The NBL schedule maker should take a bow.
With two games to go, three teams still have a chance at the league championship and two of the three teams are playing each other in both of the last two nights of league play.
The only team that might not like the schedule is Casa Grande, who has a one game lead over Montgomery and Cardinal Newman. Those are the teams that Casa Grande finishes with.
On the bright side, Casa Grande is the only team that can say that if they win their last two games, they will be league champions. For the other teams to be solo champions, they need help, and they need a lot of it.
When Montgomery and Cardinal Newman aren’t playing Casa Grande, they are playing Santa Rosa. The only way that either of those teams wins the championship outright is if they win both games and while one is beating Casa Grande, the other has to lose to Santa Rosa.
It will be hard to top the theater that was produced the first time the league went through this part of the schedule. At the time Casa Grande was No. 5 in the YSN365.com rankings, they made a statement that they were a real player when they pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Montgomery 55-44.
Next up was the famous Cardinal Newman game. That was the game Cardinal Newman scored 12 points in the last thirty seconds to steal a 60-54 win. That same night Montgomery rallied late in the fourth quarter to defeat Santa Rosa.
If you are thinking about the tie-breaker, for the league championship, that would be decided by who does the best in the North Bay League post season tournament.
For the No. 1 seed, Cardinal Newman holds the advantage in most tie-breakers, with Montgomery second.
Casa Grande is hoping that no tie-breaker is needed. If they go 2-0 they are league champs.
This race is being decided during the dreaded three game week. The first game was Monday with Casa Grande and Cardinal Newman each having twenty plus point wins.
That wasn’t the case for Montgomery who in its game at Windsor faced a fourth quarter that if they didn’t come through, they would basically be eliminated from the league race.
Windsor, behind a game high 25 points by Gabe Knight, led the game most of the way. A 10-3 run to start the fourth quarter gave Montgomery a 52-49 lead. It was a lead they didn’t lose, taking a 62-52 win. Erik Poulsen scored 20 points, one of three Vikings in double figures.
So it was a sigh of relief for Montgomery to get through that game. It is a sigh of relief they can’t enjoy too long with a home game with Casa Grande next.
When you throw the North Coast Section playoffs into the mix, this makes this an even bigger finish for Casa Grande. The Gauchos are No. 8 in the Division 2 power rankings, which makes them a bubble team for a first round home game. They have the advantage of the head to head win over Montgomery. Montgomery is No. 4 in the power rankings.
So the Wednesday game is not only big for a league championship, but maybe it is for the highest seed in the North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs.
NORTH BAY LEAGUE
No. 1 Casa Grande at No. 2 Montgomery
Santa Rosa at No. 3 Cardinal Newman
No. 7 Windsor at Rancho Cotate
Ukiah at Maria Carrillo
The only thing sure about the NBL post season playoffs is Windsor will be the No. 4 seed and travel to the No. 1 seed.
Windsor has as many quality wins as they do bad losses and looks like they will not only be traveling for the first round of the NBL postseason tournament, but the first round of the NCS playoffs.
SONOMA COUNTY LEAGUE
No. 4 Elsie Allen at Petaluma
Healdsburg at No. 8 Sonoma Valley
El Molino at No. 9 Analy
No. 5 Piner BYE
It could be two for the price of one for the Elsie Allen Boys basketball team. A win at Petaluma will give them a twenty win season for the first time in school history. Not only that, it would give them their first SCL Boys Basketball Pennant.
Elsie Allen cannot wrap up the solo championship with a win over Petaluma, but can wrap up the pennant because that would clinch a tie with Piner. Elsie Allen wins the tie-breaker with Piner because they drew the lowest number at the beginning of the season. So the win will also give Elsie Allen the SCL champion role in the North Coast Section Division 3 playoffs. Where based on where they are in the power rankings, it looks like the only way that Elsie Allen will get a first round home game, is if they are league champions.
To win the championship outright Elsie Allen needs to win its last two games or for Piner to lose at Healdsburg, on Friday Night. Piner has the league bye on Wednesday.
The worst that either Elsie Allen or Piner could be in the post season tournament is a No. 2 seed, which means they will host a first round game.
Who they will meet will be Analy or Sonoma Valley. Analy has a half game lead for third place. The home game against El Molino wraps up the league season for Analy.
Sonoma Valley gets the tie-breaker against Analy, so if they win out they will be the No. 3 seed. Sonoma Valley is at Elsie Allen on Friday Night.
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WEDNESDAY PREVIEW: NBL BOYS SET UP FOR AN EXCITING FINISH
The NBL schedule maker should take a bow.