HAYWARD -- There are no easy games in the new Open Division Northern California regional playoffs.
The Bishop O'Dowd High boys basketball team learned that Friday night as its season ended with a 57-42 first-round loss to Modesto Christian.
The Crusaders (29-3) will face the winner of Saturday night's game between Newark Memorial and Archbishop Mitty-San Jose in a NorCal quarterfinal Tuesday.
The Open Division was designed to pit the best teams in the state -- regardless of division -- against each other, and these teams clearly fit the bill.
Both teams' game plans were clear. O'Dowd (26-4) wanted to pound the ball to 6-foot-9 Ivan Rabb, the top-ranked sophomore in the nation. Modesto Christian's goal was to throw double- and sometimes triple-teams at Rabb.
That strategy worked for the Crusaders as Rabb was held to 12 points and, perhaps more importantly, limited to seven rebounds.
"I think they did a real good job," O'Dowd coach Lou Richie said of Modesto Christian. "They were more physical than us. They hurt us on the boards, and we couldn't adjust and make answers.
Rabb scored the game's first two buckets, then started getting swarmed every time he touched the ball. The Crusaders took a 13-8 lead after a quarter and a 27-20 lead into halftime. The Dragons got within five points a couple times early in the fourth, but Modesto Christian ran away with it late.
Michael Perri led O'Dowd with 13 points and 10