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It’s anybody’s race as SFL basketball begins

Woodcreek visits Granite Bay in one of three openers Thursday
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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The Sierra Foothill League has earned a reputation as one of the toughest in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Some say it is the toughest.

While that conversation tends to occur during football season, SFL basketball begins Thursday night, and it, too, is anybody’s guess who will win the thing.
Granite Bay coach Jason Sitterud tabbed Del Oro as the frontrunner because of its experience. After that ...

“After them, it’s pretty much a logjam,” he said. “The SFL is always very competitive. It’s going to change every night.”

All SFL teams had some success in nonleague games. Del Oro and Nevada Union are 10-6. Roseville has won eight of 11. Woodcreek was a two-time tournament runner-up. Granite Bay has a 12-point win over Bella Vista (14-3). One of Rocklin’s three victories came against Folsom (10-7).

Now, they get to jump into the ring with each other for the next five weeks. Granite Bay plays host to Woodcreek on Thursday, and Roseville is host to Nevada Union.

“It’s a grind every single night,” coach Greg Granucci said Friday night after Roseville built a 29-point cushion on its way to an 80-65 victory over visiting West Campus in its nonleague finale. “You have to be prepared and you have to play right from the start of the game, and you have to bring your ‘A’ game every night. Teams in this league will just jump on you.”

Granucci also pointed out “the little things” like hustle plays — 50/50 balls and tips around the basket — as potential difference-makers in games.

“You have to be disciplined enough to pay attention to those details and really get after it that way,” he said.

Teams are focusing on areas of improvement heading into league play.
At Oakmont, that means cutting down on turnovers if the Vikings hope to compete with big Bella Vista, physical and quick Del Campo and improved Casa Roble in the Capital Valley Conference.

“We try to look at turnovers as, any time we turn the ball over, it’s anywhere from a four- to six-point swing,” said Campbell, whose Vikings (8-7) open CVC play Friday night at Rio Linda. “The two they get and the two we don’t get, the three they get and the three we don’t get, those are big swings in a game. If we can eliminate those, we should be OK.”

Granite Bay’s boys have been working on pressure situations in close games, “just getting guys the right shots in the right spots and getting the stops,” according to Sitterud.

The Oakmont girls, not the tallest team ever assembled, have been working on boxing out; same for the Roseville girls, who include protecting the ball and executing the offense as additional keys as they prepare for Friday’s SFL opener at Woodcreek.

“That’s the standard recipe for wins,” Tigers coach Ron Volk said, adding the SFL is “just a great league to play in.”

The CVC is no cakewalk. Bella Vista, Christian Brothers, Del Campo and Rio Linda have been ranked in the top 20 in one area newspaper poll.

“We have to play 32 minutes,” said coach Al Voigt, whose Vikings (10-7) open Thursday night at Casa Roble. “If we play 31½, we lose by a point.”

Press Tribune Correspondent Robbie Enos contributed to this story.

SFL STANDINGS (nonleague)

Boys

Team               W    L
Del Oro            10    6
Nevada Union   10    6
Roseville            9    8
Granite Bay        8    8
Woodcreek        6  10
Rocklin              3   13

Girls

Team               W    L
Woodcreek      12     5
Del Oro             8     7
Rocklin              9     8
Nevada Union     6     9
Roseville            3    13
Granite Bay        2    10