High School Sports

Modesto Christian coach upbeat after Crusaders receive NorCal Regional home game

Watch highlights of Sheldon’s 64-61 win over Modesto Christian in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Championship on Saturday

Sheldon High School beat Modesto Christian High School in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Championship on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
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Sheldon High School beat Modesto Christian High School in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Championship on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

The sting felt by Modesto Christian after blowing a fourth-quarter lead — and subsequently a Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball title on Saturday night — was softened Sunday afternoon.

Less than 24 hours after the tough 64-61 loss to Sheldon, Modesto Christian was awarded a No. 3 seed — and the home game that comes with it — in the Open Division of the CIF Northern California Regionals.

The Crusaders (25-7) will host No. 6-seed Archbishop Mitty (18-8) on Wednesday night in Salida. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

“Obviously, we’re happy to get a home game,” MC coach Brice Fantazia said. “They respected our strength of schedule. We had one of the toughest schedules on the West Coast. We’re glad they took that into account. I thought it was 50-50 we’d be playing at home.”

Sheldon High School beat Modesto Christian High School in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Championship on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

Central Catholic and Sonora, which won the section Division IV crown, were the only other Stanislaus District teams to receive a home game.

The Raiders (23-9), a No. 6 seed who lost in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title game to Weston Ranch, will host No. 11 Mountain View (23-4) on Tuesday.

The fifth-seeded Wildcats (27-4), who have won 13 straight games, will host No. 12 Palo Alto (18-9) on Tuesday. The Vikings are coached by former University of San Francisco star guard Rodney Tention, who had head coaching stints at College of Notre Dame and Loyola Marymount.

Also in boys play on Tuesday night, Ripon (19-12), the No. 14 seed in Division IV, will travel 228 miles to face No. 3 University Prep (25-6) in Redding. In Division V, the No. 16 seed, Ripon Christian (20-10), will take a 281-mile trip to play No. 1-seed Mount Shasta (29-1).

On Wednesday, the Turlock Christian boys team (17-14), seeded No. 8, will travel to Antioch to face No. 1 Cornerstone Christian (31-2) in Division VI.

In girls play, sixth-seeded Mariposa (25-2) — the only Stanislaus District school to reach the regionals — will host No. 11 West Valley (17-14) in Division V on Tuesday.

Modesto Christian’s Fantazia said his team has gotten over the disappointment of the loss to Sheldon in which the Crusaders led by nine points with less than five minutes left in the game. He reminded them that his team beat Sheldon in last year’s section final, yet it was Sheldon that went on to win the NorCal Open Division before losing to Sierra Canyon in the state title game.

“Nobody remembers what happens in a section title game,” he said. “We have won 19 section titles. MC has never won a NorCal Open Division title. It’s there right in front of us.”

The Monarchs (18-8) are coming off a victory over Serra in a Central Coast Section consolation game after losing in the quarterfinals to Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. This season, Mitty has played two teams from the Sac-Joaquin Section — handing Weston Ranch (31-1) its only loss of the season and then beating Jesuit (21-9).

“They’re a very well-coached and respected team,” Fantazia said of the San Jose private school and its coach, Tim Kennedy. “The schedule we have played has prepared us for them.”

The winner of Wednesday’s game will travel to Richmond on Saturday to take on No. 1 seed Salesian College Preparatory (31-0).

Invites to the Northern California regionals on Sunday weren’t limited to basketball. The CIF also announced its soccer parings.

In the boys bracket, Central Valley will open at home on Tuesday while Turlock and Ceres hit the road. Hilmar, the No. 1 seed in Division V, received a bye.

On the girls side, Ripon will host Summerville on Tuesday in Division V.

Editor Brian Clark has worked at The Modesto Bee since 1990. He’s worked in various departments, including sports, news and on the digital side for a decade before being promoted to editor in 2018. He’s a native of Berkeley and a graduate of San Diego State University. Prior to The Bee, Brian worked at the Turlock Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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