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Seven area teams qualify for playoffs

East Union girls, Sierra boys receive No. 4 seeds

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POSTED February 23, 2009 4:11 a.m.
East Union High’s girls basketball team and the Sierra boys will go into this week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III openers with coveted top-four seeds, guaranteeing them two home games should they win their first-round contests.
East Union and Sierra are seeded the highest among area teams at No. 4 according to the section’s postseason brackets, which were revealed by the section Sunday afternoon.
In the girls bracket, the now three-time-defending Valley Oak League champion East Union Lancers (25-2) play host to No. 13 Inderkum (16-10) of Sacramento Tuesday; while No. 11 Weston Ranch (17-10) competes in its first-ever postseason game against No. 11 Vanden (24-2) in Fairfield.
East Union, which owns at least a share of four of the last five VOL titles, could square off with conference rival No. 12 Ceres in the second round.
Should the Lancers make it through to the semifinals, Manteca resident Chelsea Gray and her top-seeded St. Mary’s Rams, who are ranked fifth best in the state according to CalHiSports.com, will likely be waiting. Gray graduated from Brock Elliot School in 2006.
Weston Ranch’s boys squad (13-13) will make its third straight playoff appearance, but barely after dropping its final four contests in league. The No. 16 Cougars have the daunting task of facing No. 1 Sacramento (20-6) on the road Wednesday.
Sacramento is looking to make its fifth straight Division III section finals after winning the California Interscholastic Federation Northern California State Regional Championships title a year ago.
The favored Dragons may have to beat two VOL teams to get to Arco Arena, the site of the section’s annual championship games. Fourth-seeded Sierra (20-6) tips off tournament action at home against No. 13 St. Mary’s (12-15) of Stockton, with the possibility of facing Sacramento in the semifinals looming.
VOL boys champion Manteca (24-3) had its finest regular-season run in years, claiming the program’s first league title since 1989 and advancing to the playoffs first the first time since 2000.
But the Buffaloes are in Division II this season, and the competition there is the stiffest and the deepest in the section.
Manteca received the No. 8 seed and will get to host No. 9 Oak Ridge (19-6). If they win Wednesday, the Buffaloes will be awarded the chance to make the long trip north and take on 6-foot-10 UCLA-bound center Brendan Lane and his Rocklin Thunder in the quarterfinals.
Like Weston Ranch, Ripon Christian had both of its teams qualify. Ripon Christian’s boys team (15-11) has the second best seed in the area at No. 5 in the Division V tournament. The Knights, who compete in the Division IV Trans Valley League, figure to have as good a shot as any in their bracket to compete for a section title, but first they must get by No. 12 Millennium (15-10) of Tracy.
The 12th-seeded Ripon Christian girls team (10-13) dropped its final three regular-season contests against the top three TVL squads but managed to advance. It will tangle with Mountain Valley League champion No. 5 Mountain Oaks (23-4) of San Andreas.
Ripon Christian’s crosstown rival, Ripon, had both its boys and girls teams on the playoff bubble but failed to make the cut in the more competitive Division IV playoffs.

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