With two titles being decided tomorrow, the quick turnaround was a bit much for us to put together championship previews for the paper. But at least we can breakdown the matchups here. So here’s a quick title game breakdown for Divisions I-V.
–WHO: No. 4 Newark Memorial (26-4) vs. No. 2 Monte Vista (25-3)
–WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, 8 p.m./McKeon Pavilion, Saint Mary’s College
–NCS HISTORY: Newark has one NCS championship from the Division II tournament in 2000. However, since moving up to Division I in 2003, the Cougars have likely been the best program not to win a title. They have three runner-up finishes in the tournament, including last year’s 53-52 loss to De La Salle. Monte Vista’s lone NCS title came in 2006 when they beat De La Salle for the Div. I crown.
–LAST MEETING: December 10, 2002; Monte Vista 56, Newark Memorial 41
–BREAKDOWN: After holding De La Salle to 7-for-37 shooting on Wednesday, there is no question that Newark Memorial is playing some very good defense. Monte Vista will have to take care of the ball against the Cougars 3/4-court pressure and take advantage of its size on the offensive end.
–QUOTEABLE: “If you took San Leandro and Castro Valley, and shook them up, what comes out is Newark Memorial. There is a little bit of each in there. I couldn’t be happier, considering the two teams we’ve played so far (San Leandro and Castro Valley), to be playing Newark Memorial.” — Monte Vista coach, Bill Powers
–WHO: No. 3 Northgate (23-5) vs. No. 1 Hayward (19-8)
–WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, 4 p.m./McKeon Pavilion, Saint Mary’s College
–NCS HISTORY: Northgate has three NCS championship banners, the last of which came in 2002. The Broncos have had two runner-up finishes since then, most recently in 2004 when they lost to Bishop O’Dowd 29-26 (Yeah, that was really the score). Hayward has eight NCS titles. The Farmers last championship was in 2004. After a three-year drought, they returned to the final last year and lost to Las Lomas 51-50 on a buzzer-beater.
–LAST MEETING: December 23, 2008; Northgate 54, Hayward 48
–BREAKDOWN: Northgate will have the confidence in knowing it has already beaten Hayward once this year. The Farmers will carry the advantage of having played in a tight championship game last year. Hayward will definitely be the faster and more athletic team, so it must use its speed to create turnovers and get baskets in transition. If the game takes on a half-court pace, Northgate will probably have the advantage.
–QUOTEABLE: “At least for three quarters we played turnover-free basketball (in the December win over Hayward). We took care of the ball and shot real well. We’ll have to repeat that (Saturday) because they are definitely more athletic than we are.” — Northgate coach, Steve Mitchell
–WHO: No. 4 Analy-Sebastopol (25-6) vs. No. 2 Miramonte (24-4)
–WHEN/WHERE: Friday, 8 p.m./McKeon Pavilion, Saint Mary’s College
–NCS HISTORY: Analy is in search of its first section title. Since 1998, the Tigers have reached the semifinals just three times. Their last trip to the semifinals ended in a double-overtime loss to none other than Miramonte in 2001. That happened to lead to the Matadors last NCS finals appearance. Miramonte’s one and only title came in 1998. That championship team still holds the school record for wins in a season with 27.
–LAST MEETING: December 12, 2002; Miramonte 74, Analy 48
–BREAKDOWN: Analy can shoot the basketball. And they like to shoot from just about anywhere. The Tigers have three players who make more than 40 percent of their 3-point attempts. The Matadors will certainly carry a height advantage, and will need to do their best to exploit it. Bench contributions always tend to be a deciding factor in championship games, and Miramonte’s depth should certain serve as an advantage.
–QUOTEABLE: “(Analy) isn’t very big, but (its players) love to hit 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers. From what I understand, they just caught fire (in the semifinal against Bishop O’Dowd). I hear that from time to time they’ll catch fire, and it’s watch out. ” — Miramonte coach, Dave Brown
–WHO: No. 2 St. Mary’s (26-4) vs. No. 1 Salesian (26-4)
–WHEN/WHERE: Friday, 8 p.m./Berkeley High School
–NCS HISTORY: The Panthers have three championship banners, which include each of the last two. Should St. Mary’s win this year, it would become the first Division IV team to three-peat. Salesian’s one and only title came in 2006, when it defeated Cardinal Newman 60-57. As much as these teams play each other, they’ve only met once to decide the NCS championship. That came in 2001 when St. Mary’s won 56-52.
–LAST MEETING: February 21, 2009; Salesian 69, St. Mary’s 59
–BREAKDOWN: Don’t these team play every third Friday between the months of January and March? This will be their third meeting this season, and there certainly won’t be any secrets between them. Salesian has won each of the previous games, and will certainly roll in with confidence. In the BSAL championship game in February, St. Mary’s struggled mightily with its outside shooting and could not control the defensive glass. The Panthers must do their best to limit the Pride to one shot per possession.
–QUOTEABLE: “We’ve got to be a little meaner (this time). We’ve got to screen people out and not allow (Salesian) to go wherever it wants to and be comfortable in its offense.” — St. Mary’s coach, Manny Nodar
“On one side (playing such a familar team) is good because you’ve scouted them so many times already and you know what to expect. On the other hand, it’s like ‘Dang, here we go again.'” — Salesian coach, Bill Mellis
–WHO: No. 2 St. Joseph Notre Dame (22-8) vs. No. 1 Branson-Ross (27-3)
–WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, 8 p.m./Redwood High School, Larkspur
–NCS HISTORY: There is a combined 18 NCS championships between the two teams as each program is seeking it’s 10th banner. Branson, however, is seeking it’s sixth in a row. The Bulls haven’t lost a Div. V title game since Hoopa defeated them 43-37 in 2003. The Pilots won their ninth NCS crown in 2004, and that same team went on to win the CIF Div. IV state championship. This would be the first Div. V title for St. Joseph.
–LAST MEETING: December 13, 2008; Branson 35, St. Joseph 34
–BREAKDOWN: Only one point separated the two teams the first time around, and it’s not likely to be much different the second time. Branson will almost certainly try to keep the game in a slow half-court grind. St. Joseph will need to stay disciplined, protect the basketball and execute in the half court. Both teams are very good in close game. The Bulls finals experience may be what gives them the edge.
–QUOTEABLE: “It might just comes down to a battle of wills. They’re the champions. You’ve got to knock them out. You can’t let them be in the 11th round still swinging. That’s the attitude we’re going to have to take.” — St. Joseph Notre Dame coach, Don Lippi