Quick look at conference races around the state:
Bay Valley — The nine-team conference begins the week with Yuba (14-4) and Contra Costa (9-9) tied for the conference lead with 5-1 records. Yuba, 9-1 in its last 10 games, had an eight-game win streak snapped when Merritt (9-8) scored a three-point victory over Yuba. Contra Costa, winners of five straight, also lost to Merritt which capped a five-game losing streak. Since then, Contra Costa has won five straight. Marin (8-9) is currently third, while Merritt, despite it upsets, is tied for fourth with Los Medanos (10-7). Mendocino which started conference with a 9-3 record has lost three of five conference games. Yuba and Contra Costa squares off Friday in Marysville.
Big 8 — Cosumnes River through this conference mayhem with its surprising 75-72 upset of Santa Rosa (4-1, 13-4) last week. Cosumnes River trailed by seven at halftime, but roared back to tie the game and then win in overtime. This week, San Joaquin Delta begins the week sitting atop of the conference standings. The Mustangs (5-1, 13-5), winners of five straight and seven of its last 10, hold a half-game lead on Santa Rosa, the defending conference champions. Cosumnes River (4-2, 9-9) is a game back. In fact, there are six teams within 2 ½ games of first place.
Central Valley — Fresno, winners of 11 straight, is trying to win its 18th consecutive conference title this season. The Rams (4-0, 13-3) currently hold a one-game lead on Columbia (3-0, 12-3). These two teams square off Wednesday in Fresno, where the Rams are 4-1 this season. Columbia can’t focus solely on Fresno just yet as the Claim Jumpers meet third-place Merced (3-1, 7-9) tonight. Although, it is just the third week of conference this conference battle clearly is a two-team race — unless of course Merced can make a statement with a victory over Columbia.
Coast-North — After the first week of conference play, San Francisco (17-1) and Las Positas (13-3) are tied for first place at 2-0. Chabot and Foothill split its first two conference games, while Skyline (0-1, 6-11), Ohlone (0-1, 4-13) and Canada (0-2, 13-5) all went winless in conference games. This week, San Francisco hosts Foothill in its only game while Las Positas travels to Chabot and then hosts San Jose before taking a shot at San Francisco on January 23 at home.
Coast-South — After the first week of conference play, four of the seven teams are perfect. Cabrillo (2-0, 13-4) and Monterey (2-0, 8-10) lead the contingent. Gavilan (1-0, 15-2) and West Valley (1-0, 7-10) are a game behind to start the week. De Anza (8-01), Hartnell )7-11) and San Jose )0-17) all had a tough week in going winless. Ironically, only two of the four unbeaten teams have an overall record above .500. Ultimately, this conference race figures to be a battle between Cabrillo and Gavilan. And, as luck would have it, Cabrillo hosts Gavilan on Wednesday before welcoming Monterey on Friday. Possibly, Cabrillo’s make or break it week.
Golden Valley — Butte (9-10) and Siskiyous (5-15) escaped the opening week of conference play unscathed. Feather River (9-6) and Shasta (3-14) split their conference games while Lassen (9-9) and Redwoods (0-17) lost twice. Butte will battle the weather to Siskiyous on Wednesday with the winner taking a (snow) yardstick lead in the conference race.
Orange Empire — There are five undefeated programs beginning the week in the Orange Empire, led by Fullerton (17-1) which has won 15 straight games and is tied with San Francisco for 17 victories. Saddleback (11-7), like Fullerton, won both of its conference games last week making the Gauchos 7-3 in their last 10 games. Santiago Canyon (12-5) and Santa Ana (7-10) also are undefeated after winning their lone contest last week. Cypress (12-6) and Orange Coast (3-15) split their games while, surprisingly, Riverside (11-7) and Copper Mountain (10-8) lost both conference games. Scheduling continues to benefit Fullerton which hosts Santa Ana this week in its only game this week. Saddleback travels to Irvine Valley (3-15) Wednesday before hosting Santiago Canyon.
Pacific Coast— North & South — After a final nonconference game, the Pacific Coast Conference opens division play on Friday. In the North Division, Mt. San Jacinto (15-2), San Bernardino Valley (13-5) and San Diego Miramar (11-7) appears to be headed for a battle for the division crown. South Division belongs to Southwestern (14-4), only program supporting a record above .500. San Diego City (9-9) appears to be the Jaguars’ biggest threat, yet the Knights have lost to Southwestern once this season, in overtime.
South Coast — North & South — The South Coast divisions remain in nonconference mode as teams continue competition with crossover games before launching division games next week. In the North Division, it appears it is setting up as a four-team race with East Los Angeles (13-3), LA Trade Tech (12-3), Chaffey (11-5) and Pasadena (11-5) all positioned to make a run at division crown. In the South, Long Beach City (14-2) and Cerritos (13-3) appear ready to battle it out.
Western State — East, North & South — A number of Western State teams will play a final crossover contest before beginning division play on Saturday. The East Division looks like to be a two-team race between Citrus (11-6, the favorite, with Los Angeles Valley (10-8) being the dark horse. In the North, Allan Hancock (15-2), Cuesta (13-5) and Ventura (9-9) appears to be the division players for the division crown. The South is shaping up to be the most competition division with four programs beginning division play with record above .500. West LA (14-6) has won six consecutive contests; Bakersfield (12-6) has won five straight to begin the week; LA Pierce (11-8) and Santa Monica (11-8) have both struggled of late but have shown to be able to play with the upper echelon teams.
1. Fullerton (17-1, 13 first place votes, 493 points)
2. San Francisco (17-7, 7, 486)
3. Mt. San Jacinto (15-2, 430)
4. Fresno City (13-3, 412)
5. East Los Angeles (13-3, 380)
6. Long Beach City (14-2, 337)
7. Gavilan (15-2, 340)
8. Allan Hancock (15-2, 320)
9. Southwestern (14-4, 298)
10. Cerritos (13-3, 297)
11. San Bernardino Valley (13-5, 295)
12. Chaffey (11-5, 294)
13. Santa Rosa (13-4, 250)
14. Cabrillo (13-4, 240)
15. LA Trade Tech (12-3, 199)
16. Columbia (12-3, 189)
17. Citrus (11-6, 159)
18. Santiago Canyon (12-5, 145)
19. San Joaquin Delta (13-5, 122)
20. Las Positas (13-3, 118)
21. Yuba (14-4, 115)
22. Saddleback (11-7, 110)
23. West LA (14-6, 103)
24. Canada (13-5, 100)
25. Cuesta (13-5, 98)
1. San Francisco
2. Fresno City
4. Santa Rosa
7. San Joaquin Delta
8. Las Positas
11. Sequoias/American River
13. Cosumnes River
14. Contra Costa
15. Sacramento City
2. Mt. San Jacinto
3. East Los Angeles
4. Long Beach City
5. Allan Hancock
8. San Bernardino Valley
10. LA Trade Tech
12. Santiago Canyon
14. West LA
15. (tie) Cuesta/San Diego Miramar