February 26, 2013
Sierra College, Yuba and American River earn NorCal Basketball playoff seeds

Unbeaten San Francisco City College earned the No. 1 seed in the California Community College Men's Northern California Basketball Regional tournament that starts this week.

RB Butterfield 6.JPG

The Rams capped their first unbeaten regular season in program history and now target their second state title since 2011 (the Rams lost the 1986 state finals to Sacramento City College). CCSF has perhaps the best backcourt in the state with guards Delon White and Quincy Smith.

Fresno City College is the No. 2 seed. It won its third state title since 2005 last season.
Regional teams in the mix include Sierra College, seeded sixth at 19-8 and facing No. 12 West Valley on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Rocklin, American River and Yuba.

Sierra and coach John Fusano finished second in the Big 8 Conference. This is the highest playoff seed for Fusano in his 12 years at Sierra.

The Wolverines spent a good part of this season ranked in the state top 10 poll. Sophomore guard Drew Brandon leads Sierra with a 15.5 point average to go with 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists. Center Jordan Ngatai of New Zealand is scoring 15.2 points and pulling in 9.8 rebounds. Gabe Finley and Pogos Trunyan average 11.2 and 10.2 points for Sierra.

Yuba College (21-7) is seeded seventh and opens at No. 7 Ohlone of Fremont (20-8) on Friday. The 49ers reached the State Final 4 last season at Cosumnes River College, falling to Fresno City in the finals. They replaced a host of starters and went 15-1 in winning the Bay Valley Conference for the 7th consecutive season, and they are 72-3 in conference play since 2008.

The low seeding disappointed veteran coach Doug Cornelius, who told the Marysville Appeal Democrat, "we just got reamed" in the seedings meeting.

Yuba has nine freshmen and two sophomores, making for one of the youngest teams in the state. Akachi Okugo, a freshman guard from Jesuit, leads the charge.

American River (12-13), seeded 18th and playing a facing No. 15 Merritt (14-12) in a play-in game Wednesday in Oakland.

ARC is led by sophomores Mardell Thompson and Chad Haysbert. Haysbert averages 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. Thompson scores 14.4 points a game.

The state finals return to CRC on March 15 and 17.

Bee photo by Randall Benton: Yuba College basketball head coach Doug Cornelius in 2012.

- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On podcast: ESPN1320.net

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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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