By Joe Davidson
The Sac-Joaquin Section men's and women's basketball playoff brackets offer all sorts of possibilities and twists and turns.
In men's Division I, Sheldon seeks a large-school three-peat and the program's fourth title since 2007 and fifth NorCal playoff berth since 2004. The Huskies are balanced, defensive minded and motivated under coach Joey Rollings.
If No. 8 Burbank can upend No. 9 Golden Valley, a terrific second-round game could pit those Titans at Sheldon on Friday.
A second-round game could also pit Pleasant Grove at Franklin. Oak Ridge is in the field despite the last-second loss to rival Ponderosa in a regular-season finale on Friday, thanks in large part due to the strength of the Delta River League and Lincoln of Stockton losing on Friday as well, costing the Trojans a playoff spot.
Jesuit is the No. 2 seed under coach Greg Harcos, eager for another shot at Sheldon, which has downed the Marauders six consecutive times, including in last year's D-I title game at Power Balance Pavilion and in a last-play thriller at Sheldon this season. Jesuit has won eight section titles lifetime in D-I and II.
Antelope and coach Rob Richards has won 25 consecutive games and looms as a favorite in D-II, having reached the finals a year ago with its first senior class. And there's three-time defending D-III champion Sacramento, which prompted the move up in division, per section rules. The Dragons have won six section titles lifetime.
In Division III, Foothill is the monster under coach Drew Hibbs, winners of 19 straight and seeking a fourth section title since 1997. Modesto Christian is the favorite in D-IV, having already won a section-best 13 titles in various divisions. Capital Christian and veteran coach Terry Battenberg - in his first season with the Cougars - are the favorites in D-V, a very talented field that also includes high-scoring Valley Christian under coach Brad Gunter.
D-VI is also a talented field, headed by No. 1 Victory Christian.
A look at the opening round games on Wednesday with second-round games at home sites on Friday:
No. 16 Pitman at No. 1 Sheldon
No. 9 Burbank at No. 8 Golden Valley
No. 12 Granite Bay at No. 5 Bethel
No. 13 Oak Ridge at No. 4 West
No. 14 Turlock at No. 3 Franklin-Elk Grove
No. 11 Rodriguez at No. 6 Pleasant Grove
No. 10 Chavez at No. 7 Kennedy
No. 15 Nevada Union at No. 2 Jesuit
No. 16 Downey at No. 1 Antelope
No. 9 St. Mary's at No. 8 Grace Davis
No. 12 Cosumnes Oaks at No. 5 Fairfield
No. 13 Rio Americano at No. 4 Bella Vista
No. 14 Johansen at No. 3 McNair
No. 11 Yuba City at No. 6 Del Campo
No. 10 Del Oro at No. 7 Lodi
No. 15 Buhach Colony at No. 2 Sacramento
No. 16 Dixon at No. 1 Foothill
No. 9 Natomas at No. 8 El Dorado
No. 12 Vista del Lago at No. 5 Weston Ranch
No. 13 East Union at No. 4 Lindhurst
No. 14 Patterson at No. 3 Center
No. 11 Valley at No. 6 Vanden
No. 10 Casa Roble at No. 7 Los Banos
No. 15 Placer at No. 2 Sierra
No. 16 Amador at No. 1 Modesto Christian
No. 9 Lathrop at No. 8 Encina
No. 12 Union Mine at No. 5 Calaveras
No. 13 Bear River at No. 4 Sonora
No. 14 Mariposa at No. 3 Riverbank
No. 11 Escalon at No. 6 San Juan
No. 10 Highlands at No. 7 Ripon
No. 15 Waterford at No. 2 Bret Harte
No. 9 Faith Christian at No. 8 Delta Charter
No. 12 Forest Lake vs. Elliot Christian at Tokay
No. 11 Woodland Christian at No. 6 Valley Christian
No. 10 Sierra Ridge at No. 7 Le Grand
Byes: No. 1 Capital Christian; No. 2 Central Catholic, No. 3 Ripon Christian; No. 4 Sacramento Waldorf
No. 8 Wilton Christian at No. 1 Victory Christian
No. 4 Tioga at No. 5 Brookside Christian
No. 6 Lodi Academy at No. 3 New Life Christian
No. 2 Sacramento Adventist at No. 7 Trinity Prep
For the women, Pleasant Grove is the top seed and favorite in Division I under coach James McKeever, having posted two Delta River League wins over Oak Ridge and St. Francis, the defending D-I section champion.
An intriguing opener is No. 12 St. Francis playing at No. 5 Monterey Trail. St. Francis is tradition with scores of titles and the Mustangs are basking in their first league title in basketball.
In Division II, St. Mary's is the clear favorite, again formidable with a full-court pressing team and shooters. All told, St. Mary's has won a section-leading 12 section titles. Bear River has won 10, Colfax nine, St. Francis six, El Camino and Nevada Union five and Kennedy and Bradshaw Christian four.
An intriguing second-round game could include No. 5 Del Oro at No. 4 Florin and/or No. 7 River City at No. 2 El Camino.
In Division III, defending champion Sacramento is the clear favorite, superbly coached by Michele Massari and supremely conditioned and eager for another NorCal title push. Looming on the opposite bracket is No. 2 Christian Brothers, one of the section's youngest teams.
No. 16 Pitman-Chavez at No. 1 Pleasant Grove
No. 9 Nevada Union at No. 8 Bethel
No. 12 St. Francis at No. 5 Monterey Trail
No. 13 Napa at No. 4 Kennedy
No. 14 Tokay at No. 3 Lincoln-Stockton
No. 11 Grant at No. 6 Oak Ridge
No. 10 Beyer at No. 7 Sheldon
No. 15 Franklin-Elk Grove at No. 2 Armijo
No. 16 Vacaville-Buhach Colony at No. 1 St. Mary's
No. 9 Del Campo at No. 8 Inderkum
No. 12 Rio Americano at No. 5 Del Oro
No. 13 Kimball at No. 4 Florin
No. 14 Central Valley at No. 3 McNair
No. 11 Antelope at No. 6 Grace Davis
No. 10 Rocklin at No. 7 River City
No. 15 River Valley at No. 2 El Camino
No. 16 Casa Roble at No. 1 Sacramento
No. 9 Weston Ranch at No. 8 El Dorado
No. 12 Dixon at No. 5 East Union
No. 13 Oakmont at No. 4 Vanden
No. 14 Los Banos at No. 3 Modesto Christian
No. 11 Patterson at No. 6 Manteca
No. 10 Foothill at No. 7 Benicia
No. 15 Valley at No. 2 Christian Brothers
No. 16 Mariposa at No. 1 Calaveras
No. 9 San Juan at No. 8 Liberty Ranch
No. 12 Sonora at No. 5 Ripon
No. 13 Hughson at No. 4 Bear River
No. 14 Linden at No. 3 West Campus
No. 11 Bret Harte at No. 6 Riverbank
No. 10 Bradshaw Christian at No. 7 Argonaut
No. 15 Venture Academy at No. 2 Colfax
No. 9 Big Valley at No. 8 Vacaville Christian
No. 12 Stone Ridge at No. 5 Sacramento Waldorf
No. 11 Denair at No. 6 Foresthill
No. 10 Central Catholic at No. 7 Elliot Christian
Byes: No. 1 Brookside Christian; No. 2 Turlock Christian; No. 3 Ripon Christian; No. 4 Capital Christian
No. 8 Valley Christian at No. 1 Victory Christian
No. 4 Faith Christian at No. 5 New Life
No. 6 Sacramento Adventist at No. 3 Trinity Prep
No. 2 Wilton Christian at No. 7 Lodi Academy