By Mark Tennis
Contributing: Harold Abend, Paul Muyskens
For game reports, please go to our twitter page @CalHiSports and for other updates please visit our Facebook page.
To subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter, click here.
In looking over the criteria that the CIF will be using to pull teams into this season’s new Open Division for both the Northern California and Southern California playoffs, the streaking Windward of Los Angeles girls don’t make it because they haven’t won consecutive section titles and they haven’t been in three of the last four regional finals.
But the Wildcats were picked at No. 10 in last year’s final overall state rankings by Cal-Hi Sports, which is another part of the criteria (top 10 in final overall rankings from year before), so they can and probably will be chosen for the Open Division (provided they qualify).
Dreaming on even further, If Windward gets past Long Beach Poly on Jan. 26 and then wins the CIF Southern Section Division IVAA title (not automatic for sure considering the team didn’t win that title last year), it could be a case of both the Wildcats and national No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana going into this first year of the Open Division for the girls in the south with perfect records. And then if the two teams are seeded No. 1 and No. 2 and play in the final, it could perhaps even be set up at the time as a matchup for No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation.
In general, it also seems like it will be easier for the CIF to fill the Open Division slots on the girls side than on the boys just because there are more girls teams that will meet the criteria to get pulled up.
For this first look at California’s top girls basketball teams according to divisions, we are keeping all of the teams listed by their numbered divisions and will indicate which ones are likely Open Division teams.
(After results of Saturday, Jan 5 with some scores from early this week indicated)
1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 14-0
2. St. Mary’s (Stockton) 9-1
3. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 11-2
4. Troy (Fullerton) 11-2
5. Santiago (Corona) 11-2
6. Millikan (Long Beach) 16-1
7. Etiwanda 12-2
8. Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 13-2
9. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 15-2
10. Centennial (Corona) 12-1
11. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 13-2
12. Brea Olinda (Brea) 11-3
13. Monte Vista (Danville) 12-2
14. Hanford 11-4
15. Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 11-5
Eligible for Open Division: Mater Dei, Stockton St. Mary’s, Long Beach Poly, Berkeley, Brea Olinda, Hanford, Sacramento Kennedy, Harbor City Narbonne.
Teams on the Bubble: A.B. Miller (Fontana) 13-2, Berkeley 5-6, Clovis West (Fresno) 9-4, Foothill (Tustin) 13-4, Granite Hills (El Cajon) 11-4, Heritage (Brentwood) 9-4, Kennedy (Sacramento) 11-3, Narbonne (Harbor City) 8-8, Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 10-4, Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 12-3, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 13-1.
Notes & Highlights: Some early results from this week had to be taken account, most notably Monte Vista of Danville getting a 63-60 win over Cardondelet of Concord (which was in this week’s overall Top 20 for the state). St. Mary’s of Stockton is now up to Division I in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section (the Rams were D2 last year), but that’s a team clearly ticketed for the Open Division so the rest of NorCal’s D1 teams won’t have to worry about it. At the section level, though, the odds of Sacramento Kennedy repeating or an upstart squad like Oak Ridge beating St. Mary’s are slim. It also should be pointed out that traditional D3 power Bishop Amat is now in the CIFSS Division IA playoffs and therefore is up to D1 for the state divisional rankings.
1. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 9-3
2. Carondelet (Concord) 10-2
3. Mark Keppel (Alhambra) 14-3
4. Cajon (San Bernardino) 16-0
5. Sacramento 11-2
6. McNair (Stockton) 14-0
7. Woodbridge (Irvine) 14-2
8. Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 12-3
9. Lynwood 6-5
10. J.W. North (Riverside) 9-3
Eligible for Open Division: Archbishop Mitty, Carondelet, Lynwood, Sacramento.
Teams on the Bubble: Bonita (La Verne) 12-4, Canyon (Canyon Country) 13-3, Dublin 12-3, Florin (Sacramento) 10-3, Garces (Bakersfield) 12-2, Lynbrook (San Jose) 12-2, Lutheran (Orange) 14-1, Patriot (Riverside) 15-1, Serra (San Diego) 11-5, St. Francis (Mountain View) 11-2.
