Going Inside Open Division QFs

Leading their teams to major CIF Open Division upsets on Friday were Minyon Moore (left) and Brandon McCoy. Photos: Harold Abend & indihoops.com.

Leading their teams to major CIF Open Division upsets on Friday were Minyon Moore (left) and Brandon McCoy. Photos: Harold Abend & indihoops.com.

The state’s No. 2 ranked boys basketball team and the state’s No. 3 ranked girls squad both got knocked off on Friday night in their very first CIF Open Division regional quarterfinal games. Here’s where to go for a statewide breakdown of all of the results plus leading individual performances.

Note: For more even more breakdowns on each team and for the next State Top 20 boys and girls rankings plus more teams on the bubble, all of that info is for our Gold Club members only. We do have a three-month subscription going right now, however, that is just $9.99 and in addition to all of our rankings that also will include state record updates plus additional, exclusive Gold Club content. For details, CLICK HERE.

(Ronnie Flores is our lead analyst for boys basketball; Harold Abend for the girls)

Southern California Boys

It was a great night for the CIF San Diego Section – definitely the best since the advent of the Open Division four years ago – as state No. 2 ranked Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth went down in an overtime upset 83-80 to Cathedral Catholic. This came on the same night Foothills Christian of El Cajon avenged one of its losses with a 50-46 win at Santa Ana Mater Dei in a matchup between two of the state’s top five ranked squads.

Sierra Canyon (26-5) actually seemed to be in control against the visiting Dons with a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. According to the L.A. Daily News, junior standout Brandon McCoy tied it with 37 seconds left and then hit for a pair of baskets to start overtime. McCoy ended with 23 points and 16 rebounds for Cathedral Catholic (21-6), which should move up from its No. 18 state ranking despite having a head-to-head loss to L.A. City Section champ Narbonne, which surprisingly wasn’t selected to the SoCal Open Division. Austin Beech also had a huge night for the Dons with 22 points.

Devearl Ramsey. Photo: Ronnie Flores.

Devearl Ramsey shined in final game for Sierra Canyon. Photo: Ronnie Flores.


Sierra Canyon, which has been consistently in the top 10 of various national polls based on how it fared in out-of-state events plus its win over Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in the CIF Southern Section Open Division semifinals, received 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists from senior point guard Devearl Ramsey, who plays next at the University of Nevada. The Trailblazers will have others back and next year also should have 6-foot-10 Marvin Bagley, the current No. 1 ranked sophomore in the nation, eligible to play.

Foothills Christian (25-4) apparently came out with different strategy to play Mater Dei compared to when the Knights lost to the Monarchs 61-53 at the Nike Extravaganza in February. All-American center T.J. Leaf told the San Diego Union-Tribune that in the last game his team ran out to contest 3-point shots and left the interior open. This time, Foothills dared Mater Dei to make its threes and the Monarchs only went 5-of-20. Leaf also had a big night with 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. Teammate Nikko Paranada added 14 points and five rebounds.

Mater Dei ended its season at 27-5 and will not get back to the state finals after winning four titles in a row from 2011 to 2014. The Monarchs still probably won’t drop far from No. 4 in the state since Foothills was right behind at No. 5.

The wins by Foothills Christian and Cathedral Catholic also came two nights after St. Augustine of San Diego, which lost to the Dons in the section’s Open Division semifinals, beat state-ranked Corona Centennial in the CIF SoCal Division I playoffs.

With the win, Foothills Christian advanced to an Open Division regional semifinal on Tuesday vs. No. 1 in the state Chino Hills. The Huskies (32-0) won their game on Friday night 103-71 over Immanuel of Reedley. Head coach Steve Balk told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that his team didn’t play with a lot of focus, but you still have to credit Immanuel, which had to come up to the Open Division from Division IV in the Central Section. The Eagles (25-6) couldn’t keep up for long, however, as Lonzo Ball was in more of a scoring mode than usual and finished with 36 points. Chino Hills also went past the 100-point mark for the 18th time to tie the Cal-Hi Sports state record of 18 set in 1996 by Balboa of San Francisco.

Cathedral Catholic, meanwhile, will take another trip north on Tuesday to play No. 3 seed Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in the other semi. The Knights had to go into overtime on Friday, but topped L.A. City Open Division champ Westchester 72-58. According to the South Bay Daily Breeze, Bishop Montgomery gave up a 56-47 lead late in the fourth quarter, but regained momentum on a pair of 3-pointers by David Singleton and Ethan Thompson. Singleton ended with 27 points while Thompson scored 16. The Knights (27-2) probably will be No. 2 overall in the state to start the next week while Westchester (26-7) may not fall much if at all from its previous No. 8 position. The Comets, who were led by Marquis Moore with 16 points, actually did well to make it so close because they lost 6-foot-7 center Keith Fisher to an ankle injury in the first quarter.

