Good luck to all teams playing in CIF regional finals on Saturday. We will focus our coverage on the games played at Long Beach State (Open, D1) with coverage from Ronnie Flores and on the games played at Santa Clara University (Open, D1) with coverage from Harold Abend. Editor Mark Tennis will be editing everything later, but not going to games due to family funeral in Sacramento. We only felt comfortable giving predictions for the first four divisions but have comments for all six.
Open Division (NorCal)
Bishop O’Dowd 66, Sheldon (Sacramento) 58
After the Dragons beat Modesto Christian (which beat Sheldon for the Sac-Joaquin Section title) you have to favor them. The Huskies only lost in the final 30 seconds to Modesto Christian and have the intestinal fortitude to play hard and loose for all four quarters.
Open Division (SoCal)
Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 58, Etiwanda 51
The Trailblazers notched their second win against Bishop Montgomery in the regional semifinals. They are looking for their first trip to the CIF Open Division state final. Etiwanda’s defense will hold them down but not enough.
Division I (NorCal)
Palo Alto 64, Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 63
Just really like the way the Vikings have played in their first three regional games. They have a great vibe that surrounds them in NorCal playoffs. Las Lomas can really score the ball, though, and may be too much for the Paly defense.
Division I (SoCal)
Chino Hills 73, St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 72
This looks like a toss-up game. We didn’t flip a coin; we’d just really like to see the Big O (Onyeka Okongwu) come back to the CIF state finals as the lone holdover from that 35-0 Chino Hills team from 2016.
Division II (NorCal)
Alameda 66, St. Mary’s (Stockton) 63
Both teams played Grant of Sacramento in recent weeks and both scored 66 points in a win. Alameda has never been to the state finals. St. Mary’s last went in D3 in 2006 and lost to Artesia of Lakewood in the final prep game for James Harden.
Division II (SoCal)
Crossroads 75, Birmingham (Lake Balboa) 69
Sure, the Patriots and standout Devonaire Doutrive can win since they just beat Brentwood and Brentwood beat Crossroads to win CIFSS divisional title. But Crossroads also beat Brentwood twice and the way the Roadrunners bashed Cajon last Tuesday was impressive.
Division III (NorCal)
Pleasant Valley (Chico) 58, Central Catholic (Modesto) 55
Not sure the lower half of the bracket that the Vikings won was as strong as the one that the Raiders came through, but they’re playing at home and that can be a tough haul up to the CIF Northern Section. Neither team has been to the CIF state finals before.
Division III (SoCal)
Notre Dame (Riverside) 62, Bishop Amat (La Puente) 55
This is a rematch of the CIF Southern Section D3A championship that Notre Dame won 51-45. We doubt if the CIF will ever change the way it seeds CIFSS divisional qualifiers, but the Titans were ridiculously underseeded.
Division IV (NorCal)
St. Mary’s (Berkeley) vs. Stuart Hall (San Francisco)
These are two teams that didn’t go that far in the CIF North Coast Section D4 playoffs, but here they are thanks to competitive equity divisions. The top teams in the NCS D4 playoffs were all moved up into higher divisions.
Division IV (SoCal)
View Park (Los Angeles) vs. Christian (El Cajon)
Congrats to the Patriots for knocking off top seed Hillcrest in Tuesday’s semifinals. We’ll see if they can follow it up with another strong outing vs. the L.A. City Section squad.
Division V (NorCal)
Argonaut (Jackson) vs. Colfax
This is another rematch, in this case the SJS D5 final. Argonaut will be hard to beat at home since it topped Colfax on a neutral court a few weeks ago.
Division V (SoCal)
Santa Clarita Christian vs. Van Nuys
Tyree Winborn is one of the most dynamic scorers in the state and hopes to lead Van Nuys to its first regional title. The Wolves are a high enrollment public school that is benefiting from competitive equity, but they still have to go out and win games. SCC is top seed and playing at home.