The Central High boys basketball team pulled off an upset. Sanger boys and Fresno girls advanced, while Sunnyside and Fresno boys came oh-so-close to shocking the state.
Those were the highlights to a busy Wednesday night in CIF Northern and Southern Regional first-round action. Twenty-seven Central Section teams played Wednesday, with three more waiting to get started in the Open Division brackets on Friday: the Clovis West and Clovis North girls and the San Joaquin Memorial boys.
The highlight result came in Mountain View, where Cash Williams provided the spark for Central by scoring on the last three plays of the game in a 73-72 upset over No. 5 Saint Francis.
Central won its third straight section championship Saturday night at Selland Arena but didn't get much respect in the seedings. The Grizzlies were placed in the Northern California Division I bracket and sent on the road to play at Saint Francis, a perennial Bay Area power whose alumni include former Fresno State star Tyler Johnson.
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“Very proud of our effort and composure down the stretch of the game,” Central coach Greg Streets said.
The Grizzlies led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter before Saint Francis rallied and led by five points in the fourth quarter.
Uriah Carter led Central with 25 points and Williams scored 16. The Grizzlies next host No. 13 Menlo School at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Sunnyside, Fresno close
Just how close was No. 15 Sunnyside from pulling off a major upset? Thatclose, said Wildcats coach Corey Duckworth, whose team fell to second-seeded St. Mary’s-Stockton 62-59 in NorCal D-II.
Sunnyside led 36-25 in the third quarter. But the Rams went on a 14-3 run and tied it 39-39 entering the fourth quarter. The Wildcats led 55-50 and 59-58 in the fourth quarter before St. Mary’s scored the last four points.
“It was tough,” Duckworth said. “We were winning the majority of the game. Just couldn’t pull it off in the end.”
The No. 16 Fresno boys traveled south and led SoCal D-II top seed Brentwood School-Los Angeles by seven points early in the third quarter.
Then the Warriors went scoreless for a four-minute stretch and lost 53-49.
“I thought our guys played hard,” Fresno coach Carvell Wafer said. “We made a few mental mistakes in the fourth quarter that hurt us and we couldn’t recover from.”
Fresno girls beat No. 5 seed
The No. 12 Fresno girls used a week's rest to their advantage, winning 46-40 at No. 5 Ontario in SoCal D-IV.
The Warriors (26-2) were bounced out of the Central Section D-III semifinals last week by eventual champion Immanuel. The seventh-seeded Eagles defeated Pasadena Polytechnic 57-47, also in D-IV. Ava Galpin led Immanuel with 20 points.
Fresno will next face No. 4 Knight-Palmdale, while Immanuel visits Foothill Tech-Ventura which defeated No. 15 Selma 80-34.
Other boys results
No. 16 Bullard led 22-17 at the end of the first quarter, but top-seed Heritage-Brentwood outscored the Knights 24-11 in the second quarter en route to a 71-67 win in NorCal D-I. No. 2 Crossroads-Santa Monica defeated No. 15 Selma 84-58 in SoCal D-II.
Isaiah Cuevas scored 18 points and Morice Norris added 14 points, pacing No. 7 Sanger past No. 10 Beyer-Modesto 66-60 in NorCal D-III. The Apaches draw a long trip for the quarterfinals, visiting No. 2 Pleasant Valley-Chico on Saturday at 4 p.m.
In SoCal D-III, No. 4 Knight-Palmdale defeated No. 13 Redwood 76-47 and No. 2 University-Los Angeles outlasted No. 15 Immanuel 86-60. That came four days after the Eagles rallied to beat Sanger for the section championship and a year after Immanuel reached the regional final.
In SoCal D-IV, No. 7 Carnegie Schools-Riverside, a team full of foreign (and mostly very tall) players at the private school, routed No. 10 Kerman 76-49.
Other girls results
On a night when the school honored four-time state wrestling champion Seth Nevills and all-time boys basketball scoring leader Anthony Martinez at halftime, No. 7 Clovis advanced with a 59-57 victory over Lathrop in NorCal D-III. The Cougars visit No. 2 Aptos.
No. 12 Yosemite fell to No. 5 West Campus-Sacramento 60-45 in NorCal D-III. Also in D-III in SoCal, No. 5 Mission Oak defeated No. 12 Shafter 55-45 behind Kambrayia Elzy’s 16 points. The Hawks host No. 13 Carson which upset No. 4 Culver City 57-45.
In NorCal D-IV, No. 4 San Joaquin Memorial rolled past No. 13 Lincoln-San Francisco 64-38. The Panthers will host No. 5 Colfax on Saturday.
No. 9 Chowchilla advanced in NorCal D-V with a 43-25 victory at No. 8 Mariposa. The Tribe, which lost twice to Mariposa in the regular season, will face top-seed University-San Francisco.
In SoCal D-V, top-seed Sierra Pacific had little trouble with No. 16 Reseda in a 67-27 victory. No. 8 Firebaugh also took care of business with a 72-54 victory over No. 9 Garey-Pomona. Sierra Pacific will host Firebaugh. Also, No. 7 Porterville defeated No. 10 Santa Clara 59-50. The Panthers visit Hueneme-Oxnard.
The Clovis West girls, seeded No. 2 in SoCal, begin defense of their state Open Division championship against No. 7 Mater Dei-Santa Ana.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.
No. 6 Clovis North will hit the road to face No. 3 Harvard-Westlake-Los Angeles. And, yes, the Clovis Unified schools are on a collision course for a fourth meeting this season if they both advance. Clovis West won the first three metings including 63-49 Saturday at Selland Arena for the section D-I title.
The San Joaquin Memorial boys will visit No. 4 Sheldon-Sacramento on Friday. The fifth-seeded Panthers are coming off a 71-66 victory over Selma in the section D-II title game.
Soccer: Sunnyside boys' magical season ends
A long road trip didn’t matter for the No. 8-seed Sunnyside boys soccer team in the SoCal D-I quarterfinals. The Wildcats felt comfortable in that situation and it showed in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to top-seed Santa Barbara.
Sunnyside gave up a goal with 5 minutes left in the golden goal overtime.
The Wildcats were coming off the school's second section title after beating Clovis North 2-1 in the D-I final.
“Very proud of these fine group of young men.” Sunnyside coach Fabian Rangel said. “It’s amazing that our season continued for almost five months. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”