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RC, WR open NorCals in San Mateo County
Weston Ranch’s Andre Beard tries to split the defense of Sacramento High’s Erik Kinney and De’von Boyd in the air during a Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III semifinal last Wednesday at Cosumnes River College. - photo by HIME ROMERO
After having impressive win streaks snapped in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs last week, the Ripon Christian and Weston Ranch boys basketball teams will have the opportunity to bounce back in the first round of the NorCal tournament today.

It won’t be easy, as both will travel to San Mateo County.

Ninth-seeded Ripon Christian (24-6), which won 19 straight before falling to SJS Division-V champion Vacaville Christian 71-63 in the semifinals, heads to Menlo Park to square off with No. 8 Mid-Peninsula (21-3).

In Division III, No. 12 Weston Ranch (26-3) takes on No. 5 Burlingame (26-4) after having its 20-game winning streak halted by Sacramento High, 74-67. Sac High won its third straight SJS title and reached the NorCal finals a year ago.

The Ripon Christian game tips off at 7:30 p.m. at Kezar Pavillion in San Francisco. Weston Ranch tips off at 7.

According to the rankings, RC has a better chance of surviving. The Knights are ranked 38th among Division-V schools in the state, and Mid-Peninsula is 45th.

The Dragons are led by 6-foot-2 guard Lydell Cardwell, who averaged 24.7 points in the regular season for the Private School Athletic League-North champions. He poured in 34 points in their 68-65 Central Coast Section semifinal win over St. Francis.

Mid-Peninsula lost to Pinewood, the No. 2 seed in the D-V NorCal bracket, 71-66 in the CCS finals.

Senior point guard Reggie Williams (14.7 points, 4.2 assists) and 6-5 senior post Nick Seyer (11.2 points, 9.4 rebounds) are other top players.

Ripon Christian struggled with the speed and guard play of No. 5 Vacaville Christian in its last contest.

Weston Ranch won’t have 6-11 center Robert Garrett — who had 20 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocks in Sac High’s semifinal victory over the Cougars — to contend with, but Burlingame will still pose problems in the paint.

Burlingame is anchored by two brutes in 6-3, 233-pound Rodrigo Puliceno (12.1 points, 12.1 rebounds) and 6-4, 238-pound Kyle Shaffer (8.1, 8.0 rebounds).

The Peninsula Athletic League-Bay Division champion is also dangerous from 3-point land, with senior guards Zach Grotz (10.4 points, 37 3s) and Dean Ferrari (7.4 points, 41 3s) leading the Panthers’ deep roster of long-range bombers.

Burlingame lost the CCS Division-III title game for the third straight year last week, 41-32 to No. 3 Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Panthers have never won a CCS title but are runners-up six times since 2003.

MaxPreps has them 17th in the Division-III state rankings, and Weston Ranch is 43rd.