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February 17, 2013

SJS Girls Playoff Watch

The mainstay programs are once again at the top of most brackets, but there are plenty of other teams and players to watch as the playoffs start. Can Halie Bergman lead Turlock Christian to a Division V title? Is Placer a dark horse in Division III?

St. Mary's has section titles in Division III and II and go in as the favorite in Division I. It is a new look group in some ways for the Rams, which has seen the emergence of sophomore guard Bri Moore. Also look for UC Santa Barbara bound Onome Jemerigbe and Pacific bound Unique Coleman to go along with junior forward Charise Holloway. The Rams have been ranked No. 2 throughout the year in the NCP Top 20 rankings.

Kennedy is the defending section champions, NorCal runner-ups and was awarded the No. 3 seed behind St. Mary's and No. 2 Oak Ridge. Kennedy beat Oak Ridge in the 2012 section finals. The Cougars have the top senior recruit in the bracket with Utah State bound guard Lynette Johnson.

Sacramento is a clear favorite in Division II after completing a perfect run through the Metro League and hasn't lost to a Sacramento area team this year. The Dragons have depth inside and outside and have seen good production from 2014 wing Chaya Durr, who should see a jump in the next rankings, and Pepperdine signee Allie Green.

Rocklin and Del Campo will meet and provide a good post matchup in the first round of the Division II playoffs. Rocklin senior Jamie Curtis is a 2-star prospect and is averaging five points, five rebounds and two blocks per game while Air Force bound post Megan Roberson (Del Campo) is averaging 12 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks per game. The winner will likely face 2014 4-star forward Mandy Coleman and No. 2 seed McNair.

With Sacramento has been moved out of Division III, Christian Brothers grabs the top seed followed by Vanden. Both programs lost in the section semi-finals last year. Five of Christian Brothers' seven losses have come against NCP Top 20 teams. It is led by 14 points per game from sophomore Kira McKechnie and the third straight year the Falcons have won at least 20 games.

Placer 6-foot-0 freshman Baylee Vanderdoes has been very good in her early career as an emerging recruit. She has helped Placer to a No. 4 seed and opening matchup with Rosemont. Expect them to reach the semi-finals played at Cosumnes River College on February 26 against Christian Brothers.

Bradshaw Christian is the No. 3 seed in the Division IV playoffs despite being the No. 3 in the NorCal Division IV rankings. The Pride have four players in double figures, including 15 points from sophomore Erika Bean and 14 points from Nevada bound Ashlee Jones. Fellow sophomore Jordyn Bell is at 13 points per game.

Argonaut ended the regular season at 27-0 after compiling a perfect regular season in 2009-2010. The Mustangs' margin of victory this year is 24 points per game. They could meet up with top seeded Bear River in the semi-finals. The Bruins are 23-3 behind 13 points and nine rebounds from junior Kaitlyn Reina.

The defending section, NorCal and state Division V champions, Brookside Christian is set to defend its titles behind junior scoring guard Tiara Tucker. She is averaging 29 points per game, which includes a 73 and 63 point outings. Also look for sophomore forward Raky'ra Gabriel, who has plenty of potential at 6-foot-1 and is averaging 12 points and eight rebounds.

Turlock Christian is on the other side of the bracket and boasts one of the top shooters in the region in Halie Bergman, who is signed to Pacific. She is averaging 27 points per game, which is good for almost half of her team's points.

Playoff Predictions

Division I: St. Mary's over Oak Ridge. Despite the loss to Bishop O'Dowd, the Rams are the clear cut favorite for another section crown.

Division II: Sacramento over McNair. McNair has the best prospect in the bracket, but too much depth for the Dragons signal another title for Sac High.

Division III: Christian Brothers over Vanden. CBS has been tested throughout the regular season and it pays off here.

Division IV: Bradshaw Christian over Bear River. The Pride are the best team in the bracket and prevail behind their sophomore duo and Jones.

Division V: Brookside Christian over Turlock Christian. Brookside Christian has been in the NCP Top 20 all season. The Knights grab their second straight title.


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