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Elk Grove Citizen

Season’s over for Sheldon, Franklin, and perhaps, Monterey Trail

Feb 17, 2024 11:51AM ● By John Hull

Robert Fields and his No. 2 seeded Monterey Trail Mustangs were  upset by No. 7 Lincoln, 93-88 in double overtime in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I quarterfinals. The season may not exactly be over for the Mustangs for they may be a wildcard selection for the CIF NorCal Tournament. 

Elk Grove (MPG) – It happened all within the same three hours the evening of Feb. 16 that three Elk Grove Unified boys basketball teams are were potentially knocked out of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. Sheldon, a six-seed, dropped a 71-62 decision to No. 3 Rocklin, while No. 8 Franklin sort of hung around but couldn’t overcome the always-powerful and, this season, the No. 1 seed Modesto Christian, losing 62-50. Then, No. 2 Monterey Trail saw their offense go flat midway through the fourth quarter, squandered an 11-point third quarter lead and then drop a 93-88 double-overtime game to No. 7 Lincoln of Stockton.

To clarify the adjective “potentially” in the opening sentence, the top four teams left in the playoffs will all proceed next week into the CIF NorCal Regionals, but the Section does have the option for one “at-large” team to be selected. Being the No. 2 seed and going 26-4 this season with the only two losses to Section opponents being games that went into overtime, the Mustangs may be a prime candidate.

“I think we had a tremendous season, great in league, great in non-league, it took a lot to put us down, so if you invite me to the dance, I’ll bring my dancing shoes,” Mustang coach Robert Fields said of that prospect of more basketball this month for his team. That may not be determined by the State CIF officials until Feb. 24 or 25.

The possibility may give this talented squad some relief from the pain inflicted by the Feb. 16 loss. Coming out of the locker room for the third quarter, Monterey Trail had a 40-36 lead and quickly added to that. A quick three by Derron White followed by a bucket by Kentrell Kelly and then a jumper by White and the Mustangs were up 47-36. From there, though, things turned south. They turned the ball over twice which led to Lincoln baskets and then Quentin Thompson’s three-point play and the Trojans were back to within two. The rest of the way, the teams were back and forth within one bucket of each other.

Brandon Gibson, who led the Mustangs with 29 points, was about the only scorer for Monterey Trail who put up points while his teammates struggled in shooting. Monterey Trail led 72-70 with :08.7 remaining and Thompson drew a foul from Kelly to send himself to the free throw line. He made both tosses to tie the game. Thompson ended up leading the Trojans with 29 points.

Fields called a double timeout to set up a play for the game winner, but White’s shot was blocked by Zeke Davis and the game went into overtime.

At the end of the first overtime and the score tied at 80 Lincoln’s Anthony Moore had a shot at the horn that hit the front of the rim. In the second extra period Davis and Moore each hit key free throws to solidfy the win for Lincoln, who advances to a Feb. 19 semi-final showdown at Rocklin. Davis ended up with 28 points.

“We feel really great,” Lincoln coach Anthony Matthews said. “We haven’t been to the third round (of the playoffs) in, like, 30 years. Hats off to (Monterey Trail). We played them in the Foundation Game. We saw what they were. I talked to Coach Fields and after we beat them in that game they really turned it on. Their resume is freakin’ impressive.”

“The ball just didn’t bounce our way,” Fields said after the game. “Shots will fall, shots will not fall, I don’t think it was anything we did. Things just didn’t go our way. It’s playoffs, man, these are young kids and this is a great experience for them. We are happy with our effort, we’re happy with our preparation, we’re just not happy with the results.” 

Bradshaw, Fortune still alive in D-V

Both Bradshaw Christian and Fortune Early College School made it to the Division V boys basketball semi-finals. On Feb. 20 the Pride travel to No. 1 Ripon Christian while the Panthers, the No. 2 seed, hosts No. 6 Futures Academy.

Because of other events schedule for the Golden One Center, the Section championships for Divisions I, II and III will be Feb. 21 and the Divisions IV, V and VI title games will be Feb. 23.