CIF state brackets announced; Soquel boys, St. Francis girls earn home games

The CIF State Basketball Championship brackets for boys and girls basketball were released Sunday and four Santa Cruz County teams qualified, including both the Soquel and Santa Cruz boys, and the Pacific Collegiate and St. Francis girls.

Soquel and St. Francis each earned home games in the first round, while Santa Cruz and PCS will be on the road.

Here are the matchups. All first-round games are on Wednesday at 7 p.m.:

Division III
No. 12 Santa Cruz (19-11) AT No. 5 Sir Francis Drake (24-6)
The Cardinals, who fell to Burlingame 54-51 in the Central Coast Section final on Saturday, will hit the road Wednesday night to take on the champions of the Marin County League of the North Coast Section.

Lucky for Santa Cruz, the trip to San Anselmo is less than two hours (probably more with traffic, though).

Drake lost in the NCS’ D-III semifinals to Bishop O’Dowd by a 69-46 margin. The fact that the Pirates are the 5-seed and earned a home game shows how much more respect the NCS has than the CCS.

According to stats provided by MaxPreps, Drake has three players who averaged more than 10 points per game this season. Senior Liam Hunt, who is listed at 6-foot-7, led the team with 12.1 ppg.

Of the 14 players on their roster, the Pirates have six players either 6-foot-2 or above.

Santa Cruz looked solid in its game against Burlingame. They struggled in the second quarter, when the Panthers went on a 14-0 run, but nevertheless fought back only to lose by three points.

The winner of the game will play Saturday against either No. 4 Sierra of Manteca (27-5) or No. 13 Shasta of Redding (15-12).

Division IV
No. 4 Soquel (22-7) VS. No. 13 Colfax (24-6)
Soquel is fresh off a fifth-place finish in the CCS Open Division playoffs. Guaranteed a spot in the NorCal playoffs as a result, the Knights will host the champions of the Pioneer Valley League of the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Colfax lost in the SJS Div. IV semifinals to Liberty Ranch 64-59, although it had won seven staight games prior to that defeat.

Colfax and Soquel have one common opponent: Palma. The Chieftains beat Colfax 71-24, then beat the Knights 49-45 five days later. That was in December, though.

Colfax has some height, including 6-foot-7, Will Buell. They’ll be making roughly a 3 1/2-4 hour trip to Soquel.

Soquel, like Santa Cruz, is probably playing its best basketball right now. The Knights looked tough to beat in the Open Division; they gave Mitty perhaps its biggest challenge of the tournament.

Based on the seeds, a Soquel win Wednesday at home would give them a home game during Saturday’s second round as well.

Division V
No. 5 St. Francis (16-12) VS. No. 12 Turlock Christian (24-5)
While the records are contrasting, St. Francis is coming off its first-ever CCS title on Friday night when it beat PCS. Turlock Christian, meanwhile, is champions of the Southern League of the SJS. It lost in the SJS Div. V semifinals to Capital Christian 60-40.

The Eagles are led by Halie Bergman’s 26.9 ppg, according to MaxPreps. No other player averaged more than 10 points per game for Turlock Christian, which will make about a two-hour drive to Watsonville.

The Sharks avenged a prior loss to PCS in the CCS final. They looked much improved from the beginning of the season behind the play of Lauren Price, Sonja Shumake and others.

The winner will either play No. 4 International of San Francisco (28-4) or No. 13 Weed (21-9).

Division V
No. 10 PCS (24-5) AT No. 7 Durham (22-6)
Pacific Collegiate’s comeback effort against St. Francis fell just short in the CCS final, leading to the Pumas playing on the road to open the NorCal playoffs.

They’ll have to travel to Durham, which is a little more than four hours away.

The Trojans were champions of the Sacramento Valley League of the Northern Section, then won the D-V section title. Durham has won 13 straight games, according to MaxPreps.

Stephanie Husa was their leading scorer during the regular season with 13.3 points per game, according to MaxPreps.

The winner will play No. 2 Valley Christian of Dublin (30-2) in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

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