SACRAMENTO – After beating Pleasant Grove in a knock-down-drag-out fight at Sleep Train Arena over the weekend, the No. 4 Sheldon Huskies will start the CIF Northern California Regional playoffs against No. 5 Serra in the newly-formed Open Division.
Bishop O’Dowd, ranked No. 3, will play No. 6 Modesto Christian while No. 2 Archbishop Mitty takes on No. 7 Newmark Memorial on Saturday. The Open Division’s top seed Salesian of Richmond has a bye.
Sheldon High of Elk Grove was led by Darin Johnson’s 21 points and 6 rebounds and Antonio Lewis’ 14 points and nine rebounds in the San Joaquin Division I Section Finals played against Elk Grove’s Pleasant Grove. But the Open Division pit all the top teams in Northern California, regardless of divisions, into one bracket.
“Our mind is on a state championship and that’s what we are hungry for,” said Johnson, who is signed to attend the University of Washington next fall on a scholarship. “Every time we go to practice or every time we step on the floor we have to have that mindset…the state championships. Losing is not an option.”
Sheldon had a nine-point lead at the half, but Pleasant Grove battled back to lead 42-41 after Malik Thames made two technical fouls free throws with 30 seconds left in the third. With 0.6 left on the clock, Johnson put down a powerful alley-oop to end the quarter and give the Huskies a 43-42 lead.
The score was tied 50-50 until Johnson scored six of Sheldon’s next eight points in the fourth quarter. Matthew Hayes scored Pleasant Grove next four points and Cole Norquist’s flying right-hand dunk got them within one point of the Huskies, 58-57, with 58 seconds left in the fourth quarter. D’Erryl Williams’ putback with 18 seconds left gave Sheldon a 60-57 margin. Norquist missed a shot with one second left but couldn’t come up with the rebound as time expired.
Norquist and Thames19 and 18 points, respectively, for Pleasant Grove. Williams also added 10 rebounds for Sheldon. Sheldon has one four consecutive CIF Division 1 Section titles, five overall.
No.5 Sacramento High, who upset by Grant High School in the Section playoffs, plays No. 12 Pleasant Valley in the Division II Nor Cal Regional playoffs on Wednesday. No. 4 Grant draws 3. Mt. Eden. Pleasant Grove has a bye in Division II.
Division I Girls
John F. Kennedy’s girls basketball team fell to St. Mary’s 63-47 in the San Joaquin Division I Section Finals at Sleep Train Arena.
Brijanee Moore had a phenomenal game against Kennedy. She had 27 points, seven steals, and five rebounds. Moore also made 13 of 17 free throws for the Rams. Unique Coleman contributed 15 points, six rebounds, and two steals for St. Mary’s.
Utah State-bound Lynette Johnson pulled down 17 rebounds for Kennedy in the losing cause. She also had nine points and two steals. Katie Lee was the leading scorer (12 points) for Kennedy. Lee also had four points and four rebounds.
Grant High School dream season continues, though after dropping favorite Sacramento High earlier this week, the Pacers lost to Antelope High School 70-63 in the San Joaquin Division II Section Finals.
Gabe Bealer had 24 points and seven rebounds and Rashard Thornhill chipped in 14 points to lead Antelope to the victory. De’Sean Parsons had 27 points and eight rebounds and Kameron Bradley scored 11 points for the Pacers.
The Sacramento High Dragons held Florin to 11 first half points on to a 48-37 win in the San Joaquin Division II Section Finals. Junior Chaya Durr led the Dragons with 27 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Florin was led by Daijah Joe-Smith’s 17 points and eight rebounds.
The No. 5 Dragons will also play in the Open Division and will face No. 4 St. Mary’s of Berkeley at 4 p.m. on Friday. No. 5 Kennedy faces No. 12 Berkeley on Wednesday in Division I action while No. 4 Florin has a first-round bye in Division II.
By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer