Cal-Hi Sports Insider Blog

Quick-hitting, behind-the-scenes news and notes from the staff, including previews of upcoming content and events.

Boys BB: WEST Region Top 20

As a follow up to the boys basketball preseason FAB 50 National Team Rankings compiled by long-time Cal-Hi Sports managing editor Ronnie Flores and as a prelude to our preseason state rankings, we present the West Region’s Top 20 teams. The FAB 50 goes 20 teams deep from five separate regions of the nation. Preseason No. 1 ranked teams by region are Oak Hill Academy (East), Montverde Academy (Southeast), La Lumiere (Midwest), Denton Guyer (Southwest) and Sierra Canyon (West). Look for our preseason rankings by the end of the week, as we begin our 39th consecutive season on weekly boys hoops state rankings. 

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CIF Bowl Update: Only one change

With many teams on first-round playoff byes and those that did play winning quite easily, there was only one move made on this week’s CIF Bowl Boards. Instead of doing a new feature post, this week we’ll just go over that one change in a blog post and direct people to look at last week’s Gold Club post with all divisions broken down.
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CIF breakthrough in girls vb pairings

For years, we’ve been putting teams from the CIF Central Section in the north for our state rankings but that hasn’t been the case for the California Interscholastic Federation, which has quite often put Central Section teams in the south. And with the CIF Southern Section’s use of competitive equity playoff divisions, we also have been waiting for the CIFSS to finally have more than four teams from the CIFSS in the eight-team CIF Southern California Open Division playoffs.

Both of those breakthroughs were obvious when Sunday’s CIF girls volleyball pairings were announced.

CIF Central Section D1 champion Buchanan of Clovis wasn’t put in the south, but was in the north and was seeded second behind Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco. The Central Section D1 runner-up, Central of Fresno, which did play in the SoCal Open Division last year when it won the title, also was put in the north and will travel to James Logan of Union City for Wednesday’s first round.

And for the first time that we know of in any CIF regional playoff (at least it has never happened before in boys and girls basketball), the CIF didn’t arbitrarily select an L.A. City Section team or send one or two of the CIF Central Section teams to the south to complete an eight-team Open Division bracket. Instead, that bracket expanded to include CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinalists for the first time. The two teams brought up were Long Beach Poly and San Juan Hills of San Juan Capistrano. The two CIFSS quarterfinalists that will be in the CIF SoCal D1 playoffs are Foothill of Tustin and Temecula Valley.

Followers of boys basketball and girls basketball in both regions of the state should pay attention to what just happened in girls volleyball. There’s no reason why the CIF shouldn’t do the same thing in both of those sports for its two Open Divisions. In other words, that means the best CIF Central Section teams going to the north and no longer a four-team limit of teams from the CIFSS. Both boys and girls basketball are different than volleyball, of course, since the L.A. City Section in boys hoops tends to be strong and usually has Open Division candidates. There also may be a desire by the CIF on the girls side to keep teams like Clovis West and Archbishop Mitty separated from each other until the state final. Still, we consider what just happened in girls volleyball to be a major breakthrough and we hope it leads to more of the same.

Mater Dei of Santa Ana is the top seed in the CIF SoCal Open Division for girls volleyball after defeating Marymount of Los Angeles for the CIFSS D1 title. Unlike in basketball, the CIFSS doesn’t have an Open Division in volleyball but the best teams from the best leagues (like in football) are all in the D1 bracket. Other than the six CIFSS teams, the other two teams in the CIF SoCal Open Division for volleyball are Torrey Pines of San Diego and Cathedral Catholic of San Diego.

L.A. Chargers & California alums

We recently compiled a list of players from the Los Angeles Rams who are graduates of California high schools. The Rams are still the only undefeated team in the NFL and are a definite threat to win the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship. The first, of course, came when the Rams were in St. Louis. It’s only fair this week to do the same for L.A.’s other NFL team, the Chargers, who are a playoff-contending team in their own right from the American Football Conference.
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Sac-Joaquin Top 5: Best for decade

We are happy to say that for the sixth straight year the web site and Cal-Hi Sports is part of the weekly Final Quarter high school football show on Friday nights on the FOX 40 station in Sacramento.
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L.A. Wilson football wins 93-62

On a night that harkened back to the record-setting days in the 1970s of Ron Cuccia and Steve Clarkson, the Wilson of Los Angeles football team engaged in a shootout with Lincoln of Los Angeles that had us reaching for the record book.

