Eastern Division breakdown

Next up is the Eastern Division, which saw very little surprise in the awarding the top 3 seeds to Perris Citrus Hill, Serrano and Silverado, respectively. It got a little nutty after that though.

The matchups:

Summit (5-5) at No. 1 Perris Citrus Hill (10-0)
Barstow (7-3) at Palm Springs (7-2)
Palm Desert (7-3) at Kaiser (7-3)
San Jacinto (7-3) at No. 4 Rim of the World (9-1)
Apple Valley (5-5) at No. 3 Silverado (8-2)
Riverside Notre Dame (8-2) at Riverside Norte Vista (9-1)
Ridgecrest Burroughs (5-5) at La Quinta (7-3)
Menifee Heritage (5-5) at No. 2 Serrano (8-2)

My initial impression is surprised that Rim of the World got the final seed. While the Fighting Scots have an impressive record, their nonleague record wasn’t as ambitious as teams like Kaiser or La Quinta, who were seeded below the Scots. Rim’s seeding had a chain effect, putting La Quinta in the same quarterfinal bracket as No. 2 seed Serrano. Serrano coach Ray Maholchic wasn’t too happy about the prospect of seeing the Desert Valley League champions that early. As for Kaiser, it will have a chance to prove it’s case against Rim in the second round, provided it can get by a tough Palm Desert team in round one.

I also think that the top half of the bracket is loaded. You have the defending CIF champions in Citrus Hill, you have the CIF runner-ups in Barstow, which would have two rematch games if it beats Palm Springs in round one. You have Kaiser, Rim, Palm Desert – all teams capable of making long runs. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the bracket seems more negotiable. I like Silverado’s draw a lot, as they should be able to take Apple Valley and will have a talent advantage over the Norte Vista-Notre Dame winner.

As far as a sleeper, I like Kaiser. In watching Citrus Hill’s semifinal and championship wins last year, the Hawks had issues with Serrano and Barstow coming right at them physically. While it’s possible that Citrus Hill has become more hard-nosed, there isn’t a team in this draw that’s as good at mixing it up as much as Kaiser is. I see Kaiser being able to overpower its first-round and quarterfinal opponents and having a puncher’s chance against Citrus Hill.