The Sac-Joaquin Section released its brackets for playoffs last Wednesday.
The members of Central Valley High School's 22-3 varsity boys basketball program watched the selection show together inside a classroom on campus following practice.
"Everyone is excited," Hawks head coach Darryl Dickson said. "Our aspirations are bigger than making playoffs. We've always had the goal of winning a section title."
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 today at 7 p.m.
The Hawks compiled a perfect 12-0 record en route to a first-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Cougars took 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. We're prepared for whatever comes our way."
Central Valley made history during the 2013-14 campaign 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.
"There's an interesting dynamic with this year's team," Dickson said. "We've prepared ourselves better. We're doing more scouting and watching film. We've put in a ton of work."
Central Valley accomplished several firsts in 2014-15, including winning a conference title, earning the right to host a playoff game and securing its second straight playoff berth.
"The goal is to win the whole thing," said Dickson, whose team has reeled off 15 straight victories. "If we play to our ability, we'll have a chance. Every game is going to be tough."
Seniors Jaron Dickson, Daevon Brown and Parker Griffin have all filled major roles while leading Central Valley to new heights this year.
Dickson and Brown are standout guards.
Griffin plays center.
Jaron and Daevon scored a combined 30 points during 11th-seeded Central Valley's 60-43 upset win against No. 6 Sierra of the VOL in the opening round of the playoffs last season.
"We have one of the best backcourts in the Stanislaus District," Darryl Dickson said. "I'm not afraid to put them up against anybody."
"It feels like home here," said Brown, formerly of Modesto Christian. "I just needed a change of scenery. I have no regrets."
"I love playing in front of big crowds," said Jaron Dickson, who will in all likelihood be voted WAC MVP. "I like to showcase my skills."
Central Valley's varsity boys basketball program failed to qualify for the playoffs during its first seven years of existence.
The Hawks enjoyed a breakthrough season a year ago when they made a surprising run to the quarterfinals of the Division-III postseason tournament.
Central Valley battled back from a 14-point deficit before losing 61-58 to No. 3 Fairfield.
"I'm pretty confident we can go pretty far this year," Brown said. "We have better team chemistry. We're all on the same page. We all have that hunger to get back to the playoffs and go deeper. We're playing with a chip on our shoulders."