Mater Dei's Spencer Freedman played a key role in the Monarchs' 23rd CIF-SS basketball title, earned March 2 with a 55-53 win over Sierra Canyon. (Photo credit: Mater Dei High School)

Newly-crowned CIF-SS Open Division champion Mater Dei will seek its 12th state championship in the annual State Basketball Tournament that begins March 9 with regional play.

The Monarchs’ 11 titles are by far the most of any Catholic high school since the tournament began in the early 1980s, and include four straight titles (2011-14) under Coach Gary McKnight. As No. 1 seed, Mater Dei (23-6) will play Fairfax (22-9), runnerup in the L.A. City Section tournament to Westchester.

Bishop Montgomery (27-1), which was beaten in the Southern Section semifinals in overtime by Sierra Canyon (which in turn lost to Mater Dei), is seeded third in the Open Division, and will take on Mission Bay (27-5). The Knights are defending state champions in the Open Division, and have won four state titles, second among Catholic schools to Mater Dei.

The Knights’ girls’ team (21-9) is top-seeded in Division I of the SoCal Regionals, and plays El Camino Real of Woodland Hills in its first-round game March 7. Bishop Montgomery has won six state championships in girls’ basketball, the most of any local Catholic school, including four straight (2000-03).

Boys’ Regional Brackets

Games in Divisions I through V in the boys’ playoffs, with 32-team brackets (as opposed to 16 in Open) begin March 7. Contests involving local Catholic teams (seeds in parentheses) include the following:

Division I: St. John Bosco (I), first round bye; Crespi (3) vs. Bakersfield (14); Santa Margarita (5) vs. Rancho Verde (12).

Division III: St. Anthony (5) vs. Buena (12); Bishop Amat (10) vs. 29 Palms (7).

Division IV: St. Bonaventure (2) vs. King/Drew (15).

Division V: St. Monica Academy (15) vs. Duarte (2).

Second-round games (Divisions I-V) are March 10; regional semifinals (all divisions) March 13; regional finals March 17; and state finals March 23 and 24 in Sacramento.

Girls’ Regional Brackets

Similarly, games in Divisions I through V in the girls’ playoffs begin March 7, except for Open Division games that start March 9. Contests involving local Catholic teams include the following:

Open Division: Mater Dei (7) vs. Clovis West (2).

Division I: Bishop Montgomery (1) vs. El Camino Real (16); Serra (2) vs. Eagle Rock (15); Chaminade (9) vs. Granada Hills CHarter (8); Alemany (10) vs. West Torrance (7).

Division IV: Providence/Burbank (10) vs. Immanuel (7).

Division V: St. Pius X-St. Matthias (5) vs. Gardena (12); Santa Clara (10) vs. Porterville (7).

The girls’ subsequent schedule is the same as the boys’.