The Modesto Christian High boys basketball team will play its final home game of the season tonight.
And what a game it should be.
Kennedy of Richmond, ranked No. 5 in the state in Division IV by CalHiSports.com, is coming to Salida. Modesto Christian is ranked No. 3 in the state. The two teams meet up in a CIF NorCal Regional Division IV semifinal, with the winner moving on to Saturday's championship at Folsom High School. Tonight's tip-off is at 7.
The Crusaders (28-4) won the Sac-Joaquin Section title, and are seeded No. 2 in the NorCal tournament. They got here by defeating Palma of Salinas 90-63 in Tuesday's first round.
Kennedy, 27-5, has lost to only two teams this season. The North Coast Section runner-up Eagles are 0-4 against St. Mary's of Albany -- which is favored to win its NorCal semifinal game tonight -- and also lost to Salesian. The loss to Salesian was avenged in the NCS semifinals.
"We know we have to take it to another level for this game," MC coach Gary Porter said. "These are two of the top four teams left in Northern California. Everybody's great from here on."
The Eagles beat Central Valley of Shasta Lake 76-70 in their NorCal first-round game.
Jonathon Williams, a 6-foot-7 swingman, scored 31 points in leading four Kennedy players in double figures in the win over the Northern Section champion Falcons. Williams and center Michael Edwards are both 6-7, while strong forward Marvin Boadu is 6-5, giving the Eagles the height to battle with MC.
The Crusaders counter with red-hot junior forward Reeves Nelson, who scored 33 in the NorCal win over Palma. Teammate D.J. Seeley added 27, all of those points coming in the first three quarters.
"Kennedy's a pretty good team," Nelson said. "We're gong to have to get after it (tonight)."
Should the Crusaders win, a potential game against St. Mary's of Albany -- ranked No. 2 in the state -- looms. The Panthers play Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up Colfax in tonight's other semifinal.
Saturday's NorCal championship has been moved from San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton to Folsom High School because of a scheduling conflict. The NorCal boys Division IV championship tip-off is Saturday at 7 p.m.