There is one week before most of the league races get started, although the NCL II race has already begun.

That is almost going to be like a sigh of relief from the coverage standpoints, as the games get cut well in half and will be in the area.

That is only one week away.

With the schools out for the holidays, it was basketball time and for most, a lot of traveling to go with it. Here is a recap and what is left before league play starts.


There were two North Bay League teams in the tournament and both went 2-1, the loss being to the Tournament Champion Washington of Fremont, who won the tournament by winning three games by a combined nine points, the last two against Maria Carrillo and Windsor.

The win over Windsor was in the championship game.  Windsor had a shot at winning this tournament for the first time.   The shot was missed at the buzzer and Washington took a 50-49 victory.   Washington had held off Maria Carrillo the night before 58-53.

That wasn’t the only local tournament.  Rincon Valley Christian hosted a tournament.

Willits ended an eye opening pre-league schedule by cruising to the Boys championship.   While Washington won three close games to win the title in Windsor, Willits took three one sided wins to win the title at Rincon Valley Christian.   The closest game was the opening round 64-46 win over Urban.

Willits goes into league play 10-2.


Tournament mania ends with the annual event at Piner High School.  There are five local teams in the event which starts on Thursday, which means there will be a local matchup.   That will be the last game of the night when two old NBL foes, Piner and Santa Rosa meet.


4 pm—Acalanes vs. Rancho Cotate

5:30—-Eureka vs. Cardinal Newman

7 pm—Healdsburg vs. Mt. Eden

8:30—Piner vs. Santa Rosa

The defending champion is Acalanes who defeated last year’s great Cardinal Newman team in the championship game.  That ranks as the upset of the year and maybe many years.   We all know where Cardinal Newman finished the season.  Acalanes finished 8-18, which like a blimp as it is the first time they didn’t finish over .500 since the 2005-06 season.    The Don’s are 6-3 record, so if they successfully defend their title, they will have more wins than all of last year.


It was a different kind of tournament for the Montgomery Boys who were in Santa Maria participating in the National Prep Classic.  It was also a fairly successful one as they went 3-1 against some of the toughest competition they will meet all season.

The different kind of weekend started on Friday, which was the opening day of the tournament.   After the six hour trip they found out that the teams they were scheduled to play, they weren’t going to play.  That is because the team from Inglewood had bus troubles and was going to be late.

The opponent was switched and Montgomery played the first game and won easily.  Then came another different.  In most tournaments you find out fairly soon who your play next, if you don’t already know.  The games involving the part of the bracket between teams playing in the next round are usually played fairly closed together.  That wasn’t the case here.   The way the bracket was set up the winner of the first game of the day, met the winner of the last game.   Montgomery had to wait nearly ten hours to scout the next opponent.  That turned out to be El Camino Real, which was the last game of the Day Two schedule and started close to 10 pm.   That was the game that the Vikings lost in what was a close game that went down to the end.

Then to prove that this Montgomery team can play at anytime, the last game of the tournament was played at 9 am against a team from Miami (yes Florida).  While most of us was still working on our morning coffee, Montgomery jumped out to a big lead early and held on for a 63-56 win.

The tournament is an indication of how strong of schedule they have had.   It was a schedule to get used to competition that would come during playoff time.  How they did against the schedule is Exhibit A, that this is a good basketball team.

The Vikings are 7-3.  Six of the seven wins are against teams that are over .500 and the three losses are to teams with a combined record of 28-7, including 11-0 Monte Vista. 

The El Camino Real team they lost to in the first round won the National Prep Classic for the second straight season.

They have a chance to get revenge on the third team that defeated them when they meet Freedom at home on Friday Night.  On December 21st, Freedom won its own tournament with a 64-49 win over Montgomery in the Championship Game.

That’s not it with the pre-league schedule.   Less than 24 hours later Montgomery travels Pleasant Hill to meet College Park, which will have a bearing on the North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs.    In the power rankings Montgomery is No. 1, College Park No. 2 and has a win over defending champion Newark Memorial, who is No. 3.

Montgomery travels to Santa Rosa to start the NBL race next Wednesday.


As a combined 10-14 record would suggest, it was a mixed bag for the eight teams that participated in the West Coast Jamboree Girls tournament which had brackets scattered all over the East Bay. 

St. Helena was the only local team that won its bracket by taking the Onxy Bracket for the second straight second.   It was an optimistic turn of events for St. Helena who won three games all last season and went into this tournament with no wins.

Windsor was the defending Coral Bracket champion and went to the championship game before losing to Sheldon of Sacramento 52-48.  Windsor is 9-2 on the season.

Santa Rosa undefeated season came to an end in the Diamond Bracket.    The Panthers lost in the opening round in a one sided game and how tough that bracket was, it didn’t look to promising for the rest of the tournament.   But Santa Rosa won the last two games and raises its record to 8-1.  Both those wins will help come NCS Seeding time.

The Panthers have one more pre-league game at home against Clayton Valley Charter on Saturday.  They open league play next Tuesday (the 7th), renewing one of the best rivalries in the area when they travel to Montgomery.


Both the SRJC Men and Women open up Big 8 play next Tuesday at Modesto.  

The SRJC Men do have one more game before that at Redwoods on Saturday.    They have been off since before Christmas. When they were last in action they won their own Kris Kringle Classic, the three wins evened the season record at 6-6.

The SRJC Women are off until the league game next Tuesday and are coming off a very promising weekend.   It showed so much promise that they were noticed, making the state rankings for the first time checking at No. 18.

The promising weekend was a second place finish at a tournament at San Jose City College.

The second win was a 58-56 win over San Joaquin Delta who went into the game 11-2 and ranked No. 3 in the state.  They are also considered favorites to win the Big 8 race.

The following night they lost to No. 2 Fresno 81-76 in the championship game.

Former Casa Grande star Gretchan Harrigan is leaving her mark at SRJC.  On Thursday when they rallied in the second half to defeat Canyons 81-76, Harrigan had a remarkable game scoring 41 points and pulling down 20 rebounds.

In the next two games she scored 27 and 37 and pulled down eight rebounds in each game.  In the three games combined she was 43 of 68 from the field which is an impressive 63%.

On the season she is averaging nearly 25 points a game and nine rebounds.   She has scored at least twenty points in eight of the last night games and has hit the 30 point mark three times including the 41 point game against Canyons.

As for the league races on the Men side look out for Diablo Valley and Sierra who are a combined 24-6 and are both in the top twenty.   In the last rankings, which were before Christmas, Diablo Valley was ranked No. 8 in the state.  Since then they have won three straight and are 12-2.  One of the wins is over No. 4 Ohlone, who handed Diablo Valley its two losses earlier in the season.

On the Women side San Joaquin Delta, Sierra and Diablo Valley are all ranked in the top 20.


We will have the first rankings of the season.   

Won’t that be easy to figure out?

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