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Garces boys basketball earns 2-seed in D-III playoffs, host West on Tuesday

The Central Section Division III boys basketball playoffs were announced on Saturday, and Garces Memorial was rewarded handsomely for winning the inaugural South Yosemite Conference title.

The Rams are the No. 2 seed and will host No. 15 West on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The 57-54 overtime win over Bakersfield High (the No. 1 seed in D-I) and the 49-43 win over Bakersfield Christian (No. 1 seed in D-III) left little doubt that the Rams would be a top-2 seed in the playoffs.

Garces (19-9) won four games in four days in the SYC tournament last week and are winners of nine of the last 11 games heading into the playoffs.

Jack Hatten scored a game-high 20 points against BHS and was named tournament MVP.

Along with junior J.J. Uphold and Ipreye Egbe, the three are all averaging in double figures and lead the Rams in scoring this season.

Along with Xavier Marshall and Dom D’Amato in the starting lineup and key guard play by Joseph Campbell, the Rams are just three home game wins from Selland Arena.

Garces has not won a section title since beating Liberty in the D-II finals in 2009. The Rams have not played in the finals since 2013.

The quarterfinals are set for 7 p.m. on Thursday and the semifinals are Feb. 25, also at 7 p.m.

The D-III finals are set for 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 at Selland Arena in Fresno.

With addition of an Open Division in the section playoffs this season, there are a total of eight championship games next weekend in Fresno. 

Cost for 1st round, quarterfinals and semifinals

$7 adults

$5 seniors/students with ID/children

Know your opponent

No. 15 West (15-12, 5-5 South Yosemite League)

The Vikings finished third in the SYL and were 3-6 against common opponents with two wins over Tehachapi in league play and an early-season win over Frontier. The same Titans team that ousted West from the SYC tournament last week. 

The Rams went 7-3 against those same teams.

Kobe McCollough leads West with 13.4 points per game while six other Vikings average at least five points. 

What’s next

The winner of this game will face No. 7 Delano-Chavez vs. No. 10 Nipomo. Also on the bottom half of the bracket is:

No. 3 Fresno-Hoover vs. No. 14 Madera

No. 6 Dinuba vs. No. 11 Visalia-Mt. Whitney

Top half of the bracket

No. 1 Bakersfield Christian vs. No. 16 Foothill

No. 8 Tulare Western vs. No. 9 Shafter

No. 5 North vs. No. 12 Morro Bay

No. 4 Sanger vs. No. 13 Frontier

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