Sunday pairings are out and they include some of the most unexplainable moves we’ve seen in 30 years of covering the state. Go inside for instant reaction about Brookside Christian, Miramonte and all six divisions.
There are a lot of folks scratching their heads right now after the CIF announced its selections and seedings for the Northern and Southern Regional playoffs, particularly the Open Division. And unfortunately, there is now no possibility of a super showdown between unbeaten teams Windward and Mater Dei since Mater Dei was upset last week by Etiwanda.
The Major Head Scratchers
It’s pretty obvious the two committees from the north and south not only weren’t working together, but looking at it from totally different perspectives. The result of this is that the thoroughly different decisions for selection to the Open Division has created a travesty that will cause the north to suffer miserably in all of the other divisions once everyone arrives in Sacramento later in March for the state finals.
The commissioners in the south saw the wisdom to take only six teams for the Open Division, and allow the other teams to compete for state championships in their original division. In the north, however, where the number of top quality teams pales in comparison to the south, eight teams were taken, including a totally flawed decision to pull in defending Division V state champion Stockton Brookside Christian.
Why couldn’t the north top seed have at least one first-round bye, or even two like the south? Now, the north and its eight-team field has been stripped of all three of its defending state champions, while the south field only includes two, Mater Dei and La Jolla Country Day. It’s ludicrous that the overall weaker north sacrifices six of its state-ranked teams for the Open Division inferno, while the top-heavy south only surrenders four state-ranked squads.
Read on for our quick analysis and reaction to all six divisions:
We couldn’t agree more with the way the seedings in the Southern Regional worked out. Windward was deservedly given the top seed and Santiago was seeded second, although Stockdale being pulled in solely on the basis of a win over Ridgeview makes it easy to leave Ridgeview in Division II, and sets up a semifinal showdown between Santiago and No. 3 seed Mater Dei.
Windward will meet the winner of what should be a solid matchup between No. 4 seed La Jolla Country Day and No. 5 seed Troy, although a totally different Country Day team from last season is probably overmatched against the girls from Fullerton.
In the north, Brookside Christian gets rewarded by a rematch with an O’Dowd team that played subs most of the second half in a 31-point win in January. If the CIF is making a point to somehow “punish” Brookside Christian for some of its routs during the season (such as the game when standout Tiara Tucker scored 73 points), they haven’t done a good job hiding it. Otherwise, based on criteria and any other metric we can find, other teams (such as Sacramento Kennedy) clearly are better than Brookside Christian. All of it just goes back to the thought that O’Dowd should have been given a bye instead.
Another team that really gets the proverbial shaft is Miramonte. Had the northern commissioners used the same logic as in the south, Miramonte would be a favorite to compete with Alemany or Chaminade for a D3 state title. Instead, with a resume that shows only two losses, to the two top seeds, O’Dowd and Windward, and with quality wins that factor in Santiago, the Mats get a lowly No. 7 seed and a probable early exit at Delta College against Stockton St. Mary’s.
Anyone that really believes this will be competitive once the teams get to Sacramento has to be dreaming. The Southern Regional includes three state-ranked teams, with No. 9 ranked Long Beach Poly getting a surprisingly low No. 9 seed that sets up a re-match with Etiwanda. The Northern Regional has no state-ranked teams and a Monte Vista of Danville team as the top seed possessing a very poor overall resume. There could be some surprises in the north, but whoever gets to Sacramento will be a huge underdog to the team getting through from the south.
The Northern Regional top-seeded Mountain View St. Francis team leads a field that is a huge underdog to a Southern field that includes state-ranked and top-seeded Ridgeview and state-ranked No. 2 seed Lynwood. This could be an ugly game at Sleep Train Arena.
Two mediocre CIFCCS teams that didn’t advance far in the playoffs, playing for a consolation title in the Open Division, are seeded first and second – San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Ignatius, respectively, with the Irish getting the nod by virtue of a 67-52 win. In contrast, the south has two section champions as its top seeds, top-seeded Mission Hills Alemany and No. 2 seed West Hills Chaminade, a team that has a 10-point win in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree over NorCal Open Division No. 3 seed Carondelet of Concord.
The north has one dominant team in Richmond Salesian, a team that escaped selection to the Open Division. Meanwhile, the south is loaded, headed by top seed Serra of Gardena. This is a division where Salesian might have a chance at winning a state championship, which leaves a St. Mary’s of Berkeley team that beat them three out of four times out in the cold. Unless, of course, St. Mary’s can win an Open Division title, which is unlikely.
If both top seeds make it to Sacramento, San Diego Horizon from the south and Eastside College Prep (East Palo Alto) from the north, it could be one heck of a game, although Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, the No. 2 seed from the south, will be formidable. Too bad the CIF in its stunning treatment of defending champion Brookside Christian ruined what could have been a great matchup in this game between super freshman Dijonai Carrington of Horizon and Tiara Tucker of Brookside Christian.
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