Of the nine Stanislaus District teams headed for the Northern California Regional basketball tournament, most – the Manteca and Mariposa boys and the Ripon Christian, Turlock Christian, Patterson and Argonaut girls – will resume their seasons Wednesday with 7 p.m. contests.
Meanwhile, the Modesto Christian boys and girls – competing in the Open Division, the state’s highest – will hit the road Friday for 7 p.m. games.
Then there’s Sierra’s boys team.
The Timberwolves (29-2), seeded third in Division III, received a home game Saturday – an especially fitting reward for the program’s first Sac-Joaquin Section title, given the fact they haven’t lost in Manteca this season – and a first-round bye.
But considering Sierra won its section banner Friday night, that gives the team seven days between games.
Perhaps that’s too long a break?
“I don’t know. I feel like we needed a couple of days off,” said Sierra coach Scott Thomason, who secured his first championship in four trips to the section title game. “We’ve got some guys that are worn out, who play a lot of minutes. I think we can use it to our advantage.”
Not only does it provide Sierra ample time to recover from a highly charged run to the section championship, it gives the coaching staff an opportunity to watch the first-round game between No. 11 Albany and No. 6 Archbishop Riordan on Wednesday in San Francisco.
Whoever Sierra faces, Thomason thinks his team will be ready.
“We feel like we’re equipped to play any style of game,” Thomason said. “And I feel like we can still play better. We were 1 of 9 from three-point range … and we made some silly mistakes vs. the press break, so I feel like we can play better. And we’re going to have to play better. We’re going to have to be on top of our game.”
Ripon Christian’s girls team is the only other Stanislaus District squad to be rewarded with a home game. The Knights (16-8) will take on San Domenico (22-6), champion of the Bay Counties-Central League and a semifinalist in the North Coast Section tournament, where the Panthers lost to eventual champion Valley Christian of Dublin.
Patterson’s girls (26-4), though seeded 10th in Division III, got a favorable draw in No. 7 Branham (21-7). The Tigers will make a manageable two-hour trip to San Jose to face a team that finished fourth in the Mount Hamilton League but got hot to win the Central Coast Section title. The Bruins’ championship run included a 58-52 overtime win over Live Oak and a 48-45 victory over Saratoga.
(all times 7 p.m.)
Friday: No. 7 Modesto Christian at No. 2 Monte Vista
Wednesday: No. 9 Aptos at No. 8 Weston Ranch;
No. 13 Manteca at No. 4 Foothill
Bye: No. 3 Sierra
Wednesday: No. 12 Mariposa at No. 5 Woodside Priory
Friday: No. 8 Modesto Christian at No. 1 St. Mary’s-Stockton
Bye: No. 4 Kimball
Wednesday: No. 10 Patterson at No. 7 Branham
Wednesday: No. 9 San Domenico at No. 8 Ripon Christian; No. 13 Argonaut at No. 4 Durham
Wednesday: No. 6 Turlock Christian at No. 3 Ferndale