By Ray Hamill — Six of the local girls teams to make the North Coast Section playoffs will host games this coming week, including the three schools to receive a top-four seed.
As expected, the St. Bernard’s girls were handed the top seed in the Division-V bracket, which was released on Sunday.
The Crusaders, who won their sixth straight Little 4 title this season, will open the playoffs at home to No. 16 Branson on Wednesday.
They are one of seven local girls teams to make the playoffs, with Hoopa Valley’s omission the only major surprise.
The Hoopa girls are ranked No. 11 in their bracket by MaxPreps and had seemed like a certainty to be included.
Del Norte seeded No. 2
In Division IV, Big 5 champion Del Norte was handed the No. 2 seed, one of three local teams to be included in that bracket, along with McKinleyville and Fortuna.
The Panthers were given the No. 8 seed and will host No. 9 St. Mary’s on Wednesday night, a fantastic achievement for a program that has struggled in recent years.
Fortuna, meanwhile, received the No. 10 seed and will open on the road at No. 7 Urban on Wednesday.
The Huskies are the only local girls team to open on the road.
As the No. 2 seed, the Warriors will host all the way to the championship round, provided they keep on winning, and will open at home to No. 15 Gateway, also on Wednesday.
That game will be played as part of a doubleheader with the school’s boys team.
If the Warriors and Huskies each win, they will enjoy a Big 5 rematch in the second round at Crescent City next weekend.
Del Norte, which was ranked No. 1 in their division for most of the past month, had hoped to secure the top seed in the bracket, but any chance of that disappeared after St. Patrick/St. Vincent’s stunning weekend upset of D-III Salesian, which came into the game No. 26 in the nation.
If the Mack girls win, meanwhile, they will face a tough challenge on the road at the top seeds in the second round.
Loggers to host on Tuesday
In Division III, the Eureka girls received the No. 4 seed as expected.
The Loggers will get things under way for the local contingent on Tuesday night, when they host No. 13 Hercules.
A second home game against No. 5 seed Sir Francis Drake on Friday likely awaits the Eureka girls if they can take care of business on Tuesday.
Cats, Cubs open at home
Both Ferndale and South Fork were both included in the Division-VI bracket, and will each host a game on Wednesday.
The Wildcats are seeded No. 6 and will open at home to No. 11 Potter Valley, a team they defeated in their season opener by a score of 31-24.
The Cubs are seeded one spot back at No. 7 and will open at home to No. 10 San Francisco Waldorf as part of a doubleheader with the school’s boys team.