CIF State Open Division Playoffs Tipoff Primer


FOLLOW (1) Bishop Montgomery vs. (8) Torrey Pines

Frank Says: Torrey Pines is very well coached, has a lot of good shooters as well as a much-underrated low-post player (Jake Gilliam). But those shooters will have difficulty getting clean looks against the Knights’ man-to-man and Gilliam will have a tough time getting solid position against position defenders such as Fletcher Tynen and Jordan Schakel. And, of course, Bishop Montgomery is led by Ethan Thompson, who almost assuredly will be the Southern Section’s Open Division Player of the Year. He was clearly the best player on the floor in the SS Open wins over Sierra Canyon and Mater Dei.


This Season: 28-4, San Diego Section Open Division runner-up

Coach: John Olive

Record vs. Top 25: 3-2

Scorebook Live Power Ranking: 14

College-Bound Seniors: None but 6-9 Jake Gilliam will sign with someone in the spring.


This Season: 27-2, Southern Section Open Division champion

Coach: Doug Mitchell

Record vs. Top 25: 8-0

Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 1

College-Bound Seniors: Ethan Thompson (Oregon State) and Jordan Schakel (San Diego State)


FOLLOW (4) Chino Hills vs. (5) Birmingham

Frank Says: If Las Vegas odds-makers were making betting lines on this one, I’d recommend “take the overs”. There could be 200-plus points scored in this showdown. If the Patriots can keep their turnovers to a minimum (let’s say 15 or less) and can somehow manage to keep Elizjah Scott and Onyeka Okongwu from mopping up under the backboards – much easier suggested than accomplished – than they’ve got a pop at pulling off an upset that would be “milder” than most realize.


This Season: 27-3, L.A. City Open Division champion

Coach: Nic Halic

Record vs. Top 25: 11-1

Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 5

College-Bound Seniors: None as of yet but Deschon Winston and Devante Doutrive are expected to sign in the spring.


This Season: 29-2, Southern Section Open Division semifinalist

Coach: Steph Gilling

Record vs. Top 25: 8-1

Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 3

College-Bound Seniors: LiAngelo Ball (UCLA) and Elizjah Scott (Loyola Marymount)


FOLLOW (3) Sierra Canyon vs. (6) St. Augustine

Frank Says: As the case with Chino Hills (the other Southern Section Open team that lost in the semifinals), Sierra Canyon hasn’t played since Feb. 24 in the Galen Center at USC – two weeks. Since then Ty Nichols’ assistant Andre Chevalier has been appointed the “acting” head coach “for the state playoffs” although Nichols is still on the bench and still “the head coach”. But none of that will matter if the Trailblazers don’t play better defense and value “ball security” and “shot selection” than they did in the Southern Section playoffs’ first three rounds. A cool matchup in this one could pit two exceptional juniors, Marvin Bagley III of Sierra Canyon and Taeshon Cherry of St. Augustine.


This Season: 27-4, San Diego Open Division champion

Coach: Mike Haupt

Record vs. Top 25: 4-4

Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 9

College-Bound Seniors: None


This Season: 27-2, Southern Section Open Division semifinalist

Coach: Ty Nichols (Andre Chevalier will be handling in-game coaching decisions)

Record vs. Top 25: 6-1

Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 4

College-Bound Seniors: Cody Riley (UCLA); Remy Martin (Arizona State); Terrence McBride (Cornell); and Adam Seiko (San Diego State)


Follow (2) Mater Dei vs. (7) Westchester

Frank Says: How quickly will the visiting Comets and Monarchs recover, emotionally, from their respective losses in the L.A. City and Southern Section Open championship games Saturday night? That could tell the tale in this one. Mater Dei will have a significant size advantage via 7-2 Bol Bol and 6-9 Michael Wang, both juniors. Two left-handed point guards are likely to match up: Chris Simmons of Westchester and Spencer Freedman of Mater Dei. Ed Azzam and Gary McKnight sit atop the respective all-time winning list for coaches in the L.A. City and Southern sections.


This Season: 24-9, L.A. City Open Division runner-up

Coach: Ed Azzam

Record vs. Top 25: 4-7

Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 11

College-Bound Seniors: None but Luis Rodriguez, Harold Moore and Chris Simmons could land some scholarship opportunities in the spring.


This Season: 31-2, Southern Section Open Division runner-up

Coach: Gary McKnight

Record vs. Top 25: 11-2

Scorebook Live So Cal Power Ranking: 2

College-Bound Seniors: Justice Sueing (Cal) and Miles Brookins (La Salle).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s