State

Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Finals

BOYS

No. 6 Modesto Chr. (21-8) vs. No. 1 Christian Bros. (21-6), 3:30 — The Crusaders looked like a No. 6 seed in Wednesday's 64-60 win over Vista del Lago, struggling to stay with the quicker Eagles. ... Reeves Nelson, MC's 6-foot-8-inch forward bound for UCLA, scored 15 points — 12 below his average — as Vista triple-teamed him inside. Nelson was clearly frustrated, so expect MC to get the ball inside to their big men early and often today. ... PG Isaiah Burse was huge for MC with 13 points. His weakside drives to the basket were one of the few pieces of the offense that worked. ... 6-4 F Johnny Hutton (17 ppg) was clearly worn down by Vista's quickness — he struggled against a quick Ripon team in league — but could the difference-maker today if he gets the right matchup. ... Christian Brothers rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat San Juan 73-61 in a semifinal. CB beat MMC champ Enochs and went 1-1 vs. Vista. ... PG Martin Harris doubled his average with 26 points in the semifinal and is another challenging defensive task for Burse. ... F Paul Sikes (11 ppg) will get plenty of help in a bid to stop Nelson, but will CB triple-team him? If so, have the Crusaders learned to exploit the strategy by attacking the weak side or using an inside-out game with their big man? ... Both are guaranteed NorCal berths, but only the winner hosts a first-round game.

GIRLS

No. 7 Modesto Chr. (23-7) vs. No. 5 Linden (24-6), noon — The Crusaders were in prime form during Wednesday's 76-30 rout of Argonaut, with Stefani Agostini hitting a section-playoff record eight treys and the front line dominating Argonaut's 6-foot Lauren Goode and 5-11 Erin Goode. ... Linden upset defending champ and top seed Christian Brothers 57-49 in its semifinal, setting up a rematch: MC beat Linden 61-52 on Jan. 15. ... MC will always look inside to 6-footers Lauren Lucchesi (10 ppg) and Danielle Thompson (10), and 5-11 Taryn Garza (13), and it's led to 17 wins in its last 18 games. ... The Lions are at their best firing from the 3-point arc. They were hot against CB, with Jordan Baca (13 ppg) hitting 3 of 4. Linden averages six treys a game as a team. ... Keep an eye on this battle: MC PG Brandi Henton, one of the section's best in the open court, vs. Baca — who scored 12 points and was 1 of 6 from 3-point range. Baca has highs of eight treys and 26 points, so she's capable of going off. ... Both get NorCal berths, but only the winner is at home Tuesday.

— RICHARD T. ESTRADA
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