The fourth and final goes to the smallest division, the East Valley. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had a chance to see these teams play, so there will be some more speculation in here than normal. I’m sure you guys can handle it.
Santa Paula (6-4) at No. 1 St. Margaret’s (9-1)
Sierra Canyon (8-2) at Aquinas (6-3)
Bishop (5-4) at Brentwood (8-2)
Yucca Valley (3-7) at No. 4 Fillmore (7-3)
Oak Hills (8-2) at No. 3 Kern Valley (9-1)
Grace Brethren (5-5) at Sage Hill (7-3)
Ontario Christian (4-6) at Twentynine Palms (6-4)
Frazier Mountain (7-3) at No. 2 Pasadena Maranatha (8-2)
My initial impression is that St. Margaret’s should have this division on tilt. They rolled to a CIF and state title a year ago and have a good draw to do the same thing. Aquinas could give them a test in round two, but the Falcons haven’t done so well against the upper-level teams in the division, losing to teams like Oak Hills and Twentynine Palms. I see St. Margaret’s rolling until the final.
I also see Oak Hills being a bracket buster. Being a brand-new school without a league, the Bulldogs weren’t given much slack by the selection committee, having to face No. 9 Kern Valley. But Oak Hills has sparkled all year and has proven it can play with playoff-caliber teams, already having defeated Aquinas and Laguna Beach this year. Oak Hills has one of the more talented squads in this bracket – it’s whether it can overcome its youth that will tell the tale.
I also like Twentynine Palms in the bottom half of the bracket. The Wildcats made it to the championship game last year and have won six straight games after starting out 0-4 against a nonleague schedule made of primarily larger schools. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Twentynine Palms took out Maranatha in the second round.