Boys BB Open Division Picks

Delis Boggs-Smith (left) hit a huge 3-point shot late in the game while Tyrell Roberts (right) hit for game-high 23 points during win by Woodcreek of Roseville over Sheldon of Sacramento in Saturday’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title game played in Stockton. Photo: Mark Tennis.


This is a combination of how we’d select the eight boys teams for the Northern California and Southern California Open Division regional playoffs with what we think might happen given our history of covering these selections over the years. Check the CIF state web site at approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday to see how it all turns out plus which teams are seeded the highest in all five divisions.

Note: We will begin divisional state rankings for all five divisions this week. We can’t do them any sooner because it’s too difficult to know exactly which divisions each team is going to be playing in until this week. They will be Gold Club posts as well.

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
OPEN DIVISION

(Teams listed with record and according to Cal-Hi Sports overall state ranking)

1. Woodcreek (Roseville) 29-2
Won CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title on Saturday with 69-68 victory over Sheldon of Sacramento. This was called a big upset by many, but the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings have had Woodcreek higher all season. They were No. 5 in most recent state rankings.

Head coach Paul Hayes has coached a Woodcreek team in a CIF state final, but if his team gets that far this season it would be in the Open Division. Photo: Mark Tennis.


2. Sheldon (Sacramento) 27-3
Lost in CIF SJS D1 final on Saturday to Woodcreek 69-68. Huskies took 68-67 lead with 14 seconds left on basket by L.J. Williams and lost when Woodcreek’s Jordan Brown made two free throws with 0.1 seconds on clock. Given nature of loss, Huskies may only drop one spot in next top 10 and definitely should be the No. 2 seed in the NorCal Open Division behind only Woodcreek.

3. St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 30-1
Last year’s D5 state champions won CIF North Coast Section D4 title on Saturday over Lick-Wilmerding (San Francisco) 63-33. The Pilots own a head-to-head win vs NCS D1 winner De La Salle. They were No. 18 in the state rankings.

4. Salesian (Richmond) 27-4
Ranked No. 20 overall in the state, the Pride captured the NCS D3 crown on Saturday with a 55-40 victory vs. Campolindo of Moraga. One of its losses was to Woodcreek. THe reason we have St. Joe higher is because Salesian had a loss to St. Patrick/St. Vincent, which is a team that the Pilots defeated.

5. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 17-10
Head coach Tim Kennedy’s squad upset top seed Bellarmine 57-54 in overtime to win the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title. Despite 10 losses, the Monarchs are eligible for NorCal Open because they come from a section with an Open Division. THey also have a great history of success in NorCal Open Division.

6. Bellarmine Prep (San Jose) 25-2
The Bells had two earlier wins over the Monarchs, who they just lost to in OT. They were No. 13 in the overall state rankings coming into the week and it was only their second loss of the season. Had they not lost, Bellarmine would have been the No. 3 ahead of St. Joe and at 26-1 would have had a case to be seeded No. 2 behind the Woodcreek/Sheldon loser.

7. De La Salle (Concord) 25-5
Last year’s NorCal Open Division champions grabbed this spot by nudging Dublin 53-51 on a tip-in with 1.7 seconds left by Jordan Pratt in the NCS D1 title game. DLS was only seeded third entering the bracket and the top two seeds (the Gaels & Heritage of Brentwood) are ineligible for the Open Division.

8. Capital Christian (Sacramento) 22-8
We are listing the Cougars in this 8th position ahead of Hayward Moreau Catholic due to common opponent comparison with Mitty. They also just won a SJS D3 title (defeated Vista del Lago of Folsom 62-49 on Saturday) that included state rank bubble team Vanden (lost to Sheldon by just seven points and was 27-2 before getting upset by Vista) and 2016 CIF D3 state champ Manteca.

The Bye Probability
Since Sheldon and Woodcreek have been as high as the top seven in the state (both with respectable losses to Chino Hills), we think that the victorious Timberwolves should be seriously considered to get a first-round bye, especially because the eighth spot is not as clear-cut as the first seven. Capital does have a win against Mitty, however, and the attraction of a game between the Cougars (who would be No. 8) against Woodcreek may be too much for the CIF to look away from.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
OPEN DIVISION

(Teams listed with record and according to Cal-Hi Sports overall state ranking)

1. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 27-2
The Knights won their second CIF Southern Section Open Division title in three years with 70-55 victory over Mater Dei on Saturday night at the Honda Center. Ethan Thompson led the way with 23 points. This is not the second straight win over a No. 1 team in the state, however, for Bishop Montgomery. In the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 20, Sierra Canyon was No. 1 before the Knights won in the semifinals but Mater Dei was not No. 1 before Saturday. Bishop Montgomery already had been moved higher.

Devante Doutrive scored 25 points for Birmingham in L.A. City finals. Photo: Twitter.com.


2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 31-2
Ranked No. 2 in the state coming into Saturday, that may not change for the Monarchs despite the loss to Bishop Montgomery. However, Sierra Canyon does have some big wins and lost to Bishop Montgomery by a closer margin. In the end, for the CIF Open seedings, the CIFSS Open finals runner-up will be the No. 2 seed. We’re just saying that for the rankings MD could slip a spot.

3. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 27-2
Losing to the champion in the CIFSS Open semifinals (Bishop Montgomery) is just another reason to continue to have the Trailblazers higher than Chino Hills in the rankings and seedings. The only question is that for the rankings a case can be made to have Sierra Canyon higher than Mater Dei.

4. Chino Hills 29-2
The CIF Open Division defending champions lost to Mater Dei in overtime in the CIFSS semifinals. Also would be behind Sierra Canyon in the rankings since the other loss was to an Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) team that the Trailblazers beat. The Huskies were No. 4 in the state last week.

5. Birmingham (Lake Balboa) 27-3
The Patriots won their first-ever CIF L.A. City Section title with 85-80 victory vs. 13-time section champ Westchester on Saturday at Cal State Dominguez Hills. It was an Open Division section crown as well. Birmingham, which was No. 6 in last week’s state rankings, got 25 points from Devante Douvitre and 24 points from his brother, Devonaire.

6. St. Augustine (San Diego) 27-4
Behind 15 points and eight rebounds from Otto Taylor plus 13 points and nine rebounds from Taeshon Cherry, the Saints won the CIF San Diego Section Open Division title on Saturday 47-44 over Torrey Pines. St. Augustine was No. 8 in last week’s state rankings.

7. Westchester (Los Angeles) 24-9
Two of the Comets’ losses were to arch-rival Fairfax, who they beat in the L.A. City Open Division semifinals. Westchester was No. 9 in the state and has played one of the state’s toughest schedules.

8. Torrey Pines (San Diego) 28-4
It was a close game for the Falcons in their loss to St. Augustine on Saturday. They also have a win over Fairfax, which had the two wins against Westchester earlier. They were No. 16 in the state, but will move up and perhaps in front of Fairfax to match expected seeding.

The Bye Probability
We see it as very low among this group because of the small margin of victory in the San Diego Open plus how high Fairfax has been been in the state rankings all season. Now, the way it has worked out with the criteria that the CIF tends to use (head-to-head), Fairfax wouldn’t be the third L.A. City Open and it’s easy to fill the eighth spot with the second team from San Diego. Note that the CIF Central Section doesn’t have a team even as close to being in the Open Division as Immanuel of Reedley last year and this year the CIF does not have to choose a Central Section team.

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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