March 4, 2012
Breaking down the NorCal boys basketball playoff with top seeds, comments

By Joe Davidson

Here are the seeds, in order for the Northern California Regional boys basketball playoffs that start at home sites on Wednesday with comments (keep in mind that top seeds have first-round byes)

Division I
1. De La Salle, Concord (NCS) 27-2
2. Sheldon, Sacramento (SJS) 26-5
3. McClymonds, Oakland (OS) 18-10
4. Jesuit, Carmichael (SJS) 25-6
5. Bellarmine, San Jose (CCS) 18-11
6. Deer Valley, Antioch (NCS) 27-8
7. Piedmont Hills, San Jose (CCS) 27-3
8. Pleasant Grove, Elk Grove (SJS) 23-6
9. Castlemont, Oakland (OS) 14-9
10. Freedom, Oakley (NCS) 21-7
11. Bethel, Vallejo (SJS) 23-7
12. Castro Valley (NCS) 21-7

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Castlemont (14-9) at Pleasant Grove (23-6)
Castro Valley (21-7) at Ballarmine (21-7)
Bethel (23-7) at Deer Valley (27-8)
Freedom (21-7) at Piedmont Hills (27-3)

Translation: Sheldon got the desired No. 2 seed, meaning it is opposite of De La Salle, the longtime state power that bounced the Huskies in the semifinals last season. These teams target each other for a NorCal title rumble at Power Balance on March 17, the same floor where Sheldon won its third consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section large-school championship, downing rival Jesuit. De La Salle has won 10 North Coast Section titles, relying on its suffocating defense and the efforts of scorers Elliot Pitts and Amandi Udenyi. Jesuit earned a No. 4 seed and very well may run into De La Salle in a semifinal in the Bay Area. No. 6 Deer Valley of Antioch is led by 6-foot-9 post Marcus Lee, a national recruit who hurt his hamstring against De La Salle in the North Coast Section playoffs. Bellarmine-San Jose is a the 5 seed and has a won over NorCal D-II top-seed and defending state champion Mitty-San Jose.

Division II
1. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose (CCS) 27-3
2. Newark Memorial, Newark (NCS) 26-4
3. Serra, San Mateo (CCS) 23-6
4. Antelope (SJS) 30-1
5. Chico (NS) 25-3
6. Lodi (SJS) 23-6
7. Bella Vista, Fair Oaks (SJS) 25-5
8. Windsor (NCS) 26-5
9. McNair, Stockton (SJS) 23-5
10. Shasta, Redding (NS) 18-10
11. Las Lomas, Walnut Creek (NCS) 19-10
12. College Park, Pleasant Hill (NCS) 20-9

Opening-round game, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
McNair (23-5) at Windsor (26-5)
College Park (20-9) at Chico (25-3)
Las Lomas (19-10) at Lodi (23-6)
Shasta (18-10) at Bella Vista (25-5)

Translation: Mitty got the top seed, as expected, give its pedigree this season and with so many players back from its state title team of last season. A bit of a surprise is Antelope gaining just a No. 4 seed, despite having the state's longest winning streak of 29 games. Clearly, the Bay Area teams and sections were rewarded with tradition and overall strength of schedule. Antelope is on the same side of the bracket as Mitty, meaning a potential game at the Monarchs on March 13. Newark Memorial could draw Bella Vista in a second-round game. Serra of San Mateo got the No. 3 as survivors of the rugged, battle-tested West Catholic Athletic League.

