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Hawks secure first-ever postseason berth
CV boys will face Sierra in opening round
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The members of Central Valley High School’s varsity boys basketball team gathered in a P.E. classroom on Wednesday to watch the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoff Selection Show.

The section released its postseason brackets for boys and girls hoops during a live online broadcast at 5 p.m.

“We’re a little disappointed in the seeding,” Hawks head coach Darryl Dickson said. “We had the third-best record in Division III. I thought we deserved to host a game. But if you’re going to win it all, you have to face all the teams.”

Eleventh-seeded Central Valley will travel to Manteca next Wednesday to face four-time defending Valley Oak League champion/No. 6 Sierra in the opening round of the D-III playoff tournament.

Tipoff slated for 7 p.m.

“We have nothing to lose,” Dickson said. “Nobody expects us to win. We definitely have no fear going in playing them. They’re beatable. Our goal is to win our next four games.”

Sierra’s amassed a 205-75 overall record, made two section finals appearances, captured five VOL titles and participated in the playoffs 10 times under head coach Scott Thomason’s guidance since 2004-05.

Powerhouse Modesto Christian defeated Sierra 66-54 for the Division-III crown last season.

“He’s one of the best coaches in the section,” Dickson said. “I got a lot of respect for the guy. He does an awesome job teaching. They do the little things right. Their best attribute is they play very good defense. We have a week to get ready. We look forward to the matchup. We’re going to challenge them.”

The Hawks will be led by Cal State Stanislaus commit Ryan Donnelly, and juniors Daevon Brown and Jaron Dickson.

Kendel Johnson, Central Valley’s dual-threat quarterback during the fall, will contribute as well.

Donnelly ranks first on the team in scoring (17.1 ppg).

Brown and Dickson both averaged 15.1 points per game during the regular season.

Johnson averaged 7.4 points per contest. Kendel’s counted upon more to play defense and rebound.

“They’re going to have to stop all of our weapons,” coach Dickson said. “We have three really strong options we can go to.”

Central Valley (21-6) and Sierra (20-6) enter next week’s playoff tilt with a combined record of 41-12.

“They have experience,” Darryl Dickson said. “They’ve been to the section finals two out of the last three years. They know what to expect. We’d love to get to that level.”