Four Catholic school teams advanced in the Southern California Regional boys’ basketball playoffs with first-round victories Feb. 26, and two more begin play Feb. 27 in the Open Division tournament.

CIF-Southern Section champions Santa Margarita and Santa Clara each won first-round battles with little difficulty, as did St. John Bosco and Providence/Burbank. All will play second round games on Feb. 28.

In the Open Division (with eight teams competing, as opposed to 16 in each of the other five divisions), third-seeded Bishop Montgomery (24-6) plays sixth-seeded Mater Dei (27-4). The winner plays in the March 2 semifinals against either Fairfax or Centennial;
 the finals are March 5.

The first-round breakdown:

D-I: No. 4 Santa Margarita, the CIF-SS D-1 champion, beat No. 13 Mission Bay 68-50, while No. 3 St. John Bosco (which competed in the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs) topped No. 14 Vista 96-71. In Round 2, Santa Margarita (24-10) plays No. 5 Foothills Christian (24-6), and St. John Bosco (22-9) plays No. 6 Chino Hills (21-10), the team Santa Margarita beat for the D-1 title.

D-IV: No. 2 Providence (27-7), the CIF-SS D-4A runner-up, hammered No. 15 Roybal 71-33, and advanced to the Regionals’ second round against No. 7 Independence of Bakersfield (21-7).

D-V: No. 4 Santa Clara dominated No. 13 San Pasqual 78-44, leading 22-10 after one quarter and never looking back. In Round 2, the Saints (28-6) will play No. 5 Sage Hill (23-11), the team they beat for the CIF-SS D-5AA crown last weekend.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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