March 4, 2012
A closer look at the NorCal Regional girls basketball playoffs

By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

Breaking down the Northern California Regional girls basketball playoffs that start Wednesday (top seeds have first-round byes):

Division I
1. Berkeley (NCS) 26-2
2. Lowell, San Francisco (SFS) 25-4
3. Kennedy, Sacramento (SJS) 23-8
4. Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills (SJS) 23-8
5. Oakland Tech, Oakland (OS) 18-11
6. Deer Valley, Antioch (NCS) 21-8
7. Gunn, Palo Alto (CCS) 19-6
8. Palo Alto (CCS) 19-5
9. Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove (SJS) 21-9
10. Mission San Jose, Fremont (NCS) 27-3
11. Armijo, Fairfield (SJS) 23-7
12. Heritage, Brentwood (NCS) 24-5

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Pleasant Grove (21-9) at Palo Alto (19-5)
Heritage (24-5) at Oakland Tech (18-11)
Washington (11-12) at Oak Ridge (23-8)
Castlemont (11-12) at Kennedy (23-8)
Armijo (23-7) at Deer Valley (21-8)
Mission San Jose (27-3) at Gunn (19-6)

Translation: No surprise here that Berkeley is the top seed as the Yellowjackets have been dominant this season - and seemingly for 30 years in the NorCal field. There are no 6-foot towers like seasons past, but there is a skilled player in Arizona State-bound Elisha Davis. Kennedy, a double-overtime winner over Oak Ridge in the Sac-Joaquin Section title game, could host three NorCal games if it keeps playing well. Oak Ridge got a No. 4 seed, with Berkeley looming if the wins continue. Pleasant Grove, which fell to Kennedy in a section semifinal, is a real darkhorse here.

Division II
1. St. Mary's, Stockton (SJS) 28-3
2. Carondelet, Concord (NCS) 26-3
3. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose (CCS) 24-5
4. St. Ignatius, San Francisco (CCS) 25-5
5. Casa Grande, Petaluma (NCS) 30-2
6. Pleasant Valley, Chico (NS) 35-3
7. McNair, Stockton (SJS) 27-4
8. Dougherty Valley, San Ramon (NCS) 20-9
9. Chico (NS) 17-5
10. Alameda (NCS) 22-7
11. River City, West Sacramento (SJS) 27-3
12. Florin, Sacramento (SJS) 24-5

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Chico (17-5) at Dougherty Valley (20-9)
Florin (24-5) at Casa Grande (30-2)
River City (27-3) at Pleasant Valley (35-3)
Alameda (22-7) at McNair (27-4)

Translation: St. Mary's of the Sac-Joaquin Section is the clear favorite here to win a fourth consecutive NorCal title, second in D-II, as it aims to become just the second team to win four consecutive state titles. Two local teams are Florin, which opens at Casa Grande, and River City, which travels to Pleasant Valley. The Panthers and Raiders fear no obstacle, of course. Those who could derail St. Mary's are Carondelete with Notre Dame-bound Hannah Huffman, though St. Mary's rolled in an earlier meeting this season.

Division III
1. Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland (NCS) 26-3
2.Sacramento (SJS) 25-6
3. Sacred Heart Cath., San Francisco (CCS)
4. Terra Nova, Pacifica (CCS) 23-6
5. Modesto Christian, Modesto (SJS) 25-6
6. Miramonte, Orinda (NCS) 28-1
7. San Marin, Novato (NCS) 24-6
8. Paradise (NS) 17-11
9. Christian Brothers, Sacramento (SJS) 23-7
10. Oroville (NS) 13-15
11. Vanden, Fairfield (SJS) 22-8
12. Acalanes, Lafayette (NCS) 15-13

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Christian Brothers (23-7) at Paradise (17-11)
Acalanes (15-13) at Modesto Christian (25-6)
Vanden (22-8) At Miramonte (28-1)
Oroville (13-15) at San Marin (24-6)

Translation: Sacramento got its desired No. 2 seed and targets a rematch with Bishop O'Dowd in the finals at Power Balance on March 17. O'Dowd, big and skilled, lost just one starter off its team last season and is quick - much like Sacramento, led by Jasmine Ware, Briana Womack, Jehiah Cook and a host of others. Sacramento is superbly coached and conditioned, and eager for more. When clicking, it's hard to imagine Sacramento losing. Christian Brothers opens against a Paradise team that hasn't won as many games or faced as strong a schedule, either, so a favorable draw.

Division IV
1. Salesian, Richmond (NCS) 28-3
2. St. Mary's, Berkeley (NCS) 24-7
3. Calaveras, San Andreas (SJS) 28-3
4. Soquel (CCS) 25-4
5. McKinleyville (NCS) 22-7
6. Mercy, San Francisco (CCS) 26-3
7. West Valley, Cottonwood (NS) 21-6
8. West Campus, Sacramento (SJS) 23-6
9. Anderson (NS) 20-9
10. Bear River, Grass Valley (SJS) 20-9
11. Marin Catholic, Kentfield (NCS) 22-8
12. Colfax (SJS) 18-9

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Anderson (20-9) at West Campus (23-6)
Colfax (18-9) at McKinleyville (22-7)
Marin Catholic (22-8) at Mercy (26-3)
Bear River (20-9) at West Valley (21-6)

Translation: It's loaded at the top with Salesian and St. Mary's with both targeting each other for a showdown in the NorCal finals at Folsom High. The teams are league rivals and have played three tight games, with St. Mary's winning two of them behind Gabby Green. Of local note, West Campus, Bear River and Colfax are long shots, though West will host its first-ever NorCal game. St. Mary's is the defending champion and has a win over D-I Berkeley, if that's any indication of power.

Division V
1. Brookside Christian, Stockton (SJS) 26-4
2. Eastside College Prep, East Palo Alto (CCS) 15-13
3. St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda (NCS) 20-10
4. Hamilton, Hamilton City (NS) 29-0
5. Pinewood, Los Altos Hills (CCS) 18-12
6. Turlock Christian, Turlock (SJS) 26-4
7. Ripon Christian, Ripon (SJS) 21-5
8. International, San Francisco (NCS) 21-10
9. Portola (NS) 25-5
10. San Francisco University (NCS) 26-5
11. Durham (NS) 11-16
12. San Domenico, San Anselmo (NCS) 22-7
13. Capital Christian (SJS) 17-12
14 Colusa (NS) 20-7

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Portola (25-5) at International (21-10)
San Domenico (22-7) at Pinewood (18-12)
Capital Christian (17-12) at Hamilton (29-0)
Colusa (20-7) at St. Joseph (20-10)
Durham (11-16) vs. Turlock Christian (26-4) at Calvary Christian
SF University (26-5) at Ripon Chrisitian (21-5)

Translation: Brookside and scoring guard Tiara Tucker got the top seed in a field long dominated by the Bay Area, with East Side Prep and St. Joseph still factors. The real darkhorse is the lone unbeaten team in the field in Hamilton City.
* Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson



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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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