Playoffs! Talk about playoffs!

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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In spite of former Indianapolis Colts’ coach Jim Mora’s incredulous response on the playoffs eventually made into a beer commercial, it is time to talk about playoffs.

It appears two of Rocklin’s basketball teams will advance to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs and two will not. The Thunder from Rocklin High for both boys and girls are well on their way; the boys and girls from Whitney High will have to unfurl their “Wait ‘Til Next Year” banners. But look for a future resurgence in those two programs.

With only a couple more games remaining in the regular season, the Rocklin boys (16-8) are still in the hunt for a Sierra Foothill League title. They’re going to have to defeat Roseville, Woodcreek and Granite Bay to get there. But as wild as the SFL race has been this season, don’t dismiss the possibility.

The girls would have more of an uphill battle after suffering their second loss to Nevada Union. They stunned Del Oro last week for the first time in what has been estimated up to a dozen years. Unfortunately, having to do the same to the league-leading Miners two nights later proved a bit much.

The Lady Thunder (4-3) could win out over their next three games but Nevada City (6-1) should win at least two of its last three games. But whatever happens, it will not affect Rocklin’s invite to the postseason’s big dance.

The Thunder has more than 15 wins and that’s an automatic playoff (play-in) bid. Even if a team finishes outside the coveted 16-team power ratings, with 15 or more wins it enters a single-game showdown with another team in a similar situation. The winner of that game advances to the 16-team bracket.

Rocklin varsity girls head coach Rob Ferraro has his club playing at a high level and ranked ninth in the Division II Power Ratings. They could lose their final three games and still make the playoffs. The only thing that would be affected is where they would be seeded.

If they move up to eighth place or better that would assure them at least one home game for the playoffs.

The boys are ranked eighth in the first of two power ratings and could improve dramatically with a sweep of their final three games.

Right now, head coach Casey Cutts has his charges focused on one game at a time. If they were to win out they would be assured of at least a piece of the SFL crown. The SFL is ranked second in league strength and 70 percent of a team’s power rating is based on league.

Case in point, Granite Bay is ranked No. 2 in the Division I (Rocklin is Division II) Power Ratings. The Grizzlies are 5-2 in league and have to visit the Thunder-dome Feb. 12 for the final SFL game. Granite Bay escaped Rocklin with a two-point victory in their first meeting.

There should be some league realignments next season but for now 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for Thunder basketball. Both the boys and girls are playing at a level the two coaches have been striving to achieve.

That bodes well for this season – and years to come.