Sports

Boys Playoff Shuffle

DIVISION I

Going to the playoffs: No. 1 Merced (18-7), No. 4 Downey (19-6), No. 8 Los Banos (18-8) and No. 12 Turlock (17-8). ... If the playoffs opened today, Merced would be in the bracket opposite powerful Folsom (19-5) and Franklin of Elk Grove (18-5). It could host Davis or Modesto in the opener. ... If Downey wins its last two — Enochs and Modesto — it does no worse than No. 4. ... Los Banos has a home game now but likely needs to beat Pitman tonight to keep it. That should be enough, since the CCC has a higher rating than the teams chasing the Tigers.

Playing for a berth: No. 15 Modesto (14-9), No. 16 Davis (16-8) and No. 18 Golden Valley (12-14) are battling No. 17 Jesuit (13-9) for the final two spots. A Jesuit-Merced opener would be a difficult draw for the Bears. ... The schedule favors red-hot Davis, which has second-tier Beyer and Enochs remaining, while Modesto plays first-place Downey in its finale. ... GV has Merced in its final game, and with guard Liataud Prophete out, it's a difficult task. ... Jesuit plays last-place Florin tonight and third-place Monterey Trail on Friday, and a loss there might be enough to get Davis and Modesto in, should either split this week.

DIVISION II

Going to the playoffs: No. 7 Pitman (16-7) and No. 9 Sierra (20-4). ... Sierra would be a 21-win team opening on the road. A win over first-place Weston Ranch on Friday — or a Pitman loss — is probably needed to get the No. 8 spot and a home game.

DIVISION III

Going to the playoffs: No. 5 Weston Ranch (20-5) and No. 9 Patterson (20-5). Patterson needs help to move up a slot and gain a home game, because the WAC's rating is the lowest in this division.

Playing for a berth: No. 15 Livingston (14-11), No. 16 Ceres (11-14), No. 17 Manteca (11-14) and No. 19 Sonora (12-13). ... Livingston and Ceres should get the last two spots if they win twice this week. ... Manteca's game with Sierra tonight is virtually a must-win, because Ceres and Sonora are favored to win their final two.

DIVISION IV

Going to the playoffs: No. 4 Modesto Christian (18-3), No. 6 Argonaut (19-6), No. 7 Mariposa (21-4), No. 9 Amador (18-7), No. 10 Hughson (17-6), No. 11 Summerville (17-8), No. 12 Bret Harte (16-8) and No. 13 Ripon (15-10). ... The big question is what the section has in mind for MC, ranked No. 4 in the Division IV state rankings. Would the section actually keep the Crusaders at No. 4 — ignoring the obvious fact they're clearly the top seed based on any on-the-court criteria? ... Easily the district's best division with eight teams in and others fighting for an entry pass.

Playing for a berth: No. 15 Central Catholic (10-11), No. 17 Waterford (13-11) and No. 19 Hilmar (13-12). ... Central looks secure, and one win should be enough to clinch a spot. ... Waterford is eight-hundredths of a point behind No. 16 Capital Christian, but its league rating is lower than Capital Christian's, so Friday's finale against Mariposa is likely a must-win to secure a berth.

DIVISION V

Going to the playoffs: No. 1 Big Valley (20-4) and No. 12 Calvary Temple (8-9).

— RICHARD T. ESTRADA
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