CIF Regional Playoff Picks (Boys)

Ethan Thompson from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance eyes the floor during CIF Southern Section Open Division title game on Saturday. Photo: Patrick Takkinen/

Ethan Thompson from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance eyes the floor during CIF Southern Section Open Division title game on Saturday. Photo: Patrick Takkinen/

After all of Saturday’s CIF section basketball championships are in the books throughout the state, we break down the teams that should be chosen on Sunday for the regional playoffs.

For special updated State Top 20 rankings (boys & girls), CLICK HERE.

For CIF regional playoff picks for girls teams, CLICK HERE.


Note: Criteria that the CIF selection committees will use to choose teams for the Open Division in both north and south include: 1. Need to have been a section champion last year; OR 2. Need to have been in the regional playoffs three of the last four years (including this season); OR 3. Need to have been a regional finalist last season; OR 4. Could request to move up; OR 5. Reached at least semifinals of a section open division playoffs. It’s also important to note that there is a limit of only four teams that can be chosen for the Open Division from any one section. This rule needs to change because the CIF Southern Section (which has its own Open Division) basically has too many very good teams and four is just not enough. Finally, the CIF does not have to select eight-team brackets in either the north or south. Byes could be given to the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

Anthony Townes and team at Modesto Christian won section title as a sophomore. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Anthony Townes and team at Modesto Christian won section title as a sophomore. Photo: Mark Tennis.


1. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 24-4
Won North Coast Section D3 title on Saturday over Moreau Catholic of Hayward. No losses to any teams from California this season. Won NorCal Open Division last year.

2. Monte Vista (Danville) 28-3
Won second straight NCS D1 title on Friday over De La Salle of Concord. Won CIF Division I state title last season. Owns head-to-head win over Sac-Joaquin Section D1 champ Folsom.

3. El Cerrito 29-3
We actually have Moreau Catholic still ranked higher than the Gauchos, but they won an NCS section title on Saturday (beat Montgomery of Santa Rosa in D2 final) and will be higher for the regional playoff seedings.

4. Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 23-6
The only two losses suffered by the Mariners to California teams this season have been to Bishop O’Dowd and four-time state champion Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Owns head-to-head win over Modesto Christian.

5. Folsom 27-4
Won SJS D1 title on Saturday night over Sheldon of Sacramento. Reached D2 state final last year. Just a two-point loss to Monte Vista and will be seeded higher than Moreau Catholic as a section champ. We, in fact, think Moreau at Folsom sounds like a good first-round matchup.

6. Modesto Christian 27-4
Won SJS D2 title on Saturday over Sacramento in a matchup of State Top 20 teams. The Crusaders have losses to El Cerrito and Moreau but in addition to Sacramento also have wins over Immanuel of Reedley and Sierra of Manteca. We also still have MC ranked higher than Folsom, but think Folsom will get higher seed.

7. Serra (San Mateo) 22-5
Posted a two-point win over St. Francis of Mountain View in Friday’s CCS Open Division championship. The CCS Open Division champ pretty much automatically now goes to the NorCal Open Division due to new part of criteria that enables the CIF to take up any team that reaches the semifinals of any section with its own open division.

8. St. Francis (Mountain View) 22-5
Not sure if the Lancers would actually get chosen for the eighth slot or if the CIF would give No. 1 seed O’Dowd a bye. St. Francis did beat Serra twice earlier and only lost in the CCS final on three made free throws with 0.0.6 seconds left.
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1. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 30-1
Last year’s CIF D4 state champions basically won the top seed for this bracket by defeating Etiwanda in Saturday night’s CIF Southern Section Open Division final.

2. Etiwanda 23-8
The Eagles knocked off four-time defending state champ Mater Dei in the CIFSS Open Division semifinals. Forget the losses; most were to top teams and a couple of them were later avenged.

3. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 26-4
The first two CIF Open Division state champions line up here for having that win over Fairfax late in the season at the Nike Extravaganza.

4. Fairfax (Los Angeles) 30-2
After struggling to beat league rival Westchester in the last two meetings against the Comets, the Lions had an easier time of it in Saturday’s CIF L.A. City Section Open Division championship. Their recent loss to Westchester plus the one to Mater Dei, however, drops them to the fourth spot for this bracket.

5. Lutheran (Orange) 24-5
While we would actually pick Sierra Canyon as the fourth team from the CIFSS instead of the Lancers and will be ranking the Trailblazers higher, we think that the CIF will likely choose Orange Lutheran for being a CIFSS semifinalist. The Sierra Canyon factor would have been more prevelant if Etiwanda won on Saturday night.

6. Foothills Christian (El Cajon) 25-6*
We admit we’re not really sure how the CIF and San Diego Section representatives will handle this team. Although Foothills Christian was not in the SD Open Division, when all said and done for sure we’ll be ranking the D2 section champs higher than Open Division winner St. Augustine. The Knights also have a head-to-head win over Westchester, the L.A. City Section runner-up. In addition, they only lost by one-point to Redondo and by seven to Long Beach Poly.

7. Westchester (Los Angeles) 21-12
Getting a recent win over Fairfax and coming close in another matchup (not including Saturday’s loss to Fairfax, which was not that close) probably is still enough for the Comets to have to play in the Open Division.

