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Seven Empire teams headed to state


Katie Daly's status for Wednesday's game will be determined Monday. Santa Rosa's senior guard missed the NCS semifinals with concussion symptoms. (Photo by Conner Jay, The Press Democrat)

The Montgomery boys and St. Vincent girls will open play in the CIF State Basketball Championships at home while five other Redwood Empire teams will be on the road for opening-round games.

Invitations for all divisions, including two open brackets for the top-ranked teams in Northern California, were announced Sunday night. Enrollment determines a school's division.

All area teams playing away from home are girls teams: Santa Rosa, Ukiah, Windsor, Analy and Cardinal Newman.

Opening-round games will be played Wednesday night. Second-round games are set for Saturday with the the Northern California Regional semifinals and finals the following week. The CIF title games are March 28-29 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

Montgomery, champions of the North Bay League, open Division 2 play against a Del Oro team with a 28-2 record. The Vikings are 25-6.

"I didn't have an opinion one way or the other about getting a home game in the first round," Montgomery coach Tom Fitchie said. "I knew we were on the bubble for one. We're just happy to be playing."

Fitchie will be receiving films of Del Oro, from Loomis, games on Monday.

"I don't know much yet," he said. "A team that wins 28 games has to be good. I know they have good size with guys 6-8, 6-4 and 6-3 up front. They'll have a size advantage on us."

Montgomery is the No. 5 seed and Del Oro is No. 12.

The St. Vincent girls (25-7) will welcome Ripon Christian (22-4) of San Jose in a Division 5 match-up.

"We got a No. 5 seed and that's right what I expected," coach Jim Fagundes said. "If we had won the NCS championship game, we probably would've been No. 3."

The Mustangs lost to International of San Francisco, 51-41, in the finals.

Santa Rosa is the lone Empire representative in Division 1. The Panthers' girls (27-4) were seeded No. 9 and will face No. 8 North Salinas (25-2). "I thought we'd get a higher seed," coach Steve Chisholm said. "That loss to Berkeley in NCS cost us a few spots."

Katie Daly, the All-Empire Player of the Year as a junior, missed the Berkeley game with concussion symptoms. Her status for Wednesday's game will be determined Monday.

Ukiah and Windsor will both see action in Division 2 games.

No. 10 Ukiah (14-14) will journey up to No 7 Chico (9-13) while No. 11 Windsor (20-9) will be at No. 6 Del Oro (21-9).

In Division 3, Analy, champs of the Sonoma County League, will represent the Empire. The No. 9 Tigers (19-11) travel to No. 8 Patterson (25-5).

Cardinal Newman (23-7) landed the No. 9 seed in Division 4 and will visit No. 8 Menlo (18-11) in Atherton.

"Two Division 4 schools (Salesian and St. Mary's) were both moved up to the open bracket and that opened a spot up for us," Cardinals coach Monica Mertle said. "We were keeping our fingers crossed that would happen. We knew it was a possibility. We're thrilled."