Notes & Highlights: The hard part about ranking teams in this division is how high to put unbeatens Cajon and McNair. Neither team has played too difficult a schedule, but Cajon does have a track record of being strong at the highest levels previously (especially when Cal star Layshia Clarendon was there). Cajon and Keppel could meet in the CIFSS playoffs while McNair may have to get past Sac High in the Sac-Joaquin. At the regional level, though, McNair would not have to play either Mitty or Carondelet or even Sacramento since it seems like all three are Open Division possibilities (more like a sure thing for Mitty and Carondelet).
1. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 7-3
2. Chaminade (West Hills) 14-2
3. Miramonte (Orinda) 11-1
4. Alemany (Mission Hills) 13-4
5. Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 10-2
6. St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 10-3
7. El Dorado (Placentia) 18-1
8. Laguna Hills 13-4
9. Campolindo (Moraga) 12-2
10. Santa Barbara 12-5
Eligible for Open Division: Bishop O’Dowd, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Laguna Hills.
Teams on the Bubble: Burlingame 11-1, Branham (San Jose) 11-2, Enterprise (Redding) 14-1, Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 9-6, Modesto Christian 8-4, Oak Park (Agoura Hills) 9-6, Oroville 13-1, Placer (Auburn) 16-2, Selma 18-1.
Notes & Highlights: Sacred Heart Cathedral already has a win from earlier this week over St. Ignatius. Last year, the Wildcats were in the CCS Division II playoffs and lost in the final to Mitty. This year, both probably will be in the new CCS Open Division (along with Mitty), which also would automatically put both of them into the D3 NorCal playoffs.
1. Windward (Los Angeles) 14-0
2. St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 8-2
3. La Jolla Country Day 6-6
4. Serra (Gardena) 13-2
5. Salesian (Richmond) 10-3
6. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 15-3
7. JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 11-4
8. St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 12-4
9. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 8-5
10. Piedmont 10-3
Eligible for Open Division: Windward, Berkeley St. Mary’s, La Jolla Country Day, Gardena Serra, Salesian.
Teams on the Bubble: Argonaut (Sutter Creek) 15-0, Bear River (Lake of the Pines) 16-1, Bishop’s (La Jolla) 11-5, Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 11-1, Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) 7-5, Menlo School (Atherton) 10-4, St. Monica (Santa Monica) 15-3, Taft 12-2.
Notes & Highlights: The Open Division concept will perhaps get tested the most by Berkeley St. Mary’s and Salesian in this division. Both teams could be taken up to the Open Division – St. Mary’s due to its being in the regional final for three of the last four years and Salesian due to being potentially a repeat section champion. What happens if one of the two CIF North Coast Section rivals goes up to the Open Division (probably the team that wins in the section final) while the other stays in D4? Then we can see the section final loser going on to win a state title (remember Windward, LJCD and perhaps Serra could all be Open Division teams too) while the section champion is sitting at home. That could happen and the team sitting at home while the rivals get the spotlight is not going to be happy at all no matter what the final rankings might say.
1. Brookside Christian (Stockton) 13-2
2. Eastside College Prep (E. Palo Alto) 8-4
3. Horizon (San Diego) 12-4
4. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 11-3
5. Valley Christian (Dublin) 12-2
6. International (San Francisco) 12-2
7. Mesa Grande Academy (Calimesa) 15-3
8. Ripon Christian 8-4
9. Providence (Burbank) 10-7
10. Desert (Edwards AFB) 10-1
Eligible for Open Division: Brookside Christian.
Teams on the Bubble: Animo South (Los Angeles) 13-5, Central Catholic (Modesto) 12-3, Pacific Collegiate (Santa Cruz) 8-3.
Notes & Highlights: One team missing in the north that has been a staple of the top 10 for Division V is recent years is Bradshaw Christian of Sacramento, which is now Division IV. It’s kind of too bad that move happened because at least Bradshaw might be able to come within 30 points of Brookside Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Brookside might now beat every section playoff foe by at least 50 points. One team being added to the D5 mix in the south is Horizon of San Diego, which fell just below the section enrollment cutoff line. Horizon features one of the top freshmen players in the nation from any team, dazzling guard Dijonai Carrington.
Comments or corrections? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.