|Four local basketball teams are headed to the Northern California playoffs, but not quite in the fashion they hoped.
The Sacred Heart Prep girls, and the boys from Menlo-Atherton, Menlo School, and Woodside Priory all lost their respective division championship games last week, meaning all four teams received lower seeds for the upcoming NorCal tournament, and will open the playoffs on the road.
Sacred Heart Prep
The Sacred Heart Prep girls (12-18) received a No. 5 seed in the Division V NorCal playoffs and will visit No. 4 Modesto Christian (26-5) on March 8.
The Gators lost 54-30 to Pinewood in the Central Coast Section title game on March 3. Sacred Heart led 21-15 at halftime, but scored only nine points in the entire second half, including a scoreless fourth quarter.
Sophomore guard Gabby Micek paced Sacred Heart with 12 points.
The win gave Pinewood its 10th consecutive girls' basketball CCS title.
After suffering the weekend's most surprising loss, Woodside Priory (25-4) will try and regroup before they face No. 3 Liberty Christian in Redding on March 8.
The Panthers, the top-seed in their Division V CCS tournament, lost the championship game 42-39 to No. 6 Bridgemont.
After the loss, Woodside Priory was given the No. 6 seed for the NorCal playoffs.
"I know absolutely nothing about Liberty, but this is a chance for redemption and we're looking forward to it," said Woodside Priory coach Al Klein. "The seedings don't make much of a difference. If we win, we're going have to play the top seeds anyway." The Panthers coughed up the ball 32 times in their CCS loss, and senior guard Reggie Willhite and junior 7-foot-1 center Greg Somogyi got into foul trouble.
Willhite led Woodside Priory with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Somogyi scored only four points, but had nine rebounds and 12 blocks.
After failing to upset Mitty in the Division II championship, M-A will face the Bay Area's leading scorer in Richmond's Wendell McKines in its NorCal opener.
The Bears (22-10) are seeded No. 6 and will visit No. 3 Richmond (22-8) on Friday.
M-A played Mitty tough in the CCS championship, but Mitty went on an 11-0 run that bridged the second and third quarters and pushed a 29-23 game to 40-23. It was a sequence where M-A didn't score for 7:45.
"I thought we played hard," said M-A coach Craig Carson. "Against a team like Mitty, you have to execute and rebound better."
Senior guard Stephen Call led M-A with 15 points.
Menlo School (26-6) received a No. 6 seed in the Division IV NorCal playoffs, and will cross the Bay to face No. 3 St. Mary's Berkeley (27-4) on Thursday.
The two teams met on Jan. 13, when St. Mary's held on for a 55-50 victory.
If the Vikings beat St. Mary's, they may be in for another rematch in the next round when they would likely face No. 2 Palma.
Palma beat Menlo 61-47 in the CCS Division IV championship on March 2.
Menlo kept things interesting, trailing 25-18 at the half. Yet, the Chieftains squelched any ideas of an upset by outscoring Menlo 16-8 in the third quarter for a 41-26 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Menlo senior guard Beau Heidrich scored 14 points and corralled 12 rebounds, while senior guard Michael Guertin and sophomore forward Alex Smith added 11 and nine points, respectively, for the Knights.
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