Wednesday is stage two of the first round of the NCS playoffs.  It is the smaller school’s version.
There was one game that stood out more than any other when the first round pairings were announced.
That game was Roseland University Prep at Cardinal Newman.  That game was a big reminder of what the NCL world has become.
For those of you that haven’t read me to long,  I am an NCL fan from way back.  I followed Cloverdale in particular, since before I was in high school.  I followed league championships, section championship and even a couple of state titles.  I was a minor part of some of those teams, a very minor part from being a ball boy to writing for the local paper.  In my spare time, I was born and raised their.  I even graduated from its high school.

Cloverdale Basketball
It has been difficult for small schools like Cloverdale to compete in the D4 playoffs.

It hurts a little to see what the NCL world has become, since the schools have grown large enough to move to Division 4. The NCL is in this division for one purpose and that is to take a loss and go home.
When the playoffs began, there were 180 teams in the six divisions, including boys and girls. Forty six of those teams won at least twenty games.  Roseland University Prep is one of those forty six teams.  They won the NCL II race going 14-0. Their reward is a No. 16 seed and a trip to Cardinal Newman.  They are one of six, twenty win teams that are a double digit seeds.  Two others are from the NCL.
The thing is, record and all, the seeding were pretty much expected.
This is not to blame Cardinal Newman for this; they seem like they are where they belong.  Salesian has won four of the last six section title.  It is just that the NCL world shouldn’t be here.  Plus, Division 4 is brutal.  In the Boys Division all teams are over .500.  Every other bracket has at least two teams under .500, except for the Division 1 Boys.
If you want more proof about the NCL role in this division, it was about 2010 that the NCL School’s started getting big enough to get a good portion of its league in Division 4.  Their first round playoff record is 2-17.  One of the wins last year was by Willits, who defeated fellow NCL member Roseland University Prep.  The other was back in 2010 when Cloverdale, as a No. 6 seed, defeated Lick Wilmerding 61-52.  Neither team won in the second round.
The No. 6 seed is by far the highest any NCL team has been in Division 4 since that season.  Last year Willits at Roseland University Prep was a No. 9 vs. 8. Every other NCL team since 2010 has been a double figure seed.  That does change this season with Cloverdale, who is a No. 9.
Not only is the record ugly, but so are most of the games.  Of the seventeen losses, 13 have been by twenty points or more.  Five games were by 40 or more.  Cloverdale was in two of those games.  There have been two games with less than a ten point difference.  Middletown was in both of those games as a No.13 seed in 2011 and 2012.
On the Girls side, numbers are even worse. Since 2011 the NCL I World has lost twelve of thirteen.  The only win was in 2011, when Cloverdale as a No. 9 defeated Ursuline 60-59.  That was Ursuline’s last basketball game.  Of the 12 losses, two were by less than twenty points.
I am sure if I looked into it deeper, other leagues get this kind of treatment too.  The NCL world can’t be the only ones can they?  This one just hits home.
I don’t know what the answer is, but it does seem fixable if someone wants to fix it.
Just not sure what the fix is.
If I was a coach in the NCL world, I would see if there would be support to drop out of the NCS and have one big NCL tournament at the end of the season.
No. 16 Roseland University Prep (20-6) at No. 1 Cardinal Newman (26-2)…8 pm
No. 8 Fortuna (18-9) at No. 9 Cloverdale (20-5)…7 pm
No. 13 Willits (20-6) No. 4 Saint Mary’s (Berkeley) (15-10)…7 pm
No. 14 Kelseyville (18-7) at No. 3 Salesian (18-10)…7 pm
Tom Bofigli pic
Tom Bonfiigli is looking for his 700th career coaching win on Wednesday night.

Roseland University Prep got a bad break in the pairings.  Cardinal Newman is the only team of the top five that won a league championship.  Had Roseland Prep been matched against any of the other four, because of the league champion rule, they would have been the home team.
The home game didn’t help them last season.  As a No. 8 seed they lost to Willits 52-31.
The expected win by Cardinal Newman, will be coach Tom Bonfigli’s 700th of his coaching career.
Less than a month ago, Cloverdale lost a home game to Fortuna 58-51.  Two of Cloverdale’s five losses are to Humboldt Del Norte Big 5’s team and neither was to league champion Arcata, who is a No. 5 seed.
Cloverdale gets the home game because of the league champion rule.
For most of the season, the odds on favorite to be the No. 1 seed was Salesian.  They lost two out of its last three games, including 66-51 loss to No. 2 St. Patrick’s/St. Vincent, a team they beat earlier this season 78-59.
No. 14 John Swett (13-15) at No. 3 Cardinal Newman (23-5)…6:30 pm
No. 8 Marin Catholic (17-11) at No. 9 Middletown (20-6)…7 pm
No. 11 Kelseyville (16-9) at No. 6 Justin Siena…7 pm
No. 12 Willits (11-14) at No. 5 Arcata (19-9)…6:30 pm
No. 13 Healdsburg (17-10) at No. 4 Piedmont (16-10)…7 pm
Cardinal Newman goes into the playoffs with an area wide best 17 game winning streak.
Middletown gets a home game because of the league champion rule.
No. 10 Clear Lake (11-15) at No.7 Marin Academy (13-11)…7 pm
No. 11 St. Vincent de Paul (16-10) at No.6 Head Royce School (18-7)…7 pm
No. 14 Sonoma Academy (15-8) at No. 3 St. Joseph Notre Dame (14-14)…8 pm
No. 7 Convent of Sacred Heart (12-8) at No. 10 Sonoma Academy (17-3)…7 pm
No. 11 Upper Lake (22-4) at No. 6 Bay School of SF…6:30
No. 16 St. Vincent De Paul (10-16) at No. 1 Valley Christian (24-4)….8 pm
No. 3 Archbishop Hanna (22-4) BYE…will host Round Two game Saturday
No. 4 Rio Lindo Adventist Academy (19-5) BYE…will host Round Two game Saturday
No. 11 Realm Charter (15-9) at No. 6 Rincon Valley Christian (15-11)…7 pm
No. 10 Tomales (9-8) at No. 7 Anderson Valley (17-8) 7 pm
No. 9 Ferndale (5-17) at No. 8 Mendocino (18-8)…8 pm
No. 3 Round Valley BYE…will host Round Two game Saturday
No. 4 Summerfield Waldorf BYE…will host Round Two game Saturday
No. 11 Anderson Valley (9-8) at No. 6 Rio Lindo Adventist Academy (17-6)….7 pm
No. 9 Rincon Valley Christian (12-12) at No. 8 Mendocino (11-6)….6:30 pm
No. 12 Point Arena (15-10) at No.5 Cornerstone Christian (20-7)…7 pm
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