Northern California Of the 10 teams playing in Saturday's Northern California regional finals, Roseville Woodcreek is the least likely. The Timberwolves entered the Division II playoffs as the No. 10 seed in the 12-team bracket after losing in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals. Senior guard John Peska has been on a hot streak, leading Woodcreek on an improbable run to Power Balance Pavilion (formerly ARCO Arena) and earning Section Sports Athlete of the Week honors for Northern California.
The Timberwolves' remarkable run started with a 55-54 upset of St. Francis of Mountain View. Peska scored 31 points in the game, including a pair of free throws that gave the Timberwolves the lead with 17 seconds remaining.
Woodcreek then faced No. 2 seed Montgomery, the champions of the North Coast Section Division II playoffs. Peska shot 6-for-11 overall and 2-for-3 from three-point range, compiling 18 points as the Timberwolves held on for a 58-52 win.
Saturday's semifinal was a rematch with Antelope, which handed Woodcreek a 62-61 defeat in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. The Timberwolves smacked the Titans around, cruising to a 58-39 win. Peska scored 24 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the win.
Woodcreek faces top seed Mitty in the regional final at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Timberwolves are the only Sac-Joaquin Section team still playing.
Southern California Corona Centennial guard Gelaun Wheelwright is the Section Sports Athlete of the Week for Southern California. The 6-foot senior racked up the points as the Huskies mowed through the first three rounds of the Southern California Division I regional playoffs.
Wheelwright scored 15 points in the third quarter of Centennial's 89-73 first round win over Redlands East Valley. He finished the game with 31 points, firing accurately from three-point range and helping to slow down the Wildcats' fast-paced offense.
Wheelwright had another big third quarter two nights later when Centennial took on two-time defending Division I champion Westchester in the quarterfinals. He once against scored 15 points in the third quarter en route to a total of 38 points in the Huskies' 68-57 win. He shot 6-for-12 from three-point range.
Wheelwright scored 24 points in Saturday's semifinals as Centennial rolled to a 94-81 win over City Section champion Taft. It was the second time this season that the Huskies had defeated the Toreadors.
Wheelwright and the Huskies face perennial power Mater Dei in Saturday's regional final. Centennial knocked the Monarchs out of the Southern Section 1AA playoffs two weeks ago but Gary McKnight's squad is riding high after upsetting top seed Long Beach Poly in the semifinals. If Centennial wins, they will join Riverside King as the only Riverside County programs to reach a state title game. Tim Sweeney's Wolves won the Division II title in 2002.
Los Angeles County La Verne Lutheran entered the Division III playoffs as the No. 11 seed in the Southern California region. The Trojans have pulled off a little March Madness of their own, compiling three wins in the playoffs to reach Saturday's regional final. 6-foot-9 forward Grant Jerrett has been the catalyst for Lutheran's run, and is the Section Sports Athlete of the Week for Los Angeles County.
Jerrett had 17 points and 18 rebounds in Lutheran's 60-58 first-round win over San Diego Section Division III champions University City. He dominated Orange Lutheran two nights later, finishing with 30 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks in a 75-58 win.
Jerrett scored 14 points in the Trojans' 61-45 semifinal win over Harvard-Westlake. He was matched up against Harvard-Westlake's 6-foot-8 power forward Zena Edosomwan, who also had 14 points.
Lutheran faces top seed La Canada in Division III SoCal regional final on Saturday. The Spartans are 30-3 and have not lost since Jan. 5.