Bonita wondering how it was the only CIF-SS basketball finalist not to make the state playoffs

wheatleyBy Fred J. Robledo
Bonita High School’s girls basketball team is wondering how it’s the only CIF-Southern Section finalist in all the boys and girls divisions not to get invited to the CIF-State basketball playoffs that start on Wednesday.
You can blame the newly formed CIF-SS Open Division.
The state selection committee, which gets recommendations from the Southern Section for the state selection process, made sure all 12 girls basketball teams that were invited to the Open Division made the state playoffs, regardless of how they fared in the Open Division playoffs.
How did that affect Bonita?
Bonita, because of enrollment, was in the Division I state playoff pool of which 16 teams were selected for the Southern California Regionals, of which eight are automatic qualifiers from the Southern Section.
Of the eight girls teams selected to the Division I state playoffs from the Southern Section — six came from the Open Division, including Troy, Lynwood, Alemany, Sierra Canyon, Canyon Springs and Keppel. When CIF selected the Open Division it made it clear that being selected wouldn’t automatically lead to a state playoff berth, but that’s what apparently happened.

Sierra Canyon and Canyon Springs were the only two to reach the Open Division quarterfinals. Troy, Lynwood and Alemany all lost first-round games and Keppel went 0-2.

With those six selected given Division I state playoffs berths, that left two spots from the Southern Section to fill. Long Beach Millikan, which beat Bonita 56-53 for the Division 1AA title on Saturday, took the seventh spot, leaving one spot left. That went went to Camarillo (27-4) instead of Bonita. Camarillo lost to Ventura, 59-51, in the Division 1A final.

Did Bonita, which finished 29-3, get robbed? In any other year making the divisional finals would have earned a playoff berth.

“It’s frustrating,” Bonita coach Darren Baumunk said. “To be the only finalist that doesn’t get it, that’s tough, especially after the season we had. I don’t know when we’ll ever go 29-3 again.”

You can look at it two ways. Bonita was on the bubble to make the Open Division most of the season. When the CIF-SS pairings were announced a few weeks back, six teams from Division 1AA made the Open Division. That watered-down Div. 1AA, which allowed Bonita to get the No. 1 seed and make a run to the final.

If Bonita had been selected to the Open Division like Keppel, it would have been invited to the state playoffs, but the Bearcats might have gone 0-2 in the Open Division like Keppel instead of making a championship appearance in Div. 1AA

But this is the mess the Open Division has created. State playoffs use to be about earning your berth through sectional playoffs. But it appears now a selection committee can decide berths before any playoff games are played simply by choosing teams to compete in a manufactured division it creates — in this case the Open Division.

“Any way you look at it, it’s frustrating,” Baumunk said. “How does Camarillo get in over us? We play in a higher division and we were both finalists. It’s hard to understand.”

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  • the CIF SS is run basically by the members(schools) it’s my belief that the Open Division was created to lump all or most of the private school superpowers into 1 bracket opening up the lower divisions to more public school success….you correctly stated that D1AA was watered down as a result and Bonita probably would not have made it to the semis,let alone the finals…..they had a great season, no need to cry foul here.

  • Didn’t Sierra Canyon drop down to the DIV State Playoffs?

    • well look who’s back in town, Hey Joe!

  • Frank Castro


    Let’s be clear on this first. This is my opinion and only my opinion, and
    not one of any one from Bonita. To start off with, I am a 73 BoHi Alum so I
    have seen how CIF has changed some what through the years and have followed the
    various Sports programs at my Alma Mater.

    Fred, Are your killing me? Bonita is in Division 1AA because
    of the BS Point System that CIF is using that PUNISHES good programs that are
    consistent and not due to the size of Bonita’s enrollment. READ the CIF
    Program. Milliken has a 4200 enrollment,
    while Bonita has one of about 1950 – 1975. Bonita played school after school in
    the playoffs that had 50 – 100 % larger enrollment than Bonita currently has.

    I doubt that there was a another playoff school in D1AA that
    had less that a 2000 a enrollment, but I am not computer savvy enough to get
    the info in such a short time frame before responding to you. For Example, BoHi
    has made 5 consecutive trips to the Semi’s and 2 Final appearances in 4 Years
    which has moved them to D1AA.

