First Look: CIF Boys BB By Divisions

If coach Mike Haupt and team at St. Augustine of San Diego win the first San Diego Section Open Division title, the Saints wouldn't be back to defend D3 state title but would instead be competing for Open Division state crown. Photo: Mark Tennis

If coach Mike Haupt and team at St. Augustine of San Diego win the first San Diego Section Open Division title, the Saints wouldn’t be back to defend D3 state title but would instead be competing for Open Division state crown. Photo: Mark Tennis

No. 1 teams are Mater Dei, Redondo, Bishop O’Dowd, Bishop Montgomery and Capital Christian. The addition of an Open Division in the CIF Southern Section is causing confusion among some coaches in Southern California, but from a statewide focus there still will only be four CIFSS schools going to the state/regional playoffs in the Open Division.

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For the second year, the CIF state boys basketball playoffs will be conducted with an Open Division.

There were mixed reviews for the first year, with many loving the final matchup between Mater Dei and Archbishop Mitty — or let’s be honest Stanley Johnson vs. Aaron Gordon – but others finding it hard to stomach watching teams win state titles in the other divisions that were clearly inferior to teams that lost in earlier-round Open Division games. Yes, we’re thinking of you at Sheldon of Sacramento (which beat CIF D1 state champ Pleasant Grove four times).

While the CIF has instituted no new changes to last year’s format, the big one in the south is the implementation of the first CIF Southern Section Open Division. This new CIFSS Open Division could have as many as 16 teams in it.

The kicker for the state playoffs, however, is that there is still a limit of just four teams from any one section that can be brought up to the Open Division. This means that a majority of the CIFSS Open Division teams will get placed into the regional playoffs back in the divisions they are assigned to. And let’s face it, with Stanley back at Mater Dei, the Monarchs certainly seem like a lock to at least make it to the CIFSS Open Division semifinals and that puts them into the Open Division for the state.

In theory, a team could win the CIFSS Open Division title and not go into the Open Division for the state if that team does not meet the criteria for moving up, but why any team in that example wouldn’t want to ask to move up would be a mystery. And just winning an Open Division title in a section that has an Open Division (San Diego also is starting one this season and the CIF Central Coast Section is going with one again as well) is not part of the criteria for a team to be moved up to the state Open Division.
CIF logo 216
If the CIFSS Open Division semifinalists were to end up being Mater Dei, Loyola of Los Angeles, Etiwanda and Redondo of Redondo Beach, for example, it’s also a very real possibility that those same four teams might just all play again two weeks later in the SoCal Open Division semifinals. How this plays out during the playoffs will be very interesting to watch because if you are a coach of a team in the CIFSS Open Division semis and you know you may be playing these same teams in two weeks, maybe you save some lineup looks for the game that in theory counts for more, which would be the one determining a state title and not a section title.

In this season’s first outlook of the CIF divisional state rankings, we have once again decided to rank all of the teams in the divisions they would be in regardless of the Open Division and then will indicate which teams are eligible to be moved up into the Open Division should they qualify for the regional playoffs.

Note on CIF San Diego Section Teams: Since the open division in that section has been pre-determined, a team from that section that does not get into the open division for the state would then revert back into its section division (which for San Diego teams is not completely clear what division that would be). For schools below 1,250 enrollment, we are ranking them in Division IV for the state. For schools below 500, we are ranking them in Division V for the state.

Another note on enrollment: While the CIF has limits for Division IV and Division V, a team’s section playoff division placement above Division IV or Division V takes precedence. This again is mainly for San Diego teams with low enrollments like Parker or Mater Dei Catholic, which are D2 for their section. It’s the D2 for the section and not the enrollment number that is viewed as more important. If a school with an enrollment above 1,250 were to win a section title, however, (like Orange Glen in San Diego D4 for example) that team’s higher enrollment would kick that team up one division for the CIF state playoffs.

