CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Jan. 23, 2024) — Fresh off a stunning fourth quarter comeback victory over rival Campolindo last week, Clayton Valley Charters boys are on a mission to threepeat as North Coast Section playoff champions. And the Ugly Eagles are only one of 10 local girls and boys teams aiming for their league and North Coast Section playoffs.
De La Salle, Ygnacio Valley, Northgate and CVCHS boys teams all are poised for post-season berths while Carondelet, Clayton Valley Charter, Mt. Diablo, Northgate, Ygnacio Valley and College Park girls teams all are building their resumes for playoff seedings.
The Ugly Eagles have already made school history with back-to-back Division I championships the last two years and the win over Diablo Athletic League foe and another two-time defending NCS titlist Campo strengthens the teams outlook heading into the final weeks of the regular season.
Campo seemed to have control of the game in Dan Della Gym for three quarters, but the Ugly Eagles led by junior standout guard Elijah Perryman scored 21 of the game’s final 26 points for a 52-46 victory. Perryman filled the stat sheet with team highs of 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Clayton Valley Charter is 12-5 on the season (all records before MLK Day games) with the five losses all coming in neutral court tournament games. They are ranked in the top 10 of NCS Division teams.
De La Salle is 15-3 and No. 19 ranked in California with the Spartans three losses against undefeated Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and two in the Damien Classic tournament in Southern California.
DLS is currently third and San Ramon Valley fourth in NCS rankings. Other East Bay Athletic League schools Granada and Monte Vista are fifth and sixth, respectively.
The Concord team’s difficult EBAL schedule will be capped by a showdown at San Ramon Valley on Jan. 30. The two schools clashed in two classic football games last fall as well.
The nearly unstoppable pick and roll tandem of 6-11 center Evan McKnight and 6-3 point guard Antonio Kellogg Jr. has Ygnacio Valley at 13-5 and 5-0 in the DAL. The Wolves are ranked fifth in California D-4 and second in NCS behind Napa’s Justin-Siena, which defeated YV in the Section semi-finals last winter.
Northgate is 11-6 and in the top 12 of NCS D-2 rankings. Like the rest of the DAL schools they must navigate through a 13-team single round robin schedule against teams in various NCS divisions.
The EBAL basketball playoffs for boys and girls are Feb. 5-10 while the DAL playoffs start two days earlier and also conclude Feb. 10. North Coast Section playoffs are Feb. 13-24.
6 girl teams playoff bound?
Carondelet has a nearly unmatched record for NCS success on the girls side, but the Cougars have only one Section championship since 2019. They won NCS championships in 14 of the previous 17 years.
The Cougars are 15-2 with a 3-0 start in EBAL play. They’ve had a typical challenging non-league schedule facing teams from Oregon, Missouri, Arizona and Southern California besides top NorCal squads. Their losses are to San Diego No. 1 ranked La Jolla Country Day and Alabama’s top-ranked Bob Jones.
They too have a Jan. 30 EBAL showdown with San Ramon Valley in Concord. The Wolves at 17-1 are top ranked in NCS D-1 with the Cougars third. Carondelet is currently No. 20 in the State.
Mt. Diablo, with a 16-3 record and 5-0 mark in DAL, is California’s No. 5 ranked D-5 team and third in NCS ratings. The Red Devils are looking for a third straight NCS playoff run. The past two years the team also reached the Northern California championships.
Northgate has started 14-4, good enough for fourth in the NCS D-2 rankings.
The Ygnacio Valley varsity girls are 10-7 and in the top 13 for D-4.
Clayton Valley Charter (D-1) is 11-6 and College Park (D-2) is 12-5 as they each eye a spot in the 16-team NCS division playoffs.
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.