We have to wait for the CIF to do its state seedings before doing any divisional state rankings because no one knows what divisions many of these teams are going to be placed. After last Sunday, here’s our first ones of the season. No. 1 teams are St. John Bosco (D1), Brentwood of Los Angeles (D2), Pleasant Valley of Chico (D3), Hillcrest of Riverside (D4) and Santa Clarita Christian (D5). Many of our rankings don’t match CIF seedings, but you’ll have to read on to see why we did it differently.
Note: We hope you enjoy this free post on CalHiSports.com. We will update the divisional rankings next week, then the week after the regional finals and then there will be final rankings. All three of those will be for Gold Club members only. To see them all, plus the overall State Top 20 and all four of our all-state basketball teams, join our Gold Club today. To sign up, CLICK HERE.
1. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 22-7
2. Crespi (Encino) 26-4
3. Rancho Christian (Temecula) 27-4
4. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 20-9
5. Chino Hills 19-11
6. Torrey Pines (San Diego) 28-3
7. Heritage (Brentwood) 28-2
8. Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 27-3
9. Damien (La Verne) 24-7*
10. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 22-8
11. Oak Park 21-7*
12. Pasadena 23-7
13. Clayton Valley (Concord) 26-3
14. St. Francis (Mountain View) 19-7
15. Central (Fresno) 24-7
On the Bubble: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 11-14; Berkeley 23-6; Centennial (Corona) 20-11*; Dublin 25-5; El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 20-14; Palo Alto 23-3; Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 22-10.
Notes: The first six teams were put into the same order as our overall State Top 20 rankings. Damien and Oak Park are two teams that lost early in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs and thus were not eligible to play in the regional playoffs. Based on the overall season logs of both teams, however, there’s no question they should be ranked higher than many teams still playing. Damien’s loss was to Pasadena after the Spartans notched a win over a Cantwell-Sacred Heart club that almost beat overall state No. 4 Bishop Montgomery in league. Oak Park’s loss was to Long Beach Poly. The Eagles got a win over Pasadena earlier in the season.
The two CIF North Coast Section teams in the No. 7 and No. 8 slots are from different section divisions. Heritage won the NCS D1 title. Las Lomas lost in the NCS D2 final to Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland (which is in the NorCal Open Division).
We agree with the CIF’s seeding of Heritage first in the NorCal bracket and obviously St. John Bosco in the south. There will be a time when the CIFSS consolation final winner will be in the Open Division in the south, but for now that winner is just about automatically given the No. 1 seed for the SoCal D1 bracket.
St. Francis of Mountain View had two wins over Archbishop Mitty, but in the easy, cheesy, quick-and-easy way that the CIF does seedings all that matters is that Mitty was the runner-up in the CCS Open Division and St. Francis was not. The team the Lancers are playing in their D1 opener, Central of Fresno, got hosed even worse. The Grizzlies won the CIF Central Section D1 title and were slapped way down at No. 12 in the NorCal D1 bracket. At the minimum, that team should have gotten a No. 8 seed and a home game against a No. 9.
1. Brentwood (Los Angeles) 24-7
2. Crossroads (Santa Monica) 20-9
3. St. Augustine (San Diego) 18-7
4. Cajon (San Bernardino) 24-7
5. San Marcos (Santa Barbara) 26-6
6. St. Patrick/St. Vincent (Vallejo) 21-10
7. Muir (Pasadena) 23-8
8. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 23-8
9. Campolindo (Moraga) 19-10
10. Los Altos (Hacienda Heights) 25-4*
On the Bubble: Alameda 24-5, Grant (Sacramento) 21-10, Poly (Riverside) 24-8, San Marcos 23-5, Sequoia (Redwood City) 22-7, Upland 18-13.
Notes: Brentwood and Crossroads have played three times with Crossroads winning the first two and then Brentwood taking the CIFSS D2AA title last Saturday 48-41. If Brentwood is the No. 1 seed (we agree) and then would be our pick for No. 1 in the division for the state, the Roadrunners have to be right behind. The teams feature two top all-state candidates in junior Braelee Albert of Brentwood and senior Shareef O’Neal of Crossroads.
In the way the CIFSS gives its teams to the CIF seeding committee, it’s always the four teams from the highest division seeded higher than the champion of the next division. Head-to-head results or nothing else matters. In our system, of course, other factors are considered. That’s why we have CIFSS D2A champ San Marcos of Santa Barbara higher in our rankings.
We don’t go along with Alameda being the No. 1 seed in the NorCal D2 bracket. It’s not like the Hornets have a head-to-head win over 2017 D4 state champion St. Patrick/St. Vincent. We also like some of the close games the Bruins have played, including one against NorCal Open top seed Salesian.
