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2016 SFL boys basketball preview - HOOP HEAVYWEIGHTS: Section powers converge in dynamic Sierra Foothill League

By: Mike Ray of the Auburn Journal
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Top Sac-Joaquin Section boys Basketball teams

Auburn Journal Rankings

Team/Record

1. Sacramento 11-0

2. Folsom* 11-2

3. Modesto Christian 10-1

4. Manteca 10-2

5. Sheldon 5-3

6. Granite Bay* 12-2

7. Capital Christian 6-5

8. Weston Ranch 9-3

9. Woodcreek* 8-6

10. Nevada Union* 11-2

11. Central Catholic 11-1

12. Placer 11-3

13. Oak Ridge* 10-4

14. Antelope 8-5

15. Jesuit 8-2

16. Elk Grove 10-3

17. Burbank 9-3         

18. Del Oro* 6-8

19. Liberty Ranch 14-0

20. Lincoln 15-1

*Sierra Foothill League team

 

It’s well-documented that the Sierra Foothill League is one of the toughest high school football circuits in Northern California. This past season, five of the SFL’s seven teams qualified for the playoffs with one school – Del Oro – going all the way to win a CIF state championship.

Now, with boys basketball on the SFL agenda, it looks as if the league’s boys hoop teams are also out to generate their own set of headlines this season.

In Monday’s compilation of basketball rankings by the Auburn Journal, five Sierra Foothill League teams landed top-15 positions in the 25-league Sac-Joaquin Section. The next best league, the Valley Oak League, has three top-15 teams.

“I think it will be as tough of a league as I can remember,” Del Oro coach Geoff Broyles said. “There’s just no easy games out there in league this year.”

For starters, five of the SFL’s seven teams have posted winning records in non-league games played in December. Playing against top-notch competition, Granite Bay has gone 12-2,  Folsom 11-2, Woodcreek 8-4, Oak Ridge 10-4 and, surprisingly, Nevada Union 11-2.

Only Del Oro (6-8)  and Rocklin (5-7), each with several key players missing because of the length of its respective football seasons, were below .500.

League play begins Tuesday night with a tight battle royal expected all the way through February for championship honors. Here’s a capsule look at this year’s SFL boys race:

Folsom (11-2)

Led by four-year varsity player Jordan Ford, who is headed  to play at St. Mary’s next season, the Bulldogs might have enough gas in the tank to make another run at the top after sharing the 2015 SFL flag with Woodcreek, both finishing 11-1. Ford, a point guard, is currently averaging more than 20 points a game for the Bulldogs. Extra support will come from Jared Wall and 6-foot-7-inch sophomore Mason Forbes.

Woodcreek (8-4)

The T-wolves have one of the most talented sophomores in the nation in 6-10 Jordan Brown. Brown, who already has been offered a scholarship by Kansas among others, is joined by 6-5 Truman Sharp, 6-5 Kyle Turner and 6-6 sophomore Chris Cagle to give the T-wolves plenty of firepower.

Granite Bay (12-2)

Darren Nelson, a 6-8, 250-pound post player who perhaps is better known for his 90 mph fastball for the Grizzlies’ baseball team, gives Granite Bay a presence down low. Other key Grizzlies include guards Sean Boyle and Charlie Tooley and 6-2 forward Scott Henrichs.

Nevada Union (11-2)

An impressive preseason, which includes wins over Enterprise of Redding, Oregon City, Oregon and Antelope, has Nevada Union looking like they’ll be in the thick of the SFL chase this season. Two sets of brothers lead the Miners. David Menary, a 6-5 swing player, and his 6-3 brother Gary are combing to average more than 20 points a game. The Miners are also blessed with the Carter Twins – Toby and David – both 6-3 shooters who have range. Jhahn Chensee is another NU scoring threat.

Oak Ridge (10-4)

The Trojans have also played a tough non-league slate. Oak Ridge figures to hurt opponents with its size, which includes 6-7 Cole Compton, 6-6 Jared Caey and 6-5 sophomore Koelhe Dimauro.

Del Oro (6-8)

When the Golden Eagle football players who came out late – Stone Smartt, Trey Udoffia and Dominic Pericin – find their sea legs, the Golden Eagles should be fine. Coach Geoff Broyles welcomes back 6-6 Trevor Drake, 6-4 J.J. Rains and 6-3 junior Ben Spin. Del Oro will be bolstered for league play by 6-6 Capital Christian sophomore transfer Chris Aibuedefe, a guard-forward. January could be a big month for the Golden Eagles.

Rocklin (4-5)

Rocklin coach Casey Cutts is looking for leadership from Wes Preece, Cody Lane and Von Calhoun to make a run at a playoff berth this season.