The biggest night of boys basketball thus far this season is here. There are enormous games for league championship, and playoff implications, in the Tri-City Athletic League, San Joaquin Athletic Association and Valley Oak League.
Here’s a brief look at all three. The Record is planning on having a reporter at all three games so make sure to grab a copy of The Record on Saturday and look online at recordnet.com late tonight.
No. 2 West at No. 1 St. Mary’s
Storyline: The Record’s top-three ranked teams, and the TCAL’s top three teams, St. Mary’s, West and Lincoln are bizarrely 0-4 at home when they play each other head-to-head. St. Mary’s has a chance to break that pattern tonight, as it hosts its toughest three games remaining: West, Lincoln and Tokay. If St. Mary’s wins, it will keep the top spot in The Record’s power rankings. If West wins, I will probably decide to make it a three-way tie between St. Mary’s, West and Lincoln, who, if Lincoln beats Lodi, would be in a three-way tie for first place in the TCAL. Keep in mind that the TCAL gets three automatic playoff bids, and Tracy is only behind second-place Lincoln and West by one game each. West has a good enough record that it could probably get into the postseason with a fourth-place finish barring a crazy collapse.
Chavez at Edison
Storyline: Franklin quietly provided an upset earlier this week, beating Chavez, which hadn’t yet lost an SJAA game, 69-63 behind a whopping 63 points from Milton Jordan, Now the Titans and Vikings are tied atop the league at 6-1. Edison was the 2016 outright champion and Chavez split the banner with Bear Creek in 2015. It’s senior night for Edison and they should have a big home crowd at Taggart Gym. Expect seniors in the Vikings’ Wesley Bookman and the Titans’ Carlos Gaston to have a massive impact on the outcome at both ends of the floor.
No. 4 Manteca at Weston Ranch
Storyline: When you think about the Buffaloes last season, you remember them winning a CIF State Division III championship. What you overlook is they were VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section Division III runners-up to Weston Ranch. In fact, Manteca hasn’t won a league title in seven years. The Buffaloes clinch at least a share of the VOL by winning today, and if they win and Central Catholic loses, they are outright champions. But look out, a young Weston Ranch team has been playing better basketball, and might have enough depth — albeit with a lot of inexperienced players — to present an upset bid.
CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE
Facebook: Thomas Lawrence
Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps