In a postseason where so many things have gone as planned for San Francisco high school basketball programs, two teams are crashing the party.
International High School’s girls’ team and Marshall High School’s boys’ team are both seeking their first section titles in school history.
Marshall, which finished in third place in the Academic Athletic Association’s Lang Division, got to the championship game with a win over first-place Lincoln in the semifinals on Wednesday and will have to take down second-place Mission in the San Francisco Section final today at Kezar Pavilion.
Sixth-seeded International, which had never advanced past the first round of the North Coast Section Division V playoffs prior to this season, has taken down its three playoff opponents, including third-seeded St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma, by an average of nearly 17 points.
The Jaguars may be rolling, but they will face their toughest test of the season to date against top seed and defending champion St. Joseph Notre Dame today at Albany High School.
While International and Marshall have been surprises, the top programs in San Francisco this season have lived up to expectations in their respective section tournaments.
The top-seeded Mercy girls’ squad won its first two Central Coast Section tournament games by a combined 55 points to advance to the Division IV title game today at Santa Clara University, the second-seeded St. Ignatius girls have similarly cruised in the CCS D-II tourney and will also play today, as did second-seeded Sacred Heart Cathedral in D-III. The Irish girls will play on Saturday at Santa Clara.
On the boys’ side, top-seeded Sacred Heart is in the championship game against upstart El Camino despite an extended injury to standout senior forward Joshua Fox, who still hadn’t been cleared to play by the Sacred Heart medical staff as of Wednesday.
Sacred Heart’s winter season may be one of its best in recent history, with both basketball teams in CCS finals, along with the third-seeded boys’ soccer team, which will take on North Monterey County in the D-III championship game on Saturday at Gilroy High School.
Not to be forgotten, another clash between AAA powerhouses Lowell and Washington. The two teams met in the championship game last season, and Lowell has won two straight titles and seven in the past 10 years. Washington hasn’t won a championship since the 2001 season, immediately before Lowell’s run.
A staggering 11 teams from San Francisco will represent The City in NorCals.