We’ve been doing this for 35 years, longer than the CIF has even had a state tournament, and the Horizon Christian girls basketball team having its season end through a series of CIF San Diego Section policies, CIF state/regional criteria and ridiculous power rankings is one of the worst cases of how not to run high school sports that we’ve ever seen.
For more breakdowns of the CIF Open Division girls pairings, CLICK HERE.
For more breakdowns of the CIF girls pairings for each division, CLICK HERE. (Requires Gold Club)
The Horizon Christian girls won the Horizon League title over two teams that are still playing in the regional playoffs – La Jolla Country Day and Bishop’s of La Jolla in Division V. The Panthers, who also won their bracket at the prestigious Nike TOC in Arizona and are led by one of the top juniors in the nation in DiJonai Carrington, then didn’t get into the San Diego Open Division playoffs because the section uses a somewhat comical power rankings system to choose that division.
So what did Horizon Christian do in the San Diego Division I playoffs? Coach Vickie Carrington’s team won, of course, including 66-59 in the final over Mt. Miguel of Spring Valley, an impressive achievement considering that the school is Division V by enrollment (less than 500).
This brings us to Sunday’s SoCal regional seeding meeting. San Diego Open Division winner Mission Hills went to the SoCal Open Division. Runner-up Mt. Carmel went to the SoCal D2 bracket.
Since San Diego only gets two teams into the SoCal D1 bracket, guess what happens? Horizon wasn’t in the San Diego Open Division so those next two teams become Torrey Pines of San Diego and Eastlake of Chula Vista (which were in the section’s Open Division). No more room for Horizon in D1 and the team wasn’t chosen to any other division, either, which means its season is over.
If anyone with a brain and not someone using power rankings were doing those San Diego Open Division pairings, here’s what you’d see: 1. Eastlake has a 44-35 loss to Otay Ranch; 2. Otay Ranch has a 30-point loss to Horizon Christian.
It reminds us of last fall when the section’s first power rankings came out for football and were about the stupidest rankings ever produced. At the time, eventual champion Oceanside wasn’t even in the top eight. Eventually, the right teams made it into the section’s Open Division. This time, the rankings that make no sense continued all the way to the end and helped to bite a team in the butt.
We really do try to respect all teams still playing, but trust us that Horizon Christian would crush three or four of the D1 South teams still playing. Why does the L.A. City Section get four spots in D1 South anyway, especially when it already had two teams taken up to the Open Division?
The Horizon Christian girls literally did nothing wrong. They won their league title (possibly the best small school girls league in the state), they didn’t lose in the playoffs but in the end got jobbed from a flawed system. Don’t know what the message is here, but perhaps it’s just important for the players and coaches to know that there are people out there who have noticed and would go to battle for them.
Also, if any other sections in California want to copy San Diego’s power rankings system, print out this story. DO NOT DO IT. You’ll end up punishing very deserving kids.