There were no upsets early for any of the heavies, but there were near upsets. Expect more nerves as the games tighten and the competition grows a bit more challenging. By late Saturday evening, we will have section champions crowned.
By Sunday evening, the NorCal playoff fields will be set, including the first Open Division, designed to put the monsters in the same field and to open it up a bit for the others.MaxPreps Northern California Top 25 Boys Basketball Rankings1. (Last week 1) Salesian (Richmond) 28-3
The Pride have won 73 consecutive games against NorCal foes, including plowing through two last week to open North Coast Section Division IV play in beating Gateway of San Francisco 65-33 and Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 75-42 with Jabari Bird
scoring 25. Next is Arcata for the second straight season with the section finals set for the weekend. Salesian this season has victories over Sheldon, Mitty and De La Salle. Salesian has an 18-game winning streak.View the 2013 North Coast Section boys basketball playoff brackets2. (2) Sheldon (Sacramento) 23-5
The Huskies have been scoring from three-point range and sharing the wealth in flexing early playoff muscle. Sheldon hit 23 bombs in two opening-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division I contests and had 26 total assists in looking the part of three-time defending champion. Ryan Manning
made six three-pointers to beat Bear Creek (Stockton) 94-40 and Antonio Lewis
made five in a 91-62 rout of Kennedy (Sacramento), putting the Huskies back into Sleep Train Arena for the semifinals. There, Sheldon will play Wednesday against Bethel (Vallejo). D'Erryl Williams
has been the steady floor leader, and he had a triple double against Kennedy. Tough losses to Mitty (San Jose) and Salesian likely mean a No. 3 seed in the Open playoffs at best should all the heavies win section titles as expected.View the 2013 Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball playoff brackets3. (3) Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 24-3
The Dragons warmed up for another NorCal title run with an 86-48 rout of Encinal (Alameda) to open North Coast Section Division III play. Sophomore post Ivan Rabb
continues to play like a national recruit. Headed for the Open Division, O'Dowd has won 17 consecutive games and have lost only to national power Mater Dei (Santa Ana), Windward (Los Angeles) and Mundelein of Illinois.4. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 23-5
The top-seeded Monarchs, two-time defending state Division II champions, survived a 59-57 victory over Soquel to open the Central Coast Section Open Division field. Mitty is the top seed and Soquel was No. 8, yet it nearly pulled the stunner as a buzzer three hit the rim. Next is a semifinal Wednesday against Riordan of San Francisco.
had 27 points, including the decisive three-point play late, and five blocked shots. Mitty is headed for the Open.View the 2013 Central Coast Section boys basketball playoff brackets5. (5) Serra (San Mateo) 24-4
The Padres held off upset-minded El Camino (San Francisco) in a Central Coast Section Open quarterfinal behind a career effort from Princeton-bound Henry Caruso
, who scored 13 of his 30 in the fourth quarter. Serra, seeded second in the field, rallied after a sluggish start. Next is Sacred Heart Cathedral, a West Catholic Athletic League rival, on Wednesday in a semifinal. It's extremely unlikely that Serra earns an Open berth as it has not been a multiple section champion, nor has it been highly state-ranked all season.
6. (6) De La Salle (Concord) 25-3
Playing a bit angry with a surprising No. 3 seed draw for the North Coast Section D-I playoffs, the Spartans put on a typical defensive clinic in stalling Berkeley 42-25. The Yellowjackets managed just 13 points through three quarters, two in the third. Next is a semifinal showdown against Deer Valley, a team that belted De La Salle 55-38 on Dec. 8. It's a different Spartans team now, headed by Elliott Pitts
, who had 16 points and nine rebounds against Berkeley. The Spartans are headed to the Open.7. (6) Modesto Christian 26-3
The Crusaders rolled in the first two games of the Sac-Joaquin Section D-III field in belting Manteca 58-16 and Fairfield 79-40, leading to Tuesday's semifinal game against Weston Ranch (Stockton). Modesto Christian under coach Gary Porter has a section-record 14 section titles in various divisions, including D-I. Expect an Open bid.8. (8) Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 23-5
The Eagles are the No. 2 seed behind Sheldon in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-I field and played the part in beating Armijo (Fairfield) 75-62 and Franklin (Elk Grove) 71-30 as veteran seniors Matt Hayes
, Malik Thames
and Cole Nordquist
played well. Two losses were to Sheldon and one to Sacramento. Next is a semifinal against Bella Vista on Wednesday at Sleep Train Arena. Even a section title won't put Pleasant Grove in the Open as it doesn't have the pedigree.9. (9) Deer Valley (Antioch) 22-5
The Wolverines beat Heritage (Brentwood) 81-62 to earn another showdown against De La Salle, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. Marcus Lee
and Kendall Smith
led the way against Heritage as they have all season. Early season wins include De La Salle (Concord) (55-38) and Sacramento (97-96). Deer Valley is not an Open team as it hasn't won any recent section titles.
10. (10) Newark Memorial 21-7
The Cougars have won 11 consecutive games since falling to Deer Valley 55-54 in a nonleague showcase at Cal, including downing Casa Grande (Petaluma) 62-33 and Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 66-50 in the North Coast Section D-II field. Jo Jo Zamora
and Joey Frenchwood
have led the charge. This could be an Open team (pedigree includes reaching the NorCal finals last season and seeking a section repeat). Newark now plays Montgomery (Santa Rosa) in a semifinal. Another close loss was to Pleasant Grove 64-57. Newark has two wins over Dublin and a one-point loss to Salesian.