8. St. Augustine (San Diego) 25-6
The Saints won the CIF D3 state title two years ago and on Saturday knocked off favored Torrey Pines for the San Diego Open Division title. Their overall resume may not be strong enough for the Open Division and Bishop Montgomery could get a bye, but we would choose them higher than Central Section champ Edison of Fresno.
CIF logo 216

Division I
1. De La Salle (Concord) 26-4
Lost NCS Division I final to Monte Vista by one point. Three of four losses to Monte Vista, which will be in Open Division.
2. Sheldon (Sacramento) 21-7
Like DLS, also lost in its section final by one point to team going to Open Division; in this case Folsom in the SJS championship.

Division II
1. Sacramento 26-5

Lost in Sac-Joaquin D2 final to Modesto Christian (which is projected for the Open Division). Dragons were ranked No. 1 in state in D2 for several weeks.
2. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 17-10
Went to Open Division last two years. Lost in CCS Open Division semis to Serra by three, then won third-place game.

Division III
1. Campolindo (Moraga) 25-4

Lost in NCS D3 semis to Bishop O’Dowd. Had win during season over Modesto Christian (which beat Sierra of Manteca).
2. Drake (San Anselmo) 26-5
Lost in NCS D3 semis to Moreau Catholic (both Moreau and O’Dowd are Open Division). Won league title over NCS D4 champ Marin Catholic.

Division IV
1. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 22-10

Won NCS D4 title with triumph over 29-2 Cardinal Newman. Also handed SoCal Open Division top seed Bishop Montgomery its only loss.
2. Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 23-4
Lost in CCS Open Division third-place game to Archbishop Mitty.

Division V
1. Stuart Hall (San Francisco) 29-3

Claimed NCS D5 title with triumph against University of San Francisco on Saturday night.
2. Brookside Christian (Stockton) 24-4
Won SJS D5 title on Friday by defeated Jim Elliot Christian of Lodi.


Division I
1. Centennial (Corona) 22-5
Lost in CIFSS Open Division quarterfinals to Orange Lutheran. Has been State Top 10 team almost all season.
2. Chino Hills 20-7 (not including forfeits)
Lost to Mater Dei in CIFSS Open Division quarterfinals. Got a win over Etiwanda in league competition.

Division II
1. Compton 21-10

Won CIFSS Division 2A title on Saturday against Redlands East Valley. Team also has win over La Mirada (which has win over Canyon of Anaheim).
2. Canyon (Anaheim) 23-9
Comanches won perhaps the highest-scoring section final in state history 103-98 in 2 OTs over Lawdale for CIFSS D2AA crown. We found one playoff game also with 201 combined points but not a section fial.

Division III
1. Cathedral (Los Angeles) 20-7

Lost in CIFSS Open Division playoffs to eventual champion Bishop Montgomery in quarterfinals after beating Redondo in first-round.
2. Damien (La Verne) 24-4
Lost to Orange Lutheran in first-round of CIFSS Open Division by one point, then lost to Redondo in consolation. Won league title, however, over Chino Hills and Etiwanda.

Division IV
1. Immanuel (Reedley) 28-2

Regarded as the No. 1 team overall in the Central Section (has win over D1 section champ Edison) and won D4 section title on Saturday.
2. Crespi (Encino) 24-7
Defeated Mission Prep on Friday to win CIFSS D4AA championship.

Division V
1. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 22-4

Lost to Etiwanda in CIFSS Open Division quarterfinals but has played national schedule.
2. Price (Los Angeles) 21-7
Lost in opening round of CIFSS Open Division to Mater Dei.
3. Windward (Los Angeles) 21-10
Defeated Viewpoint of Calabasas for CIFSS D5AA title. Lost by one point in last meeting with Sierra Canyon.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. phil60
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    No arguments here with any of it. It is abundantly clear that Foothills Christian is the best team in the San Diego section by far and certainly rate open consideration. But do you think they are likely to be plucked from the D2 ranks?
    Look out for Maranatha in D4. They now have Trevor Stanback who has been ill all season, to compliment a super player in Tyler Dorsey. That makes two players from state championship teams from last year (St. John Bosco and Chaminade). They should rate a No. 3 seed.

  2. Mark Tennis
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Looks like one mistake made was not considering enrollments. Chaminade and Orange Lutheran, for example, are both over 1,250 students so they can’t be in D4. OLuth boys, if not in the Open, would therefore be D3 and not D4.

  3. roger
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The logic of having Etiwanda over Fairfax is flawed. Fairfax lost at Westchester by 1 and at Mater Dei for only 2 losses. Fairfax’s quality wins surpass Etiwanda’s and how many losses did Etiwanda have this season…..8 losses.

    • Ronnie Flores
      Posted March 8, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      True, but Etiwanda also beat Sierra Canyon when it mattered most and beat one of the teams Fairfax lost to (Mater Dei). We wrote that it made sense to have the open division City champ seeded higher.

  4. roger
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Etiwanda split their series with Mater Dei…..Etiwanda lost to Sierra Canyon [Fairfax blew out Sierra Canyon] and Etiwanda lost to Centennial [Fairfax beat Centennial].

    • Ronnie Flores
      Posted March 9, 2015 at 1:16 am | Permalink

      Also keep in mind, we are analyzing three teams here not just the merits of Etiwanda vs. Fairfax. We are also judging Mater Dei. There is plenty of factors in judging the merits of Etiwanda vs. Fairfax. However, when you throw Mater Dei in there it becomes more clear. It’s an argument to seed Fairfax higher than Etiwanda, but it’s clear Fairfax should not be seeded higher than Mater Dei (using head-to-head argument as stronger criteria than section title winner) and clear Mater Dei should not be seeded higher than Etiwanda.

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