NOR CAL FIRST ROUND PREVIEW
When it comes to picking the teams for the Nor Cal portion of the state playoffs, I am not going to act like I am some kind of expert, especially about the teams outside the area. Heck I don’t consider myself an expert for the local teams and the North Coast Section Playoffs. Having said that, it appears the local teams did alright.
As expected, the Cardinal Newman Girls got the best news. Less than twenty four hours after dropping the NCS Division 4 championship game, they were named the No. 1 seed in the Nor Cal Division 4 bracket. To add to the good news, the Division 4 bracket is only a twelve team bracket, so Cardinal Newman gets a first round bye and doesn’t play its first game until next Saturday. As expected, Salesian was moved to the open division and to show what a difference that is, they are a No. 6 seed in an eight team bracket. That means that they don’t even get a home game.
Saying the Cardinal Newman Girls got the best news is relative. Other teams got good news in the form of a home game instead of a long trip. The home teams are the Montgomery and Cloverdale Girls, along with the Anderson Valley Boys. The Montgomery and Archbishop Hanna Boys have to travel. All those first round games are on Wednesday.
The one semi-disappointment was after being told to be ready, Windsor wasn’t invited. None of the NCS Division 2 teams were picked to the Open Division, so there was no room.
The Open Division is a strange animal. The section champions who are moved up to the open, have a tougher road to a state championship than the teams they beat to win the championship.
As far as a run for a State Championship goes, it is a good thing that the local teams can’t win a North Coast Section Championship.
The North Coast Section playoffs for the most part went to form. There are 12 brackets (six boys and six girls). Eleven of the twelve were won by the No. 1 seed. The only number one that didn’t win was Windsor. Only in the Division 1 Boys championship game did the No. 1 seed have to beat someone besides No. 2 or 3. The winner of Division 2 was No. 3 El Cerrito.
FIRST ROUND (ALL GAMES WEDNESDAY)
When the brackets first came out it was announced all game would start at 7. The game in Cloverdale has been changed to 6. If any other games change let us know.
DIVISION 2 BOYS
No. 11 Montgomery (17-12) at No. 6 Whitney (24-6)…7 pm
The win over Windsor got Montgomery this game. This game is becoming routine for the Montgomery program. This is the sixth time in seven seasons they have gone this far. That is the good news. The not so good news they have lost four of five in the first round.
Whitney is a young school from Rocklin of approximately 1,900 and this will be a special night for them, playing the first Nor Cal Game in school history. The school’s first year was 2003 and they played its first Varsity season in 2006. In the school’s brief history, going into this season they had three playoff wins. As the No. 4 seed in the Sac Joaquin section they won two, before losing in the Semi-Final to No. 1 Sacramento 88-57. Sacramento won the section championship, is 29-1 on the season and the No. 4 seed in the Open Division.
It is hard to match up teams from out of the area like this. The closest comparison you can note is the power rankings. Whitney is much higher in the power rankings than Montgomery. Whitney is No. 82 in the state. Montgomery is at No. 431.
DIVISION 2 GIRLS
No. 9 St. Ignatius (13-14) at No. 8 Montgomery (21-10)…7 pm
You could say the comeback season for Montgomery is complete. This was the first time in three years they won twenty games. They also hosted a Nor Cal playoff game that season, which is the only one during the Max Preps era. So this has turned into a special year indeed.
The record for St. Ignatius gives Montgomery fans hope, but it comes with a warning. They have lost to some power pack teams including Berkeley (No. 7 in Division 1), Sacred Heart Cathedral (No. 1 in Division 3), Archbishop Mitty (No. 3 in Open Division), Miramonte (29-0 and No. 2 in Open Division and to Cardinal Newman. The Cardinal Newman game was on December 19th and the final was 72-38. Of course Montgomery went 0-3 against Cardinal Newman.
Power rankings wise St. Ignatius is the favorite. The San Francisco school is No. 131 in the state. Montgomery sits at No. 174.
Montgomery’s last game was a 71-34 loss to Carondelet in the NCS Division 2 semi-finals. Carondelet was the No. 1 seed in Division 2 and followed that up with a 68-42 win over No. 2 Acalanes in the championship game. It was Carondelet’s tenth section championship in 13 seasons. To show you what a different world the Open Division is. In the eight team bracket, Carondelet is No. 8.
DIVISION 4 GIRLS
No. 1 Cardinal Newman (27-5) has a first round bye
Cardinal Newman first game will be at home on Saturday March 12th at 6 pm. They will meet the winner of the No. 9 Venture Academy and No. 8 Scotts Valley game, which is on Wednesday night.
Venture Academy is from Stockton and Scotts Valley, where the game will be played, is southwest of San Jose. Power ranking wise Scotts Valley is the favorite.
DIVISION 5 GIRLS
No. 11 Mariposa County (21-8) at No. 6 Cloverdale (24-7)….Game has been changed to 6 pm
According to a post by a Cloverdale player on Facebook this is the first time Cloverdale will host a Nor Cal game in two decades.
Mariposa County is a school from, well, Mariposa, which isn’t too far away from Yosemite.
This is a big moment for this program. They haven’t been in a Nor Cal game during the Max Prep era. This is also the only year during this time that they have won at least twenty games. Last year they went 9-15. During the Max Preps era they have had as many seasons finishing under .500 as they have had over.
Power rankings wise Cloverdale is a favorite. Cloverdale is No. 231 in the state while Mariposa sits at No. 593.
Even though this is a Division 5 team, for whatever reason the power rankings for these two teams are in Division 4, which is the same as Cardinal Newman.
Cloverdale is pretty happy they aren’t in that division.
DIVISION 6 BOYS
No. 6 Chester (22-6) at No. 3 Anderson Valley (22-6)…7 pm
No. 5 Archbishop Hanna (26-5) at No. 4 Stockton Christian (24-4)..7 pm
One week ago Anderson Valley defeated Archbishop Hanna 63-61 in overtime in one of the NCS Division 6 semi-final games.
What a difference that overtime game means. A home game for one compared to a two hour trip for the other.
Anderson Valley gets the home game. They lost the Division 6 championship game to Emery 59-46.
If you are wondering where Chester is they are Northeast of Chico and have a four hour trip.
Power ranking wise, Chester is the favorite. They are No. 498 in the state. Anderson Valley is No. 609.
Strangely enough power ranking wise, Archbishop Hanna is the favorite at No. 542 and yes they are ahead of Anderson Valley. Stockton Christian sits at No.649.
This is the first time that Division 6 has had a Nor Cal playoffs and it is as far as they go. It takes three wins to take the Nor Cal title. Emery is the No. 1 seed.
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