The Mules piled up 42 points in the second quarter en route to a 50-14 halftime lead, but Lincoln came back with a fury in the third quarter with 34 points of its own and the scorefest was on. In the end, Wilson won 93-62.

The combined 155 points for two teams is the second highest in state history, according to our own Cal-Hi Sports state records. The record of 165 was set in 2012 with an 86-79 win by Tulare over Porterville in the CIF Central Section. For comparison purposes, third on the list is 146 points with a 90-56 triumph by Fremont of Sunnyvale over Harker Academy of San Jose also from 2012. The CIF Southern Section record is 144 for an 82-62 win by Bloomington over Artesia of Lakewood in 1994 and tied two years ago when Lakewood topped Compton 80-64.

Jacob Holquin of Wilson had the top night individually with 15 receptions for 360 yards and five TDs. That single-game yardage total is an L.A. City record and is just 20 from the single-game state record. Teammate Juilian Hernandez completed 21 of 34 passes for 562 yards and eight TDs, according to the L.A. Times.

Lincoln’s stats already were on MaxPreps on Saturday morning and showed freshman Andre Watkins with 19 carries for 208 yards. QB Geo Suarez also ended 17 of 46 passing for 317 yards and two scores.

Sac-Joaquin Top 5: NFL Starting QBs

We are happy to say that for the sixth straight year the web site and Cal-Hi Sports is going to be part of the weekly Final Quarter high school football show on Friday nights on the FOX 40 station in Sacramento.
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Big Game Blues: Don’t get too pumped up

Here’s a reprint of a story we did a long time ago for Student Sports Magazine designed for football players and their mental approach in the hours leading up to a big game.

It’s the big game of the season. Everybody in town will be there and that arch-rival school of yours scored that lucky win in last year’s big game.

It’s only hours before the game, now. You tell yourself you’re going to get so psyched to play hard that not even a brick wall will stand in your way. You also tell yourself not to think about anything else. Concentrate only on the game, and how you’re going to whip your opponent.

You’re now getting dressed in the locker room. You and your teammates are still psyching up for the game, and it’s time to hit the field. You scream and yell for about 10 minutes and then start going through your warm-up drills. Occasionally after one of your drills is completed, you can’t help but to butt helmets and crack the shoulder pads of your buddy. Then, just before the game begins, you and your teammates jump into a big pile. You’re so psyched to play that you feel there’s a fire raging inside you.

The game is now underway, but for some reason things aren’t going like you thought. That other school already has scored twice and you can’t seem to get enough of a push on that defensive end you’ve been trying to block. You start getting frustrated.

Your team never does seem to get untracked and your school loses the big game.

The loss is tough to explain. You and your team seemed so emotionally pumped up.

There is a possible explanation for poor individual and team performance, however, that involves the more correct mental preparation for a game. Performance studies over the years have shown that oo much pre-game thinking and too much pre-game activity might actually hinder what happens during intense competition.

The more correct course of action for pre-game mental preparation is to being by not thinking about the game. Instead, think about your family, your homework, or some other project. Do some visualizations where you see yourself in your mind being successful on certain plays, but don’t think too much about that game and cut down on some of the high fives and jibber-jabber until just before the kickoff.

By concentrating too much on the game before it starts, by jumping around and screaming an yelling too much, you’re actually activating a lot of adrenalin in your body. This is important to stress because when adrenalin goes up it then naturally will go back down. You don’t want to be on an increase one hour before the game and be on a decrease while the game is going on. That upward spike should be going on during the game.

This is not to state that you should be around your teammates during the few hours before a game. A certain Esprit de Corps definitely is important toward a winning attitude. You and your teammates simply have to be aware that too much thinking about a big big and getting too pumped up to play could actually be a negative influence on all of you.

Girls VB: Marin Catholic has youth

It was not anywhere near the best effort of Marin Catholic this season, but its top player, 6-foot-6 Loyola-Marymount-committed junior outside hitter Kari Geissberger, was a bit under the weather, and head coach Jake Spain was looking to a grueling four-game Stockton Classic on Saturday and was hoping to rest her and his other stars.
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Sac-Joaquin Top 5: Defensive Backs

We are happy to say that for the sixth straight year the web site and Cal-Hi Sports is going to be part of the weekly Final Quarter high school football show on Friday nights on the FOX 40 station in Sacramento.
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