It was reunion weekend at Sleep Train Arena.
Eight of the 10 Sac-Joaquin Section champions from 2012 returned to defend their titles on Friday and Saturday, lending a familiarity to the proceedings that either thrilled or dismayed, depending on loyalties.
But the playoffs, both at the section and regional levels, are in the middle of an transition certain to change their entire makeup, face and structure.
Section commissioner Pete Saco took the time to address some of those issues.
1. The future of playing section title games in an NBA Arena.The next few months will determine whether the Sacramento Kings remain or move to Seattle, and whether staying means a new arena.
The Maloof family, which is selling the Kings, owns Sleep Train Arena and has been very generous in making the building available for section playoffs since 1989, charging only a percentage of the gate receipts while keeping parking and concessions.
It has to be noted that is the only section in the country that plays its title games in an NBA Arena an unforgettable experience for high school kids.
The section would love to keep its playoffs in Sacramento, but would the owners of a new Downtown Arena cut a deal as economically feasible as the current arrangement with the Maloofs?
"I really don't have an idea where we'll be playing in the future," Saco said. If there's a new arena, obviously there will have to be a new agreement because we won't be working with the Maloofs anymore.
"We would struggle if we had to work with the college arenas in our section because everybody's still playing this time of year. We're going to have to wait and see how this plays out, but there is a possibility we'll be forced out of this facility."
2. The future of the power ratings system.The section currently uses power ratings to determine eligibility and provide seeding guidelines for postseason play.
But it is about to discuss a proposal that would simplify the process by granting playoff berths to the top three teams in each league, with a fourth bid available to power leagues.
"Taking the top three will make things a lot easier, a lot cleaner," Saco said. "We'd still use information from (other sources) and then the seeding committee will seed the teams. In the North Coast Section, a committee picks the teams that go to the playoffs. We're never going to do that.
"One of the problems we have with power ratings is that league reps don't always turn their information into us, and the power rating is only successful if we have all the information every week."
3. The Open DivisionCalifornia always has finished its high school basketball season with a case of the what-ifs.
One powerhouse is the Division 1 state champion and another powerhouse wins Division 2, and never the twain shall meet.
That changes this year with the Open Division, as the top boys' and girls' teams in each region, regardless of enrollment, will play in their own bracket.
The inaugural field will include the Modesto Christian boys, who after winning their 15th section title and their first as a Division 3 program, grabbed the No. 6 seed in the seven-team field and will play Bishop O'Dowd at Chabot College on Friday.
"I was one of the biggest promoters of the Open Division," Saco said. "I run the Division 4 and 5 NorCal championships and I see Salesian playing running clock games. We have teams playing national schedules during the course of the year and play the best competition across the country. They come home from those games and blow out the local competition. I don't believe that's what we're about. It's about trying to find the right level of competition for every team."
One of the interesting aspects of the Open Division format is with the selection process. Once the committee deems a program worthy of inclusion, it can't opt out.
That rule is certain to create the situation in which a team that would have been a top seed and a favorite to compete for a state title at Division 3 or 4 instead will be a low seed and a longshot playing every game on the road in the Open Division.
"The first four or five teams selected for the Open Division won't complain," Saco said. "The 6-7-8 seeds might complain. But it's my feeling that if a team meets the criteria they're in.
"We're going to get a true state champion out of this. We realize some teams may get thrown under the bus, but they'll be able to compete against the best teams, which is what teams like Modesto Christian want to do."
Brian VanderBeek can be reached at (209) 578-2150 or follow him on Twitter, @modestobeek
All games 7 p.m. unless noted
Tonight's GamesBoysDivision 3
No. 13 Shasta (15-12) at No. 4 Sierra (27-5)
No. 12 Orland (24-5) at No. 5 Summerville (29-2)
No. 14 Riverbank (24-4) at No. 3 Marin Catholic (23-8)
No. 11 Alma Heights (26-4) at No. 6 Central Catholic (25-4)
No. 9 Ripon Chr. (23-5) at No. 8 Liberty Christian (23-7)
No. 11 Modesto Chr. (21-9) at No. 6 Burlingame (28-2), 6 p.m.
No. 11 Ripon Christian (20-7) at No. 6 San Dominico of San Anselmo (24-7)
No. 12 Turlock Chr. (24-5) at No. 5 St. Francis of Watsonville (16-12)
Friday's GameBoysOpen Division
No. 6 Modesto Chr. (28-3) at No. 3 Bishop O'Dowd (26-3) at Chabot, 7:30 p.m.
NorCal Regional Playoffs Schedule