Winning a Central California Conference title didn't carry an ounce of weight for Merced High when the state's 10 section commissioners gathered Sunday to seed the Northern California boys' basketball tournament.
Merced (25-5) is seeded last among 12 teams in Division 1, even though six teams lost more games -- including No. 11 Turlock (24-6), which lost twice to the Bears in the conference.
Rather than use head-to-head play, as in the past, commissioners relied on the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals to seed the two CCC rivals. Turlock nearly upset Franklin, losing by four, and Merced lost by 17 to eventual champion Sheldon -- the point differential was the difference.
It was a huge decision for Turlock (24-6), which opens against Castlemont of Oakland (16-12) while Merced must face San Ramon Valley (26-3).
The games are Tuesday at 7 p.m.
There were a few more surprises:
Modesto Christian's girls (27-4) are No. 2 in D-4 behind St. Mary's of Berkeley (28-3), though they are higher in the CalHiSports.com state poll. It's noteworthy because commissioners rely heavily on CalHi's advice to select football teams for state bowls.
MC's girls get a bye and host a quarterfinal Thursday. It will be a twinbill if MC's boys (22-8) top Orland (20-9) on Tuesday.
Ripon Christian's boys (22-7) host Liberty Christian of Redding (21-8), which is facing a four-hour bus trip.
Calaveras' boys (23-7) drew a difficult opener at No. 4 St. Patrick's-St. Vincent's of Vallejo (23-6), which is in the same league with St. Mary's and Salesian, the top seeds in D-4.
Turlock Christian's girls (26-5), making their first regional appearance, host St. Joe's of Alameda (23-6).