Here’s the first installment of two posts we’ll be doing Saturday in which we’ll make our recommendations for which girls teams should be seeded No. 1 in next week’s CIF regional playoffs.
Division I South: Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
A no-brainer here as the Monarchs are the two-time defending CIF state champs and have been FAB 50 national champs for two straight years as well. They won a loaded CIF Southern Section Div. IAA bracket that included other highly ranked teams in the state such as Brea Olinda, Long Beach Poly and Santiago of Corona. Santiago was 30-0 until running into the MD buzzsaw and lost 71-32 in the semifinals. A Monarch final against either Brea or Poly is definitely possible.
Division I North: Berkeley
The Yellowjackets are the defending NorCal champs and are coming off a strong week. They won their 21st CIF North Coast Section title on Friday night by demolishing Deer Valley of Antioch 61-29. And judging by the other teams Berkeley might face from the CCS or Sac-Joaquin sections, it will take a big upset do deny the team another trip to the state final.
Division II South: Lynwood
If there’s a team in the south that might give state No. 1 and defending champion St. Mary’s of Stockton a tough game it’s the Knights. All four of Lynwood’s losses (the team’s record is 25-4) have come to out-of-state opponents. The Knights also topped three D2 state-ranked teams to win their section title, a march that was capped by a triumph over J.W. North of Riverside for the CIF Southern Section Division II-AA title. In addition, Lynwood is a program with a great tradition at the Division I level with three CIF state titles.
Division IV South: La Jolla Country Day
Yes, you could make a case that Serra of Gardena, after its triple-overtime win over Windward, should get the top seed. After all, Windward came into that game No. 1 in the state overall. But the Torreys were a solid No. 3 in the state last week as well and took care of business in their section finals, routing Bishop’s of La Jolla 64-39 on Saturday morning. More interesting than the No. 1 seed in this division, though, is where Windward lands. Will the Wildcats have to travel to LJCD for a matchup or will that possible game be in the neutral environment of Colony High in Ontario?
Division V North: Brookside Christian (Stockton)
This seed looked messy coming into the weekend, but when two-time defending D5 state champ Pinewood of Los Altos Hills lost to Eastside of Palo Alto 41-28 in the CCS final on Saturday morning, it’s clear sailing for Brookside. Not only did the Bruins win their first Sac-Joaquin Section title on Friday night, but they also handily defeated Eastside 67-31 earlier in the season. Hamilton of Hamilton City was unbeaten heading into its Northern Section final, but clearly has not played as strong of a schedule as Brookside. All four of Brookside’s losses are to Division I teams other than D3 Sacramento. The Bruins also have a win over NCS D1 finalist Deer Valley.