UP FOR GRABS: Lawndale High junior standout, Broderick Jones leaps for a rebound during a game this season for the highly touted Cardinals and his team will be a No. 5 seed in CIFSS Division 1A when post season begins this week. Lawndale will be a team to keep your eye on in one of the many wide-open championship divisions in the City and Southern Sections.
FullImage360/Jevon Moore Photo
The quest for the high school basketball championships begin on Friday with teams in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section and CIF-Southern Section putting their best foot forward in multiple divisions in girls and boys basketball.
The CIF Southern Section will unleash its Open Division in girls and boys basketball and City boys and girls champion, Westchester and Narbonne, will begin as the No. 1 and No. 2 seed in Division I.
The Southern Section unveiled its “historic” Open Division in boys and girls basketball in an effort to create a competitive balance in divisional playoff tournaments that has consistently been dominated by traditional basketball powers.
The CIF for the most part is formulating a power tournament, but their leverage should be in securing marking dollars from the shoe giants, which consistently cash in on selective schools. They might just get that bread anyway.
The CIF-SS will began the madness before March, and oh what madness it will be with 16 power schools in the boys Open Division and a dozen dynamite teams in the girls division.
Mater Dei is the top seed in the boys and girls Open Division.
Reggie Morris Jr. took over at Redondo last season and led the Seahawks to a remarkable run to the sectional and state championships, but their reward is not having an opportunity to repeat as divisional champion.
Redondo Union (22-4) is enjoying a heck of a season, but will open at home against Compton in what should be a thriller.
The Mighty Monarchs are the gold standard by which all teams are measured, and it’s a stick to reach.
A private Orange County Catholic School that is so flush with cash from millionaire boosters and a premium Nike contract that only a few can compete.
It is the Magic Kingdom of high school athletics, and while many of the coaches in the Open division will tell you that any team can be beat them, no one in 27 tries in-and-out of the state have been able to solve the Monarch’s winning formula.
Led by McDonald’s All-American and one of the best players of this generation, Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei will undoubtedly be the top seed of the division, and because their home area meets the criteria, they will host its home games.
Flip a coin with the rest of the field, included among them 24-0, JW Riverside and they are basically playing to see who meets the Mighty Monarchs.
Redondo Union lost to Mater Dei 84-39, and others in division one have felt the hammer although not quite as severe.
One could argue Open was created to prevent a Mater Dei massacre in Division IAA.
Challengers, if you want to call them such, will be Bishop Montgomery (22-4), Cantwell-Sacred Heart, Cathedral (22-3), Centennial/Corona (24-2), Chaminade (21-4), Chino Hills, Compton (22-5), Etiwanda (25-3), North, J.W. (24-0), Loyola (24-2), Mayfair (22-5), Redondo Union, Gardena Serra (20-7), Sierra Canyon (25-2) and St. John Bosco (17-9).
Bishop Montgomery lost in the semi-finals of sectional play last year and returned just one starter in senior point guard, Justin Bibbins, but they are in.
The Knights didn’t win a sectional title during the past two years, but they are a power team with just one senior and a team of sophomores and juniors?
St. John Bosco, could not lose its way out of the Open Division, but the scary Braves will be on the road at Loyola and the most feared team in the Open division. The Braves lost to both Westchester and Mayfair in the Redondo tournament and twice to Mater Dei, but Derrick Taylor who has D-1 recruits junior, Tyler Dorsey (Arizona) and senior, Daniel Hamilton (Connecticut) are capable of beating anybody on a given day.
The section raided D-1AA of its best team and did not select Moore League champ, Long Beach Poly (19-7), and the Jackrabbits are the No.1 seed in Division 1AA.
Teams that win two games will receive an at large bid in the Southern California Regionals, teams that lost opening round games will advance to the consolation bracket and providing they lose, they will be considered for an at large bid in the regionals.
It all starts on Feb. 21, and the girls begin on Feb. 22. Alemany, Canyon Springs, Chaminade, Etiwanda, Lynwood, Mark Keppel, Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Gardena Serra, Sierra Canyon, Troy and Windward make up the girls field.