In most years, being saddled with seeds of 11 and 13 would be considered a slap in the face of teams that just battled to a Modesto Metro Conference co-championship.
But for the boys' basketball teams at Gregori and Johansen high schools, those numbers reflected a wink and a bit of wisdom thrown their way by the seeding committee.
When the section expanded the usual 16-team Division 2 boys' bracket to include 22 teams, it created six out-bracket games and gave home games to those teams normally in the travel seeds of 11-through-16.
So instead of having to wait until next Wednesday to open the playoffs on the road, both the Jaguars and Vikings will start postseason play this Friday at home. Gregori will play host to No. 22 seed Atwater, while Johansen will greet No. 20 Cordova.
"I didn't know how it would all work out," said Gregori coach Mike Vander Molen. "I thought we might get as high an 11, and I have no complaints.
"It's nice to get a home game, and sometimes when your playing well and have a whole week off it can create a problem. On the other hand, if your team is limping into the playoffs, you might want that week off."
Across town, Allan Davis' Vikings not only share the title with Vander Molen's Jaguars, but they're just as happy with the way the brackets turned out.
"I think it's great," Davis said. "It's very good for our program to get a home game so our students and our parents can come out and cheer us on another Friday night at home. We're very thankful. It would have been nice to get a higher seed, but we're happy where we're at."
In all, 23 boys and 19 girls teams from the Stanislaus District qualified for the postseason either by reaching the top 16 of the power rankings in Divisions 1-4 (top 12 in Division 5 and top eight in Division 6,) by winning at least 15 regular season games or claiming at least a share of a league title.
The winners in Friday's outbracket games will join the rest of the qualifying teams in action next week. The girls continue play on Tuesday and Thursday, while the boys play Wednesday and Friday.
There were only a few surprises involving local teams when the brackets were revealed.
Modesto Christian's boys, who had been hovering around the 3-4 spot in the Division 3 ratings, were awarded the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, leap-frogging No. 2 Sierra. The Central Catholic boys also got a bump, earning the top seed in Division 5 ahead of Capital Christian.
It might be the first time the Raiders boys have entered the playoffs as a top seed. The 2002 team, considered one of the best in school history, lost in the first round as a No. 3 seed.
"I was a little bit surprised," said Central Catholic coach Mike Wilson. "You look at how tough a schedule Capital Christian played and I thought that would be enough to keep them at No. 1."
The possible downside for the Raiders is within the structure of the 12-team Division 5 bracket. Since the top four seeds in the bracket Ripon Christian is No. 3 earn first-round byes, both the Raiders and the Knights will have 10 days from the end of the regular season to the start of the postseason.
"Because of that layoff I'm sure glad we get to play at home," Wilson said. "But the kids have been able to adjust well when we've struggled at the start of games, so I don't see the layoff as a problem."
On the girls' side, MCC champion Gregori is a No. 3 seed and Central California Conference champion Buhach Colony a No. 8 seed, with both getting a Tuesday home game.
Western Athletic Conference champion Patterson earned a No. 5 spot in Division 3, one spot ahead of co-Trans-Valley League champ Modesto Christian.
If there was a slight to a local team, it came to the Ripon girls. The Indians were No. 4 in the most recent Division 4 power ratings, but dropped to No. 5 after a victory at Modesto Christian that earned Ripon a co-title in the TVL. The drop of one spot is likely to cost Ripon home court advantage in the second round.
A Southern League co-championship served both Turlock Christian and Ripon Christian well in Division 5. Both earned first-round byes, with the Eagles coming in at No. 2 and the Knights at No. 4.
For complete out-bracket and first-round pairings, see the Scoreboard page.
Brian VanderBeek can be reached at (209) 578-2150 or follow him on Twitter, @modestobeek
DIVISION 2 BOYS
Vacaville at Buhach Colony; Cordova at Johansen; Atwater at Gregori.
DIVISION 4 GIRLS
Hilmar at Mariposa; San Juan at Los Banos.