To no one’s surprise, the Bishop Montgomery Knights --- California’s No. 1 team --- received the top seed in the high-powered Open Division of the CIF-Southern Section boys’ basketball tournament, and will begin play Feb. 16 against St. John Bosco.
Five of the eight teams in the Open Division, in fact, are from local Catholic schools, with Trinity League winner Mater Dei taking on Mission League champion Crespi, and Santa Margarita opposing Etiwanda, the tournament’s second seed.
Bishop Montgomery (25-0) is looking to defend both its 2017 CIF-SS Open Division title (won over Mater Dei) and State Open Division championship, led by Coach Doug Mitchell. St. Paul was just shy of the Division 3A title in 2017, losing 70-68 in the finals to Twenty-Nine Palms.
In girls’ basketball, Bishop Montgomery is also seeking a second straight CIF title, this year competing in the Open Division after winning the 1A crown in 2017 under Coach Noelle Quinn. Rosary (2A) and Bellarmine Jefferson (5A) also won CIF championships in 2017, and Rosary won the state Division 3 title under Coach Richard Yoon.
The Open Division tournaments in both boys’ and girls’ basketball are eight-team events; all others feature up to 32 competitors. Altogether, 27 boys’ and 26 girls’ Catholic school basketball teams are vying for divisional crowns in 2018.
The 2018 league champions were Bishop Montgomery (Del Rey), Mater Dei (Trinity), St. Anthony (Camino Real), St. Paul and Mary Star (Santa Fe), St. Bonaventure (Tri-Valley) and Crespi (Mission).
The Open Division’s semifinals are scheduled Feb. 24 and finals on March 2. All other divisions begin first round play on Feb. 14, with second round action on Feb. 16, quarterfinals Feb. 20, semifinals Feb. 23 and finals March 2 or 3. First round games include:
Division 1: Alemany (Mission No. 3) vs. Maranatha; Loyola (Mission No. 4) vs. Redondo Union; Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Del Rey No. 3) vs. Redondo Union; Serra (Del Rey at-large) vs. Poly/Long Beach; Damien (Baseline No. 3) vs. Temecula Valley; J.Serra (Trinity at-large) vs. Villa Park.
Division 2AA: Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks (Mission at-large) vs. Hart; Cathedral (Del Rey No. 2) vs. Corona del Mar.
Division 2A: St. Bernard (Del Rey at-large) vs. Mission Prep; St. Joseph/Santa Maria (PAC 8 T3) vs. Oaks Christian; La Salle (Camino Real No. 3) vs. Trabuco Hills.
Division 3AA: St. Anthony vs. Royal; St. Paul vs. Warren; Paraclete (Gold Coast at-large) vs. Pete Knight;
Division 3A: Bishop Amat (Camino Real No. 2) vs. Godinez.
Division 4AA: St. Bonaventure vs. Pioneer Valley
Division 4A: Mary Star vs. Sage Hill; Salesian (Santa Fe No. 2) vs. Bishop Diego (Tri-Valley No. 2); Santa Clara (Tri-Valley No. 4) vs. Rolling Hills Prep;
Division 5AAA: Providence/Burbank (Independence No. 3) vs. Garey;
Division 5A: St. Monica Academy/Pasadena (International No. 4) vs. Westmark.
League champions for 2018 were Mater Dei (Trinity), Bishop Montgomery (Del Rey), La Salle (Santa Fe), St. Mary’s Academy (Camino Real), Providence/Burbank (Liberty), St. Monica Academy (International), Sacred Heart (Horizon).
The Open Division’s first round games (on Feb. 17, with semifinals Feb. 24 and the final March 2) include top-seeded Harvard-Westlake (Mission No. 1) vs. No. 8 Serra (Del Rey No. 2); second-seeded Woodward vs. seventh-seeded Bishop Montgomery; and third-seeded Mater Dei vs. No. 6 Ribet Academy.
In the other divisions, first round games on Feb. 15 featuring Catholic school teams include the following:
Division 1: Chaminade (Mission No. 2) vs. Lakeside/Lake Elsinore; Alemany (Mission No. 3), vs. Oaks Christian; St. Anthony (Del Rey No. 3) vs. Canyon/Canyon Country; Rosary (Trinity No. 2) vs. Troy; Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Del Rey at-large) vs. West Torrance.
Division 2AA: J.Serra (Trinity No. 3) vs. El Rancho.
Division 2A: Bishop Amat (Camino Real T2) vs. Antelope Valley;
Division 3AA: St. Joseph/Lakewood (Camino Real T2) vs. Warren; Notre Dame Academy (Sunshine No. 3) vs. Arroyo Grande.
Division 3A: La Salle vs. Chaparral; St. Mary’s Academy (Camino Real No. 1) vs. Claremont.
Division 4AA: Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks (Sunshine No. 2) vs. Brentwood; St. Bonaventure (Tri-Valley No. 2) vs. La Quinta/Westminster.
Division 4A: Providence/Burbank vs. St. Genevieve (Camino Real at-large).
Division 5AAA: St. Monica Academy, bye; Mayfield (Prep No. 2) vs. Marshall; Bishop Conaty-Loretto (Horizon No. 3) vs. Ontario Christian; Santa Clara (Tri-Valley No. 3) vs. Buckley.
Division 5AA: Sacred Heart, bye; Ramona Convent (Horizon No. 2) vs. Xavier Prep; Mary Star (Santa Fe No. 3) vs. Da Vinci Academy; St. Pius X-St. Matthias (Santa Fe No. 2) vs. AGBU/Pasadena.
Final regular-season rankings: Mater Dei (3), Bishop Montgomery (7), Serra (8) in Open Division; Chaminade (1), Alemany (5), Rosary (13) in Division 1; J.Serra (6), St. Paul (16) in 2AA; St. Mary’s Academy (3), La Salle (9) in 3A; St. Bonaventure (3) in 4AA; Providence of Burbank (5) in 4A; Santa Clara (T2), Mayfield (11) in 5AAA; Mary Star (3), St. Pius X-St. Matthias (6), Sacred Heart (7) in 5AA.
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