Here are the first Cal-Hi Sports divisional state rankings (listed after games of Saturday, Jan. 11; not including any results from this week):

DIVISION I
1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 16-0*
2. Loyola (Los Angeles) 14-1*
3. Centennial (Corona) 12-2
4. Etiwanda 14-3*
5. Westchester (Los Angeles) 13-4*
6. Jesuit (Carmichael) 16-0*
7. Monte Vista (Danville) 14-0
8. Chino Hills 11-4
9. Mayfair (Lakewood) 12-5*
10. El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 11-4*
11. J.W. North (Riverside) 14-0*
12. Rancho Cucamonga 15-2
13. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 10-6*
14. Rodriguez (Fairfield) 14-1
15. Torrey Pines (San Diego) 13-2*
*Eligible for CIF Open Division based on meeting one of following criteria: Won section title last year, played in regional final last year or if team qualifies for regional playoffs will be in the regional playoffs for third time in four years. Teams also can ask to be in the open division and can be brought up if they are in the overall top 10 of the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings in early March or from last year’s final rankings.
Note: Corona Centennial wasn’t given an asterisk because it won’t meet one of those first criteria, but could be a team that meets the top 10 ranking in early March.
Bubble Teams: Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills) 12-5, Central (Fresno) 10-3, El Camino (Oceanside) 13-3, El Toro (Lake Forest) 15-2, Stockdale (Bakersfield) 8-1.

Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty slices between defenders during 2013 CIF Open Division state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty slices between defenders during 2013 CIF Open Division state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

DIVISION II
1. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 12-3*
2. Compton 12-3
3. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 11-5*
4. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 10-2*
5. Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove) 16-1
6. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 13-2
7. Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) 14-2
8. La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 15-2*
9. St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 9-2
10. Serra (San Mateo) 9-3*
*Eligible for CIF Open Division based on meeting one of following criteria: Won section title last year, played in regional final last year or if team qualifies for regional playoffs will be in the regional playoffs for third time in four years. Teams also can ask to be in the open division and can be brought up if they are in the overall top 10 of the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings in early March or from last year’s final rankings.
Bubble Teams: Canyon (Anaheim) 16-3, Canyon (Canyon Country) 17-1, Del Oro (Loomis) 18-1, Folsom 15-2, Francis Parker (San Diego) 14-2, Hart (Newhall) 12-1, Leigh (San Jose) 12-1, Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 15-2, Sacramento 11-3, Sonora (La Habra) 14-3, St. Francis (Mountain View) 10-2.

DIVISION III
1. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 7-4*
2. Chaminade (West Hills) 13-1*
3. St. Augustine (San Diego) 14-2*
4. El Cerrito 15-1*
5. Cathedral (Los Angeles) 9-1
6. Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 9-2*
7. Fresno 15-1
8. Campolindo (Moraga) 11-4*
9. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 11-4
10. Sweetwater (National City) 12-0
*Eligible for CIF Open Division based on meeting one of following criteria: Won section title last year, played in regional final last year or if team qualifies for regional playoffs will be in the regional playoffs for third time in four years. Teams also can ask to be in the open division and can be brought up if they are in the overall top 10 of the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings in early March or from last year’s final rankings.
Note: St. Augustine is the defending CIF champ for D3. The Saints already have been assigned to be in the San Diego Open Division playoffs. If they win that title, they are Open Division-bound for the state almost for sure (due mostly because of the limit of four from the Southern Section).
Bubble Teams: Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco) 7-5, Atascadero 12-2, Brea Olinda (Brea) 13-7, Burlingame 11-3, Dinuba 14-0, Fairfield 14-3, Gladstone (Covina) 12-1, Modesto Christian 8-7, Orange Glen (Escondido) 13-3, Santa Barbara 13-2.

