Kyle McKim was hard-pressed to remember the last time Beyer High School got to host a Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball playoff game.
“We didn’t when I played there, maybe in 2004, the year after I graduated, because that team won the league,” said McKim, a 2003 Beyer graduate, in his first season as the Patriots’ head coach.
That’s not trivia, that’s knowledge, and McKim was spot-on. Beyer, the runner-up to Modesto Christian in the Modesto Metro Conference, grabbed a No. 5 seed in Division II when the section released its brackets Wednesday evening, and will play host to Burbank High of Sacramento next Wednesday.
It’s the highest seed for a Modesto Metro Conference team since Downey grabbed a No. 4 seed in Division I as a conference champion in 2008. That 2004 Beyer team that won the Central California Conference won its first-round game before falling at Sheldon in the second round.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said McKim, who gathered the players around a television plugged into the webcast of the bracket release. “I was just hoping for a home game, but to go up to No. 5 is big for us. Now we have to earn this spot by playing well on Wednesday.”
Beyer is one of 24 Stanislaus District boys teams in six divisions headed to the playoffs. Eight will be competing in play-in games on Friday, with the rest tipping off their postseasons Wednesday.
Division V power Ripon Christian, which claimed a league title in its return to the Trans-Valley League, was the lone district team to be granted a No. 1 seed, while undefeated MMC champion Modesto Christian grabbed the No. 2 spot behind Sacramento High in Division II.
“I’m glad to see we have a No. 1 seed, since that should be an advantage,” Ripon Christian coach Ron Vander Molen said. “I like that some of the tougher teams like Mariposa, Bradshaw Christian and Brookside Christian are on the other side of the bracket.”
But it still won’t be an easy go for the Knights, who lost their second-leading scorer and rebounder Travis Vander Molen to a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 29.
“We’ve been getting more confident the last couple of games,” said the coach, Travis’ uncle. “We seem to be coming around and I think we’re feeling a lot better now about things than we were a couple weeks ago.”
Other teams grabbing home games next Wednesday with a top-eight seed include Sierra (3), Manteca (5) and Central Valley (8) in Division III; Calaveras (5), Central Catholic (7) and Sonora (8) in Division IV; Mariposa (3) and Argonaut (5) in Division V; and Turlock Christian (4) in Division VI.
For Central Catholic, a No. 7 seed and a home game is its reward for having to run the gauntlet and finishing fourth in its first season in the Valley Oak League.
“I’m happy to be where we’re at,” Raiders coach Mike Wilson said. “When you look at Sierra twice and have any success at all against them, that helps your confidence. We’re healthy mentally as well as physically. The kids have come together in the last three weeks and they seem to be having a lot more fun.”
Sac-Joaquin Section Boys Playoffs
Friday’s Play-In Games
(all games 7 p.m. unless noted)
Division I - No. 18 Edison at No. 15 Turlock; No. 17 Enochs at No. 16 Tokay; No. 19 Merced at No. 14 Chavez
Division II - No. 19 Golden Valley at No. 14 Rodriguez
Division III - No. 17 Inderkum at No. 16 Patterson; No. 18 Ceres at No. 15 El Dorado
Division IV - No. 18 Highlands at No. 15 Riverbank; No. 17 Delhi at No. 16 San Juan
Division II - No. 15 Ponderosa or No. 18 Vintage at No. 2 Modesto Christian; No. 12 Burbank at No. 5 Beyer
Division III - No. 14 Sierra at No. 3 Fairfield; No. 12 Lincoln at No. 5 Manteca; No. 9 Weston Ranch at No. 8 Central Valley
Division IV - No. 12 Mesa Verde at No. 5 Calaveras; No. 9 Union Mine at No. 8 Sonora; No. 10 Natomas at No. 7 Central Catholic; No. 11 Summerville at No. 6 West Campus; No. 13 Ripon at No. 4 Marysville
Division V - No. 1 Ripon Christian, bye; No. 14 Hughes Academy at No. 3 Mariposa; No. 12 Le Grand at No. 5 Argonaut
Division VI - No. 5 Victory Christian at No. 4 Turlock Christian