Local teams shooting for hoop dreams
It's that time of year when "almost" just doesn't cut it. The passes must be crisper, the defenses stingier and the shooters more accurate, as the quest for post-season hoops supremacy has begun with the Northern Section California Interscholastic Federation (NSCIF) basketball playoffs.
Nine boys and eight girls teams from the tri-county area entered the fray, with play for some beginning Tuesday, while others received byes into the second round.
While some have fallen, some still remain, and are shooting for that dream of being the one team in their division that ends the season with a win.
In Division IV, the Orland Trojans were named the top dog after going 20-6 overall and taking the Butte View League with a perfect 8-0 run. Corning (22-3, 6-2 NAL co-champions) is also in the bracket, and both teams received first-round byes. If neither is upset by a lower seed, the two would meet in the championship, with Corning looking to avenge one of its three losses on the season. The Cardinals will host either No. 7 West Valley or No. 10 Lassen Friday. Orland awaits the winner between No. 8 Winters and ninth-seeded Live Oak.
Willows is the No. 5 seed, after a regular season that saw them go 18-7 while winning the Sacramento Valley League with a 9-1 mark. The Honkers host 12th-seeded Sutter Wednesday, with the winner advancing to play No. 4 Gridley Friday.
Four of the 16 teams in Division V represent the tri-county area, with Hamilton, Pierce, Los Molinos and Colusa standing as seeds 10-14. All see action Wednesday, with Hamilton playing at No. 7 Chester, Pierce on the road at sixth-seeded Modoc, Los Molinos traveling to No. 6 Modoc, and No. 13 Colusa playing at fourth-seeded Quincy.
Maxwell and Princeton both began action Tuesday in Division VI, with seventh-seeded Maxwell hosting No. 10 Butte Valley, while Princeton put their No. 9 seed up at No. 8 American Christian Academy.
Play in Division IV began Tuesday with 12th-seeded Corning in Sutter to play the No. 5 Huskies, while No. 9 Willows trekked to eighth-seeded Trinity. Orland drew the fourth seed and received a first-round bye, so the Trojans (14-12, 5-3 BVL) await the winner of the Corning versus Sutter contest for a Thursday matchup.
Undefeated Hamilton (25-0, 6-0 MVL-North champions) is the top seed in Division V, and will play either No. 8 Mt. Shasta or ninth-seeded U-Prep on Thursday, after a first-round bye. In Tuesday action, No. 3 Colusa hosted 14th-seeded Los Molinos.
Princeton (10-9, 4-4 PVL) is the No. 10 team in Division VI, and plays at seventh-seeded American Christian Academy (17-7, PML) Wednesday, while 12th-seeded Maxwell (11-13, 4-8 TCL) is at No. 5 Loyalton (11-9, 7-3 PML).