We can’t do divisional state basketball rankings anymore during the regular season because there’s no way to know (thanks to competitive equity seeding) which divisions to place any of these teams. Now that brackets are out, though, we can apply our own rankings system to the teams in both the NorCal and SoCal playoffs and in many cases are not going along with the CIF seedings. We also have ranked all 14 teams in both of the boys and girls Open Divisions.
Note: Look for these rankings once again next week and of course there will be final divisional state rankings as well because we’ve had those done for every year that the CIF has had state basketball championships (1980). Those next two sets of rankings, however, will be for Gold Club members of our site. If you’re not a member, you can get it for just $3.99 for one month. For subscription info, CLICK HERE.
OPEN DIVISION (GIRLS)
(All teams in both NorCal & SoCal ranked)
1. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 25-2
2. Clovis West (Fresno) 29-3
3. Windward (Los Angeles) 25-5
4. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 29-1
5. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 23-6
6. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 27-4
7. Carondelet (Concord) 26-4
8. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 24-3
9. Etiwanda 26-5
10. Salesian (Richmond) 23-8
11. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 23-4
12. Clovis North (Fresno) 25-5
13. St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 22-7
14. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 21-8
DIVISION 1 (GIRLS)
1. Sacramento 25-7
2. Heritage (Brentwood) 25-4
3. Miramonte (Orinda) 27-3
4. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 24-5
5. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 20-9
6. Rosary (Fullerton) 22-8
7. McClatchy (Sacramento) 26-4
8. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 25-6
9. Bear Creek (Stockton) 25-5
10. Antelope 29-3
11. Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills) 25-6
12. Mission Hills (San Marcos) 20-11
13. Troy (Fullerton) 22-9
14. La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 19-11
15. Chaminade (West Hills) 22-10
Teams On The Bubble: Christian (El Cajon) 21-9, Lakeside (Lake Elsinore) 26-3, Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 20-10, M.L. King (Riverside) 29-2, San Ramon Valley (Danville) 26-4, St. Patrick/St. Vincent (Vallejo) 27-3.
Breakdown: We had a big problem in looking at all of the teams statewide in this bracket and that is that SoCal No. 1 seed Cathedral Catholic of San Diego not only has a loss to McClatchy of Sacramento (which isn’t very high in the north) but got routed by the Lions 71-44. We certainly weren’t going to rank the Dons in front of McClatchy even though they won the CIF San Diego Section Open Division. Yes, San Diego has an Open Division but this year frankly it turned out that none of the teams were that strong. We would have put Rosary in the top spot in the south based on a few of that team’s solid showings against good opponents.
Sacramento, with wins over Etiwanda and Heritage showing on its record and with most of its losses to elite teams, was a big winner on seeding day. The Dragons definitely could have been in the NorCal Open Division, but weren’t placed that high. Perhaps the margin of defeat in that one game against NorCal No. 1 Archbishop Mitty gave the CIF some pause. The CIF definitely wasn’t going to make the Dragons play Mitty again in a No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup and we’re glad that didn’t happen.
Note: We’re not going to rank teams that aren’t playing anymore (these are those from the CIFSS in D1 that were ousted prior to the semifinals) but will include every team in the final rankings.
DIVISION 2 (GIRLS)
1. Mark Keppel (Alhambra) 25-6
2. Bishop’s (La Jolla) 18-11
3. Clovis 21-10
4. Cosumnes Oaks (Elk Grove) 23-7
5. Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) 20-8
6. Eastside College Prep (E. Palo Alto) 14-12
7. Menlo School (Atherton) 21-5
8. Oxford Academy (Cypress) 29-4
9. Lutheran (Orange) 24-9
10. Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) 23-4
Teams On The Bubble: Aptos 23-6, Central (Fresno) 19-9, Del Norte (Crescent City) 24-3, Enterprise (Redding) 25-5, Flintridge Prep (La Canada) 24-3, Montgomery (Santa Rosa) 23-7, Roosevelt (Eastvale) 24-5, Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 20-10.
Breakdown: Mark Keppel is a team that has been on the State Top 20 bubble all season and although the Aztecs were routed by Chaminade in the CIFSS D1 semifinals they got there with a win over 2018 CIF D1 state champion Serra (Gardena). Senior guard Vanessa Aguirre was featured recently as one of our SoCal Players of the Week and is the reigning Pasadena Star-News Player of the Year. We saw both Bishop’s and Mark Keppel playing in Stockton at the St. Mary’s MLK Classic. It’s where Bishop’s won its biggest game over state-ranked St. Joseph Notre Dame. The Knights and Mater Dei Catholic are pretty close together but seeing a team play well in person in the case of those two is why we put one in front of the other.
