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Prep hoops playoffs resume

The road to ARCO Arena continues today for the Nevada Union boys, as well as the Forest Lake Christian and Bear River girls basketball teams as the Sac-Joaquin Section basketball playoffs resume.

Today, Nevada Union (22-7) takes on Grace Davis in a 5:30 p.m. Division I quarterfinal game at the University of Pacific in Stockton. The Forest Lake Christian girls (22-6) face Sacramento Waldorf at 4 p.m. in a Division V girls semifinal showdown between Central Valley Christian League rivals at Galt High School.

On Wednesday, the Bear River girls (21-7) play Amador at 4 p.m. in the Division IV semifinals at Tokay High School in Lodi.



Nevada Union

The Miners, seeded No. 2 in the Division I bracket and one win away from reaching the semifinals at ARCO on Thursday, are riding a 12-game win streak dating back to their 61-55 loss Jan. 7 against Newark Memorial. They will be up against the 10th-seeded Spartans from Modesto (17-10), who only finished fourth in the Modesto Metro League but have won five of their last seven games, including a 75-74 loss Feb. 10 against No. 1 Modesto (26-1). Davis advanced with a 56-47 playoff win over Golden Valley Friday night in Merced.




Even though Nevada Union has seven losses on its record, four of those teams went on to win league championships and five are playing in the postseason.

The list includes:

– Washington Union of Fresno (61-59), currently 26-6 with the North Sequoia League title;

– Newark Memorial (61-55), currently 19-7 with the Mission Valley League title and heading to the Central Coast Section playoffs;

– Vallejo (58-54), currently 24-4 with the Solano County League title and heading into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinals;

– Campolindo (73-48), currently 23-3 with the Diablo Foothill League title and heading to the North Coast Section playoffs;

– Westchester (59-53), currently 23-6 and heading into a fourth-round contest in the Los Angeles city playoffs Saturday night at the L.A. Sports Arena.

A sixth opponent, St. Francis Academy-Baltimore, went 19-7 and had two narrow losses against undefeated and nationally ranked Mount St. Joseph.

Forest Lake Christian

Today marks a meeting between familiar rivals who met for the section championship last year. Forest Lake Christian won last year’s section final, 75-50, but Sacramento Waldorf has turned the tables with two wins so far this season, 58-55 on Jan. 23 and 62-55 on Feb. 17.

The first meeting this season at Forest Lake Christian was decided on a 3-pointer by freshman Kristin Obregon with eight seconds remaining. The Waves, 26-3 and seeded No. 1 in the Division V bracket, are led by senior guard Jake Kelly, who is averaging 27.0 points per game on the season, including 33- and 34-point performances against the Falcons.

Forest Lake Christian, which settled for third-place in the Central Valley Christian League standings and a No. 5 seed for the playoffs, is coming off an impressive 79-44 quarterfinal win on the road last Thursday against No. 3 Turlock Christian. Taylor Kilgore scored 26 points in that game, 20 in the first half as the Falcons raced to a 46-17 lead.

Of interest, this marks the 21st consecutive year dating back to 1985 that the Forest Lake Christian girls have appeared in the playoffs. Each of the Falcons’ losses this season have come against opponents that have advanced to the playoffs: Sacramento Waldorf, Woodland Christian, West Valley (20-2) and Sacred Heart Prep (11-16, winner of its Central Coast Section playoff opener).

Bear River

It comes as no surprise that No. 3 Bear River is in the semifinals. However, No. 7 Amador (17-6) might be considered somewhat of a surprise, although the Mother Lode League co-champ has won 10 of its last 11 games. The Buffaloes from Sutter Creek are coming off a 59-54 win at No. 2 Ripon on Thursday.

The Bruins have won nine straight games since their 52-51 loss at home Jan. 25 against Colfax. Of interest, each of Bear River’s losses have come against teams that have 20 wins or more this season: Chico (25-2), Vanden (25-3), Highlands (20-8), El Cerrito (23-4), El Camino (25-4), St. Francis-Sacramento (22-6) and Colfax (25-4).

This game features contrast: Amador is led by Rikki Murphy, a 5-foot-2 senior guard who earned league co-MVP honors; Bear River is led by 6-2 junior post Lauren Juric, the Pioneer Valley League MVP. Juric had 22 points and 20 rebounds in Bear River’s 54-44 playoff win against Loretto Thursday.

Immediately after Bear River and Amador play today, Colfax and Bret Harte will take the floor in another semifinal game that brings together co-champions of the Pioneer Valley and Mother Lode leagues. Should Colfax and Bear River win, it would set up a championship battle between schools that boast the highest lifetime winning percentages in Sac-Joaquin Section girls basketball playoff history – Bear River is 48-9 (.842 percent) and Colfax 61-15 (.814). The Colfax girls are appearing in the playoffs for the 24th consecutive year dating back to 1982.


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