1. Pleasant Valley (Chico) 27-2
2. Crean Lutheran (Irvine) 23-9
3. St. Anthony (Long Beach) 27-3
4. Branson (Ross) 29-3
5. University (San Francisco) 29-3
6. Central Catholic (Modesto) 28-2
7. Notre Dame (Riverside) 29-3
8. Washington (Los Angeles) 23-10
9. University (Los Angeles) 25-5
10. Knight (Palmdale) 24-6
On the Bubble: Half Moon Bay 24-5, Immanuel (Reedley) 20-11, Mission (San Francisco) 21-8, Sanger 20-11, Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 20-11, Twentynine Palms 23-9.
Notes: We had thought prior to last Sunday that Pleasant Valley of Chico might even be put in Division I. That didn’t happen and the Vikings didn’t get into D2, either. Since they are D3, they would have been our No. 1 seed. That probably was a close call between the Vikings and Branson of Ross, which was the team that did get seeded first.
For the south, we checked out Washington of L.A. (the team got the top seed by the CIF) but frankly wanted to get St. Anthony of Long Beach as high as possible. The Saints got upset in their CIFSS divisional bracket by Crean Lutheran but before that were in the State Top 20 for having wins over both Bellarmine of San Jose and Oak Park. Since Crean Lutheran went on to win its CIFSS divisional title, we went with those Saints right behind Pleasant Valley in our rankings with St. Anthony third.
One of the strangest seedings was in this bracket where Central Section Division 3 champion Immanuel of Reedley was placed at No. 15 in the south (on the road at Crean Lutheran) and the team it beat, Sanger, was put at No. 7 in the north (and with a home game). If those two placements were reversed it would make sense so it’s possible that someone transcribing the teams or doing the brackets just make a mistake. Immanuel is the same school the CIF screwed over two years ago by putting its team into the SoCal Open Division for a game at national No. 1 Chino Hills. That was a team that if it was in the Southern Section probably would have played in a lower division and perhaps would have won a state title.
1. Hillcrest (Riverside) 30-3
2. Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) 22-6
3. Santa Cruz 24-5
4. West Campus (Sacramento) 23-7
5. Placer (Auburn) 23-8
6. St. Bonaventure (Ventura) 22-7
7. St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 16-14
8. View Park (Los Angeles) 22-8
9. Stuart Hall (San Francisco) 19-11
10. San Luis Obispo 24-8
On the Bubble: Albany 18-12, Calaveras (San Andreas) 21-8, Carnegie (Riverside) 17-9, Kerman 29-3, Lick-Wilmerding (San Francisco) 23-7, Francis Parker (San Diego) 14-12, Segerstrom (Santa Ana) 19-10.
Notes: We wrote last month that some of the teams in these lower divisions were going to be watered down through competitive equity seeding to the point that very few of them were worth watching. That was based on what happened last fall in girls volleyball when we could look at the first brackets the CIF did using that formula. In short, for boys basketball, it’s not nearly as bad as it was in girls volleyball. There might only be one or two top 100 teams in D4 and only one or two top 200 teams in D5 and while that’s still not what many long-time attendees of the CIF state finals are used to, it might be okay.
Hillcrest was the top seed by the CIF in the south and we would agree, but the team to watch may be Rolling Hills Prep. That’s the team that won the CIF D5 state title last season and in our book would be ahead of the other three teams that the CIF seeded higher from the Southern Section mainly because the CIFSS will never go against its own competitive equity divisions.
In the north, Santa Cruz was the top seed and also was the top team from that bracket in our rankings. The Cardinals won their league title over St. Francis of Watsonville, which was the team Rolling Hills Prep played in last year’s D5 state final.
1. Santa Clarita Christian (Canyon Country) 20-9
2. Duarte 27-4
3. Van Nuys 21-12
4. Argonaut (Jackson) 25-5
5. Colfax 21-9
6. San Diego 22-7
7. Gridley 23-6
8. Urban (San Francisco) 15-15
9. Nogales (La Puente) 25-7
10. Foothill Tech (Ventura) 19-8
On the Bubble: California City 25-6, La Puente 18-13, Lassen (Susanville) 21-8, Redwood Christian (San Lorenzo) 21-9, University Prep (Redding) 16-12.
Notes: One of the most uncomfortable aspects of competitive equity divisions is when large schools get to play “down” in divisions against smaller schools who traditionally have been in the smallest divisions and haven’t had to worry about playing schools with massive enrollment advantages. In this division, we have Duarte, Van Nuys, San Diego High, Nogales and La Puente that would fall into that category.
We came up with both Santa Clarita Christian (south) and Argonaut (north) as our top-ranked teams and that also matched the CIF seedings. Teams we would have had higher were Van Nuys and Colfax.
NorCal D5 No. 2 seed Gridley lost in its Northern Section final by 20 points to Corning. The Cardinals were placed in D4 and are a No. 13 seed playing at No. 4 Placer. That’s another major drawback to competitive equity divisions, especially when the CIF promotes the eventual D5 champion almost on the same level as the Open Division.