NorCal basketball: Aptos' girls, boys hit the road in first round

Aptos sophomore point guard JoJoe Moreno (4) drives against Monterey senior guard Mohammed Adam (1) during Feb. 23's CCS D-III championship game at Palo Alto High. — Tony Nunez/Register-Pajaronian

The Aptos girls’ and boys’ basketball teams will hit the road on Tuesday for the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation NorCal playoffs.

The Mariners' girls received the No. 9 seed in the Division II playoffs, and will travel to Fresno to play No. 8 Central at 7 p.m.

The boys’ team, meanwhile, was given the No. 15 seed in the Division IV playoffs, and will make the trip to No. 2 Piedmont for a 7:30 p.m. contest.

Junior forward Natalia Ackerman had 28 points, 22 rebounds, five blocks and four steals in a 58-37 win over South San Francisco on Feb. 23 to clinch the girls’ (23-6) second Central Coast Section Division III championship in the last three seasons.

Their victory in the section final didn’t mean much to the decision makers of the CIF, as the Mariners will have to make the long drive east to Fresno for their first round matchup.

Central (19-9) lost in the semifinals of the Central Section Division I playoffs to juggernaut Clovis West on Feb. 19, but is ranked higher than Aptos in MaxPreps.com’s state rankings. The Grizzlies, coached by Geoffrey Clayton, are ranked 68th in California, 20 spots ahead of Aptos.

The Mariners’ boys fell to 18-11 overall following their 59-31 loss to powerhouse Monterey in Feb. 23’s CCS D-III final, and will travel to the East Bay looking for a bounce-back win against Piedmont (19-10).

The Highlanders, coached by Mike Hudson, are ranked 165th in the state by MaxPreps — Aptos is ranked 361st — and are five days removed from their 57-32 loss to Branson in the semifinal round of the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs.

The Mariners' boys have not lost back-to-back games since Jan. 4. 

Full brackets can be found here: www.cifstate.org/sports/basketball/index

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