Well we’re finally at Championship Saturday, and this year’s matchups in Division I-IV aren’t likely to disappoint. Here’s a quick breakdown of each matchup.
(7) Deer Valley vs. (1) De La Salle: How about the Bay Valley Athletic League? Seriously. Between four teams, the league will finish with nine NCS wins after this one is over. DV (20-9) has played some inspired basketball, but there is nothing to suggest that it will be able to solve the De La Salle defense that has held them it to 23 and 22 points in their first two meetings. Perhaps the margin won’t be 30 points this time, but De La Salle (27-1) should have little trouble locking up its sixth NCS title in eight years. Prediction: De La Salle 47-31.
(4) Richmond vs. (2) Montgomery: The free-wheeling, high-flying attack of the Oilers (20-7) is certainly capable of winning this one. But to do so, they will have to be take care of the basketball. Richmond committed 12 turnovers in the fourth quarter of its semifinal against Clayton Valley. That can’t happen against Montgomery (22- 7), which will exploit those mistakes. All the same, the Vikings have nobody who can guard the Oilers front line of Wendell McKines and Orlando Arnold. Prediction: Richmond 68-64
(2) De Anza vs. (1) Campolindo: Similar to the Division II matchup, it will be the run-and-gun attack of the Dons (23-5) against the controlled and efficient offense of the Cougars (25-3). If Campolindo wins the battle on the boards, it will be in good shape. Also, if the Cougars shoot as well from outside as they shot against Bishop O’Dowd (Pat Lawrence had six 3-pointers), the Dons will be in for a real uphill battle. Prediction: Campolindo 57-52
(2) Salesian vs. (1) Cardinal Newman: This may be the most even matchup of the four. I gotta believe that fourth time is finally going to be the charm for Salesian (25-5) and its coach Bill Mellis. Cardinal Newman (28-3) trailed St. Mary’s by two with just over three minutes to go, but put together and strong run to finish and won by 10. Cardinal can’t afford to fall behind against the Chieftains. Outside shooting will be the key for the Salesian. Prediction: Salesian 65-64.