DIVISION IV
1. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 14-1*
2. Cantwell Sacred Heart (Montebello) 12-2
3. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 15-2
4. Village Christian (Sun Valley) 12-1*
5. St. Patrick/St. Vincent (Vallejo) 14-2
6. Price (Los Angeles) 13-3*
7. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 11-4
8. Windward (Los Angeles) 12-4
9. Buckley (Sherman Oaks) 20-0*
10. Half Moon Bay 11-2
*Eligible for CIF Open Division based on meeting one of following criteria: Won section title last year, played in regional final last year or if team qualifies for regional playoffs will be in the regional playoffs for third time in four years. Teams also can ask to be in the open division and can be brought up if they are in the overall top 10 of the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings in early March or from last year’s final rankings. Note: Bishop Montgomery was unbeaten in the regular season last year and would have had to ask to move up in order to have been in the Open Division in the south. This year, the Knights would qualify for the Open Division for the state because they made it to the SoCal regional final last season.
Bubble Teams: Crespi (Encino) 13-4, Encina Prep (Sacramento) 12-2, Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 12-4, Salesian (Richmond) 9-6, Serra (Gardena) 10-6, Washington (Easton) 12-3.

DIVISION V
1. Capital Christian (Sacramento) 14-2*
2. St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 13-3*
3. View Park (Los Angeles) 8-5*
4. Saddleback Valley Chr. (SJ Capistrano) 11-5
5. Branson (Ross) 13-3*
6. University (San Francisco) 15-2
7. Central Catholic (Modesto) 12-5
8. Brookside Christian (Stockton) 12-3
9. San Gabriel Academy (San Gabriel) 8-5
10. Liberty Christian (Redding) 12-2
*Eligible for CIF Open Division based on meeting one of following criteria: Won section title last year, played in regional final last year or if team qualifies for regional playoffs will be in the regional playoffs for third time in four years. Teams also can ask to be in the open division and can be brought up if they are in the overall top 10 of the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings in early March or from last year’s final rankings.
Note: At of the start of this week, Capital Christian was ranked No. 1 overall in the Sac-Joaquin Section and St. Joseph was in the top five overall for the S.F. Bay Area. It does seem like a good possibility that one or both will be in the open division in the north even being D5 in their sections.
Bubble Teams: Brethren (Huntington Beach) 13-2, Immanuel (Reedley) 10-2, Mt. Shasta 13-1, Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 11-2, Renaissance (La Canada) 10-5, Stuart Hall (San Francisco) 11-5.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark, Ronnie Flores and Harold Abend on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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4 Comments

  1. paul holcomb
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Mark, How would the number of only 4 Southern Section Teams going to Open Div State Playoffs affect whether or not St. Augustine goes Open? I missed that connection? Why would they even be related? Isn’t St. Augustine in San Diego Section? Thanks.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted January 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      With the Southern Section limited to four slots, the CIF is going to need to fill the Open Division bracket with teams from outside the Southern Section. Westchester (L.A. City) will likely be one of those teams if it wins its section title again. The Central Section this year may be very hard-pressed to have an eligible team, but in San Diego you have a D3 state champ from last year that maybe wins the Open Division in that section. It’s not going to be a five-team bracket. If St. Aug wins the open down there, I think St. Aug gets pulled up.

      • paul holcomb
        Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        San Diego Section doesn’t get a couple of slots for Open Div separate from Southern Section. I think there are more than 4 teams qualified to play in Open in Southern Section Divisions 1-4, I am just not sure that San Diego Section is included in the 4 slots made available to Southern Section.
        Isn’t Southern Section different than Southern California? Am I misunderstanding what you’re saying still?

        • Mark Tennis
          Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          I’ll try again. Southern Section will have four teams in CIF Open Division Southern California basketball playoffs but can’t have more than four. The commissioners can then pick “up to eight teams” to fill the bracket and those spots would then come from the L.A. City, Central and San Diego Sections. The L.A. City would then probably have one of those Open Division teams (probably Westchester). The committee could then look at San Diego, which is going to have its own open division. St. Augustine can be taken up based on winning D3 last year. If St. Aug then were to win that first open division title, it is almost for sure that it would be taken up into the open division. The committee might end up only taking six teams or they could look at adding one from Central Section (Fresno Bullard was in it last year) or taking a second team from San Diego. They could also just choose six teams and give byes to the No. 1 and N. 2 seeds. They have a lot of flexibility on what they can do.

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