Menlo School is the top seed in the north and is still led by head coach John Paye, who won a CIF state title as a player back in the early 1980s for the same school. The Knights have two wins over Eastside College Prep, but when the two teams just played in the CCS Open Division it was Eastside winning big 77-55. The Panthers also have played a tougher schedule. Don’t ask us how Eastside girls coach Donovan Blythe is going to coach both the boys and girls teams of the school at the same time when both are playing in the NorCal playoffs. We would have seeded Clovis (from same league as SoCal Open Division teams Clovis West and Clovis North) first in the north because the Cougars have a 61-31 win over Eastside College Prep.
Another team with a head-to-head win over Eastside College Prep is Cosumnes Oaks, which also has a win over Santa Rosa Montgomery, and we don’t know why the Wolf Pack was only given a No. 7 seed. They’ve also played a tougher schedule than No. 3 Enterprise and their playoff loss in the Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoffs was to eventual champion Stockton St. Mary’s.
DIVISION 3 (GIRLS)
1. Oakland 25-5
2. Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 21-9
3. McFarland 27-5
4. West Campus (Sacramento) 16-14*
5. Brentwood (Los Angeles) 25-7
6. South San Francisco 20-9
7. Seaside 25-3
8. San Marcos 15-17
9. Poway 23-8
10. Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 16-11
Teams On The Bubble: Aragon (San Mateo) 17-11, Carlsbad 20-12, Eureka 21-10, Lick-Wilmerding (San Francisco) 24-6, Palisades (Pacific Palisades) 23-8, Porterville 27-5, Serra (San Diego) 17-10, Woodside Priory (Portola Valley) 15-12.
Breakdown: To us, Oakland and Christian Brothers are pretty close at the top of the NorCal group of teams in this bracket. The Wildcats are just coming off of winning the Oakland Section title, though, over a very good Oakland Tech (see D4 below) while the Falcons just lost to Bradshaw Christian in the SJS D3 final. Bradshaw also is one team that was hosed by the CIF in the seedings as it was placed No. 16 in D2 and against top seed Menlo while CBS was given the top seed in D3. In that situation, in good conscience, we would never give a No. 1 seed to a team that just lost.
Believe it or not, but No. 13 seed West Campus may be better than both Oakland and Christian Brothers. Sure, the Warriors haven’t had it easy in their path to the SJS D4 title, but there are forfeits involved in their 16-14 record, they’ve won state titles the last two seasons in D4 and in D3 and some of their losses were in overtime or by one point to much more elite teams (St. Mary’s of Stockton and Folsom). We’ll definitely be keeping an eye Tuesday night on the West Campus game at Seaside.
In the south, McFarland out of the Central Section might seem odd at first as a top seed. Although the Cougars just lost to San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno, that team is in a higher state division and they did beat 2018 D5 state champ Sierra Pacific of Hanford in the section semis. McFarland also has a head-to-head win over a Brentwood of Los Angeles team we would have seeded much higher than 11th. In fact, Brentwood has a win over No. 2 seed San Marcos and is from the same league as SoCal Open heavyweights Windward and Sierra Canyon. The team Brentwood lost to in its CIFSS divisional semifinal was Corona Santiago (which is in a higher state division).
DIVISION 4 (GIRLS)
1. Northview (Covina) 28-5
2. Piedmont 19-10
3. Oakland Tech (Oakland) 25-6
4. Sierra Pacific (Hanford) 25-6
5. Silver Creek (San Jose) 22-4
6. Oak Park 23-10
7. Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 16-11
8. Lowell (San Francisco) 17-8
9. Mission Vista (Oceanside) 21-2
10. Redwood (Larkspur) 22-8
Teams On The Bubble: Carson 14-8, Colfax 26-4, Foothill (Palo Cedro) 20-10, Grossmont (La Mesa) 22-7, Maranatha (Pasadena) 20-8, Santa Fe (Santa Fe Springs) 22-8.
