'PVL Look' Wednesday at Tokay
If it looks like the Pioneer Valley League is trying to take over Tokay High in Lodi Wednesday night, well, you may be right.
No fewer than three foothills area basketball squads - the Colfax girls and boys teams and Bear River’s girls - will carry the PVL banner to Tokay Wednesday where the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section will host its Div. IV semi-final round.
Wednesday’s winners will advance Saturday to Sleep Train Arena. The girls Div. IV title game will be played at 11:30 a.m. Meanwhile, the boys Div. IV championship bout will follow later in the afternoon at 3 p.m.
By reaching the semi-finals, all three local area squads - along with Del Oro's girls in Div. II and Placer' girls in Div. III - have also cinched berths in next week's CIF Northern California Regional tournament.
Here’s a capsule look at Wednesday’s Div. IV semi-final match-ups:
4:00 – Bear River (25-3) vs. Argonaut (29-0): For the second time in four seasons, Argonaut’s girls bring a perfect 29-0 mark with them into the Div. IV semi-finals. In 2010, the Mustangs defeated Colfax in the semis, 54-53, before going on to lose at Arco Arena to Modesto Christian in the finals and eventually finishing 30-2. Now, Jeff Bickmore’s Lady Bruins will try and derail Argonaut’s perfect run. In their 47-40 quarter-final win over Ripon last Thursday, the Mustangs connected on 17 of 30 free throw attempts while Ripon was just three of four from the charity stripe. Other than a second round PVL loss to Placer, Bear River, 25-3, has been playing with a head of steam with Kaitlyn Reina (13.5), Sarah Hager, Savannah Welz and Cindy Solomon leading a balanced Lady Bruins attack. Bear River is seeking its first section crown since the 2007 team defeated Ripon, 57-27.
5:30 p.m. – Colfax (20-9) vs. Bradshaw Christian (25-2): Bradshaw is another team riding a hot streak. The Pride enter Wednesday’s game with Colfax having won 19 straight since a loss to San Clemente on Dec. 22 in the Nike Tournament in Phoenix. “They like to press and jump and run,” said Colfax coach Dave Campbell. “We’ll have to handle their pressure.” The Pride will floor four players who are averaging in double figures with the trio of Ashlee Jones, Erika Been and Briana Barnes hitting this season for 123 three-point baskets. Colfax, tri-champions of the Pioneer Valley League, received one of its better balanced scoring efforts in last week’s 63-53 quarter-final round dousing of Liberty Ranch as Kaila Tremoureaux, Amber Tobiasz and Raegan Lillie teamed to drop 47 points on the Hawks. Colfax, with nine CIF titles dating back to 1983, is seeking its first crown since 2004 when the Lady Falcons defeated Bret Harte, 45-39.
7:30 p.m. – Colfax (24-5) vs. Liberty Ranch (21-8): If the Falcons are going to move on to Sleep Train Arena, they’re probably going to have to find a way to slow down Liberty Ranch’s high-scoring Michael Meserole who is the top scorer (non-Div. V or Div. VI schools) in the section at 25.2 markers a game. Using a good touch from the outside and an assortment of drives, Meserole has got to the free throw stripe 200 times this season, connecting on 158. In Friday’s 59-42 quarter-final win over Mesa Verde, the Hawks hit six of nine three-point shots in the second half as they out-scored the Mavericks, 43-14 from the late second quarter on. For Liberty Ranch, with its campus just 10 miles away in Galt, the Hawks figure to have the home court advantage with a boisterous rooting section expected. Colfax is trying to reach its fifth title game at Sleep Train in the past eight seasons.