Boys hoops playoffs: Foothill coaches happy with seedings

By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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As the Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball playoffs get underway Wednesday at 7 p.m., there are some cheerful coaches in the foothills.

Placer boys basketball coach Mark Lee is happy his No. 7 Hillmen (19-8) are hosting a Div. III home playoff against a familiar opponent.

“It’s good. We got film on them, we’ve played them before,” Lee said of Inderkum (18-9), which beat Placer 59-58 in a December contest played in a Nevada tournament. “We know what they can do. We know what we need to work on. We’re fortunate to have played them before.”

But Lee cautioned, “It’s an advantage for both teams.”

The prior Tigers-Hillmen meeting was two months ago, and as Lee pointed out, both teams have changed since.

After watching tape of Placer’s loss to Inderkum, Lee observed that his team wasn’t playing defense very well that day, calling it “porous.”

Placer also had 6-foot-5 center Jordan Tucker back then, who nearly recorded a double-double against Indy.

Champions of the Tri-Country Conference, the Tigers surely have changed since, too. Lee said the Hillmen scouted them last week live and have been in contact with TCC coaches to get the latest scoops.

One Tiger the Hillmen will pay close attention to is Terrence White, who scored the game-winning points against the Hillmen from the foul line with .2 seconds to go.

“He’s a lot like Tyreke Evans,” Lee said of White. “He gets to the rim; he can finish at the rim with either hand. He’s very athletic. He can shoot the mid-range jumper. He can shoot a three. He’s quick; he’s got a good-basketball mentality. He’s a very good player.”

The Hillmen hope to advance to the second round, which begins Friday.

“It’s a privilege to be in the playoffs,” Lee said. “It’s a nice complement to their season but we’d like to continue playing. This is a great group of guys and I don’t think they’re ready for their season to end.”

Up in Colfax, coach Mike O’Connell is also in high spirits because his Falcons (22-5) earned the No. 1 seed in the Div. IV playoffs and don’t have to travel. The PVL-champion Falcons play host to No. 16 Hughson (11-13).

“You just got to go win some games now,” O’Connell said. “We just need to make sure we play our game and stay focused.”

Of Hughson, O’Connell said, “I’ve scouted them. They’re in the playoffs, so you have to give them some respect. They’re a capable team. We’re going to have to go out and make sure were better than them. They run some run zone defense and that’s something we’ve been practicing.”

The Falcons could be without the services of starter Paul Ramseth (knee) throughout the playoffs.

Jason Camacho, Forest Lake Christian’s coach, is stoked to have a Div. V home game Friday. His Falcons (19-7) welcome No. 10 Bradshaw Christian (16-9).

“Very pleased,” Camacho said of earning a top-eight seeding. “It is a very tough team to play on our home court. They like to play the in-your-face man-to-man defense. They’re a very aggressive team.”

Camacho added this is the “toughest Div. V bracket in a long time.”

In Fair Oaks, Del Oro takes on Del Campo in a rematch of a thrilling preseason game. 

“We’re just happy we’re in the playoffs first and foremost,” Eagles coach Geoff Broyles said. “That was a goal for us. We didn’t have any preference of who we wanted to play.”

In a January battle in Loomis, Ryan Takayama drilled a 3-pointer with 8.3 seconds to go to force overtime and Del Oro (18-9) overcame a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Del Campo (19-8) 76-70 in the extra session.

Broyles said Del Oro is hopefully to get Danny Becker (head) back but Mason Curry (collarbone) has been ruled out. 


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