    Over the years and most recently, it has been inconsistent
    ruling by CIF that has pissed off coaches, player, parents and fans alike. The
    Open Division may have worked out for Windward, who just man handled everyone
    this year. But how does the point system
    work out for schools like Bonita who have not won a CIF Title, but yet still
    get moved up. Last year CIF left Lynwood
    the defending 2012 CIF Champion in the Division who later went on to win the
    2013 CIF and State Titles in the same division, but yet Bonita move up after
    going to the Semi’s in 2012 and lost a hard fought Battle game in the 2013 Semi
    Finals with Lynwood. Lynwood
    was indeed worthy of their Championship. What was Bonita’s reward, but to get
    moved up once again all the way up to Division 1AA and to be on the watch list
    all year. Was Division 1AA what it should be and the end? NO not without all of
    the school. But even the D1AA schools
    based on enrollment can not match up with those school that get all of the
    transfer kids coming in, some even from out of state! I guess I have it wrong
    but I was under the impression that Bonita would be going to D2 for the State
    Playoffs, which is why I believe they did not contest the move up to D1AA. Are you telling me that Bonita with what it
    did this year was not even worthy of the 16 and final seed in D2? ARE YOU KIDDING ME CIF? Can you really tell
    me you that CIF got it Right?

    Well, I am not an Attorney, but for school in the same Playoff
    Division situation as Bonita is in, I would recommend the following.

    if you have not won a CIF Division Title, follow the CIF Process or Rules
    and get your school back into the Correct Division base on your

    If CIF
    will not move you into the correct Division, band together with other
    Schools and file suite (Hey, maybe even a class action) and hire the same
    Attorneys that Damien and St. Lucy’s did. Everyone likes a winner!

    the next 10 years, it is time San Gabriel
    and Pomona Valley Principals and School Districts
    to consider withdrawing from CIF SS and forming their own CIF
    Section. One that will be more
    responsive to what is happening here in the Valley. It may or may not be
    better but the status quo is no longer acceptable. We need a CIF that will
    stand up for our Section.

    Frank “C” in LV,
    Bonita High Alum, Class of 73, “Go Bearcats

    • FredJ

      Frank, I don’t disagree with you. Why Bonita was moved to 1AA in the first place was ridiculous. It wasn’t based on past performance, it was based on expectations from those in the selection process knowing they had a super player in Wheatley and lets be honest, Bonita had an impact transfer, Kandayce Smith. That had to somehow play a role.

      • Frank Castro

        Hey Fred thanks for the reply I really appreciated it and I know you are not killing. Most of all I want to Thank You for starting the conversation and not just letting it get swept under the Mat. Bonita battle Bigger Teams all year long and came out on top, but everyone has their Day. Only because they have Hearts of Champions did they take on the Challenge. Props to the Milliken Girl BB Team, for battling to the end as well like Champions. If I remember correctly in Maxs Preps Scores, even Milliken was not close when they played LB Poly. So clearly there is a large divide between the Top Elite 6 – 8 schools and even those in D1AA. I believe that the Open Semis, the teams were all the same except for Windward which I have yet to see. How fare is it for a School like Workman to have a season of a generation like they did last season, And then only to face off with a team like Windward in D4.
        I may be wrong by I believe in 2013 it was 8 or 8 and In 2014 6 of 8 in the quarter final in D4. How can those D4 Public schools hope compete without recruiting?
        I just do not know if there is a way to level the playing field and it is only getting worse. CIF could of at least offered Coach Baumunk a game in the Open against a local like Etiwanda. A Spanish saying goes, “Better to Die Fighting like a Bull then a Steer to the Slater.” I believe Bonita may not have like that option but they would have accepted the Challenge. Sad to say, I am hearing that may have been our own CIF SS that did not recommend Bonita for The CIF State Playoffs. I thought all those little league back room Deals didn’t happen in High School Sports, I guess I sure learned a lesson even at my age.
        Fred Thanks again and if you and Aram are ever in La Verne,
        stop by Chases Restaurant on 3rd and D Street and I will buy the 1st Round. Looking forward to your coverage of State Playoff.
        Frank Castro, Bo Hi Alum 1973, Go Bearcats.