Despite a loss to Cornerstone Christian of Antioch in the Division VI North Coast Section championship game on Feb. 23, JCHS Wolves head to the Northern California playoffs Feb. 27. (Photo/Sean Moler)
Despite a loss to Cornerstone Christian of Antioch in the Division VI North Coast Section championship game on Feb. 23, JCHS Wolves head to the Northern California playoffs Feb. 27. (Photo/Sean Moler)

S.F. Jewish school’s basketball team heads for NorCal playoffs

The longest postseason run ever by the boys basketball team from the Jewish Community High School of the Bay will continue this week when the Wolves begin play in the northern portion of the state tournament.

JCHS of San Francisco is one of only eight teams from Northern California qualified for the Division VI California Interscholastic Federation State Basketball Championships. Division VI is for schools with enrollments of fewer than 200 students.

The Wolves will put their 20-6 record on the line against Vacaville Christian (14-16) in a first-round game set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco. By virtue of their better win-loss record, the Wolves were seeded No. 3 by a CIF committee and granted a “home” game at the historic 95-year-old arena.

The winner will advance to a semifinal matchup on Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m. against either No. 2 seed Redding Christian or No. 7 seed Mendocino, with the higher remaining seed expected to get a home game.

After the semifinal comes the Northern California title game on Tuesday, March 5, the end of the line since there is no state title game in Division VI.

JCHS is coming off a 66-53 loss to Cornerstone Christian of Antioch in the Division VI North Coast Section championship game on Feb. 23. After storming through the first three rounds of the NCS playoffs, outscoring their opponents 177-103, the Wolves traveled to Antioch for the title game and were outscored 13-5 in the first quarter. The Wolves trailed the rest of the way, although they did cut the deficit to five points late in the second quarter before getting outscored 8-2 to close out the half. JCHS junior Ethan Finestone had a fine game, scoring 18 points, including four three-pointers. For Cornerstone Christian, which received the No. 1 seed in the NorCal tournament, sophomore Jacob Ebert led the way with 27 points.

The contest marked the first time the JCHS boys basketball team had ever advanced as far as the North Coast Section title game. The Wolves earned their ticket there with a rousing 57-36 semifinal win over Point Arena High on Feb. 20 in a game played at International High in San Francisco.

Sean Moler, the JCHS athletic director, said JCHS fans need not worry that the loss in the NCS title game will haunt the Wolves. After all, they also lost in their league’s title game on Feb. 6, then caught fire with three wins in a row.

“This is a veteran group, a resilient bunch of players who really believe in each other,” Moler said. “The losses in both league and section championship games are fueling a determination to see this thing though, and I’ve got a lot of confidence that they can do it.”

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.