Is the CIF’s Open Basketball Division a good idea? It depends who you ask

“Those teams at the top (of the Open Division) are in a different class. I know they’re trying to sell the point that if you get selected to the Open Division you’ll make it to the state playoffs, but I think a CIF championship means more for schools like us.” Bonita girls coach Darren Baumunk, whose team was moved from Division II-AA last season to Division I-AA this year.

“I don’t know that we would have been invited anyway, but winning Division III-AA was an incredible thing for our school and community. If we would have been selected to the Open Division and lost in the first round, there’s no way we would have felt the same way. You start your season every year with a goal to win a CIF title. There are a few teams like Mater Dei and others that would compete for the Open Division title every year, but for most of us, playing in the Open Division isn’t as ideal as being in the (division) you’re assigned to and having a chance to win it.” -Damien boys basketball coach Matt Dunn. Damien won the Division III-AA title last season and ascended to Division I-AA this year and faces the prospect of being selected for the Open Division.


By Erik Boal
When it comes to recognizing the best boys and girls basketball teams in the CIF-Southern Section among its 575 member schools, it’s rarely an open-and-shut case.
For the past five seasons, 12 division champions in each gender have been crowned, but even then there was separation based on enrollment, with schools boasting 1,250 or fewer students not getting the opportunity to challenge larger schools for section supremacy, if that was, in fact, their aspiration.
Even when state officials decided to incorporate an Open Division into last year’s state playoffs, only four Southern Section teams were included in both the boys and girls regional draws, with three of them in each gender coming from Division I-AA — considered the section’s most competitive playoff grouping — but it wasn’t a large enough sample size to end the debate.

A list of 20 boys and 20 girls teams projected to be considered for the Open DivisionBOYS
Mater Dei (Division I-AA)
Etiwanda (Division I-AA)
Loyola (Division I-AA)
Corona Centennial (Division I-AA)
Long Beach Poly (Division I-AA)
Rancho Cucamonga (Division I-AA)
Orange Lutheran (Division I-AA)
Chino Hills (Division I-AA)
Mayfair (Division I-AA)
Damien (Division I-AA)
El Toro (Division I-A)
St. John Bosco (Division II-AA)
Redondo Union (Division II-AA)
Compton (Division II-A)
Chaminade (Division III-A)
Bishop Montgomery (Division IV-AA)
Serra (Division IV-AA)
Cantwell Sacred Heart (Division IV-A)
Village Christian (Division IV-A)
Sierra Canyon (Division IV-A)

Mater Dei (Division I-AA)
Etiwanda (Division I-AA)
Lynwood (Division I-AA)
Long Beach Poly (Division I-AA)
Corona Santiago (Division I-AA)
Canyon Springs (Division I-AA)
Vista Murrieta (Division I-AA)
Troy (Division I-AA)
Alemany (Division I-AA)
Bishop Amat (Division I-AA)
Bonita (Division I-AA)
Long Beach Millikan (Division I-AA)
Mark Keppel (Division I-A)
Camarillo (Division I-A)
Chaminade (Division II-AA)
El Dorado (Division II-A)
Windward (Division IV-AA)
Serra (Division IV-AA)
JSerra (Division IV-AA)
Sierra Canyon (Division IV-A)

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