This is the third year that the high school basketball state playoffs have included an Open Division, which has worked out pretty good for the local teams.  The equation seems to be that the North Coast Champion moves up to the open division, and that leaves a clearer path for the local teams in the state part of the playoffs.   That is happening for two teams this year.CIF State
There are some complaints about the playoff.  It could be a Spring Sports Coach that doesn’t have all his players because of the endless basketball season, or Coaches who don’t want to go to the open division, but don’t have a choice.
You can’t blame either complaint.
There are games being played in the spring sports right now, that will have an effect come seeding time, for the playoffs, especially in baseball and softball.  As little as two years ago, Championship Weekend was in mid-March. This season the State Playoffs are starting in mid-March, and when it ends it will almost be April. There are over 300 teams statewide, Boys and Girls combined, still playing.
For the teams that are going to the open division, the chances of a state championship go down.  It does open up the possibility for other teams, which I guess is a good thing, but don’t expect the teams getting pushed up to be happy about it.
The one team I feel sorry for is El Cerrito.  They are the team that defeated Montgomery for the NCS D2 championship. In the preview, I wrote how they had been in Division 3 the last few years, but couldn’t get by Bishop O’ Dowd to win a Section Title. This year they ask for and got permission to move up to Division 2, and that worked out for them as far as a section championship is concerned.
Then the state bracket came out and so much for the good vibes.
El Cerrito is in the Open Division and given a No. 5 seed, which means they were the highest seed in the first round that has to go on the road. They travel to No. 4 Folsom, who back in December beat Montgomery twice.  On the length of trip scale it could have been worse, but then, just to show the state committee who decides the bracket has a sense of humor, if they win they will probably have to travel to Bishop O’ Dowd.
They just can’t get away from them.
The Open Division starts on Friday and is an eight team tournament for both the Boys and Girls.
The rest of the playoffs open on Wednesday and that is all the Division’s, except for the Open.
Three local teams have a first round bye and start on Saturday with home second round games.  That is the Montgomery Boys along with both the Cardinal Newman Girls and Boys teams, who are hosting a doubleheader.
Three other local teams start in the first round on Wednesday, two boys and one girls’ team.  The Girls are on the road, one Boys team is home, the other on the road.

Montgomry Coach Tom Fitchie in his final season as head coach has the Vikings in a position to challenge for a state title.

No. 3 Montgomery (21-11) BYE
There are ten teams in this division, the least of any bracket.  That means the top six seeds have a first round bye.
So Montgomery not only has a first round bye, they know who they will play in Round Two.  The Vikings will host Cosumnes Oaks, which is a school from Elk Grove.  The game is scheduled for Saturday at 6 pm.
No. 10 Windsor (18-12) at No. 7 Presentation (12-14)…7 pm
Yes there are still teams under .500 in this part of the tournament.
The North Coast Section is at the top and bottom of this eleven team bracket. The top of it is Dublin and Carondelet, the bottom Windsor and Novato.
If you missed it, Dublin followed up its semi-final win over Windsor in the NCS playoffs, with a 57-55 win over Carondelet in the championship game, a result that shook the foundations of the state playoffs.  It was pretty much taken for granted Carondelet would be in the Open Division, just like they had the first two years.  In hindsight, not a bad thing for Carondelet, whose state championship odds went up.  Before the Open Division, Carondelet had made the state championship game four of eight seasons.  The last two seasons, playing in the open division, they didn’t make it either season.
Part of the State Playoff experience is travel time and the Windsor team is doing that with the two hour trip to San Jose for its opening game.
Presentation was the No. 1 seed in the Central Coast Section Division 2 playoffs. They are in the West Catholic Basketball League, which is a seven team league in which every team made the section and state playoffs, four of them in an eight team Open Bracket.  Even last place Notre Dame, who lost eleven of twelve league games, is a No. 8 seed in Division 4 and gets a home game in the first round.  If they win, they will be at Cardinal Newman on Saturday.
Presentation finished fifth in the league.  They went to the section championship game lost to No. 3 St. Francis in the championship game. Yes, St. Francis was in their league and went 3-9 in league play.
cn def girls
The Newman girls faces some very tough non league opponents in preparation for the Norcal Tourney.

No. 2 Cardinal Newman (29-3) BYE
No. 1 Cardinal Newman (25-6) BYE
Both teams will be home on Saturday for a second round game.  The Boys game will start at 6, the Girls at 7:30.
Both teams could have home games until the championship game, which is on Saturday March 21st at American Canyon High School.
No. 8 Anderson Valley (19-9) at No. 1 Liberty Christian (21-8)
No. 5 Valley Christian (14-11) vs. No. 4 Archbishop Hanna (24-5) at Sonoma Valley High School
This is the only Division that has two local teams in it.  The two teams met in the NCS Division 6 playoffs with Archbishop Hanna defeating Anderson Valley 83-76.  Archbishop Hanna then lost to the NCS Championship game to St. Bernard’s70-66, a game they had a 15 point first half lead.
Archbishop Hanna is hosting Valley Christian, which is a school from Roseville.’
Anderson Valley is traveling to Redding to meet No. 1 Liberty Christian.
No. 5 Round Valley (17-7) at No. 4 Valley Christian (25-3)
Round Valley missed a home game by one spot.  Instead they have to travel to Roseville to meet Valley Christian who goes into the game with a fifteen game winning streak.
The Nor Cal playoffs are as far as Division 6 Girls goes.  In every game , including the Nor Cal championship game, the home team is the lowest seed. The means
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