NCS basketball predictions: Wednesday’s games

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
At 3:12 a.m. today my wife discovered me at the kitchen table. The placemats had been removed, her smelly honeysuckle candle in the adorable brass holder was gone and even our first-grade daughter’s rendering of a polka-dotted lamb (horse? monkey? SUV?) had been shoved to the floor.
In place of those items was the strewn-about evidence of a life spinning out of control: Five drained Mountain Dew cans, an empty bottle of NoDoz, notebooks, pie charts, bar graphs, North Coast Section basketball brackets, a book (title: How I Learned to Properly Pick High School Basketball Games and Change the Trajectory of My Life) and an opposing coach’s scouting report on the Athenian girls’ basketball team, the No. 9 seed in Division IV, which had been obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
“Sweety,” she began cautiously, noting the crazed look in my eye, the trail of Cap’n Crunch crumbs on my shirt and my caffeine-induced leg tremors, “don’t you think it’s time to come to bed?”
“Leave me alone,” I snapped. “I will not rest until I atone for Tuesday’s picks. What was I thinking? The Analy girls’ team losing at home to a No. 11 seed? I can’t even pronounce Moreau Catholic! The Petaluma girls losing in Eureka? How could I forget that Division II teams traveling over 200 miles in the first round are 18-7 since 1997? I knew the Elsie Allen boys had no answer for Miramonte’s 2-2-1 zone trap so why would I pick …”
… So, anyway, I went 5-5 with Tuesday’s picks.
But I feel much better about these:

Division IV
No. 5 Cardinal Newman 72, No. 12 Justin-Siena 57
Comment: Cardinals could have quarterfinal date at Arcata.

No. 6 Cloverdale 77, No. 11 Lick-Wilmerding 67
Comment: Lick-Wilmerding. Chuckle. Snicker. Guffaw.

No. 9 Healdsburg 53, No. 8 Marin Catholic 47
Comment: Winner gets No. 1 Salesian.

No. 3 St. Mary’s 77, No. 14 Middletown 38
Comment: Home-court advantage is only worth 4½ points.

No. 2 St. Patrick/St. Vincent 82, No. 15 Willits 33
Comment: Playing a hunch.

No. 1 Salesian 87, No. 16 Clear Lake 35
Comment: Gut feeling.

Division V
No. 8 Roseland Prep 53, No. 9 Hoopa Valley 52

No. 4 Head-Royce 65, No. 13 St. Vincent 44

Division VI
No. 8 Pleasant Hill Adventist 46, No. 9 Rio Lindo Adventist 38

No. 7 Archbishop Hanna Boys Center 62, No. 10 Summerfield Waldorf 51

Division IV
No. 7 Ursuline 45, No. 10 St. Helena 38
Comment: Ursuline’s Jordan Henry needs 10 points to hit 1,000.

No. 8 Cloverdale 50, No. 9 Salesian 49
Comment: Eagles have won 24 straight.

No. 6 Fortuna 70, No. 11 Willits 49
Comment: Fortuna beat Cloverdale by 19 and Windsor by 37 this season.

No. 5 Marin Catholic 57, No. 12 Lower Lake 39
Comment: Lower Lake’s bounce-back season ends here.

Division V
No. 9 Athenian 47, No. 8 St. Vincent 39

No. 2 Convent of Sacred Heart 60, No. 15 Sonoma Academy 30

Division VI
No. 8 Pleasant Hill Adventist 42, No. 9 Round Valley 40

No. 5 Tomales 47, No. 12 Pacific Union College Prep 40

No. 7 Potter Valley 52, No. 10 Rio Lindo Adventist 38

No. 6 California School for the Deaf 43, No. 11 Point Arena 34