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Mission’s title brings Bears a No. 1 ranking

Following a 35-1 season that included the first state basketball title in San Francisco Section history, Mission has been called the modern-day, urban-blended Hoosiers. “Winning by all means possible,” coach Arnold Zelaya said. After Friday’s stirring 82-75 overtime win over Villa Park (Orange County) to win the Division 3 title at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, the school has received calls from the Warriors and the mayor’s office about potential postseason celebrations. [...] after close consideration, The Chronicle is calling the Bears the best team in the Metro area. The Bears are part of the Academic Athletic Association, which is given little respect among all other Bay Area leagues. [...] yes, that comes even from those of us who do the rankings. With five wins since the NorCal playoffs began and with a series of unlikely events above them, the Bears jumped 13 spots to No. 1, setting even more history. No AAA school has ever finished among the top 10 in The Chronicle’s final rankings. What is Zelaya’s reaction. Zelaya knew the league was down this year, and with an experienced, savvy, versatile team — the Bears can go fast or slow down and have solid three-point shooters — he scheduled up in the preseason. The result was wins over Northern California Division I champion James Logan-Union City (No. 8 in the final rankings), No. 19 Menlo-Atherton and Northern California Division 4 semifinalist Central Catholic-Modesto. Mission won Riordan’s Crusader Classic for the first time and the Fukushima Invitational at Independence High in San Jose, but the big challenge was getting through league and not regressing. The definitely didn’t occur, as the Bears won Northern California playoff games by 23 and 25 points. With Friday’s victory, the Bears finished with five more wins than anyone in the Bay Area. Mission and Division 4 champion St. Patrick-St. Vincent of Vallejo were the only local boys teams to finish the playoffs with a win. Longtime SFS Commissioner Don Collins didn’t know about the rankings, but reacted to the state title. “Mission’s championship will also help people realize that San Francisco public school basketball may be better than they realized,” he said noting that Lowell (21-8) lost by just one point to Mission in the SFS title game. Collins also noted other SFS recent success — Lincoln senior Pamela Amaechi is the defending state champion in the discus and recent Lowell graduate Kristin Leung medaled at in the state cross-country meet. “At the end of the day, Mission’s championship belongs to the players and coaches who won the title,” he said. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they will always have this. Grade A: The reviews from the Golden 1 Center were golden. The two-day attendance total was 20,135, including 13,107 on Saturday. Fans enjoyed the huge, high-definition scoreboard with replays, and the atmosphere for all the games was generally electric. Bay Area teams went 3-4 at state and Southern California schools won seven of 12 games. The cumulative score of those games: MaxPreps.com senior writer Mitch Stephens covers high school sports for The San Francisco Chronicle. Final Chronicle Top 20 boys basketball Rec. De La Salle Moreau Catholic Palo Alto Heritage Sequoia Oakland Tech Final Chronicle Top 20 Girls Basketball Cardinal Newman Sacred Heart Cathedral Eastside Prep Heritage Palo Alto St. Joseph Notre Dame

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