PD Preps Insider: Seeding rules wreaking havoc on Empire teams

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The North Coast Section began seeding its basketball playoffs differently last year, and it’s having a direct bearing on several Redwood Empire teams this weekend.

Until the 2013 playoffs, the “designated champion” of each member league received priority for home games throughout the tournament, or at least until the championship round, which is set on a neutral court. If both opponents for a given game were champions, or if neither was, the higher seed got home-court advantage. If only one of the teams was a league champion, that team earned a home game — even if it had a lower seed.

These days, that format applies only in the first round, and that is bad news for the Analy girls in Division 3, the Willits boys in Division 4, the St. Vincent girls in Division 5 and the Point Arena boys and Round Valley girls in Division 6. All were league champions this season, and all will be on the road in the next round to play a higher-seeded non-champion.

Analy is at San Marin tonight. The rest of the games are Saturday: Willits at Moreau Catholic, St. Vincent at St. Joseph Notre Dame, Point Arena at California School for the Deaf and Round Valley at St. Bernard Catholic.

Rubber match tonight

The Windsor girls are favored to win in the second round of the NCS playoffs, but they don’t expect an easy matchup. The 20-8 Jaguars, the No. 2 seed in Division 2, are likely to be tested by a familiar foe. Windsor hosts NBL rival Ukiah tonight in the NCS Division 2 playoffs., a team that gave the Jags all they could handle this year.

Each team owns a victory against the other.

On Jan. 24, the Jaguars pulled out a 49-42 win at home over the Wildcats. On Feb. 13, Windsor traveled to Ukiah and lost a 46-44 heartbreaker in the NBL season finale for both teams.

You can bet that game is etched in the memories of the Windsor players and coach Jeff Paul.

The 10th-seeded Wildcats advanced out of the first round with a mild upset at Redwood High in Larkspur.

Powerhouse missing

The North Coast Section basketball playoffs began this week with one conspicuous absence. The Bishop O’Dowd girls team, winner of five consecutive Division 3 section championships, was ruled top-rated slots and casino at Svenskkasinon ineligble because the Dragons had played one more game this season than is allowed.

Bishop O’Dowd was a leading contender to be the No. 1 seed this season after compiling a 10-0 record in the West Alameda Conference and an 8-2 nonleague mark.

Schools officials said they will explore “every option” to compete in the CIF Open Division tournament.

Baseball coach’s day job

Early starts are a way of life now for Casa Grande baseball coach Paul Maytorena.

As a lead valet for the Graton Resort & Casino, the longtime coach starts work at 5 a.m. But he is done in Rohnert Park at 1 p.m., good timing to hit the baseball field on Petaluma’s east side for Casa Grande practices.

For most of last season, Maytorena was not sure if he would find a day job allowing him to continue coaching.

Analy Hall of Fame

Analy High, which opened its doors in 1908, will induct its first sports Hall of Fame class on Oct. 17-18. The honorees:

Wilburn (Shorty) Talbot: Graduated in 1925, he’s the only Analy athlete to win gold at a state track meet (440 meter run in :51.6).

Stanley “Chub” Blank: Class of ’34, he lettered four years in football, baseball, basketball and track.

Walt Foster: Class of ’31, he graduated at 16 and lettered four years in football, basketball and track.

The undefeated 1958 football team.

Rich Mohr: Class of ’77, he went on to play for the Green Bay Packers and Toronto Argonauts of the CFL.

Jenny O’Leary: A ’96 grad, she was All-Empire Player of the Year in softball, also lettered in volleyball and softball.

Honors for their honor

Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner took time from his schedule to notice that Gabriel Hernandez had been named All-Empire small-schools boys soccer player of the year by The Press Democrat, and that his coach, Dan Arreguin, was named small-schools boys coach of the year.

Turner issued a proclamation from his office that commended both and noted that “Fort Bragg is a town where high school sports still rule and our community enthusiastically supports its athletics teams.”

Press Democrat staff writers Phil Barber, Ted Sillanpaa, Michael Coit and correspondent Howard Senzell contributed to this report.

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