Breakdown: The top seeds on the two sides of this division are Northview in the south and Silver Creek of San Jose in the north. Northview just won the CIFSS D4AA championship so the Vikings actually are getting to be in the same state division as the same section division (D4), which is getting to be rare in these days of competitive equity seeding (or we should say computer ranking seedings because that’s all it really is). In the north, though, the team that stood out the most to us was No. 6 seed Piedmont. Head coach Bryan Gardere’s team has a win from January over NCS D2 champion Bishop O’Dowd and they lost in two overtimes to 27-3 St. Patrick-St. Vincent of Vallejo in the NCS D4 semifinals. St. Patrick-St. Vincent was placed in D1 and here’s Piedmont in D4? A good place for the Highlanders indeed. Last year’s D5 state champion, Sierra Pacific, is another team that make a nice run in this division.
DIVISION 5 (GIRLS)
1. Madison (San Diego) 27-3
2. Caruthers 27-4
3. St. Bernard’s (Eureka) 23-6
4. Willows 21-6
5. Ramona (Riverside) 19-12
6. Coalinga 29-4
7. Bloomington Christian 26-2
8. Mariposa County (Mariposa) 25-2
9. Cloverdale 25-5
10. Rincon Valley Christian (Santa Rosa) 21-7
Teams On The Bubble: Anaheim 24-5, El Dorado (Placerville) 15-13, Montclair 18-12, Notre Dame (Salinas) 13-13, University (San Francisco) 13-14.
Breakdown: Madison is a larger school dropping down and looks like a favorite for the SoCal region of this bracket. The top-seeded Warhawks, who only have two seniors on the roster, won the CIF San Diego Section D4 title with a 47-45 win vs. Foothills Christian of El Cajon.
We like the NorCal No. 3 seed, Caruthers, to be ranked higher than No. 1 St. Bernard’s or No. 2 Willows. It’s for a simple reason. The Blue Raiders have a win over last year’s D5 state champions from Sierra Pacific (Hanford) plus a couple of other victories that stand out just a bit more than any for those other two teams.
One team that could be an upset special in the north is No. 7 seed El Dorado of Placerville. The Cougars only lost to 2018 D3 champion West Campus of Sacramento in overtime when they were ousted in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D4 semifinals.
OPEN DIVISION (BOYS)
(All teams in both NorCal & SoCal ranked)
1. Salesian (Richmond) 31-0
2. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 28-3
3. Fairfax (Los Angeles) 27-1
4. Rancho Christian (Temecula) 25-5
5. Westchester (Los Angeles) 23-4
6. Sheldon (Sacramento) 26-6*
7. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 24-6
8. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 27-4
9. Centennial (Corona) 26-5
10. Weston Ranch (Stockton) 31-1
11. Modesto Christian 24-8
12. De La Salle (Concord) 28-3
13. Torrey Pines (San Diego) 25-6
14. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 20-7
DIVISION 1 (BOYS)
1. Etiwanda 25-5
2. Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 25-6
3. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 21-9
4. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 23-10
5. Chino Hills 20-10
6. Clovis West (Fresno) 29-3
7. Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) 21-8
8. James Logan (Union City) 25-6
9. Foothills Christian (El Cajon) 22-6
10. Branson (Ross) 29-2
11. Bullard (Fresno) 26-5
12. Dublin 25-5
13. San Leandro 24-5
14. George Washington Prep (Los Angeles) 21-7
15. Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 24-7
Teams On The Bubble: Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco) 18-8, Birmingham (Lake Balboa) 16-12, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 21-8, Folsom 25-6, Mayfair (Lakewood) 26-7, Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 13-14, San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) 21-10.
Breakdown: Etiwanda, Rancho Verde and St. John Bosco would be the three teams from the eight-team CIF Southern Section Open Division that are not in the SoCal Open Division. Santa Margarita is the CIFSS D1 titlist after the Eagles overcame Chino Hills in overtime last Saturday at Cal Baptist University in Riverside. Chino Hills is the defending state champ for this division so these first five teams in these rankings are easy and fall in line with our own rankings and CIF seedings.
We’re not going to rank teams that aren’t playing anymore (main example Damien of La Verne) but will include every team in the final rankings.
We have been ranking Clovis West highest of the teams placed in the NorCal side of this bracket and won’t change until a loss on the court occurs. That almost happened in the Central Section semifinals and finals, but head coach Vance Walberg’s club got through both games in overtime and double-overtime respectively against Clovis North and Fresno Bullard. James Logan is the CIF’s top seed for the NorCal side of the bracket, but it also could have gone to Branson (Ross). The Bulls have a win over the Dublin team that lost to Logan in the NCS D1 semis on a 30-foot buzzer beater by Tim Oldham. They also have losses to Sheldon of Sacramento and Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco). It’s the one to Riordan and the lack of many other wins against similar teams that has prevented Branson from being in the State Top 20. But they’ve been close and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Bulls make a run among this group of teams.