Division III
1. Sacred Heart Cathedral, SF 25-5
2. Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland (NCS) 24-5
3. Foothill, Sacramento (SJS) 28-3
4. Campolindo, Moraga (NCS) 22-6
5. Mission, San Francisco (SFS) 23-10
6. El Camino, South San Francisco (CCS) 25-5
7. Enterprise, Redding (NS) 20-8
8. Sierra, Manteca (SJS) 27-3
9. Miramonte, Orinda (NCS) 19-9
10. Lindhurst, Olivehurst (SJS) 24-7
11. El Cerrito (NCS) 20-8
12. Center, Antelope (SJS) 21-8
13. Foothill, Palo Cedro (NS) 21-8

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Miramonte (19-9) at Sierra (27-3)
Center (21-8) vs. Mission (23-10) at Kezar
Foothill-Palo Cedro (21-8) at Campolindo (22-6)
Lindhurst (24-7) at Enterprise (20-8)

Translation: Foothill-Sacramento seeks its third NorCal title under coach Drew Hibbs, and is in the same bracket as second-seeded Bishop O'Dowd, the two-time defending NorCal champion. The Mustangs fear no one, of course, and have beaten all four of its Sac-Joaquin Section playoff foes by at least 20 points. A Foothill-O'Dowd showdown would happen in Oakland on March 13. O'Dowd is big, headed by Washington State-bound Richard Longrus. Sacred Heart is the top seed and routed Jesuit earlier this season.

Division IV
1. Salesian, Richmond (NCS) 30-2
2. Modesto Christian, Modesto (SJS) 26-5
3. Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton (CCS) 21-6
4. Central Valley, Shasta Lake (NS) 20-8
5. Ripon (SJS) 18-13
6. St. Patrick/St. Vincent, Vallejo (NCS) 19-11
7. Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa (NCS) 26-5
8. Half Moon Bay (CCS) 23-6
9. Calaveras, San Andreas (SJS) 19-9
10. Marshall, San Francisco (SFS) 15-14
11. Riverbank (SJS) 23-4
12. Gridley (NS) 14-13
13. Arcata (NCS) 24-5

Opening-round games, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:
Calaveras (19-9) at Half Moon Bay (23-6)
Gridley (14-13) at Ripon (18-13)
Arcata (24-5) at Central Valley (20-8)
Riverbank (23-4) at St. Patrick/St. Vincent (19-11)
Marshall (15-14) at Cardinal Newman (26-5)

Translation: It's Salesian by a landslide, given the state power's size, speed, skill and schedule, including a win at Sheldon. Modesto Christian is the second seed and gives the Sac-Joaquin Section some hope.

Division V
1. St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda (NCS) 26-4
2. Pinewood, Los Altos Hills (CCS) 25-2
3. Capital Christian, Sacramento (SJS) 25-5
4. Liberty Christian, Redding (NS) 25-1
5. Central Catholic, Modesto (SJS) 24-6
6. Branson, Ross (NCS) 24-9
7. San Francisco University (NCS) 20-10
8. St. Francis CCC, Watsonville (CCS) 17-12
9. Durham (NS) 19-10
10. Ripon Christian, Ripon (SJS) 23-6
11. Fall River, McArthur (NS) 23-5
12. Bentley, Lafayette (NCS) 23-7
13. Sacramento Waldorf, Fair Oaks (SJS) 25-4
14. Tulelake (NS) 24-4

Opening-round game, Wednesday, 7 p.m.:Durham (19-10) at St. Francis-Watsonville (17-12)
Bentley (23-7) at Central Catholic (24-6)
Sacramento Waldorf (25-4) at Liberty Christian (25-1)
Tulelake (24-4) at Capital Christian (25-5)
Fall River (23-5) at Branson (24-9)
Ripon Christian (23-6) vs. SF University (20-10) at Kezar

Translation: Capital Christian, first-time Sac-Joaquin Section winners, has the more favorable bracket as it will not have to face No. 1 St. Joseph-Alameda until the finals, should it get that far. Capital is young yet dangerous with senior leader Matt Donlan and veteran coach Terry Battenberg. St. Joseph is led by legendary coach Don Lippi, who has 698 wins, and he was able to replace an entire rotation that won two straight NorCal titles. Sacramento Waldorf and state scoring-leader Chris Schwartz-Edmisten is still alive.

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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 or

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