Pairings for every boys basketball division plus the announcement of teams for the second-ever Open Division in Southern California were released on Sunday by the CIF state office. Here are some burning questions and choice for best team no longer playing.
Open Division No. 1 Seed: Mater Dei of Santa Ana (31-0)
Other Open Division Teams: J.W. North of Riverside, Redondo of Redondo Beach, El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, Etiwanda, La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad, Westchester of Los Angeles, St. Augustine of San Diego.
1. What would have happened had Chino Hills decided to opt up to the Open Division? It would have sent one of the four CIFSS teams back to its division (Etiwanda) but would not have impacted any of the other four teams chosen from the L.A. City and San Diego sections. It’s interesting that both Chino Hills and Monte Vista in the north decided to avoid the Open Division. That’s a bad sign if the CIF wants to keep this current format.
2. What was the biggest surprise in any of the divisions? View Park of Los Angeles not being seeded No. 1 in Division V. Upon closer inspection, View Park did have a forfeit loss to San Gabriel Academy and San Gabriel Academy lost in the CIFSS D5-AA final to Renaissance. Okay, whatever. With 6-9 junior Chance Comanche (19.7 ppg) and 6-8 Jason Carter (10.7 ppg), this is one No. 3 seed that’s really a No. 1 and it will be a shock if the Knights aren’t playing (and probably winning) the CIF D5 state title in three weeks.
3. How good is the Trinity League? This is the league that tends to be dominated by Mater Dei, but many of the other members who don’t have to deal with the Monarchs anymore (they are Open Division all the way) have been thriving. Both Santa Margarita and JSerra won CIFSS titles over the weekend and both could be dark-horse contenders in their regional division (D3 for the Eagles, D4 for the Lions). The other Trinity League team with the best chance of winning a CIF state title other than Mater Dei, however, is St. John Bosco. The Braves were in the CIFSS Open Division where they lost by three to Loyola and by one to Bishop Montgomery and beat Compton by six. When on their game, it’s easy to see Bosco getting all the way to Sacramento and possibly even beating Folsom (NorCal’s top-ranked D2 team).
4. What was the biggest impact of the new CIFSS Open Division? It was not in the Open Division for the regionals due to the limit of four teams from the sections able to go up. It was in those divisions in which some very good CIFSS semifinalist teams that used to be able to advance did not this time. Best example of that was 30-1 Buckley of Sherman Oaks, which lost in a semifinal to JSerra.
5. How significant were the big upsets of La Costa Canyon over St. Augustine and El Camino Real over Westchester? It looked like to us that LCC was not going to be taken up to the Open Division unless it won that game. It’s not as clear if the same was true for El Camino Real. The effect if neither upset took place probably would have been a six-team bracket instead of eight.
Best Team Not In The Field: El Toro of Lake Forest (26-3). The Chargers were the second seed behind Long Beach Poly in the CIFSS D1-AA bracket. They beat Mission Viejo twice in league, which was the team that just played and lost to the Jackrabbits in the final. El Toro didn’t get to the quarterfinals, however, due to an upset loss to Perris.