Competition steps up a notch for city high school hoops teams 

The University boys’ team advanced in the playoffs on Chris Mah’s (11) last-second layup. They’ll meet Pinewood on Saturday. - DEVIN CHEN/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Devin Chen/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • The University boys’ team advanced in the playoffs on Chris Mah’s (11) last-second layup. They’ll meet Pinewood on Saturday.

Five San Francisco basketball teams saw their seasons end in the first round of the Northern California bracket of the California Interscholastic Federation state playoffs, but six squads remain in the second round on Saturday.

Both Sacred Heart Cathedral teams had first-round byes in Division III, as did the St. Ignatius girls in Division II and the Lowell girls in Division I, but the University boys and International girls are hoping to carry momentum gained with first-round victories in Division V.

The two squads may have momentum, but will be significant underdogs on the road. Seventh seed University (20-11), which edged Ripon Christian 79-77 in the first round, will travel to second seed Pinewood (25-2) in Los Altos Hills, in a rematch of last season’s Northern California regional semifinal.

University eliminated the Panthers last season with a 81-75 win, but the Red Devils have a very different team this season and an almost entirely new starting lineup.

“They’re the clear favorite and they’ll probably have some extra motivation since we eliminated them last year,” University coach Randal Bessolo said. “We are expecting another nuthouse, and as always, we’re going to focus on what we do and believe in each other.”

On the girls’ side, eighth seed International (22-10), which pounded visiting Portola 71-25 in the first round, will travel to top-seeded Brookside Christian (26-4) in Stockton.

The Jaguars appear to have hit their stride and are also carrying a tremendous amount of confidence.

“We know our season isn’t over until we lose, and we don’t have that in sight,” International coach Charlene Murphy said.

Unlike their Division V counterparts, the teams with first-round byes will mostly be favorites.

The top-seeded Sacred Heart Cathedral boys (25-5) will take on ninth seed Miramonte of Orinda, which took down eighth seed Sierra of Manteca in the first round and qualified with a North Coast Section semifinal appearance.

The third-seeded Sacred Heart girls team (15-14) will also take on Miramonte (29-1) to kick off a doubleheader on Ellis Street.

Fourth-seeded St. Ignatius (25-5) will host fifth seed Casa Grande of Petaluma (31-2) in a loaded Division II girls bracket, while second-seeded Lowell (25-4) will host Central Coast Section champion and seventh seed Gunn of Palo Alto (20-6) at Kezar Pavilion.

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