Cal-Hi Sports gives a quick analysis of the girls basketball regional pairings in all five CIF divisions for the North and South.
North: The 14-team bracket has Berkeley on top as expected, but while many might think San Francisco Lowell is a surprise No. 2 choice, its record says otherwise. Included in its 28-4 record are wins over CCS champions Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco (D3) and No. 7 seed Palo Alto Gunn (D1). Both Berkeley and Lowell received first-round byes. Berkeley faces the Palo Alto-Pleasant Grove winner, while Lowell will either have a rematch with Gunn or Fremont Mission San Jose. Even with Lowell’s 45-43 win over Gunn in early December, it's high seed probably won't get the Cardinals very far even if they could win a second-round game.
South: There was very little suspense here as CIF Southern Section Division 1AA champion Mater Dei of Santa Ana secured the top spot with its win over Brea Olinda in the title game. The Monarchs open the 16-team bracket at home against CIFSS Div. 1A semifinalist Burbank. Not surprisingly, the No. 2 seed went to Brea, while the third seed went to the Long Beach Poly team Brea beat 49-43 in the semifinals. Mater Dei looks like a cinch to make it to the title game while Brea-Olinda is probably going to have to beat Poly again, something that could be very difficult.
North: Much like D1, there was little in the way of surprises in this division. St. Mary’s of Stockton is the No. 1 seed with the Carondelet of Concord team it beat 73-58 on MLK Day seeded second. CCS D2 champion Archbishop Mitty of San Jose is next with the San Francisco St. Ignatius team it beat in both the WCAL and CCS title games right behind the Monarchs. Even with this being the strongest field of all the NorCal girls' brackets, anyone but St. Mary’s moving on would be a major upset.
South: It's CIFSS Division 2AA champion Lynwood snagging the top spot with the J.W. North of Riverside team it beat by 11 points in the title game seeded No. 2. The regional title game seems to look like Lynwood against either North or No. 3 seed Keppel of Alhambra. Three-time state championship coach Ellis Barfield’s girls from Lynwood beat Keppel 62-60 in the section semifinals. A St. Mary’s versus Lynwood state championship game that would pit multiple state title winners against each other could be a dandy affair.
North: NCS D3 champion Bishop O’Dowd is in the catbird seat with CIF Sac-Joaquin Section champion Sacramento next. CCS upset winner Sacred Heart Cathedral drew the No. 3 seed while CCS runner-up Terra Nova got the No. 4 seed over SJS runner-up Modesto Christian based on a head-to-head 71-68 victory in December’s Miramonte Shoot Out. With the way both O’Dowd and Sacramento are playing, a Dragon versus Dragon matchup would seem to be looming in the regional title game at Power Balance Pavilion.
South: This bracket might have had Alemany of Mission Hills as the top seed, but its 59-55 loss to Laguna Hills in the CIFSS Div. 3AA title game opened the way for CIF San Diego Section Div. III winner Mission Bay of San Diego to snag the top spot. Laguna Hills, Alemany and CIFSS Division 3AAA winner Arroyo Grande round out the top four seeds. Mission Bay hasn’t been tested in awhile so we’ll have to see how the Bucs do as the funnel narrows. It was the only team to receive a bye in the 15-team field.
North: There’s a new kid on the block with Salesian of Richmond joining its boys team as a top seed after a 49-42 upset of defending NorCal champion St. Mary’s of Berkeley. The D4 title-game victory gave the Pride their first NCS girls basketball championship in school history and reversed two losses to St. Mary’s in league play. St. Mary’s gets the second seed while SJS D4 champion Calaveras of San Andreas and CCS D4 champion Soquel are seeded third and fourth, respectively. If anyone other than Salesian and St. Mary’s make it to the regional title game it would be a major surprise.
South: No shockers here with San Diego D4 winner La Jolla Country Day grabbing the top spot with CIFSS Division 4AA winner Serra of Gardena and the Windward of Los Angeles team it beat in the title game seeded No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. CIFSS D4AA semifinalist St. Bernard of Playa del Rey got the nod over fellow semifinalist Bellarmine-Jefferson of Burbank for the fourth spot. If Windward wants a shot at Country Day (the only team to receive a bye) in what looks like a fairly easy road to the title game for the Terri Bamford-coached Torreys, the Wildcats will likely have to avenge the loss to Serra.
North: Brookside Christian of Stockton, with sophomore scoring machine Tiara Tucker, is the prohibitive top seed. They own wins over D1 No. 6 seed Antioch Deer Valley, and a 67-31 demolition of No. 2 seed and CCS D5 winner Eastside College Prep of Palo Alto. Three of Brookside’s four losses are to D1 teams and one is to Sacramento. NCS D5 winner St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda had a much better record than Eastside, but a 46-41 loss to No. 5 seed and CIFCCS runner-up and defending state champion Pinewood cooked its goose and dropped the Pilots to the No. 3 seed. Unbeaten (29-0) Hamilton City Hamilton snags the No. 4 seed, but whether the CIF Northern Section Division V winners have the mettle to tangle with this group remains to be seen.
South: There was little question CIFSS Division 5AA champion Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo would get the top seed. The Royals' lone loss is to D3 Independence of Bakersfield. The Villanova of Ojai team they beat in the title game is seeded No. 2, while the CIFSS 5AA semifinalists Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) and Orangewood Academy (Garden Grove) were seeded third and fourth, respectively. Mission Prep would seem to be a heavy favorite, but with small schools and a lack of common opponents to compare, anything could be possible.
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