Of the more than 400 boys and girls Metro basketball teams, only seven remain. Each will play for a state championship this week at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Here are seven early story lines:
On a Mission: The Mission boys are only the second San Francisco public school to reach the state finals and first since 1982 when Washington lost to Carson-Los Angeles 54-53 at the Oakland Coliseum Arena. To win San Francisco Section’s first state crown, the Bears (34-1) will need to beat a Villa Park (Orange County) team that lost 62-56 to Campolindo-Moraga this season. Villa Park was without 6-foot-9 Daelyn Bams in that one and is often led by 6-4 senior guard Myles Franklin, who is headed to Northeastern. Mission is small, quick and driven. “We’ve played one game at a time all season,” Mission coach Arnold Zelaya said. “We’ve got one game left. Should be fun.”
The other Lamorinda power: The Matadors of Miramonte-Orinda have been the queens of public school teams in the region, but Campolindo-Moraga (27-6) — just a couple of miles down the road — has emerged as a state finalist after a NorCal championship-game-record 46 points from Haley Van Dyke in Saturday’s 78-56 win over St. Mary’s-Berkeley. The 6-foot junior made 20 of 28 shots and had 20 rebounds in leading the Cougars to their first NorCal title since 1997, when they won their third state crown in a row and fourth overall.
Best Metro girls team ever? Mitty (28-2), ranked fourth nationally by MaxPreps, could make that claim with an Open title defeat of Clovis West-Fresno (33-2), which is ranked seventh nationally. Mitty is coming off perhaps its most impressive win, a 78-54 drubbing of a very good Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa team. “They resembled a college team,” Newman coach Monica Mertle said.
Eastside dynasty: Eastside Prep-East Palo Alto (22-8) is making its third straight state finals appearance and seeking a second title in a row. Coach Donovan Blythe gets it done every season with full-court pressure, fastbreak offense and three-point shooting, this season led by sophomore Zion Gabriel (83 three-pointers). There are no seniors on the 12-person roster.
Erasing the past: Moreau Catholic-Hayward (25-9) has won 100 games over the last four seasons, but each has ended with a bitter defeat. Metro Player of the Year candidate Damari Milstead said the Mariners can erase all of them with a win over an Esperanza-Anaheim squad led by 6-8 Stanford-bound point guard Kezie Okpala (30.8 points per game). In an 81-77 overtime defeat of host St. Francis, Milstead had 43 points, including nine of his team’s 10 in OT.
Championship feeling: St. Patrick-St. Vincent-Vallejo, coming off a state football championship, seems more than determined to repeat the feat on the hardwood. Following a crushing NCS quarterfinal loss to Lick-Wilmerding, the Bruins have won four straight — including payback over Lick — by an average margin of 37 points. In a 73-48 title win at Palma-Salinas on Saturday, St. Patrick led 17-2 early and by 33 late. Late in the second half, the Palma student body resorted to: “Let’s play football. … Let’s play football.”
Thirty-year drought: Under Will Biggs, James Logan-Union City was the East Bay public-school power of the 1980s, winning a large-school Northern California title in 1985 and losing in the finals the next two years. It took 30 years for the Colts to get back to the Northern California final, and after a 65-61 overtime win over Palo Alto, they can win their first state crown. “It’s a blessing,” said third-year coach Melvin Easley. “Sometimes you have to believe in something bigger than yourself.”
MaxPreps.com senior writer Mitch Stephens covers high school sports for The San Francisco Chronicle.
State championship game schedule
All games at Golden 1 Center, Sacramento
D5 girls: Eastside Prep-East Palo Alto (22-8) vs. Rolling Hills-San Pedro (32-3), 10 a.m.
D5 boys: St. Francis-Watsonville (29-2) vs. Rolling Hills-San Pedro (28-2), noon
D3 girls: Campolindo-Moraga (27-6) vs. Rosary Academy-Fullerton (29-5), 2 p.m.
D3 boys: Mission (34-1) vs. Villa Park (27-6), 4 p.m.
D1 girls: McClatchy-Sacramento (31-4) vs. Windward-Los Angeles (29-4), 6 p.m.
D1 boys: James Logan-Union City (28-5) vs. Roosevelt-Eastvale (25-8), 8 p.m.
Note: Friday and Saturday games televised by CSNBA, except D1 girls and D1 boys on CSN+.
D4 girls: West Campus-Sacramento (29-4) vs. Los Osos-Rancho Cucamonga (27-3),
D4 boys: St. Patrick-St. Vincent-Vallejo (27-7) vs. Helix-La Mesa (31-5), noon
D2 girls: Vanden-Fairfield (30-5) vs. Mater Dei-Santa Ana (24-8), 2 p.m.
D2 boys: Moreau Catholic-Hayward (25-9) vs. Esperanza-Anaheim (29-3), 4 p.m.
Open girls: Mitty (28-2) vs. Clovis West-Fresno (33-2),
Open boys: Woodcreek-Roseville (32-2) vs. Bishop Montgomery-Torrance (30-2), 8 p.m.