As the various playoffs get going across the state – or are about to end in the CIF Northern Section – here’s a look at those teams that have the best chances to finish high in the Cal-Hi Sports five-division state rankings. Teams slotted in No. 1 positions are Buchanan of Clovis (D1), South Hills of Covina (D2), Redondo Union of Redondo Beach (D3), Palma of Salinas (D4) and Sage Hill of Newport Beach (D5).
Note: These divisions do not match divisional alignments in sections with Open Divisions and in sections with more than one playoff division. Our state rankings by division for many years have been done in five divisions and we’ll continue that again for the final weeks of this season.
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(After results of Monday, May 16)
*Indicates season complete.
**Indicates forfeits not included.
1. Buchanan (Clovis) 27-1
2. JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 24-6
3. El Toro (Lake Forest) 23-5
4. De La Salle (Concord) 19-3
5. La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 22-5
6. Serra (San Mateo) 24-5-1
7. Vista 22-6
8. J.W. North (Riverside) 22-7
9. Clovis North (Fresno) 22-6-1
10. Lutheran (Orange) 20-8
11. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 21-5
12. Eastlake (Chula Vista) 24-3
13. St. Francis (Mountain View) 22-8
14. Chatsworth 24-7
15. Heritage (Brentwood) 17-4
On The Bubble: Bullard (Fresno) 20-8, Chaminade (West Hills) 18-9, Cleveland (Reseda) 26-5, Clovis 22-8, Davis 20-7, El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 24-7, Elk Grove 19-8, Huntington Beach 17-10, Jesuit (Carmichael) 20-7, Marina (Huntington Beach) 20-10, Murrieta Mesa (Murrieta) 20-10, Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 21-7, Valencia 23-7, West Ranch (Valencia) 21-8.
Notes & Highlights: The top 15 in this division are all currently placed in the State Top 20 overall rankings. After JSerra and El Toro, the next two highest seeds in the CIF Southern Section Division I bracket are Chaminade and Murrieta Mesa. We would have had Orange Lutheran and J.W. North higher. In that bracket, though, which is single elimination, seeds have never mattered too much. It’s more about getting hot at the exact right time.
1. South Hills (Covina) 21-7
2. Bonita (La Verne) 25-5
3. Gahr (Cerritos) 23-6
4. Santana (Santee) 23-3
5. Casa Grande (Petaluma) 19-5
6. Redwood (Larkspur) 19-5
7. La Mirada 21-7
8. Burrough (Burbank) 20-6
9. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 20-4
10. Mission Viejo 20-10
On The Bubble: Bella Vista (Fair Oaks) 18-8, Carlmont (Belmont) 20-8, Chico 20-3, Foothill (Tustin) 22-7, Leland (San Jose) 19-8, Maria Carrillo (Santa Rosa) 16-8, Mt. Whitney (Visalia) 17-8, Poway 18-10, Simi Valley 18-7, Torrey Pines (San Diego) 18-10.
Notes & Highlights: South Hills and Bonita are both in the same league with South Hills having a 2-0 record in head-to-head matchups. They are seeded No. 1 and No. 3 in the CIFSS Division II bracket with Gahr at No. 2. Santana may be the best team in the CIF San Diego Section that isn’t listed among its Division I or Open Division members. Heading into Thursday, however, the Sultans still hadn’t wrapped up the Grossmont Valley League title. West Hills (17-8 overall) was just one game back and was set to play Santana with already having a win over the Sultans from earlier in the season. Whichever team eventually wins from the CIF North Coast Section in D2 – if its Casa Grande, Redwood or Marin Catholic – also should be a contender for the final No. 1 ranking in this division.
1. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 24-2**
2. Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 22-6**
3. Acalanes (Lafayette) 20-2
4. Don Lugo (Chino) 23-3
5. Vista del Lago (Folsom) 22-3-1
6. Kaiser (Fontana) 23-3
7. Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 21-4
8. Beckman (Irvine) 21-5
9. Analy (Sebastopol) 19-5
10. Palm Desert 16-10
Teams On The Bubble: Escondido 23-6, Kerman 22-7, La Jolla Country Day 19-9, Lincoln 22-5, San Dimas 14-12, San Gorgonio (San Bernardino) 21-5, San Mateo 26-3*, Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 18-9, Walnut 16-10-2, West (Torrance) 19-10, Woodbridge (Irvine) 19-7, Yuba City 20-7.
Notes & Highlights: Although Mira Costa wasn’t a top four seed in the CIFSS D3 bracket, it’s an easy call nevertheless to rank the Mustangs right behind league rival Redondo Union. They don’t have double-digit losses like Palm Desert, Walnut and San Dimas and they’re the state champions of the annual Boras Classic. Acalanes and Analy are the top two teams in the NCS in D3, but if Analy were to win the title keep in mind that one of its losses was to Montclair of the Southern Section. Don Lugo and Kaiser are the top teams in the CIFSS Division IV bracket, which for purposes of our five-division format need to be in D3 for our rankings and not D4.
1. Palma (Salinas) 20-5
2. Coronado 25-5
3. Woodcrest Christian (Riverside) 24-5
4. Cantwell Sacred Heart (Montebello) 24-4
5. Capital Christian (Sacramento) 22-2
6. Paraclete (Lancaster) 20-4
7. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 18-7
8. Francis Parker (San Diego) 16-10
9. Carmel 20-7
10. Village Christian (Sun Valley) 20-6
Teams On The Bubble: Arcata 17-5, Christian (El Cajon) 15-10, Firebaugh 24-3, Grace Brethren (Simi Valley) 20-5, Immanuel (Reedley) 22-6, Menlo School (Atherton) 21-7, Monrovia 17-6, Ripon 22-3, Winters 20-6-2.
Notes & Highlights: Palma has already defeated Archbishop Mitty of the WCAL in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs. We’re ranking the Chieftains in D4 (where they usually are in most sports) and with the possibility of them winning another game or two in the CCS Open Division (Serra of San Mateo is top seed) we have put them on top in our D4 rankings. Just being in that bracket and winning a game over a program like Mitty is going to guarantee a high final ranking for Palma, but doesn’t guarantee No. 1. Woodcrest Christian or Cantwell Sacred Heart from the CIFSS D5 bracket or Coronado from San Diego D3 or Capital Christian from Sac-Joaquin D5 seem like other strong No. 1 contenders.
1. Sage Hill (Newport Beach) 23-1
2. St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 19-5
3. Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) 17-9
4. Crean Lutheran (Irvine) 19-7
5. Buckley (Sherman Oaks) 17-4
6. St. Francis CCC (Watsonville) 16-10*
7. Calvary Murrieta (Murrieta) 16-5
8. Ripon Christian 20-5
9. Hamilton (Hamilton City) 16-6
10. High Tech (San Diego) 15-9
Teams On The Bubble: Athenian (Danville) 14-3, Central Valley Christian (Visalia) 17-12, Chavez (Delano) 19-4, Dunn (Los Olivos) 16-6, Esparto 17-4, Excelsior Charter (Victorville) 19-1, Flintridge Prep (La Canada) 16-5, San Diego Jewish Academy 15-5, Valley Christian (Roseville) 13-10.
Notes & Highlights: In a first look through these teams grouped in this division, it looks like a two-team race between Sage Hill, the top seed in the CIFSS D6 bracket, and St. Joseph Notre Dame, which will likely be the top seed in the NCS for D5 (those pairings come out this weekend). Sage Hill’s only loss came to Windward of Los Angeles as part of a season-opening doubleheader. The Pilots haven’t lost to another D5 school and have some wins over bigger schools. Their boys basketball team, of course, just recently won the CIF D5 state title.