CIF Open Division for girls off to rough start

Brookside Christian's Tiara Tucker had this picture taken after her team lost by 31 points to Bishop O'Dowd in January in a game that the Dragons could have won by much more. She and her team (which won Division V state title last year) will have to play O'Dowd again in a NorCal Open Division contest. Any Division V girls teams from now on better get the message: Keep the score down against mismatched opponents or the open division may be waiting for you.

Brookside Christian’s Tiara Tucker had this picture taken after her team lost by 31 points to Bishop O’Dowd in January in a game that the Dragons could have won by much more. She and her team (which won Division V state title last year) will have to play O’Dowd again in a NorCal Open Division contest. Any Division V girls teams from now on better get the message: Keep the score down against mismatched opponents or the open division may be waiting for you.

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.

By Harold Abend & Mark Tennis

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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:

Open Division

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.

Division I
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.

Division II
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.

Division III
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.

Division IV
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.

Division V
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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  1. TB
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Can someone explain why they didn’t back fill the Central Section spot with Hanford in the Division 1 bracket once Stockdale went into the Open division? If the section didn’t know who to pick between Hanford or Edison of Fresno, then the 36 point win by Hanford should of made it easy. Also this season they beat the #4 seed Narbonne by 22, the North’s #6 seed in the Open Div in Sacramento, the North’s #3 seed in Div. 1 Heritage, the North’s #2 seed in Div 2 Clayton Valley and are currently ranked #16 in the lastest California Division 1 rankings on Maxpreps. I could understand us not being in the Open bracket since we lost to Clovis West in the semi-finals on the road but if that was such a bad loss then how did they get a #3 seed? I mean we are the highest ranked team they beat all year. Of our 5 losses this year, Oak Ridge is the worse loss and they just received a back fill spot in the Division 1 bracket up North with a #10 seed. Please help me understand the madness when a bye in the first round is better than a team that has won 5 straight section titles until this year, 23-5 overall and who is playing in Division 1 when their enrollment should have them in Division 2 or 3 with just over 1600 kids.

  2. Leon Sandcastle
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Hanford High girls beats Sac high , Heritage , Narbonne by 27 , Clayton Valley . Before they lost to Clovis West , Hanford was ranked 19 in state overall a week ago. CIF does not put them in the southern D1 playoffs. Etiwanda is the 1 seed in D1 south with a first round bye. why ? Because CIF put only 15 teams in D1 south. I know the central section dont get no respect but wow. Bullard boys from the central section goes open division so Clovis West and Central both goes to D1 south playoffs from the central section. At the time Hanford was 19th in overall state a week ago they were also 9th in D1 south rankings by Cal-Hi . Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Hanford’s situation is indeed even worse than Miramonte’s in the north because at least Miramonte is playing. I have to think that there’s a rulebook reason why Hanford’s girls didn’t get in at all. Maybe there’s a limit of two from that division in that division no matter what. Jim Crichlow would be the person to ask. I can’t believe that that many teams were voted in front of Hanford. The weird thing is that if Hanford had won its sixth straight title you know darn well that they’d be in the open division.
      The whole thing probably isn’t going to work. Glad the CIF at least tried something. But this is not football and the open division in basketball is way different. There’s no De La Salle in the north in basketball.

      • TB
        Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        Can’t be a rulebook or a section thing because Bullard boys went to the Open Division and they put Central in the Division 1 bracket to cover the hole. Jim Crichlow and the board of the Central Section are a joke, they are the same people who seeded Hanford #3 even though everyone had Hanford ranked #1 in the section. It’s the same thing every year for this team, just this year it caught up with them in the semi’s. Sports reporters in the area have asked him these questions before and we get the same answer, I don’t have a say, the board just followed the criteria and this is how it ended up. I guess common sense isn’t in the criteria.

  3. Leon Sandcastle
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    So if theres a limit of teams from a section. How does boys Clovis West and 21-8 Central team gets in because Bullard is in the open division. My math tells me thats 3 teams from the D1 Central Section boys. So I guess for Hanford girls its open division or no southern playoff bid period. I thought Hanford getting a 3 seed in the central section when it was the only ranked team at the time was bad . This is crazy. I think Jim Crichlow dont like Hanford and maybe dont like the coach for what ever reason. But hes screw around with high school girls .These is sad !!!!!

  4. SZ
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    In the power ranking all year, Brookside Christian has not been in the top 20, in fact, according to maxpreps, at this very moment they are ranked 59th….so, how does the CIF justify placing them in the open division? The other teams for North have been power houses for years, but Brookside is just beginning. Whatever ill feelings CIF has toward Brookside Christian should not come at the expense of a group of girls who have worked their tails off to get back and try to defend their State championship. How about taking smaller steps, like possibly moving them up a division before placing them as the bottom seed in the open division. It seems like personal issues were involved in making this decision rather than doing it right. Someone should be ashamed of themselves!

  5. Steve
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Mark or Harold will definitely ask tough questions as they did with the southern sections, this year has been quite a doozy, hopefully all calhisports hard work will make these pundits think about their rules, it should be home court for top seed and then calhisports rankings for seedlings, then playing in the IE won’t come down to getting someone’s dad from there reffing and teams won’t get left out LOl.

  6. calicorey
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I have said this a few weeks ago. Politics has played a BIG part in the seeding process. This hopefully will be addressed int the CIF annual meeting! Please let your section representatives know what you think of these “seedings”! There needs to be a set procedure to choose who is promoted up to the “open” divison!! I also think that the teams should have the opportunity to decide if they are “ready” to compete at that level! For instance, Miramonte girls would probably won the Divison 3 NORCAL championship and been at least competative, if not the winner, in the State championship, but will probably be blown out in the first game in their “OPEN” division! Yet, they ARE a young team and will be a national contender next year. …. Best to give them the experience playing against other state teams in Division 3 so they mature and get better!!

  7. Ari Gold
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    They just should scrap all the divisions. Your state tournament should be the section champions in all the divisions. That should be around 32 teams. You have one state winner. There is no criteria. Just win and your in. Win and you advance. So simple yet, no one can figure it out or just everyone wants a trophy.

  8. Steve
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Contradiction, how can you scrap all divisions and then have the tournament based on the winners of all the divisions?…

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