11. (11) Dublin 23-5
The Gales, seeded second in the North Coast Section D-II field, beat No. 7 Concord 86-69. Cameron Moses
had 22 points and eight rebounds and Joe McGlaston
had 21. Dublin takes on Mt. Eden (Hayward) in a semifinal.
12. (12) Sacramento 23-6
The Dragons have won seven Sac-Joaquin Section titles, one in D-I and six in D-III. Now it seeks its first in D-II. The top seeds beat Wood (Vacaville) 79-46 and Del Campo (Fair Oaks) 86-55 and now take on Grant (Sacramento) in a semifinal at Sleep Train Arena. Aaron Cameron
is a senior guard leader and Devin Young
is a freshman 6-foot-6 post of great promise. Early wins include Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove), Antelope, West Ranch (Valencia) and Chaminade (West Hills). Losses include Deer Valley, Dublin and Bishop O'Dowd. This isn't a likely Open team.13. (13) San Leandro 22-5
The Pirates earned the No. 1 seed in the North Coast Section D-I playoffs over No. 2 Deer Valley and No. 3 De La Salle and opened with an 82-74 victory over Logan (Union City). Next is Freedom (Oakley) in a semifinal. San Leandro will have earned its top seed with a section title. In addition to two losses to O'Dowd, San Leandro lost 77-72 to Sheldon early and beat Deer Valley 67-62.14. (14) Antelope 23-6
The defending Sac-Joaquin Section D-II champion Titans rallied to beat Benicia 60-54 in an opener and then muscled Burbank 57-40 to return to Sleep Train Arena, where they prepare for upstart Rocklin in a semifinal. Gabe Bealer
and Isaiah Ellis
provide a terrific 1-2 inside punch. Close losses include Sacramento (59-48) and Bullard (Fresno) 65-60). Even as a two-time section champion, this isn't an Open team.15. (17) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 28-2
The Cardinals have won 18 consecutive games and seek plenty more as the No. 2 seed behind Salesian in the North Coast Section D-IV playoff field. CN beat Cloverdale 75-46 and Justin-Siena (Napa) 70-54 behind leaders Kenny Love
and Corey Hammell
. Next is a semifinal against Marin Catholic (Kentfield).16. (18) McClymonds (Oakland) 19-7
Mack opened Oakland Section play with a win over Oakland Tech 56-48. Tahjee Williams
, a 6-1 senior guard, leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 18.8 and 9.8, respectively.17. (20) El Cerrito 21-9
The Gauchos, the No. 3 seed in the North Coast Section D-III field, beat Analy 63-43 in an opening-round game with Jovante Carleton
and Marcellus Pippins
going for 15 points each. Next is San Marin (Novato) as the Gauchos reach the semis for the fourth consecutive season. El Cerrito has three losses to Salesian, two in Tri-County League action in close games and in the league tournament finals.18. (21) Freedom (Oakley) 19-8
The Falcons beat Monte Vista (Danville) 68-62 as Elliot Smith
scored eight of his 14 in the fourth quarter for the No. 4 seeds in the North Coast Section D-I field. Freedom placed second to Deer Valley in the Bay Valley League standings. Smith, a 6-6 junior wing, averages 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds. Next is top-seeded San Leandro.19. (22) Bella Vista (Fair Oaks) 24-5
In their first march through the Sac-Joaquin Section D-I playoffs after years of success in D-II, the No. 3-seeded Broncos beat Chavez (Stockton) 77-49 and Lincoln (Stockton) 67-63 to set up an intriguing semifinal meeting with Pleasant Grove.
, a 6-3 wing, averages 12.6 points and 7 rebounds.20. (16) Monte Vista (Danville) 20-7
The Mustangs fell to Freedom (Oakley) 68-62 in a North Coast Section D-I quarterfinal, but the season may not be over. The waiting game includes news on whether or not a D-I team from the North Cost Section is picked for the Open (we're thinking De La Salle). As a No. 5 section seed, Monte Vista would be a likely pick for the NorCal postseason. What's more, the Mustangs split with De La Salle in East Bay Athletic League play.21. (22) Enterprise (Redding) 22-3
The Hornets of the Northern Section won the Sacramento River League and open the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in D-III that begin this week. Kaelan Crisosto
, a 6-foot junior guard, averages 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds for the Hornets.View the 2013 Northern Section boys basketball playoff brackets22. (NR) Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco) 18-9
The Crusaders of the muscle-bound West Catholic Athletic League beat Palo Alto 58-47 in the Central Coast Section Open playoffs, snapping Paly's 22-game winning streak, and now get to face some old friends in Mitty in a semifinal. Bobby Arenas
and Frankie Ferrari
had 19 and 16, respectively, for Riordon.23. (15) Palo Alto 23-2
The Vikings had their 21-game winning streak halted by Riordon in the Central Coast Section Open playoffs, but more worrisome is the ankle injury to that could keep Keller Chryst
out of the rest of the postseason. Aubrey Dawkins
had 24 for Palo Alto.24. (NR) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 17-10
Yet another West Catholic Athletic League bruiser in the NorCal mix with the Fightin' Irish, preparing for league rival Serra (San Mateo) in a Central Coast Section Open playoff. Serra won two of three meetings this season.25. (24) El Camino (South San Francisco) 22-6
The Colts pushed Serra to the brink before falling 74-66 in a Central Coast Section Open Division quarterfinal. Michael Smith
scored 24 and Elijah White
19 for El Camino, which now plays Piedmont Hills (San Jose) in a consolation this week.