Playoff brackets: Good news for Turlock

Boys avoid potential quarterfinal vs. Sheldon; girls get a home game

February 21, 2010 

There was nothing but good news Sunday if you're a Turlock High basketball player, whether you're Travis Souza, Kayla Schumann or any other Bulldog.

Things could have gone very wrong for Turlock when the Sac-Joaquin Section's playoff committee met to set up the playoff brackets, but when the day was over, the Bulldogs couldn't have been happier.

Schumann and the girls got the No. 8 seed and their home game in Division I, and will host Sheldon (15-10) Thursday. Going into the meeting, the 'Dogs were looking at the No. 9 slot and a road game despite their 23-4 record -- a result of the Central California Conference's mediocre league strength rating.

Turlock's boys, meanwhile, were seeded No. 3 going into the playoff meeting -- and emerged at No. 4. The section power ratings determine the playoffs, but the committee can move teams to correct perceived slights and avoid intra-conference games in the first three rounds.

With Merced No. 2 in D-I and Turlock third, it meant a potential all-CCC semifinal -- should both teams keep winning.

Turlock hosts No. 13 Vintage (15-10) Friday. A win sends it to the quarterfinals at the University of the Pacific where it would likely face No. 5 Rodriguez (22-5).

Had the 'Dogs (22-5) stayed No. 3, a win likely would have sent them to a quarterfinal against Sheldon -- which many Sacramento observers say is the best team in the section heading into the playoffs.

Instead, Merced would match up with Sheldon should both win their openers.

Modesto Metro Conference champion Davis (23-4) is seeded No. 7, but the playoff committee didn't do any favors by pairing the Spartans with Oak Ridge (16-11). Davis takes an 18-game win streak into Friday's game, but a tall task awaits as Oak Ridge has five players 6-foot-4 or taller.

The Spartans' tallest player is 6-3, and the quality of play in the MMC did little to ready them for the task. Davis is the MMC's only playoff team -- even though more than half the section's teams advanced.

The MMC girls fared better, with champion Modesto and Enochs advancing. Modesto visits McNair and Enochs travels to Pleasant Grove.

The Stanislaus District has 43 teams (20 boys, 23 girls) in the playoffs. The only team to earn a No. 1 seed is Modesto Christian, whose girls top the Division IV bracket, while the girls from Amador (D-IV) and Turlock Christian (D-V) are seeded No. 2 heading into their openers Tuesday night.

The girls' playoffs open tonight: Oakdale hosts Livingston in an out-bracket game featuring 18-8 teams in D-III. Livingston shared the Western Athletic Conference title, but wasn't among the top 16 teams -- so the section pitted the Wolves against No. 16 Oakdale.

The reward for the winner is a trip to St. Mary's (26-1), ranked No. 1 in the country.

The Modesto Christian boys are chasing an 11th consecutive section title -- in three divisions -- and open at the No. 3 slot. The Crusaders were given a soft foe in the opener, Millennium from the lowly Harvest Christian League, and a win would allow them to host Christian Brothers (12-14) or Mariposa (24-3) of the Southern League.

If MC starts 2-0, it will likely get Calaveras (21-6) or Hilmar (19-7) in a semifinal. The top seed, Colfax (22-4), is on the opposite side of the bracket.

In a shift from the past, all teams making the semifinals advance to the Northern California playoffs. Previously, only the finalists advanced.

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