Golden Valley boys earn section's fourth seed

Undefeated CCC champs rewarded with home playoff opener

slynch@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 14, 2013 

Keith Hunter knows how tough a perfect run in the Central California Conference is.

It's an accomplishment born of focus and determination, and a source of pride for the longtime Golden Valley High boys basketball coach.

The Sac-Joaquin Section noted the feat and rewarded the Cougars with the No. 4 seed in the Division 1 playoffs Wednesday afternoon.

Golden Valley will host No. 13 Oak Ridge when the first round of the playoffs gets under way Wednesday.

The Cougars are one of 11 local teams that will make a run at the blue banner.

"I was very pleased with the four seed, but I think we earned it," Hunter said. "Going through league without a loss wasn't an easy thing. It took a lot of mental toughness and effort from these guys and getting the chance to host a playoff game or two is our reward."

Hunter is hoping to take full advantage of Cougar Arena. Golden Valley went undefeated on its home court this season and often had a raucous crowd for its big matchups.

"I think it's tremendous," Hunter said. "When you have a full gym like we had last week and have had quite a few nights this season, it's just fun. When you have the band there and the student section is packed, it's quite an atmosphere."

John Bliss will likely be looking for something similar Friday night at Buhach Colony.

The No. 12 Thunder will host one of six Division 2 outbracket games, taking on No. 21 Vacaville. No. 22 Atwater will travel to No. 11 Gregori in another outbracket game.

Both are regular season rematches, with BC knocking off Vacaville and the Falcons dropping a pair of close games to Gregori.

Mariposa and Delhi will both be on the road in Division 4, traveling to No. 4 Liberty Ranch in Galt and No. 2 Summerville respectively on Feb. 20.

Girls' brackets

The Buhach Colony girls' loss to Merced last week dropped them four spots in the seedings, but the No. 8 Thunder still met their goal of hosting a first-round playoff game. Buhach Colony will take on Grant on Feb. 19.

"I'm a little annoyed because I was thinking we'd be the seven and got film on Del Campo," BC coach Shane Gentry said. "I knew the eight was always a possibility, though, and so I did have a backup plan with Grant.

"The girls probably would have liked to stay higher, but I told them, when you get in a tournament like this, it really doesn't matter who you play.

"We get to play at home, which was one of the team goals. We just need to make sure we come prepared to play."

The Merced girls will open the playoffs on the road in Division 1. Brad Reed's squad worked its way up to the 12 seed and will take on No. 5 Armijo.

Three teams will represent the area in Division 4 outbracket games on Friday night.

Hilmar will travel to Mariposa while Los Banos will host San Juan.

The Le Grand girls dropped their last two games of the regular season, but managed to cling on to the 12th and final seed in Division 5.

The Bulldogs will open at No. 5 Woodland Christian.

Sean Lynch is a Sun-Star sports writer. He can be reached at 385-2476 or via email at slynch@mercedsunstar.com.

Sac-Joaquin Section

Basketball Seedings

BOYS

Division 1

No. 13 Oak Ridge at No. 4 Golden Valley

Division 2

No. 21 Vacaville at No. 12 Buhach Colony

No. 22 Atwater at No. 11 Gregori

Division 4

No. 13 Mariposa at No. 4 Liberty anch

No. 15 Delhi at No. 2 Summerville

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