CIF-Southern Section playoffs: are major changes upcoming?

Below is a letter that CIF-SS Commissioner Rob Wigod sent out on Thursday, March 26. Below, I will have my take.

wigod letter 3-26-15

I don’t fault the CIF-SS for exploring this option, because ultimately, the CIF-SS serves its member schools. So if member schools want it, then that’s what they’re supposed to do.
An exact proposal won’t be due until the fall, so several details aren’t available yet, but it sounds like teams could be put into playoff divisions based on their individual results, not league placement. That has already happened to some extent for basketball.
In some ways I like the idea of schools being placed into divisions based on that year’s results (and maybe recent past?), so that teams aren’t able to take advantage of a low division as a result of having poor seasons in recent years.
It’s no secret that schools are placed into leagues based primarily on football. Why were San Bernardino and Pacific shipped out of the San Andreas League and Rim of the World and Jurupa Hills brought in? Football. As a result, some schools are misplaced in leagues in sports other than football.
But I could see issues with exactly how this might work. I will admit most of the plan isn’t known, so that’s a big reason why there are more questions than answers.
But, if you put teams in playoff divisions based on their strength, could you see teams that are not putting full effort into winning games at the end of the season? What if a team, in football say, is the No. 16 team in the top division entering the season’s final week, with a playoff spot already guaranteed? What’s to prevent them from resting starters, perhaps losing that last game and dropping down to the next bracket where they could be the top seed and favorite in a lower division?
It seems possible.
And what about at-large spots? Assuming there would still be at-large spots for the playoffs, would those all go to schools in the top leagues? It seems like Jurupa Hills’ run to the 2012 CIF-SS East Valley Division semifinals from a fourth-place finish in the Mountain Valley League might be a thing of the past.
I’ll remain open-minded to the idea, but there are at least three things I don’t want to see happen: don’t devalue league play, don’t shut out the small schools and don’t make it a clear advantage to lose games late in the season.

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CIF-SS Baseball Finals coming to San Manuel Stadium

The CIF-SS Finals are coming to San Manuel Stadium, a stadium used to hosting high school baseball, like the “County Clash,” pictured above.

For years, CIF-SS Finals events were never held in San Bernardino County. But lower division basketball finals were held at Colony High for several years (and now CIF State regional finals), the CIF-SS Masters Wrestling Meet is at Citizens Business Bank Arena now. Now you can add baseball finals to the list.
The CIF-SS announced on Monday that the top four divisions’ CIF-SS Final baseball games will be played at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino Stadium on June 6.
“We are excited to showcase the best in high school baseball and provide a memorable championship experience at San Manuel Stadium,” said CIF-SS Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod in a press release. “It is a beautiful venue and I know that our student-athletes, coaches and fans will enjoy it very much. I look forward to the outstanding competition that will take place in the four championship games that will be played there and I want to thank the staff at San Manuel Stadium for welcoming us to their home and for their sense of community in giving back to high school baseball.”
The CIF-SS started having baseball finals at a neutral site beginning in 1970 and have been at Dodger Stadium or Angels Stadium every year except for three since 1970. In 1994 and ’96 Finals were held at Blair Field in Long Beach and in 2010, they were held at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore. Each of the last four years the upper-division finals have been at Dodger Stadium.

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San Bernardino County CIF-SS Championship game results

It was a rough weekend for 8 San Bernardino County teams in CIF-SS championship games, going 0-8.

Here are the results:
Boys basketball
Open Division
Torrance Bishop Montgomery 56, Etiwanda 50
Division 2A
Compton 63, Redlands East Valley 48
Division 6
Garden Grove Orangewood Academy 82, Hesperia Christian 54

Girls basketball
Division 1AA
Los Angeles Windward 51, Etiwanda 37
Division 2A
South Torrance 57, Colony 56
Division 5A
Santa Barbara Bishop Diego 48, Bloomington Christian 32

Boys soccer
Division 3
Los Angeles Cathedral 2, Chaffey 0 (Friday’s result)
Division 5
Garden Grove Santiago 1, Chino 0

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San Bernardino County’s CIF-SS championship schedule

San Bernardino County basketball championship games, all Saturday
At Azusa Pacific
Division 2A girls: Colony vs. South Torrance, 11:30 a.m.
Division 1AA girls: Windward vs. Etiwanda, 1 p.m.
At Godinez High School
Division 5A girls: Bloomington Christian vs. Bishop Diego, 1 p.m.
Division 6 boys: Hesperia Christian vs. Orangewood Academy, 7 p.m.
At Honda Center
Division 2A boys: Redlands East Valley vs. Compton, noon
Open Division boys: Etiwanda vs. Bishop Montgomery, 6:30 p.m.

Boys soccer
at Corona High School
Division 3: Chaffey vs. Cathedral, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Division 5: Chino vs. GG Santiago, noon Saturday

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How/why did Cajon girls basketball end up in Open Division?

Cajon girls basketball coach Mark Lehman was surprised when he found out his team was picked for the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs.
Should he have been?
Absolutely. Considering his team was ranked fifth in Division 1A entering the season’s final week, the Open Division took only one of the teams ranked ahead of Cajon in Division 1A, Riverside North.
Entering the week, 3 Division 1A teams were on the Open Division Watch List: Riverside North, Fullerton Troy and Cajon. North was ranked No. 1 in 1A, and got the 16 seed in the Open Division. Cajon was No. 5 in 1A, and got the 15 seed. Troy was ranked No. 3 and didn’t get in, and is the No. 2 seed in 1A.
I realize that Cajon had a big win, beating Eisenhower, which had given Cajon its only loss in the teams’ first meeting. Yet no one else above them in 1A lost during the final week. So, how is Cajon the No. 5 team in 1A according to that division’s pollsters entering the week, then essentially the No. 1 team (highest Open Division seed) just a week later?

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VIDEO: Bloomington wrestling co-coach Gabe Schaefer on key matches in CIF-SS loss

In every close dual-meet wrestling match, there are some swing matches, and Bloomington co-coach Gabe Schaefer talks about some of them. Every match has a winner, and since Northview won 31-28 (although the final score included a Bloomington forfeit win in the final match), it would’ve taken only one match to swing Bloomington’s way for the Bruins to win.

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VIDEO: Bloomington wrestling co-coach Gabe Schaefer on loss in CIF-SS championship match

Bloomington came up short for the CIF-SS title, ending the Bruins’ string of five straight CIF-SS Dual-Meet Wrestling titles. In the individual wrestling tournament, Bloomington had been runner-up to Northview four straight years, but the teams are in different divisions this year. But they are in the same duals division for the first time, so Northview could still be a thorn in Bloomington’s side.

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