The West Coast Jamboree, commonly referred to as the biggest girls basketball tournament in the universe, will tip off Monday at 11 different East Bay gyms. Here are a couple notes about the event that I wasn’t able to work into a preview story running Sunday.
- Longtime WCJ fans probably noticed a glaring absence in the Platinum bracket this year. Two-time defending champion Brea Olinda had to pass up on the tournament this year when it was offered an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii to compete in the Iolani Classic (which they won over Memphis Central in the title game). The Wildcats also just won the Joe Smith Division of the Nike Tournament of Champions and are undefeated this year. Look for Brea to be the No. 1 ranked team in the country in virtually every poll when the next rankings are released. Brea Olinda coach Jeff Sink has already said the Wildcats plan to be back in the Jamboree next year, according to WCJ tournament director Dave Jackson. Unless another free trip to Hawaii comes up, I’m sure…
- The last East Bay team to make the championship game of the top division was Carondelet in 2004 when the Diamond division was considered the top bracket. That was Jayne Appel’s junior year, and the team the Cougars beat for the championship was Oakland Tech, led by Alexis Gray-Lawson and Devanei Hampton. This year, the East Bay stands a good chance to finally get a team in the final again. Berkeley, Carondelet and St. Mary’s are all on the same side of the bracket, so there could be some fun match ups between the East Bay’s elite during the early rounds. Bishop O’Dowd is on the other side of the Platinum bracket and a quarterfinal game with Long Beach Poly likely looms if the Dragons can get past San Diego in the first round.
- The only local team playing in the Gold division is host Pittsburg, but it would be worth a stop over there just to check out the Pirates’ brand new gym.