Turlock High's girls basketball team ended its regular season Tuesday, but it wasn't until Friday that it received confirmation that it would be hosting a Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoff game.
Despite a 12-0 Central California Conference mark, 23-4 overall, Turlock was looking at a first-round road game until McClatchy lost Thursday.
Turlock was No. 9 in the section power ratings, and only the top eight seeds host. McClatchy was No. 6, but a 52-49 loss to Sacramento will drop the Lions behind Turlock. In an interesting twist, Turlock would host McClatchy (21-4) if the two finish Nos. 8 and 9.
Pitman (16-11, 8-4) finished tied with Merced (9-15, 8-4) for second in the CCC, as seniors Ashley Attaway, Carmen Silva and Amanda Jaknowski helped Pitman top Los Banos 49-35. Jasmine Washington also had a big role, scoring 12 of her 26 in the first quarter.
"Los Banos was able to cut the lead to seven early in the fourth quarter with strong inside play from (Brianna) Harden and a 3-pointer by Iesha Isby," said Pitman coach Philip Sanchez, noting his freshman team went 25-1 and 12-0 in the CCC. "Marz Meza sparked a run by getting tough rebounds and converted a steal to a layup, and the lead quickly went back to 14."
Pitman had its playoff spot in hand, but this victory likely moves it up a spot to No. 12 in the Division 2 bracket.
Division 1 play opens Thursday, while the other four divisions will tip off Tuesday.
The CCC might land a third playoff team, as well, after Atwater (14-12, 6-6) capped a two-win week by beating Golden Valley 58-54. Ebbonie Harris had 25 of her career-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and OT, as Atwater used a 25-14 fourth quarter to tie it.
Atwater was rated 18th in D-2, but two teams ahead of it (No. 15 Casa Roble and No. 17 Del Campo) lost Thursday and No. 16 Folsom was an underdog in its game on Friday.
The Falcons will learn their fate Sunday when the section reveals the 160 playoff teams — 80 girls and 80 boys — for its five 16-team tournaments.
The Modesto Metro Conference's top teams — Modesto (16-9, 9-1) and Enochs (18-8, 8-2) — will be opening the Division 1 playoffs on the road.
VALLEY OAK — While East Union's 41-38 loss to rival Manteca didn't do much damage to EU's position, it sealed Manteca's (17-10, 10-6) berth. EU (22-5, 14-2) was No. 6 in D-3 and had enough of a margin so it won't go below No. 8 and will still open at home.
The VOL is assured of three teams — Manteca and Sonora (16-11, 11-5) — and should get a fourth in Oakdale (18-8, 9-7). The Mustangs are on the cusp after losing twice this week.
Sonora beat Manteca early in the week and beat Oakdale 49-33 Thursday behind Brittany Malone (seven points, nine rebounds) and Kelli Keefe (11 points, four assists).
Weston Ranch (16-11, 9-7) has a shot at No. 16, though it can't overtake Oakdale — so if the Cougars go, they would be one of five VOL teams.
TRANS-VALLEY — The section was spared a troubling scenario when Bear River — the No. 1 seed in D-4, despite five losses — lost yet again and will fall to at least No. 3. It makes it easier for the section playoff committee to elevate defending Northern California champ Modesto Christian (23-4, 10-0) to the top spot.
Mother Lode champ Argonaut (26-0) is ahead of MC in the ratings, but there is a precedent for the section to jump teams if there is an obvious flaw. MC played one of the most difficult D-4 schedules in California, while Argonaut's was surprisingly soft.
Ripon (16-10, 8-2) did its part by continuing to win, but the Indians were No. 10 to begin the week and will likely stay in that spot because teams in front of it were winning, too.
Hughson (11-11, 6-4) was in the playoff slot, but won two games to clinch a spot. Ripon Christian (10-14, 4-6) is going to the D-5 playoffs, benefiting from the "bonus points" it receives for playing against larger schools in the TVL.
RC will be a low seed, a 14 or 15th, but that's deceiving because D-5 leagues have a talent level far below the TVL.
WESTERN ATHLETIC — Livingston (18-8, 13-2) and Patterson (20-7, 13-2) tied for first and are D-3, while the rest of the WAC is D-4. Patterson is in, and could be as high as 12th, but Livingston might be forced to win a play-in game.
If Livingston is not in the top 16, the section will likely have it play the No. 16 seed — rather than exclude a league champ. Livingston and Patterson were hurt because the WAC, with four D-4 schools, has a low rating.
Orestimba (18-10, 8-7) is also advancing and could be one of as many as 10 district teams in the D-4 bracket.