Northern California Girls

The stunner of the night was Salesian of Richmond venturing to San Jose and beating No. 3 seed Archbishop Mitty 70-66. The Monarchs (23-4) also were No. 3 in the state overall, 10th in one national poll and had lost its three previous games to out-of-state opponents.
Minyon Moore had the performance of the night (boys or girls) as well. Salesian’s senior standout, who in a normal year would be a solid Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year candidate but happens to be from the same East Bay region as national POY candidate Sabrina Ionescu of Orinda Miramonte, rained down 40 points and collected nine steals for Salesian.

Moore hit on a free throw with 1:19 left to give the Pride a one-point lead, then with 24.4 seconds left connected on a jumper for a three-point lead.

Miramonte head coach Kelly Sopak . Photo: Courtesy Cal Stars.

Miramonte head coach Kelly Sopak . Photo: Courtesy Cal Stars.


Salesian (27-5), ranked 18th in the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 20, actually trailed 52-45 entering the fourth period, but according to the San Jose Mercury-News outscored the Monarchs 25-14 the rest of the way.

Speaking of Ionescu, she and the unbeaten Matadors (30-0, ranked No. 2 overall in the state), will be next for Salesian in the regional semifinals. Miramonte had little problem with Brookside Christian of Stockton in its Friday game and won 109-41. Ionescu had another great game with 33 points and 13 assists while Uriah Howard had 19 points and seven rebounds, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Although Brookside (23-9) was the No. 7 seed and Carondelet of Concord was No. 8, the lopsided loss underscores why the CIF should take giving at least one first-round bye into consideration when doing the Open Divisions. We would have seeded Brookside eighth, but top seed St. Mary’s (Stockton) getting a bye in retrospect would have been the right move.

Carondelet did not lose by nearly as much in its game at St. Mary’s. In fact, the Cougars led in the third quarter before succumbing to the relentless pressure of the Rams (28-0, ranked No. 1 in the state and nation) and lost 89-65.

According to the Stockton Record, St. Mary’s extended its lead on a 9-0 run late in the third quarter in which Carondelet (23-7) could not answer. Naje Murray led the Rams with 21 points and made five 3-pointers. Kat Tudor made four 3-pointers and had 18 points while Mi’Cole Cayton scored 14 and Aquira DeCosta had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brianna Simonich had a game-high 15 rebounds for the Cougars and also scored 14 points.

Northern California Boys

There were two overtime games and almost two others in the NorCal boys’ Open Division on Friday night but in the end just one result that could be called an upset.

Top seed and state-ranked No. 7 De La Salle needed extra time to turn back No. 8 seed Salesian of Richmond 51-45. With the Spartans leading 47-45, they got a blocked shot by Emeka Udenyi and a steal from Jordan Ratinho plus two free throws by Ratinho with 20.2 seconds left to get the job done. The Contra Costa Times reported that it was Ratinho’s 18th birthday and that he led DLS with 21 points. Salesian (28-5) was just out of the State Top 20 last week, but look for the Pride to be preseason state-ranked next season since most of the roster will be returning.

Curtis Witt and seniors at St. Francis had quite a run the last two seasons. Photo: Justin Leong/Prep2Prep.com.

Curtis Witt and seniors at St. Francis had quite a run the last two seasons. Photo: Justin Leong/Prep2Prep.com.


No. 2 seed Modesto Christian, which we actually have ranked one spot higher than De La Salle in the state at No. 6, won its game 54-51 over CIF Central Coast Section Open Division winner St. Francis of Mountain View. The Crusaders, who also won their 31st straight game, missed two free throws in the closing seconds to give the Lancers a chance with 1.7 seconds left and down by two, but they turned it over. A final free throw accounted for the final score. Darren Saabedra of the San Jose Mercury-News reported that Noah Stapes led all scorers with 21 points while Modesto Christian had Jay Chen with 15 and Darrian Grays with 12. St. Francis (25-3) was No. 15 in last week’s State Top 20.

