Central Valley High School’s varsity boys basketball program made history during the 2013-14 season when it qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time.
The Hawks are headed back to the postseason following another record-breaking campaign.
Central Valley’s girls and Ceres High’s boys squads will also participate in the Division-III playoffs.
“This is the first time our boys and girls are going to playoffs at the same time,” Central Valley girls head coach Jesse Padilla said.
“The playoffs are no joke,” Central Valley boys leader Darryl Dickson said. “You get a tough game regardless where you’re seeded.”
“The kids are happy,” Ceres High boys head coach Julio Marquez said.
Central Valley’s boys team (22-3) accomplished several firsts in 2014-15.
The Hawks won a league title, earned the right to host a playoff game and secured their second consecutive postseason berth.
“The goal is to win the whole thing,” said Dickson, whose team has won its last 15 games. “If we play to our ability, we’ll have a chance. Every game is going to be tough.”
Eighth-seeded Central Valley will host ninth-seeded Weston Ranch (17-10, 10-4 Valley Oak League) in the opening round of the Division-III playoffs next Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Hawks posted a perfect 12-0 record while finishing first overall in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Cougars placed third in the VOL standings.
“My gut tells me we’re going to play Weston Ranch,” Dickson said two days before the section released its playoff pairings. “That’s my prediction. There’s no logic to it. I’m confident we’ll have an excellent game plan and the kids will be ready.”
“I hope Central Valley has success in the playoffs,” Marquez said.
Central Valley’s girls team failed to qualify for the postseason the previous two years.
“They’ve met my expectations,” Padilla said. “We wanted to finish in the top three in the WAC and get back to playoffs. We get to play for an extra week.”
The Hawks wrapped up the regular season with a 46-31 win over Livingston in conference play on Monday in Ceres.
Central Valley improved to 18-7 on the year and finished in second place in the WAC standings (10-2).
“The girls practice hard,” Padilla said. “We watch film every week and critique ourselves. That helps a lot. It’s a fun group to be around.”
Fifteenth-seeded Central Valley will play at No. 2 Inderkum (23-3, 11-1 Tri-County League) on Tuesday, Feb. 24. The contest will begin at 7 p.m.
The Tigers tied for first place with Rio Linda in the TCL.
“It’s a tough draw,” Padilla said. “I just want to compete. We’ll see what happens.”
Ceres High beat Pacheco 49-33 on Friday to secure the WAC’s third and final playoff berth.
The Bulldogs also ended a two-game losing streak.
“It’s great to end the regular season on a winning note,” Marquez said. “The bench really stepped up and brought the intensity up in the first half.”
Ceres High last participated in the playoffs in 2012-13.
“The kids have been working hard,” Marquez said. “We have a really, close-knit team.”
Eighteenth-seeded Ceres High and No. 15 El Dorado (16-10, 6-4 Sierra Valley Conference) will face off this Friday. The play-in out-bracket game will get underway at 7 p.m.
The Cougars finished third in the SVC.
The winner will face No. 2 Vanden on the road next Wednesday.
“The kids are excited,” Marquez said. “It will be a challenge of course. The intensity and pressure increase in the playoffs. I told them to enjoy every moment. Every season ends with a loss unless you win it all.”
“I’m happy for Ceres High,” Dickson said. “I wish them the best of luck.”