Here’s the first installment of two posts we’ll be doing Saturday in which we’ll make our recommendations for which boys teams should be seeded No. 1 in next week’s CIF regional playoffs.
Division I North: De La Salle (Concord)
Since the Spartans won that overtime game on MLK Day over Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, they’ve been better than even they usually are. De La Salle won its 10th North Coast Section title on Friday by defeating Deer Valley of Antioch 54-31. Since coach Frank Allocco’s team is the defending NorCal champ and is the region’s highest ranked team in the state (fifth overall and No. 44 in the FAB 50) other than Div. IV Salesian of Richmond, it’s an easy choice for the Spartans to be a top seed.
Division II North: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
Another simple pick is the Monarchs. They are the defending state champs in this division and won their third straight CCS D2 title on Friday night over Serra of San Mateo 54-49 even though All-American junior Aaron Gordon had a sub-par outing (17 points). Mitty also has a 20-point win over NCS D2 champion Newark Memorial.
Division III South: Alemany (Mission Hills)
Playing the likes of Los Angeles Loyola and Encino Crespi in the Mission League prepared the Warriors well for their run to the CIFSS Div. 3AAA title. They have been the No. 1 ranked Division III team in the state since January and have a talented, balanced starting lineup that looks as good as many Division III state championship teams that we’ve seen over the years.
Division IV South: Serra (Gardena)
Lutheran of La Verne won CIF state titles in D5 two years ago and D3 last season and still has a shot to win D4 this year. The Lancers, though, will have to do that after losing to the Cavaliers in the CIFSS Div. IVAA final on Thursday night. That bracket was easily the toughest among any section in the state for D4 and maybe the toughest period. Serra also won the CIF state title in D4 two years ago. The Cavs will be especially tough to beat in the regionals and even in a possible state D4 showdown against nationally ranked Salesian of Richmond if both 6-foot-7 Daddy Ugbede and 6-foot-6 Dakarai Tucker continue to shine.
Division V North: St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda)
Longtime NorCal coach Don Lippi is on the cusp of his 700th win and may get it after his team gets the top seed in the NorCal D5 bracket. The Pilots are the defending CIF state champs in the division and won the North Coast Section title 47-36 on Friday night over Branson of Ross.