When we left Sacramento last Saturday night, we were thinking that Folsom (lost in the SJS D1 semifinals to Modesto Christian) might even get consideration for the Open Division. The Bulldogs not only weren’t in that, but they were only a No. 9 seed for the NorCal D1 bracket and will be traveling to play Riordan on Tuesday.
The worst part of competitive equity seeding — and an issue that probably needs to be fixed — is when there’s a section championship team placed in a higher division than the team it just beat and then the team it just beat gets a very high seed. Mayfair of Lakewood on the boys side was one such team getting that treatment after the Monsoons won the CIFSS D2AA title by downing Rancho Cucamonga. In Sunday’s seedings, Mayfair was far down the board in a more loaded SoCal D1 field while Rancho Cucamonga was given the No. 1 seed in SoCal D2. The Monsoons and standout junior guard Josh Christopher deserve better.
DIVISION 2 (BOYS)
1. Rancho Cucamonga 24-9
2. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 25-6*
3. Colony (Ontario) 27-5
4. Campolindo (Moraga) 22-7
5. Notre Dame (Riverside) 21-11
6. Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) 25-6
7. Grant (Sacramento) 24-7
8. St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 19-7
9. Sacramento 19-10
10. Clovis North (Fresno) 21-9
Teams On The Bubble: Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 23-9, La Canada 27-6, Pleasant Valley (Chico) 23-6, Poway 22-7, Rio Americano (Sacramento) 22-8, Rocklin 25-5, San Marcos 17-10, Santa Clarita Christian (Canyon Country) 10-22, Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 20-8, Serra (San Mateo) 17-9, St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) 20-11, Valencia 24-7.
Breakdown: We agree with the CIF seedings in this division with Rancho Cucamonga in the top spot in the south with St. Mary’s in the same position in the north. Both have wins in recent weeks over teams that have been in the State Top 20. The Cougars knocked off then No. 14 Camarillo in the CIFSS D2AA quarterfinals while the Rams won on the court against current No. 17 Modesto Christian to halt that team’s 194-game league win streak. That win and three others were later forfeited by St. Mary’s due to a player eligibility issue. Camarillo would be in the top five or higher of these rankings if we were including all teams, but for this week and next we’re only going to include the teams actually in the CIF regional brackets. We’ll bring in all teams for the final rankings.
Rolling Hills Prep was the CIF state champ two years ago in Division V under legendary head coach Harvey Kitani (who also won state titles at Fairfax of Los Angeles). We like the Huskies a bit higher than their SoCal D2 seed, but it is going to be hard for Kitani’s club to go all the way.
You’d think Clovis North as a D2 team would be much higher with its overtime loss to D1 Clovis West in last week’s Central Section D1 semifinals, but the Broncos do have a head-to-head loss to Sacramento, which is why we ranked them right behind the Dragons.
Cathedral Catholic of San Diego as a No. 12 seed could be way off. The Dons weren’t seeded high because they weren’t in the SD Open Division, but they won the D1 section title and in their last game against arch-rival St. Augustine when that team was No. 1 in the section rankings they beat the Saints 62-52. No. 5 seed La Canada might be in a tough spot even at home against this group, which includes big time D1 sophomore recruit Obinna Anyanwu.
DIVISION 3 (BOYS)
1. Montgomery (San Diego) 27-4
2. Stuart Hall (San Francisco) 27-5
3. Redwood (Larkspur) 23-8
4. Fairmont Prep (Anaheim) 25-7
5. Pacifica Christian (Garden Grove) 23-8
6. Fortuna 29-2
7. Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills) 17-12
8. Oxnard 23-8
9. Sonora 27-4
10. University (San Francisco) 23-9
Teams On The Bubble: Capistrano Valley Christian (SJ Capistrano) 26-7, Central Catholic (Modesto) 23-9, Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta) 26-5, Las Lomas (Walnut Creek) 13-16, Liberty Ranch (Galt) 29-3.
Breakdown: We didn’t have time to chase down all the details, but Stuart Hall did have two earlier wins over the University of San Francisco team it lost to in the CIF North Coast Section D5 championship. The Knights also have some other quality wins (SF Mission, Vanden, Palo Alto) so that in our rankings system would still be ahead of University as well as NorCal D3 top seed Redwood of Larkspur. Fortuna is a team in the north that has had some solid wins over bigger schools and lost in its D4 NCS section final to Branson (see D1). This could be a good spot for the Tigers.
