Since the Feb. 4 release of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff basketball power ratings, Ripon High’s girls squad won its last three Trans-Valley League contests including an upset of mighty Modesto Christian.
For its troubles, the TVL co-champion was awarded a one-spot drop in the final seedings, which were unveiled by the section Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians (22-4) end up as the No. 5 seed in the Division-IV bracket. The top four-seeded teams can have up to two home games, with the final two rounds played at neutral sites.
Ripon hosts No. 12 Bret Harte (16-10) in the opener next Tuesday. The Indians’ likely quarterfinal opponent, should they get past the Bullfrogs, is undefeated Argonaut (27-0) in Jackson.
Making the big move up in seeding to bump Ripon down a notch was Sierra Delta League champion Bradshaw Christian (23-2), which ascended from the sixth position to No. 3. It may come as a surprise to some because of its league’s designated strength rating (3.9) compared to the TVL’s (5.7), but the Pride is arguably the team to beat in this bracket. Pioneer Valley League rivals, and co-champions, Bear River and Colfax are No. 1 and 2, respectively.
The three-time Valley Oak League champion Buffaloes of Manteca High (20-6) has a tougher draw in Division III. They remain at No. 7 and will square off with a dangerous 10 seed in Inderkum (17-10), which is on a six-game winning streak.
They share one common opponent. Benicia suffered a 40-25 defeat to Inderkum but edged Manteca 54-52 a month later in nonleague play. The Manteca-Inderkum winner gets No. 2 Inderkum (24-3) — the state’s 10th-ranked Division-III team, according to MaxPreps.com.
Also in Division III, VOL runner-up Weston Ranch (17-8) heads to Yuba City to encounter Tri-County Conference titlist River Valley in the battle of No. 8 and 9 seeds. Top-seeded Christian Brothers (20-7) looms in the second round.
Ripon Christian (19-6) has the easiest path to a state-tournament berth. The fourth-seeded Knights have a first-round bye in Division V and await No. 5 Woodland (24-3), which should have little trouble doing away with No. 12 Le Grand (7-15).
Reigning state champ and No. 1 seeded Brookside Christian is the runaway favorite in Division V. Turlock Christian, which shares the Southern League crown with RC for a second straight season, is No. 2, and Capital Christian is 3.
All semifinalists in the Division I-V playoffs qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation Regional Championships. The section finals are on March 1-2 at Sleep Train Arena.