This is a combination of how we’d select the eight girls 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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(Teams listed with record and according to Cal-Hi Sports overall state ranking)
(Editor Mark Tennis also wrote up several of these blurbs)
1. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 25-2
There were no problems for the Monarchs in CIF Central Coast Section Open semis with Valley Christian but in the finals Pinewood was no cakewalk as the Panthers just would not fold. Monarchs have been No. 1 in the state since MLK weekend.
2. Carondelet (Concord) 28-4
With two blowouts of Castro Valley and Heritage of Brentwood, the Cougars posted a 12th CIF North Coast Section title but their first Division I crown. They have been No. 5 in the state rankings and have the resume both for this year and in the past to be a top two seed.
3. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 23-3
After an 18-point win over Sacred Heart Cathedral in the CCS Open semis, the Panthers gave Mitty all it could handle before falling by eight points in the final. They have a 13-point loss to O’Dowd but that was in early December and besides testing Mitty head coach Doc Scheppler and his girls have a 12-point win over a Salesian team that beat Newman and O’Dowd twice. That body of work means a move up to the No. 3 seed in the NorCal Open Division pecking order. We had Pinewood ahead of St. Mary’s last week at No. 10 and would keep it that way this week (with both moving up).
4. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 20-8
The Rams beat McClatchy 73-57 to win a 10th straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title and 18th overall. In the seeding meeting, the CIF may or may not look at St. Mary’s as a different team than the one that was a national top five team before Naje Murray returned but we have to factor it in because even without her St. Mary’s beat Cardinal Newman 74-55 but then lost before her return and with Aquira DeCosta sidelined as well. At full strength as they are, now St. Mary’s has to come up whether or not the CIF agrees. The reality is head coach Tom Gonsalves and his girls could actually be No. 1 or No. 2 in the state now that they’re fielding an almost complete team but for now we have them ahead of Newman as a top four seed in the north for now but look out for the Stockton girls wherever the CIF places them. They were No. 11 in the state last week.
5. Salesian (Richmond) 24-8
Yes, the Pride have eight losses but they have two wins now over O’Dowd after Saturday’s 46-42 triumph in the NCS D3 final and a win over Cardinal Newman. Plus, Salesian also avenged a loss to Campolindo in the semifinals.
6. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 26-4
If the Dragons had been able to win the NCS D3 title instead of falling to Salesian, they’d probably have been No. 3 in this group. The loss, however, has to drop them behind the Pride. Since they have a head-to-head win over Cardinal Newman, the sixth position also is a logical place for them to land.
7. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 27-3
After another blowout in NCS D4 semis, the Redwood Empire girls hammered St. Joseph Notre Dame in a championship 62-31 victory to win the D4 title. They have 22 and 10 point wins over Sacred Heart Cathedral team Pinewood beat by 18 but have to fall in behind Pinewood and St. Mary’s in new pecking order because the loss to Salesian now has to be more of a factor. Plus, there’s also a loss to O’Dowd that drops them even one more spot. Head Coach Monica Mertle and her girls drop to no fault of their own but now are looking at a NorCal Open No. 7 seed.
8. Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 18-8
An 18-point loss to Pinewood plus two losses to Cardinal Newman means a drop to a spot directly behind Newman as the No. 8 seed in the NorCal Open Division. The Irish do have wins over San Diego Open champ Mission Hills and Salesian and Sac-Joaquin D1 runner-up McClatchy, which means they are an Open Division team.
The way it’s worked out, with Mitty as the No. 1 seed and SHC falling to No. 8, the idea of a first-round bye for the Monarchs instead of facing a team from the same league may make some sense. Plus, if Sacred Heart Cathedral were not in the Open Division, that would give the Irish the ability to defend the CIF D3 title they won last year.
(Teams listed with record and according to Cal-Hi Sports overall state ranking)
1. Clovis West (Fresno) 30-2
A 54-22 victory over Clovis in the Central Section D1 title game was basically a yawner. The Golden Eagles, who have been No. 2 in the state since mid-January, just can’t be moved to the north due to the eight teams in the north who look solid for the Open Division there and because there are no other Open Division teams the CIF can pick from San Diego or L.A. City other than perhaps the first one (and maybe one more from San Diego).
2. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 25-3
The Jackrabbits, ranked No. 3 in the state last week, were a 68-52 winner over Harvard-Westlake in winning the CIFSS Open Division title. While that’s a great accomplishment, it is only enough to hold tight as a potential No. 2 seed in the SoCal Open Regionals. If Clovis West is sent to the north, the CIF will have a ton of explaining to do.
3. Mission Hills (San Marcos) 28-2
Ranked No. 4 in the state behind Long Beach Poly for almost two months, Bishop’s and Destiny Littleton could not stop the Grizzlies from winning a second straight CIF San Diego Section Open title behind a double-double from Hailey McCoy (25 points and 10 rebounds) and a near triple-double 11 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists from Washington-bound Khayla Rooks. “We started a little slow and were a horrid 1-for-11 from the free-throw line but the girls played great defense and in the second half we moved the ball to get good shots so we ended up shooting the ball really well,” head coach Chris Kroesch told Cal-Hi Sports.
4. Harvard–Westlake (North Hollywood) 25-3
The margin may have been 16 points, but the loss to Long Beach Poly on Saturday shouldn’t drop the Wolverines at all in this week’s rankings or projections. They obviously wouldn’t drop behind any other CIFSS teams and wouldn’t go behind any others from San Diego, Central or L.A. City sections. They were No. 8 overall in the state last week.
5. Etiwanda 26-2
The Eagles were the No. 2 seed at the start of the CIFSS Open Division and lost in the semis to Harvard-Westlake. They were No. 12 in the state last week and again there are no other options for the CIF than to put Etiwanda fifth. The Eagles also have a 61-48 win over Troy of Fullerton, the other CIFSS semifinalist.
6. Troy (Fullerton) 20-6
The girls of Troy would seem to be the final selection as the No. 6 seed in what looks like a depleted SoCal open field. The real question comes after the Warriors in terms of whether the CIF will provide byes for the top two seeded teams. Troy was No. 14 in last week’s state rankings.
7. Bishop’s (La Jolla) 29-3
No other teams after Troy were in the State Top 20 from the South last week. Bishop’s has been as high as No. 19, however. The Knights lost to Mission Hills in the San Diego Open Division final and got past La Jolla Country Day in the semifinals after losing to the Torreys in their final regular season meeting.
8. La Jolla Country Day 17-11
We’re going to list the Torreys as the eighth team from the South, but sending them on a long trip to play likely SoCal No. 1 seed Clovis West just makes no sense, given that they lost in the San Diego Open semifinals. Putting L.A. City Section Open Division champ Fairfax into the SoCal Open Division is an even bigger stretch. The Lions beat Palisades in overtime on Saturday to win their title. If you’re ranking teams, Country Day is next. Actually putting them on a bus to Fresno is a completely different matter.
This has to be the bracket if the CIF is going to ever have byes in the Open Division where it should happen. And looking at some of the scores, giving Poly a bye as the No. 2 seed and putting Bishop’s back into the D1 bracket along with La Jolla Country Day makes the most sense as well. Bishop’s just lost to Mission Hills by 18 and Poly is probably even better. Maybe don’t pick Bishop’s, either.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbendlmost