May 24, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

CIF GIRLS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS: Top seeds, first-round games to watch and brackets

Taylor Feldman of Crean Lutheran drives to the basket as Kennedy’s Lauren Lau (No. 5) and Paige Yasukochi defend. The Saints are seeded third in their division. (Photo courtesy Crean Lutheran Shutterbugs, Wendy Rueter/For OC Sports Zone)

South Coast League champion San Clemente and San Joaquin League champion Orangewood Academy earned top seeds for their divisions in the CIF girls basketball playoffs announced on Sunday.

San Clemente is the top seed in Divison 2A while Orangewood Academy is top seeded in Division 2AA.

Other Orange County teams earning high seeds were Troy, which is second in Division 1; Crean Lutheran, which is third in Division 3AA; Calvary Chapel, ranked third in Division 5A and Mater Dei, which earned the fourth seed in the open division.

There are 295 teams entered in the playoffs.

San Clemente, Troy and Orangewood Academy have opening round byes. Crean Lutheran (22-4) is home on Thursday, Feb. 13 to host Knight, the No. 2 team from the Golden League. Crean Lutheran, which finished second in the Empire League is 22-4 while Knight is 14-10.

Mater Dei is in Pool A of the open division and opens up at home on Saturday, Feb. 15 vs. No. 5 Etiwanda. The Monarchs also host No. 8 Lynwood on Wednesday, Feb. 18 and No. 1 Sierra Canyon on Saturday, Feb. 22.

The winner of Pool A and the winner of Pool B meet in the finals at The Pyramid at Long Beach State on Friday, Feb. 28.

Here are some match-ups to watch on Thursday, Feb. 13:

—In Division 1, Aliso Niguel (20-8) plays at Huntington Beach (22-5). Huntington Beach is the Surf League champion and Aliso Niguel is the No. 3 team from the South Coast League.

—In Division 2A, Pacific Coast League champion University (14-14) hosts Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary (19-9) and Segerstrom, the Golden West League No. 2 team hosts Whittier Christian (23-4). The winner faces Empire League champion Tustin, which has a first round bye.

Also in 2A, Tesoro (16-12) plays at Sunny Hills (20-8), Both teams finished second in their leagues.

In the 3AA division, Pacific Coast League’s No. 2 team Woodbridge (17-11) plays at Villa Park (19-9). Villa Park tied for first place in the North Hills League.

In the 4A division, Saddleback, which captured the Orange Coast League title outright with a perfect 10-0 mark, hosts Western Christian, the No. 4 team from the Ambassador League. Saddleback is 19-8 and Western Christian 16-7. The Roadrunners, coached by Al Martinez and Dan Lara, went to the semifinals last year. Western Christian also reached the semifinals of its division last season.

In Division 4AA, Brian Barham’s Portola team (17-8) is in the playoffs for the first time in school history after finishing second in the Pacific Coast League. It’s the second year for varsity competition. Portola (17-8) will play at Arroyo (16-11) Thursday night.

Also in 4AA, Godinez (16-11) plays at Santa Clara (15-8).

TO SEE THE BRACKETS FOR EVERY DIVISION, PLEASE CLICK HERE

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com