The only upset of the night saw No. 3 seed Moreau Catholic drop an 88-85 contest to No. 6 Sheldon of Sacramento. In our state rankings, however, we had the teams close at No. 13 for Moreau and No. 16 for Sheldon so it wasn’t that much of an upset. The host Mariners (25-5), just like they did in last year’s NorCal opening-round upset loss to Serra (San Mateo), came out ice cold, missing their first 10 shots, according to the Contra Costa Times. They also were hurt by a long absence from junior guard Damari Milstead (out with a bloody nose). In the second half, they battled back and got the deficit down to a much as two points. Sheldon (23-5) made most of its free throws down the stretch, however, and advanced to a Tuesday semifinal game vs. Modesto Christian. The Huskies had a huge night from senior Matt Manning with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Elishja Duplechan (20 points) and Isaiah Brooks (19) also shined. For Moreau, while Milstead only had nine points, senior Oscar Frayer made sure his final night wearing the green-and-gold would be memorable. He led the second-half comeback and had a game-high 37 points.

In other semi, it will be De La Salle hosting Sacramento. Before a standing-room only crowd at Dave Hotell Pavilion, the host Dragons staged a memorable comeback to beat Folsom 86-77 in overtime. According to the Sacramento Bee, the Dragons were “down 14 with just under six minutes left” and came all the back behind senior Solomon Young, who finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. He wasn’t the team’s leading scorer, though, as guard Sayvon Hines had 25 points. Hines also wasn’t the top scorer in the game as Folsom senior guard Jordan Ford capped a tremendous prep career with 34 points. Folsom’s Jared Wall, son of head coach Mike Wall, also had 21 points. Sacramento (ranked No. 9 in the state) improved to 30-1. Folsom (ranked No. 14 in the state) ended at 27-5.

Southern California Girls

Of the four boys/girls Open Division regional brackets, this one is the only one that saw all four top four seeds and highest ranked teams advance.

No. 1 seed and state No. 4 ranked Chaminade (30-3) pulled away from CIF L.A. City Section champ Palisades 79-67. As mentioned in writeups in recent weeks, whenever the Eagles get big games from both Leaonna Odom and Valerie Higgins they are very hard to beat. That happened again on Friday as Odom had 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while Higgins had a triple-double 15 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. According to the L.A. Daily News, Odom also went over 1,000 points for her career at Chaminade, which has only been the last two seasons since she played at Mater Dei as a sophomore and Los Alamitos as a freshman.

Sarah Bates scored 20 points in Clovis West's win. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Sarah Bates scored 20 points in Clovis West’s win vs. Sierra Canyon. Photo: Mark Tennis.


No. 2 seed Clovis West (30-3) had an even easier time of it at home with an 82-55 blitzing of Chatsworth Sierra Canyon. Look for the Golden Eagles to perhaps jump to fifth in the next state rankings from No. 8 due to their win and other results. The Fresno Bee’s Andy Boogaard is now comparing this year’s Clovis West team to Hanford of 2010 as “the most efficient in section history.” Sarah Bates led the Golden Eagles with 20 points while point guard Danae Marquez nearly triple-doubled with 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Sierra Canyon (23-8) was No. 13 in last week’s state rankings.

No. 3 seed Long Beach Poly (26-4), meanwhile, didn’t show any rust from only playing one time in two weeks with a 46-39 win over La Jolla Country Day. The Jackrabbits (No. 5 in the state last week) were particularly strong on defense, holding the Torreys (24-6) to just 11 points in the first half and were head 39-22 entering the fourth quarter. According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, USC-bound Ayanna Clark had 15 points for Poly and combined with teammate Jasmine Jones to “dominate the paint.” Country Day, which won last year’s D5 state title when it did not have to go up to the Open Division, could still end up as a final state top 10 team. It was No. 7 last week.

Finally, in the 4-5 game, No. 4 seed Mission Hills edged Windward of Los Angeles 49-45. It was a close game throughout that wasn’t really clinched until standout junior guard Khayla Rooks drained a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left for the host Grizzlies. Rooks shined with 26 points and 12 rebounds. The San Diego Union-Tribune also reported that Charisma Osborne, Windward’s candidate to be State Freshman of the Year, led her team with 15 points and eight rebounds. The Wildcats (20-7) were No. 11 in last week’s state rankings. The Grizzlies (30-3) were No. 6.

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


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One Comment

  1. pete pappas
    Posted March 12, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mark. Clovis West made Sierra Canyon look like a J.V. team. They could not handle the press and folded early. I have seen c.w. play lb poly twice at home in the playoff, many years ago and both times they were destroyed. I think it will be a lot closer this time, but am certainly not predicting a V for the Eagles.

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