The first CIF Southern Section Open Division basketball playoffs for boys and girls will get a ton of attention over the next several weeks and for good reason, but it’s also very likely that the top four teams who play in the semifinals of the division could meet again two weeks later in games that will count for more — a trip to the CIF Open Division state final.
The section office released its list of teams for the boys and girls open divisions but will announce seedings later.
There was a full field of 16 boys teams chosen but just 12 for the girls, meaning some top-seeded girls teams will be getting first-round byes. With the section getting full gates at each of these games, byes on the boys side probably weren’t going to happen even if they made some sense from a competitive standpoint.
In alpabetical order, the 16 boys teams are: Bishop Montgomery (Torrance), Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello), Cathedral (Los Angeles), Centennial (Corona), Chaminade (West Hills), Chino Hills, Compton, Etiwanda, J.W. North (Riverside), Loyola (Los Angeles), Mater Dei (Santa Ana), Mayfair (Lakewood), Redondo Union (Redondo Beach), Serra (Gardena), Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth), St. John Bosco (Bellflower).
In alphabetical order, the 12 girls teams are: Alemany (Mission Hills), Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley), Chaminade (West Hills), Etiwanda, Lynwood, Mark Keppel (Alhambra), Mater Dei (Santa Ana), Long Beach Poly (Long Beach), Serra (Gardena), Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth), Troy (Fullerton), Windward (Los Angeles).
The only surprise on the boys side is that Long Beach Poly, which split against Compton in the Moore League and actually won the league title, was not chosen for the Open Division. At Cal-Hi Sports, we had the Jackrabbits clearly in the top 16 but all it does is make them a favorite to win in the Division I-AA bracket. The top boys seeds entering the week were going to be Mater Dei, Loyola, Corona Centennial and Etiwanda, but Loyola had a league loss and just lost one of its best players for academic misconduct.
For the girls, Mater Dei, Windward and Long Beach Poly should be a no-brainer top three seeds with the fourth coming down to Serra of Gardena or Etiwanda. Of the CIFSS teams in this week’s Cal-Hi Sports State Top 20, No. 13 Camarillo was the only team not chosen for the new division, which probably thrilled its coaches and players because the Scorpions probably wouldn’t have won the open division title anyway and now might actually have a good shot at winning a section divisional crown.