) and ace shooter Andre Villarino (37 percent from three, 44 percent from the field). Guard David Sonnier is also a major cog for Mission, averaging 12.5 ppg and a team-high 6.5 rpg. West Campus went 23-7 this year and averaged 68.1 points per game, but only shot 39 percent from the field as a team. They used defense more as their bread and butter, averaging 2.8 blocks and 9.0 steals per game.
No. 11 Durham at No. 6 Lincoln at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 3 Clear Lake and No. 14 McClymonds) … Lincoln (21-10) fell to Mission in the San Francisco Section title game this past weekend, but are on the come up. Freshman point guard Jordan Aquino can at times play too fast for his own good, but he’s the odds-on favorite to win the Examiner’s Freshman of the Year honors once the final ball drops on the season. Six-foot-seven senior Gage Cross is difficult to deal with on the glass, football player Rocky Marania is a physical presence in the open floor and both Joseph Fox and Pajri Samhi can get hot shooting. The Trojans went 19-10 this year, winning the Mid-Valley League with an 8-1 record.
No. 3 Jewish Community vs. No. 6 Vacaville Christian at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 (winner plays March 2 at 6 p.m. vs. winner of No. 2 Redding Christian vs. No. 7 Mendocino) … The Wolves lost in their first trip to the CCS Division VI finals this past weekend, but are a fundamentally-sound and hard-nosed team that will finally get to play on its own floor in the postseason.
No. 12 St. Ignatius at No. 5 Orinda-Miramonte at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 4 Bishop O’Dowd and No. 13 San Jose-Presentation) … Maddie Ennis is a Division I-level talent, who averaged a double-double over the first 18 games of the season (15.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg) and is a tough, hard-nosed competitor. Though the Wildcats went 16-10 overall and just 4-6 in WCAL play, they’re dangerous when they get hot. They lost in the CCS Open Division semifinals to eventual champion Mitty, but at one point this season won five straight, including a 59-54 win over City power Lowell, which went on to win the San Francisco Section title. Miramonte, led by Mia Mastrov, went 27-3 on the year, losing a tight 64-59 game to Bishop O’Dowd in the Division II North Coast Section title game.
No. 10 Placer at No. 7 Lick-Wilmerding at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner will play at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 against winner of No. 2 Oakland and No. 15 Santa Clara-Wilcox) … The Tigers went 24-6 on the season en route to a BCL West Tournament title earlier this month, and they’re armed with arguably the most intriguing prospect on either side of the bracket for San Francisco teams: freshman guard Annabel Schneiberg. The young shooter is already attracting collegiate attention and has a smooth, quick trigger. She’s slight of frame and looks very young, but that just means she hasn’t really hit a growth spurt yet. Placer (22-8) won 13 in a row before falling in the Division III Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals to eventual champion Christian Brothers.
No. 12 Marin Catholic at No. 5 Sacred Heart Prep at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner will play on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 4 Seaside an No. 13 Sacramento-West Campus ) … The Wildcats (23-7) breezed through the competitive MCAL at 14-2, with their only losses coming to eventual league champ Redwood and Drake, before running into Lick-Wilmerding in the NCS Division IV quarterfinals. Seeded third, Marin Catholic lost to the No. 6-seed Tigers, 56-49. SHP has been fairly middling, going 16-11 overall and 5-7 in West Bay-Foothill action, where it finished square in the middle of the pack.
No. 16 Lincoln at No. 1 Silver Creek at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner will play at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 against winner of No. 8 Fresno and No. 9 Monterey Trail) … The player to watch is center Lily Donovan, who had 20 boards in the Mustangs’ AAA title game loss on Friday to Lowell. Donoval led the team with 8.3 boards per game, and with 12.1 points per game. Beyond just being a stat stuffer, Donoval paces the team in field goal percentage (44 percent from the field) and is a capable free throw shooter, hitting 56 percent at the line, behind co-team leaders Kaitlin Yuen and point guard Angelina Jimenez, who hit 60 percent of her shots at the line. Jimenez makes the offense go, with 8.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game, while also adding a team-high 1.0 block per game (tied for the team lead with Donovan).
No. 14 Pleasanton-Amador Valley at No. 3 Lowell at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 against winner of No. 6 Piedmont and No. 11 Pleasant Valley) … The Cardinals (17-8) were the wire-to-wire champions of the Academic Athletic Association, getting revenge on Lincoln on Friday for their resounding defeat a year before. Amador Valley (17-13) entered the NCS Division I tournament as a 12 seed, and managed to make a run to the semifinals, dispatching No. 5-seed American 45-42, then No. 4-seed California 59-50 before being soundly beaten by No. 1 seed and eventual champion Carondelet, 74-59.
No. 9 University at No. 8 Salinas-Notre Dame at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 (winner plays on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. against winner of No. 1 Eureka-St. Bernards and No. 16 Rocklin-Western Sierra Collegiate Academy) … The Red Devils were dispatched 36-35 by Urban in the BCL West semifinals, but then managed to advance to the NCS Division V semifinals as the No. 4 seed, where they narrowly lost to No. 1 seed and eventual champion St. Bernards, 38-35. University has held its last four opponents to under 40 points, and in fact the only game in their last 15 that they’ve allowed more than 50 came at the hands of Lick-Wilmerding at Oracle Arena. Salinas-Notre Dame backs into the proceedings at 13-13 overall, and just 1-9 in Pacifid Coast-Gabilan league play — last in the standings. That said, the Spirits have averaged 48.4 points per game despite shooting just 30 percent as a team, and swipe 12.5 steals per contest. Only a single player on Notre Dame averages in double figures in scoring — Angela Leavitt. The junior averages 10.4 points per game, and 4.3 rebounds. Sophomore Corrine Sargenti leads Notre Dame on the glass with 8.4 rebounds per game.