Sac-Joaquin Section close to eliminating power ratings system

jcortez@modbee.comAugust 22, 2013 

— The Sac-Joaquin Section is moving closer to doing away with the power ratings system that determines playoffs seeds in high school basketball, pending approval by the Board of Managers, Commissioner Pete Saco said Thursday.

Instead of utilizing a computer program that determines playoff teams, the top three finishers in each league would qualify for the postseason, with nine power conferences (determined by playoff records over the previous three seasons) would qualify a fourth team.

The Board of Managers will vote on the proposal in October.

"No computer program is perfect," said Saco. "In the past, we've had situations where the first-place team in a league got into the playoffs, the second- and third-place teams didn't qualify, and the fourth-place team got in."

One local team that had a beef with the system was the 2012-13 Ripon High girls basketball team.

The Indians defeated Trans-Valley League powerhouse Modesto Christian, part of an eight-game win streak to close the season. For their efforts, they earned the No. 4 seed in the Division 4 playoffs. When eventual D-4 champ Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) landed the sixth seed, the seeding committee deemed it too low and jumped the Pride into the third slot.

So, instead of a No. 4 seeding, the Ripon girls were bumped to fifth, and were forced to play undefeated Argonaut in Jackson in the second round. They lost 47-40.

"Personally, I liked the hybrid seeding format," said Ripon coach George Contente. "When it became so subjective is when it caused problems."

But make no mistake. Contente won't lose any sleep if the Board of Managers vote to do away with the power ratings.

"No, it's already done that to me," he quipped.

Golden Valley boys basketball coach Keith Hunter thinks the new format could add spice to league games.

"I think it might make league more exciting," said Hunter. "There could be a lot riding on games late in league if second or third place is on the line. I think league games should be important.

"I don't know if it would be a huge change. The top three teams in league usually make the playoffs. If you finish in the bottom half of the league do you really belong in the playoffs? The bottom line is you have to win games. It always comes down to that."

In its end of the year financial report, the section announced it lost money — a net of just over $70,000 — for the first time in many years. Most sports' income levels held firm from the the previous two school years. Oddly enough, football revenue was off more than $72,000 from last season.

The main reason was rain during the playoffs — fans tend to stay home when the weather turns sour.

"Weather is our great variable," DeBoard said.

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