Basketball notes: The final Top 10 is here, plus what to know for 2024 playoffs

The regular season is over and the 2024 postseason is here.

The Bee’s final Top 10 boys and girls basketball rankings includes 20-win teams, league champions, top-ranked playoff teams and teams who had historically great seasons.

The Top 10 factors in league rankings, head-to-head matchups, results against common opponents, results in top 10 showdowns and playoff positioning to determine movement on the boys and girls sides.

Here’s a look at the final Top 10 of the season ahead of Tuesday’s first round playoff games:


Modesto Christian is the No. 1 seed in Division I and remains the top team. The Crusaders went a perfect 11-0 during Tri-City Athletic League play for the second straight season and challenged themselves during the final three regular season games against top Northern California opponents. In their season finale, they fell to Weston Ranch, who could be a postseason opponent for the Crusaders in the section semifinals Feb. 19.

Central Catholic also went perfect in league play, sealing the top spot in the Valley Oak League by beating Manteca. The No. 2 team in the Stanislaus District is once again a top four seed in the Division III playoffs. Central Catholic ran into Vanden multiple times in the past, but the Vikings are up in D-II this year. The Raiders, however, will have to go through defending D-III champion and top seed Sacramento High if they want to reach the section final.

No. 5 Ripon Christian and No. 7 Ripon entered Friday’s Trans Valley League championship with 10-1 league records. The Knights were led to victory by Jake Vander Veen’s 19 points as they claimed their third straight league title. Ripon Christian is the top team in the D-V bracket.

Beyer hosts a D-III play-in game Monday after sealing the Western Athletic Conference’s third spot.

Top 10

Records after regular season

1. Modesto Christian (23-5)

2. Central Catholic (23-5)

3. Patterson (22-6)

4. Pitman (20-7)

5. Ripon Christian (21-6)

6. Beyer (18-10)

7. Ripon (21-7)

8. Escalon (22-6)

9. Turlock (14-12)

10. Ceres (17-10)


Patterson is the third girls No. 1 team this season after finishing tied with Colfax for the most regular season wins in the section this year with 26 victories. Escalon comes in at No. 2 with an equally impressive 25 wins. Both teams have just two losses. Patterson’s losses came to one opponent, Central California Conference champion Atwater. Escalon split with Hughson and Riverbank in league play, creating a three-way tie for the TVL title.

The Bruins and Huskies are fourth and fifth, respectfully, at the end of the regular season. Each of the TVL’s top three teams have two league losses. Riverbank is looking to get back to the section final for the second straight season. Last year, the Bruins and Cougars faced off in the D-IV semifinals.

Turlock tied for the league title with Pitman, but Pitman was given the league’s top spot in the playoffs. Johansen won its final three WAC contests to lock up the league’s No. 3 spot and a playoff spot. Johansen and Ceres, the WAC second place finisher, compete in play-in games Monday.

Top 10

Records after regular season

1. Patterson (26-2)

2. Escalon (25-2)

3. Riverbank (19-5)

4. Hughson (19-8)

5. Ceres (20-7)

6. Pitman (15-10)

7. Gregori (16-12)

8. Ripon Christian (14-11)

9. Turlock (12-15)

10. Johansen (16-12)

Central Catholic guard/forward scores 1,000th point

A successful quarterback, defensive end and safety on the gridiron and a top-rated pitcher and outfielder on the baseball diamond, TP Wentworth can add a basketball accomplishment to his name as well. In Central Catholic’s 64-53 win over Kimball, Wentworth scored his 1,000th career points.

The 6-foot-6 senior made his mark on the basketball court during the Valley Oak League play for the Raiders. He nailed a game winner at the buzzer in the team’s first matchup against Manteca to keep their VOL title hopes alive, scored 16 points in a win over Sierra and recorded a 27-point, 12-rebound double-double against Kimball.

The Raiders secured a league championship in their final game of the regular season, beating Manteca to finish a perfect 10-0 in VOL play. They enter the Division III playoffs riding a 15-game win streak.

Johansen girls hoops taking new mindset to playoffs

Johansen’s motto the past few seasons has been “why not us?” On senior night against Beyer and in their season finale against Davis, the Vikings sealed their second trip to the playoffs in three seasons with back-to-back wins.

