No. 6 Liberty vs. No. 11 Amador Valley
Liberty is heading to the NCS playoffs for the first time since 2004, when the Lions lost in the first round to Newark Memorial. The Lions, who host Amador Valley at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, haven’t seen a home playoff game since 1985. Liberty head coach Jon Heinz noted that the Lions made the playoffs every year from 1979 to 1985.
Behind a solid season from junior guard Brandon White and the clutch shooting of senior guard Dwayne Burns, Liberty re-emerged as a contender in the Bay Valley Athletic League this year. The Lions finished 20-6 overall (7-3 BVAL). Senior guards Juwon Blakely, Julius Jones and Francisco Cortez have also stepped up for Liberty.
Amador Valley comes to Liberty as the No. 11 seed following a 15-11 overall regular season. The Dons’ 7-7 record earned them fourth place in the East Bay Athletic League.
No. 8 Berkeley vs. No. 9 Heritage
Heritage, which finished the season 16-10 overall, placed fourth in the BVAL with a 4-6 mark against local foes. The Patriots, who face Berkeley at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, got strong efforts from sophomore center Shon Briggs, junior guard George Johnson and senior forwards Wayne Engelstad and Josh Ned, among others.
The Berkeley Yellowjackets finished second in the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League, going 15-11 overall and 9-3 in league play. Berkeley’s offense revolves around Oregon State-bound senior forward Langston Morris-Walker, who averaged 16.7 points per game. Morris-Walker also led the Yellowjackets in assists and rebounds.
Bye: No. 2 Deer Valley and No. 3 Freedom
Deer Valley, the BVAL champion, and Freedom, the runner-up, have earned first-round byes and won’t take the court until Friday. The Wolverines face the winner of No. 7 San Leandro vs. No. 10 Granada. The Falcons can anticipate a matchup against either Liberty or Amador Valley.
Click here for the complete boys bracket (PDF).
No. 3 Mission San Jose vs. No. 14 Liberty
Liberty, which finished the season 17-9 overall (5-5 BVAL), faces a tough task in a first-round matchup Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Mission San Jose in Fremont. The Lions performed well against non-league opponents, winning the Stonebarger Tournament and sharing a title with Heritage in the West Coast Jamboree.
The Lions offense this season was led by two players: senior center Bernadette Fong (12.6 points per game) and senior guard Kaadzie Quaye (11.4). Fong also led the team in rebounding, pulling down 77 in the regular season.
Mission San Jose enters the postseason as the Mission Valley Athletic League champ, boasting a stellar 25-2 overall record (11-1 MVAL). The Warriors lost to Lincoln of Stockton on Dec. 2 and James Logan on Jan. 27 and hold a six-game winning streak heading into Tuesday’s game
No. 4 Castro Valley vs. No. 13 Pittsburg
Pittsburg returns to the NCS tournament after a 14-12 regular season (5-5 BVAL). The Pirates feature the outstanding duo of senior forward Keshia Ward and senior center Myeshia Ward. Keshia led the team with 13.6 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. The 6-foot, 2-inch Myeshia contributed 7.2 points per game and led Pittsburg with 31 blocks.
Pittsburg faces Castro Valley on the road Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Trojans finished 19-7 overall and placed second in the Hayward Area Athletic League with a 12-4 record. Senior guard Elena Ala, who averaged 14.5 points per game, is Castro Valley’s offensive focal point.
No. 5 Heritage vs. No. 12 Livermore
Heritage takes its impressive 22-4 overall record and 8-2 BVAL mark into this year’s NCS tournament. The Patriots are led by a mix of players including juniors Erin Asher and Sabrina Engelstad plus seniors Kiah Knox and Jaszmyn Arsenault.
Heritage enters Tuesday night’s home matchup against Livermore on a four-game winning streak.
The Lady Cowboys placed sixth in the EBAL, finishing 13-13 overall and 6-8 in league play.
Bye: No. 2 Deer Valley
Deer Valley, which repeated as BVAL champion this season, hosts on Friday the winner of the No. 7 James Logan vs. No. 10 Amador Valley tilt. The Wolverines finished 19-7 overall and a perfect 10-0 record against league foes.
Click here for the complete girls bracket (PDF).