PREP BASKETBALL: As regular season comes down the stretch, playoff picture starts to form
With just a handful of days left in the high school basketball regular season, the playoff picture is starting to shape up and several local teams will be making the trip to the postseason.
Here’s a look at the teams from Nevada Union, Bear River and Forest Lake Christian and their playoff prospects as the regular season heads into its final week:
Bear River Lady Bruins
(13-11 overall, 5-4 Pioneer Valley league)
The Lady Bruins put themselves in control of their own destiny after a pair of Pioneer Valley League wins this week. With victories over Lincoln and Center, Bear River sits in third place in the league standings with one game left. With a win over fourth place Colfax (17-9, 4-5 PVL) on Tuesday, the Lady Bruins would clinch third place in the PVL. A loss to Colfax would result in a tie for third place. The top three teams in the PVL get automatic bids into the postseason. For the Lady Bruins, one more win and they’re in. Lose, and they’re still likely in.
“We’re excited about our position,” Bear River head coach Randy Billingsley said. “We’ve battled through some adversity, and I think we will be a tough team to face in the playoffs.”
The Lady Bruins’ run at the playoffs has been a team effort, getting strong play from senior Alyssa Pulkinghorn (11.5 points per game, 2.3 steals per game), junior Katelyn Meylor (15.3 ppg, 4.3 spg), senior Ashley Albee (6.2 ppg, 7.2 rebounds per game, 3.6 spg), junior Kylee Dresbach-Hill (5 ppg), senior Rebecca Van Patten (3.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and junior Mallory Rath (8.3 ppg, 10.9 rpg).
Heading into the final week of the regular season, Placer (14-11, 7-2) leads the PVL standings, Foothill (22-4, 6-3) is in second place, Bear River in third, Colfax in fourth, Center (12-12, 3-6) in fifth and Lincoln (12-14, 2-7) in last place.
Forest Lake Christian Lady Falcons
(10-9, 6-2 Central Valley California League)
Heading into Friday night’s game against Sac Waldorf, the Lady Falcons are one win away from clinching second place in the Central Valley California League standings. With just two games left in the regular season, FLC can finish no worse than third place in the league standings and is poised to make a fifth straight postseason appearance. The Lady Falcons faced third place Sac Waldorf (10-12, 5-3) Friday night and close the regular season at Delta (4-14, 1-7) this Tuesday.
“We just have to be hungry,” said FLC head coach Tom Ritchart. “The girls will need to respond and be ready. We need to win our next two games to get a decent seed. We really want to get Victory (Christian) again in the playoffs.”
The Lady Falcons have been led by seniors Sara Ritchart (13.4 ppg, 3.7 spg) and Courtney John (7.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) as well as sophomore Lily Sween (6.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg).
Victory Christian (15-7, 7-1) leads the CVCL, FLC is in second, Sac Waldorf in third, Woodland Christian (10-13, 4-4) is in fourth, Foresthill (8-15, 1-7) is fifth and Delta (4-14, 1-7) sits in last place.
Nevada Union Lady Miners
(12-13, 3-7 Sierra Foothill League)
After opening Sierra Foothill League play with a 2-2 record, the Lady Miners have now lost five of their last six league games and will look to earn a couple of wins down the stretch to bolster their playoffs hopes. Nevada Union is currently in sixth place in the SFL standings and would need to win out and get some help to earn one of the league’s three automatic playoff bids. Wins against Folsom (21-3, 7-2) Monday and Rocklin (10-14, 1-8) Wednesday would also put NU into the conversation for an at-large bid into the playoffs.
Leading the Lady Miners all season has been sophomore Meadow Aragon (14 ppg, 13.8 rpg) and junior Greta Kramer (11.5 ppg, 7 rpg).
Oak Ridge (16-9, 9-1) sits atop the SFL, Folsom is second, Woodcreek (14-10, 5-4) is third, Del Oro (17-7, 5-5) is fourth, Granite Bay (13-10, 3-6) is in fifth, NU is sixth and Rocklin is in last place.
Nevada Union Miners
(10-15, 1-9 SFL)
The Miners have struggled in league play, grabbing just one win through 10 SFL contests, but head coach Mark Casey said his team isn’t closing the door on the playoffs just yet.
“We win these last two and there is a chance we make playoffs,” Casey said. “I think we have a puncher’s chance.”
With Folsom (18-6, 6-3) and Rocklin (12-12, 3-6) left on their schedule, a pair of wins just might propel NU to an at-large bid. The Miners are currently the No. 17 ranked team in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division II, according to MaxPreps.com. Sixteen teams make the playoffs in Division II.
Pacing the Miners this season has been senior small forward Gary Menary (12.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and junior guard Jack Fraser (12.2 ppg).
Woodcreek (22-2, 9-0) leads the SFL, Folsom is in second, Granite Bay (15-9, 6-3) is third, Del Oro (14-11, 4-6) is fourth, Oak Ridge (11-14, 4-6) is fifth, Rocklin is sixth and NU is in last place.
Forest Lake Christian Falcons
(10-11, 6-2 CVCL)
With just two games left for the Falcons, they sit in second place in the CVCL and can finish no worse than in a tie for third place. The playoffs seem to be a sure thing for the Falcons, who will look to finish strong and earn a higher seed.
The Falcons hosted CVCL leader Sac Waldorf (22-2, 8-0) Friday night, and will close the regular season this Tuesday at Delta (5-11, 4-4), who they beat, 73-32, earlier this season.
Leading FLC this season has been seniors Brett Soria (17 ppg, 4.6 spg), Josh McClain (6.5 ppg) and Andrew Barrozo (7.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) as well as freshmen Luke Gilliland (14.6 ppg)
The return of Alex Schneider (11.8 ppg)) from injury only adds depth to the Falcons as they gear up for the postseason.
Sac Waldorf leads the CVCL and is one win away from clinching the league title. Forest Lake Christian is in second ahead of third place Foresthill (8-16, 4-4), fourth place Delta, fifth place Victory Christian (7-18, 2-6) and last place Woodland Christian (3-17, 0-8).
Bear River Bruins
(6-18, 0-8 PVL)
Bear River will not be making an appearance in the playoffs this season, extending its postseason drought to five seasons.
The Bruins close the regular season with a game against Lincoln last night and a road contest with Foothill Wednesday.
Despite their spot at the bottom of the league standings, Bruins head coach Gregg Pistochini said his team is going to battle until the bitter end.
“We’re going to keep playing hard,” he said. “The kids are playing hard on the court and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Leading the Bruins this season has been senior Rhiley Harrison. Bear River has also seen strong play from freshmen Brad Smith and Brek Vasquez as well as sophomore Garrett Pratt this season.
Placer (22-3, 7-1) leads the PVL, Center (15-7, 6-2) is second, Foothill (13-11, 5-3) is third, Colfax (14-11, 3-5) is fourth, Lincoln (11-14, 3-5) is fifth and Bear River is in last place.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
As far as experts go, The Union’s “experts” have not exactly lived up to the billing so far this season.