The trip to the playoffs is part of a historic three-year run for the Johansen girls program under coach Derrick McLaughlin. The Vikings had never been to the postseason before, a streak that was snapped two seasons ago when they won nine league games and finished third in the WAC. Last year, they just missed out on the postseason, tying for third, but losing the head-to-head matchup to Pacheco. Despite failing to make the playoffs, it was not a season lost, their 17 overall wins were the most in recent program history. They’ve taken the underdog mentality and ran with it.

This year, they’re chasing a playoff win.

“Everybody looks at Johansen as a team that’s not worthy,” said McLaughlin. “We don’t care who it is, you’re gonna get our best defensive effort and you’re going to remember that you played us. We’re gonna be scrappy, we’re gonna turn you over, we’re gonna box you out and we’re going to score on you.”

A trio of veterans lead the charge in four-year varsity player and leading scorer Bethany Albarran, Jamie Zarilla the team’s second leading scorer, steals leader and top rebounder and three-year varsity player Brenda Constancio.

The Vikings are a No. 17 seed in Division II and travel to McNair Monday.

Webb’s shooting leads Pitman over Gregori in tight CCAL girls race

Pitman senior Liz Webb was determined to lead the Pride to a share of the Central California Athletic League championship Thursday, Feb. 8. Webb scored 23 points and drilled 6 threes on the road in Pitman’s 57-38 win to secure a share of the league title with Turlock, who beat Modesto Thursday.

“I really wanted to win because last year, we were close to winning league too and we were back here, it was a close game and everything and we just couldn’t do it,” Webb said. “So I wanted to try to pull it together for the team.”

Pitman jumped out to a 34-15 halftime lead Webb knew the game was far from over. Gregori, though young, held the league’s top spot through the first few CCAL contests and Pitman was expecting a second half fight. Webb scored 11 third-quarter points and hit 3 threes, including a deep shot from the Jaguar logo just past half court to extend the lead.

“I felt nervous in the beginning but then during halftime, I felt like it was even real. I felt like they could still come back, they could still win,” she said. “So I was trying to be calm and collected. And then at the end, it was just surreal. I was like, dang, we really really did it.”

All three CCAL girls qualifiers, Pitman, Turlock and Gregori, have Division I play-in games Monday. The Pride host Edison while Turlock and Gregori are on the road against Stagg and Lodi, respectively.

Upcoming first round home games

The Sac-Joaquin Section first round starts Tuesday with Divisions IV through VI suiting up. Wednesday, Divisions I through III play their first round contests. Here’s a look at Stanislaus District teams who host opening round playoff contests.


Division I

Cosumnes Oaks/Turlock at No. 1 Modesto Christian

Division III

No. 13 Wood at No. 4 Central Catholic

Division IV

No. 12 Marysville at No. 5 Escalon

No. 13 Holt at No. 4 Ripon

Division V

No. 9 Bret Harte at No. 8 Big Valley Christian


Division II

No. 10 St. Francis at No. 7 Patterson

Division IV

No. 12 Union Mine at No. 5 Hughson

No. 13 Sutter at No. 4 Riverbank

No. 14 Sacramento at No. 3 Escalon

Division V

No. 13 Mariposa at No. 4 Ripon Christian

Renteria’s career high leads Ceres past Mountain House

Ceres’ record breaking season continues as the Bulldogs qualified for the postseason and will host Cordova for a Division III play-in game Monday.

The Bulldogs won 20 games this season, recording their first 20-win year since 2005-06 when they made a deep run in the playoffs. To put a cap on a historic regular season, they beat the WAC’s top team, Mountain House, on the final day of the regular season led by a career-high 32 points from senior Marissa Renteria.

Ceres won 66-55, handing the Mustangs their first league loss this season.

Ceres finished the regular season with an 11-3 WAC record and locked up the second spot in the league standings. It enters Monday’s game riding a seven-game win streak.

27th Six County All-Star Game nominations open

Nominations are now being accepted for the 27th Six County Senior Boys and Girls All-Star Basketball games. The game features the top 24 boys and 24 girl players from Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Merced and the surrounding counties and is scheduled for Saturday, April 27 at Modesto Junior College.

Now that the regular season has ended, nomination forms will be sent out to all schools via email. Coaches and athletic directors can also send requests to The deadline to submit nominations is March 15.