2/20/2017

North Salinas girls hoops

You'd think the past would count for something. Or the fact that North Salinas went 21-3 overall this season.
 Apparently three straight trips to the Central Coast Section Division I  girls finals -- not to mention a  fifth consecutive Gabilan Division title -- didn't get the selection committees attention.
 A No. 5 seed in Division I means the Vikings (22-3) will open the playoffs on Thursday against the San Benito-Evergreen winner.
 "We don't seem to get a lot of props,'' North Salinas coach Darren Jackson said. "That's fine. We still seem to get there.''
 Jackson was referring to the CCS finals, where North Salinas has won two of the last three, making three straight State Division I tournament appearances.
 The road this year will be the Vikings biggest challenge. Getting to the quarterfinals means a date with No. 4 seed Silver Creek. Reaching the semis would be a rematch with defending champion Palo Alto.
 What might have hurt the Vikings this year was their schedule. Their three losses came from Aptos, St. Francis and Division I top seed Palo Alto.
 "I'm not disappointed,'' Jackson said. "I like getting a home game. I've never liked sitting around for a week, waiting. This keeps us more in our rhythm. We've beaten higher seeds before.''

Monterey boys hoops

 It's a streak that dates back to when head basketball coach Greg Daniels was launching jump shots for the Toreadores.
 Call it a quarterfinals jinx. Or a Saturday nightmare.
 Higher seed. Lower seed. Doesn't matter. Monterey has dropped eight straight quarterfinal games in the Central Coast Section Division III boys playoffs.
 This streak dates back to the turn of the millennium.
 "We had trouble when I was playing back in 1996,'' Daniels said. "It's in the past. We're getting over the Saturday hump this year.''
 A No. 2 seed is a tribute to Monterey's 22-3 season -- two of those losses coming from Palma, who is in the Open Division.
 But as Daniels pointed out on Sunday, this isn't his first rodeo, as Monterey will await the Riordan-Capuchino winner before stepping back on the court on Saturday.
 The Toreadores were in a similar position in 2008 when they were 22-4, opening the tournament in the quarterfinals, where they were ousted by El Camino 52-45.
 While Daniels downplayed the significance of having a double-bye and being off for eight days, it does give you time to dwell on past struggles. At the very least, you can't escape the topic.
 Then again the Toreadores have had their issues in the postseason period, as evident by a career 14-24 record.
 In 2012 Monterey went into the postseason riding a 17-game winning streak and was stunned in the first round at home by Burlingame -- on Thursday.
 The Toreadores opened this season with a 17-game winning streak.
 In addition, Saturday's quarterfinals will be held at St. Ignatius in San Francisco, just a few blocks from Riordan, who most feel will be Monterey's opponent.
 Against all odds may be just what the Toraedores crave. Plus with five of the top six scorers on this team being sophomores, they just might be to oblivious to let the past get into their heads.