In the south, high-scoring guard Kyle Paranada (23.8 ppg) has been the leader for a San Diego Montgomery squad that lost in the SD Section D1 semifinals to Francis Parker. Also watch out in this bracket for the two San Joaquin League teams from the CIFSS — Fairmont Prep and Pacifica Christian. Those two have been in several nail-biters already this season.
DIVISION 4 (BOYS)
1. Ribet Academy (Los Angeles) 23-3
2. St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 24-7
3. Providence (Burbank) 26-7
4. Fremont (Los Angeles) 16-9*
5. Piedmont 19-10
6. Wood (Vacaville) 23-7
7. Silverado (Victor Valley) 26-6
8. San Diego 22-8
9. Carlmont (Belmont) 22-6
10. Crean Lutheran (Irvine) 18-14
Teams On The Bubble: Central Valley Christian (Visalia) 19-8, Immanuel (Reedley) 22-8, Independence (Bakersfield) 20-7, Mission (San Francisco) 21-9, Oakland Tech (Oakland) 22-9, University Prep (Redding) 25-6, Valhalla (El Cajon) 28-4.
Breakdown: The two most fun teams to follow in this bracket are Mission of San Francisco in the north and San Diego High in the south. Mission is just two years removed from its memorable 35-1 season that ended with an overtime win over Villa Park in the CIF D3 state final. Bears’ head coach Arnold Zelaya is still there leading the program. San Diego High, one of the state’s oldest, would be attempting to win a state basketball title just a few months after winning one in football.
As for the seedings, our rankings system would have the same two on top — Ribet Academy in the south and St. Mary’s of Berkeley in the north. Both schools are used to tough, grind-it-out playoff games. It’s hard to see why Ribet has a computer ranking so low (50), although the Fighting Frogs have two wins over San Gabriel Academy (has D1 players) and won their CIFSS title 56-45 over a Providence of Burbank team that was 26-6 coming into it.
Speaking of Providence, we don’t see why the CIF had to place Roybal of Los Angeles into D4 instead of being in D5. This is the team that is 21-0 and has received a lot of well-wishes as head coach Danny O’Malley has been battling cancer. Just strictly going by computer rankings to determine divisions really is a shame. Roybal must now play Providence in a game it is likely to lose. Imagine what might have been had Roybal been in D5.
DIVISION 5 (BOYS)
1. Foothill (Bakersfield) 19-11
2. Santa Clara (Oxnard) 27-6
3. Southwest (San Diego) 25-7
4. Orange Vista (Perris) 22-8
5. Liberty (Madera Ranchos) 28-4
6. Mt. Shasta 29-1
7. Clear Lake (Lakeport) 26-3
8. Eastside Prep (E. Palo Alto) 20-7
9. Dinuba 24-8
10. Sage Hill (Newport Beach) 22-11
Teams On The Bubble: Argonaut (Jackson) 20-11, Arleta 14-13, Firebaugh 24-5, Hoopa Valley (Hoopa) 21-8, Kerman 19-11, Lincoln (San Francisco) 21-10, Pierce (Arbuckle) 21-5.
Breakdown: Who goofed, we’ve got to know? A mistake somewhere in the seeding process after Foothill of Bakersfield’s victory over Bakersfield Christian (56-50) in the CIF Central Section D4 championship can be the only explanation why the Trojans were seeded No. 1 for the SoCal D5 bracket while Bakersfield Christian was placed higher in D3. The sections are the ones who provide rankings for their teams to the CIF for seeding and bracket placement and we don’t recall ever seeing a section ranking a losing team higher than a winning team. If Foothill had lost a couple of times earlier to the Eagles, we could see that happening. But in this case the teams had split before playing last weekend. Foothill being in D5 just has a look of being way too low for a squad that has a D1 player in 6-foot-8 Edward Turner, who had a triple-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks in that last game.
We also would have seeded a Central Section team No. 1 in the North. Liberty has avenged all four of its losses with later wins and features one of the leading scorers in the state, former St. John Bosco of Bellflower player Makani Whiteside. In his new digs this season, Whiteside is averaging more than 29 ppg. Mt. Shasta at 29-1 is intriguing, but there isn’t an out-of-section win or anything we saw that would give us enough of a reason to rank the Bears that high.