The 2013-14 basketball season is down to its final two weeks, and before the end of the month, the CIF will crown boys and girls champions in five divisions.
Forty-eight district teams qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and, of those, 26 won a game, with nine reaching at least the semifinals, which carried with it an automatic bid into the Northern California regional tournament (in all divisions but D6, where Turlock Christian was a finalist).
Of the eight that qualified for the regionals, only the Modesto Christian and Central Catholic boys and Modesto Christian girls have realistic chances at running the table and playing for a state crown. And that’s not a bad thing.
In the CIF’s modern championship era, which dates back to 1981, only 15 district teams have ever played for a state championship, with just eight – 1984 Modesto boys (D2), ’86 Calaveras girls (D3), ’88 Ripon Christian boys and girls (both D5), ’92 RC boys (D5), ’94 RC girls (D5), and Modesto Christian’s boys (D5) in ’97 and ’04 – winning it all.
In other words, it’s tough to do. Southern California and the Bay Area have hogged most of the trophies, with SoCal taking better than two-thirds of the boys titles.
The talent pool of the big cities is just too much to overcome most years, but every once in a while a special team emerges.
Is there a special team out there in the Stanislaus District? That’s hard to determine, but suffice to say there’s a handful of this year’s playoff teams loaded with young talent, and the taste of the playoffs they got this year will only make them better and hungrier next season. Here’s a look at a few of the teams who could be headed for bigger and better things in 2015.