The CIF Southern Section seeded it first ever girls Open Division, but after the first three pretty much givens, it becomes a little murky. Starting with No. 9 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) it’s somewhat more difficult to figure out.
If you want an opinion on the CIF Southern Section Open Division that concurs with my own personal opinion, and that’s there are not enough top-notch teams to field such a big bracket, all you have to do is talk to the head coach of the state’s top-ranked team and the bracket’s top seed.
“I understand the reason behind the Open Division and we definitely should be in it, but its too bad there aren’t 16 teams so there are no byes. Then we don’t have a two-week layoff that could be a disadvantage. The problem is there aren’t enough good teams,” Mater Dei head coach Kevin Kiernan told Cal-Hi Sports.
Mater Dei, No. 2 seed Los Angeles Windward, No. 3 seed Long Beach Poly, and No. 4 seed Etiwanda will not see action until a week from this coming Wednesday.
The committee that selected the seedings apparently didn’t agree with our girls rankings past the first three no-brainers. They seeded No. 11 ranked Etiwanda as the fifth-seed. They also placed our No. 10 ranked Chatsworth Sierra Canyon as a ninth-seed, and placed previous state No. 9 Gardena Serra as the fifth seed, despite the fact Serra just lost at home to un-ranked Torrance Bishop Montgomery, a team Sierra Canyon beat.
“I was irate but I’ve calmed down,” Sierra Canyon head coach Alicia Komaki said. “No way we deserve a nine seed. We should have been a five or six. We have two losses to Windward and a loss to nationally-ranked Myers Park (Charlotte, North Carolina).
“It is what it is and we’ll take what we get. We’re just going to use it to prepare for state,” continued last year’s Division V Coach of the Year, whose team would play Mater Dei in the second round if they get past Alemany. Komaki played for Mater Dei coach Kiernan on his state championship team at Fullerton Troy, the No. 10 seed in the bracket.
The committee must not have looked at Sierra Canyon’s overall body of work, or maybe the fact they were a No. 2 team from a small-school league dissuaded some of them. The result is they must now travel to eighth-seeded Mission Hills Alemany, a team ranked six spots below Sierra Canyon in our rankings, and rightfully so.
Another head scratcher is un-ranked Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) coming in at No. 7 and Chaminade No. 6, although Chaminade has two wins over Alemany, but a split with a Camarillo team that was left out and is just ahead of Chaminade in our rankings.
Canyon Springs has losses to Fairfield Vanden and La Jolla Country Day. In two other losses to Long Beach Poly and Gardena Serra the scores were close, but margin of loss or victory are not a criterion.
Chaminade opens with No. 11 seed and defending Division II state champion Lynwood.
The biggest head-scratcher was the inclusion of Alhambra Mark Keppel in the final spot over Camarillo. Camarillo has the three-point loss to Chaminade they avenged with a 13-point win, a loss to Mater Dei, and a close loss to a Ventura team that is better than anyone Keppel has played except La Jolla Country Day. In Keppel’s only loss this season they went down by 35 points to Country Day.
What this really shows is exactly what Kiernan eluded to, that despite nine of the 12 teams in the CIFSS open field being ranked, there’s a lack of Open Division caliber girls teams, and not just in the Southern Section.
If the Southern Section has to come up with a short field for its Open Division, we certainly hope the NorCal commissioners that will seed the Northern Regional Open Division, take heed and don’t get snookered again this year by seeding eight teams when it looks like the Southern Regional may only have six teams like last year.
As for predictions in this initial CIFSS open field, it would be a huge shocker if either Mater Dei, Windward or Long Beach Poly didn’t win, but what might be exciting is it could be any one of the three.