Six high school basketball teams earn trip to playoffs

Vongni Yang, The Union Democrat

Six high school basketball teams from Calaveras and Tuolumne counties have locked up a spot in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championships.

In the girls bracket, the Bret Harte Bullfrogs received the area's highest seed at No. 6 followed by Calaveras at No. 9 and Summerville at No. 12 in Division IV. Tioga earned a No. 8 seed, and is the only public school still competing in Division VI.

For the boys, Calaveras, the Mother Lode League champions, was given just a No. 8 seed and Summerville earned the 14th in Division IV.

"I'm fine with that," said Summerville boys head coach Ben Watson. "Happy to have made the show."

The Bret Harte girls enjoyed one of their best seasons in program history by winning 23 games with just four losses. The Bullfrogs went 14-1 in league play and captured their first outright MLL crown in nearly a decade.

But for head coach Ronnie Davis, he felt his team deserved a higher seed based on their recent success and 23-4 record.

The Bullfrogs also won 11 straight games to close the regular season.

"I'm happy that we get a home game for our first game," Davis said. "At the same time, I feel we were under-ranked. I don't feel we were rewarded for the season that we had."

Davis has a good argument. Out of the five teams seeded ahead of Bret Harte, only Bear River and Riverbank have won 20-plus games.

And in the entire 15-team bracket, there are only four teams with 20 or more victories, and two come from the MLL: Argonaut and Bret Harte. Argonaut finished the season with a 21-6 record and received a No. 7 seed.

"I really thought Bret Harte should have at least been a four seed," said Summerville girls head coach Dave Woods.

For Woods' squad, it marks the first time in 13 seasons that the Bears have advanced to the postseason.

"We haven't had a great history in girl's basketball at our school," Woods said. "And we're trying to change that. We're happy to be in and having the chance to play."

Bret Harte hosts No. 11 Los Banoson Tuesdayin Angels Camp and both Calaveras and Summerville hit the road for the first round of playoffs against No. 8 San Juan and No. 5 Riverbank, respectively. Tioga heads to Roseville to clash with No. 1 Valley Christian. Tip-off for all games are scheduled at7 p.m.

"For some reason, this group has played better on the road," Woods said. "We had some close games at home, but we had more success on the road this year. Hopefully, that will continue. Right now, we're just hoping to have some good practice between now and then."

Bret Harte wasn't the only team that believed it had a better year than where it was seeded.

After an outstanding 20-5 season, including a strong 14-1 record in MLL play, the Calaveras boys' are guaranteed a home game, but at No. 8, the Redskins expected a higher seeding.

"We were hoping for a little bit better than that," said Calaveras head coach Kraig Clifton. "A little disappointing, but it is what it is. I was a little upset over it, but we're in the playoffs and not a lot of teams are. We have to be happy with our situation and make the best of it."

Senior point guard Mike Seawell thought that the Redskins would be rewarded for their productive year too, but it didn't turn out in their favor.

"We probably should have been higher, winning the league and all," Seawell said. "We kind of feel disrespected. You kind of have to play with a chip on your shoulder now. We can't just expect to win now. It's a lot tougher. We're going to work hard for everything we get."

Even Watson, whose Bears squad captured the Division IV section title last season, was caught off guard with where Calaveras fell.

"I thought that was kind of odd actually," Watson said. "I don't really have an idea how they seeded people. I was surprised by that. In my opinion, there's good and bad with all seeding arrangements. But being eight, if anything, to me, is a motivator. It was surprising. I thought they be a little bit higher."

Calaveras will host No. 9 West Campus at Mike Flock Gym and Summerville travels to face No. 3 Riverbank. Both games areon Wednesdayand tip-off is at7 p.m.

"This is a young team," Watson said. "It's a new team, they're trying to make a place for themselves, and hopefully, we can surprise somebody."

11914950
The Union Democrat
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