It’s been very hard for anyone looking at all these teams playing limited schedules to evaluate them so we don’t want to be too critical of the CIF in how it seeded teams for the upcoming CIF Southern California regional championships, which are starting Tuesday with the first round. The most important point is that these games are happening at all. The semifinals will take place on Thursday and the season wraps up on Saturday. All higher seeded teams are hosting each game.
Later this week, we will do a deeper dive on all divisions to come up with state rankings by divisions, which we’ve done in boys and girls basketball for 40-plus years. It will be even harder to mix in teams from Northern California that are not having regional playoffs, but not doing it at all and leaving the season blank in our archives is just not an option. The only CIF section in the north that had section playoffs was the Central Coast, which ended on Saturday night.
Boys Open Division
Torrey Pines as expected picked up the top seed on Sunday and also gained a first round bye. The Falcons (29-0) won the San Diego Section Open Division title on Saturday night over Cathedral Catholic on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by senior Nick Herrmann. CIF Southern Section Open Division runner-up Sierra Canyon is the No. 2 seed with victorious team Corona Centennial opting out of the regionals. Sierra Canyon probably should have gotten a bye, too, instead of getting a game vs. nearby Birmingham, which won the L.A. City Open Division title. Why the CIF insists that Open winners from the Central and L.A. City section have to “play up” in the SoCal Open doesn’t make sense and only makes it easier for CIFSS Open teams to win out in D1AA.
The CIF was nice to Westchester of Los Angeles and head coach Ed Azzam, who announced after the loss to Birmingham that he would be retiring at the end of this season. It gave the Comets the top seed in this bracket plus a first-round bye (even ahead of CIFSS Open teams like Harvard-Westlake and St. John Bosco). The most interesting matchup on Tuesday may be San Marcos of the San Diego Section (which was 25-0 until it lost to Cathedral Catholic in the SD Open semifinals) playing Ribet Academy, which has been top five ranked in the state.
More Boys No. 1 Seeds
Chaminade of West Hills (D1A), Crean Lutheran of Irvine (D2AA), Long Beach Poly (D2A), Aquinas of San Bernardino (D3AA), Glendora (D3A), Pasadena Poly (D4AA), Coronado (D4A), Roosevelt of Fresno (D5AA), Kingsburg (D5A) and Fowler (D6AA).
Chaminade and its 1-2 punch of K.J. Simpson and Keith Higgins as a No. 1 for D1A seems like a good spot for the Eagles.
Sorry, but Long Beach Poly as a D2-A just never seems right. The Jackrabbits should not be D2 in just about any sport.
Watch out for Bakersfield Christian as the No. 4 seed in D3AA. That’s a team that has wins over Clovis West in the its section and has played teams like Modesto Christian and Heritage Christian.
Pasadena Poly wasn’t given any favors playing Hoover of Fresno in a No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup in D4AA. Hoover features one of the best players in Northern California, A.J. George, and sure seems a lot better than teams from D3AA or D3A.
Coronado and Orange Glen just played in a San Diego Section final with the Islanders winning 51-48. Kudos to the CIF for not making Coronado a lower seed in a higher division and making the Patriots a No. 1 seed in the lower division when the two just played.
Girls Open Division
The big question for our main analyst, Harold Abend, was what the CIF was going to do with the San Diego teams. Well, they put all three of them (Cathedral Catholic, Bonita Vista and La Jolla Country Day) in the Open Division and only picked three from the CIF Southern Section Open Division. CIFSS Open Division winner Mater Dei, of course, is seeded No. 1 and has a bye on Tuesday. Bonita Vista was the team chosen that has to go up to Fresno to play Clovis West in the first round. There was no travel considerations for that. Chula Vista to Fresno is about as far as possible for the SoCal region.
The biggest head-scratcher for us boys or girls was Mission Hills as the top seed for D1AA, chosen in front of CIFSS Open teams such as Etiwanda, Orangewood Academy and Lynwood. There just isn’t a result or ranking or anything that would seem to justify Mission Hills that high. If Lynwood were to win in the first round on Tuesday at Mission Hills and anyone calls that an upset, that person just doesn’t know anything. Etiwanda is traveling to play No. 3 Clovis as a No. 6 seed and that is another matchup that would actually be a stunning upset to us if the higher seeded team won.
Mire Girls No. 1 Seeds
Long Beach Poly (D1A), Righetti of Santa Maria (D2AA), St. Joseph of Santa Maria (D2A), Nipomo (D3AA), Bakersfield (D3A), Los Angeles CES (D4AA), Bakersfield Christian (D4A), St. Joseph Academy of San Marcos (D5AA), San Fernando (D5A), Victory Christian Academy of Chula Vista (D6AA).
It sure would have been a lot more fun if LB Poly was in the D1AA mix instead of D1A where it looks like a big favorite.
Caruthers is a small school team clearly playing up in D1A and not only that but is traveling to play Esperanza of Anaheim. Small schools like Caruthers just continue to get screwed by competitive equity seeding in the CIF.
Don’t see why Alemany wasn’t top seed in D2AA over Righetti. The only two losses for Alemany were to Harvard-Westlake and Sierra Canyon and the Sierra Canyon loss by just three points.
Top seed St. Joseph of Santa Maria in D2A happened to open the season with a 70-69 overtime win over Westlake of Westlake Village. Guess which team St. Joe is playing on Tuesday? It’ll be the Warriors again.
Note that if Bakersfield, Ayala of Chino Hills or Buchanan win the CIF SoCal D3A title that the schools are going to get virtually zero points toward a State School of the Year resume. This is a clear-cut case of big schools benefitted from competitive equity seeding and being able to drop down into lower divisions.
With some of these teams not even playing 10 games, seeding them had to be a nightmare. Don’t know what the CIF could have done differently with a team like 8-0 San Fernando.