CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Feb. 14, 2023) — Clayton Valley Charters boys will be after its second successive North Coast Section Division I basketball title as the top seed in Division I while Carondelet will have to win a repeat girls Open Division crown as the fourth seed in the tournament beginning this week.
They are two of the nine local high school teams to qualify for the NCS playoffs this winter.
Open Division – De La Salle (20-7 overall, 7-2 in EBAL) is the second seed to first-time East Bay Athletic League champion Dougherty Valley. Both teams received a bye to the Open Division semi-finals next Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Division I – CVCHS (22-4, 10-2) opens defense of its 2022 championship at Mt. Eden (15-11) in Hayward. The Ugly Eagles defeated Mt. Eden 53-45 in December.
No. 14 College Park (14-12, 3-9) visits third seeded California (17-10) in San Ramon.
Division IV – Ygnacio Valley (20-5, 8-2) has a first-round bye and will host the winner of McKinleyville-Kelseyville on Saturday.
Open Division – Carondelet (21-5) is seeded fourth and hosts fifth seed Acalanes (20-6).
Division II – Northgate (18-8, 7-5) is seeded seventh and hosts No. 10 Newark Memorial (14-12).
College Park (17-8, 7-3) is No. 9 and travels to eighth seed Ukiah (14-13).
Division IV – No. 13 Ygnacio Valley (18-8, 5-5) is at fourth seed Del Norte (19-8).
Division V – Mt. Diablo (15-11, 5-5) seeded No. 8 hosts Marin Academy-San Rafael (12-12) in a 2022 playoff rematch. The winner will meet top seed Berean Christian (22-4, 9-1) in the quarterfinals.
Clayton Valley Charter boys were part of a competitive three-way race in the DAL Foothill Division with defending champion Campolindo and Las Lomas. The Concord school split its two league games with both teams. Campo is top seed in Division II and Las Lomas is No. 3.
In Division I, Moreau Catholic of Hayward is seeded second to CVCHS with a number of perennial basketball powers in the flight including Bishop O’Dowd, Pittsburg and Berkeley. If the Ugly Eagles win their opener they will meet the winner of San Leandro-Fremont in the quarterfinals.
Coach Frank Allocco Jr. is surprised that his team was not placed in the six-team Open Division. He points out his team’s big wins over Campolindo, Oakland Tech, Berkeley, San Leandro, Monte Vista, Bishop Manogue of Reno and two good Texas teams as superior to a nine-loss Dublin team.
Then incredibly, the No. 1 seed Ugly Eagles must travel to the lowest Division I seed, Mt. Eden, for the tournament opener because CVCHS was a league co-champion while Mt. Eden won its league outright.
The Ugly Eagles made school history with their Division I championship last year, the first-ever NCS boys basketball crown for the Concord school and this year’s young squad, missing 10 seniors from 2022, has picked up from there highlighted by a win over Campolindo that ended the Cougars 36-game DAL winning streak.
De La Salle missed winning last year’s Open Division title by a point to Campolindo and the Spartans had to survive a brutal EBAL schedule to return to the Open Division bracket this season. The Concord school lost in overtime to Granada in the semi-finals of the EBAL playoffs last week.
The power of the EBAL this season is demonstrated with five of the six teams in the Open flight coming from the league. “Yeah, 100 percent it’s a testament to our league,” De La Salle coach Marcus Schroeder told the media after Sunday’s NCS draw.
“SRV is really, really good. They’re 23-5. They won one of the divisions down at Damien. I am pretty sure that’s one of the best teams in this area. Dublin had a great year. Granada was a six seed in our tournament, and they have multiple college players — and not just like (lower level) players. They have Division I players.”
Cougars opponents from 8 states
Carondelet won the NCS girls Open Division title a year ago and coach Kelly Sopak’s Cougars finished 21-5 in a challenging independent schedule which included games against teams from seven states besides California.
Ygnacio Valley and College Park both qualified their boys and girls teams for the NCS playoffs while the Mt. Diablo girls make a return trip after reaching last season’s semi-finals and then garnering a spot in the NorCal playoffs.
By being selected for the Open Division, both De La Salle and Carondelet are guaranteed spots in the Northern California playoffs which begin Feb 28.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.