No. 3 St. Mary's at No. 14 Middletown? Yes, that's right.

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
When the North Coast Section basketball playoff brackets were released Sunday, associate commissioner Karen Smith made a mental note to call Middletown High School.
The Middletown boys’ basketball team drew the No. 14 seed in Division IV. The Mustangs, who have a 13-14 record, are playing third-seeded St. Mary’s in the first round Wednesday night. St. Mary’s is 19-9, plays in one of California’s toughest leagues and is ranked No. 4 among the state’s Division IV teams in CalHiSports’ rankings.
So why did Smith need to call Middletown? She wanted to make sure school officials realized they were hosting tonight’s game.
In the NCS basketball playoffs, teams that win league championships have hosting priority in the first three rounds when playing against non-league champions, even if those teams, such as St. Mary’s, have higher seeds. In the NCS finals, the game is played in the geographical area of the higher seed.
Middletown won the NCL I North title. And St. Mary’s finished fourth in the Bay Shore Athletic League, which includes Salesian (ranked third in the state), St. Patrick’s/St. Vincent (No. 2 seed in Div. IV) and St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda (No. 1 seed in Div. V). By the way, St. Joseph (22-7), the defending section champion, will travel across the Bay on Wednesday to meet No. 16 Leadership of San Francisco (12-12), which won the Bay Counties Central League.
Such scenarios tend to make the NCS rule, which took effect in the 1998-99 season, seem silly. But Smith said a proposal to have higher seeds host all playoff games was voted down about five years ago. The proposal did not get past the NCS Sports Advisory Committee. The committee consists of league commissioners and an additional representative from each league.
A league has not put forward to a proposal to change the rule since.
“I think our schools like the way it is, even though sometimes you get a crazy thing like a No. 16 seed hosting a No. 1 seed,” Smith said.