By Ray Hamill — There were no major surprises for the local boys teams when the North Coast Section playoff brackets were released on Sunday.
In Division IV, the high-flying Fortuna Huskies will open at home to Fort Bragg on Wednesday after receiving the No. 2 seed.
As expected, the top seed went to Branson, the only Division-IV team ranked ahead of Fortuna in the state.
If the two schools do meet in the NCS championship game, it’s a matchup fans would relish.
Wednesday’s opener is scheduled for 7 p.m., and it’s sure top be a loud and packed gymnasium for the occasion.
Big 5 rematch on the cards
Also in Division IV, No. 7 Del Norte will open at home to No. 10 Middletown at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, as part of a doubleheader with the history-making girls team, which plays at 7.
Whoever wins will likely travel to play at Fortuna in the second round, providing the Huskies take care of the Timberwolves in their opener.
Which could give local fans a rematch of Friday’s Dick Niclai final.
No. 9 McKinleyville and No. 11 Arcata each also made the Division-IV bracket, and will both also play on Wednesday.
The Panthers open in San Francisco at No. 8 Lick-Wilmerding, while the Tigers open at No. 6 Marin Catholic in Novato.
Hoopa boys get a five seed
A late-season surge saw the Hoopa boys rise in the rankings and the NCS committee agreed with that assessment by giving the Warriors the No. 5 seed in a loaded Division-V bracket that features three of the top four teams in the state.
The Warriors will open at home to No. 12 Urban on Wednesday, with a possible rematch against a No. 4 Head-Royce team that defeated them earlier in the season if they advance.
“I wouldn’t mind a rematch with Head-Royce,” Hoopa head coach Tyler Mitchell said. “But this Urban team is going to be tough. They play a lot of good teams. They’ve got some size.”
No doubt the Hoopa gym will be rocking on Wednesday also.
St. Bernard’s and South Fork to host
The South Fork Cubs are poised to be the biggest local surprise in the playoffs this year, and will open at home to Rincon Valley Christian on Wednesday night.
The No. 6 Cubs will play a doubleheader with the school’s girls team, which opens against San Francisco Waldorf.
The South Fork boys play at 7 p.m.
St. Bernard’s will also host a doubleheader on Wednesday, with the No. 7 boys team playing No. 10 Archbishop Hanna at 5:30 p.m.