Orange Lutheran scored a victory this season over Mater Dei and is the No. 1 team in the Southern Section Boys Division 4AA playoffs. That much most people could figure.
But little—and we mean little—Padre Pio Academy in Garden Grove joins the Lancers as the only Orange County schools to be the top-seeded teams in the playoffs.
Padre Pio, which has 19 students, is the No. 1 team in the section's smallest division, 6A. Having a 6-foot-4 center, Kevin Crostic, probably means a lot to the six-man squad.
The Rebels (20-4) open with Pacific Lutheran (5-14) and will keep their fingers crossed they don't lose a coin flip and have to travel to Lee Vining (10-5), which is 65 miles north of Bishop, in the second round.
As for Lutheran (20-7), it finished second to Mater Dei (22-2)—the No. 2 team in Division 1AA—in the Trinity League and will open the 32-team tournament with a home game against Temescal Canyon (10-16). If everything plays out as expected, OLu will play second-seeded Windward (18-7) in the section finals March 2-5 at Anaheim Convention Center Arena.
There were four county teams that received the No. 2 seeded position: Mater Dei, Aliso Niguel, Mission Viejo and St. Margaret's.
Led by Gabe York and James Douglas, OLu could meet up with St. Francis (10-16) in the quarterfinals. Although St. Francis has a losing record, it was the sixth-place team from the Mission League, which is one of the best leagues in the section: Loyola (1A) and Harvard Westlake (3A) are No. 1 seeded teams, Crespi (3A) is seeded No. 2, and Alemany (4AA) is No. 3.
Further proof that it won't be a walk in the park for Lutheran is that its potential semifinal opponent, St. John Bosco (19-8), defeated the Lancers in a Trinity League game.
Division 1AA: Mater Dei opens with Rancho Cucamonga (13-14), and could face Chaparral (19-8) in the quarterfinals, which is significant only because Mater Dei star Xavier Johnson, a junior, transferred from Chaparral. Long Beach Poly (24-1) is the top-seeded team in the division. Los Alamitos (20-8) could get a crack at third-seeded Corona Centennial (23-3) in the second round.
Division 1A: Second-seeded Aliso Niguel (24-2) gets a first-round bye in 1A and will play the winner of Warren (16-11) and Arroyo Valley (15-11). There are a number of county teams in this wide open division—including third-seeded Capistrano Valley (20-6)—though top-seeded Loyola (20-5) is the clear favorite.Fountain Valley (15-11) from the competitive Sunset League could face fourth-seeded Downey (25-2) in the second round.
Division 2AA: Second-seeded Mission Viejo (25-1) has a true big man in Isaac Neilson (6-10). The only team to beat Aliso Niguel, Mission plays host to Burbank in the first round of 2AA and could face Katella (21-4) in the second. An terrific semifinal could develop between Mission Viejo and No. 3 Anaheim Canyon (24-3), which features outstanding point guard Chris Anderson. Ventura (24-2) is the top-seeded team in the division.
Divsion 2A: Most OC teams are cannon fodder in this division in which Peninsula (25-1) is the No. 1 team. The exception is third-seeded Foothill (19-7), which will have to get past second-seeded Elsinore (23-4) in which home court will be worth a few points, maybe more.
Division 3AA: Hopes of an Orange County championship in this division likely rest with Sonora (21-4), which could faces second-seeded Palm Springs (22-1) in the quarterfinal, or Corona del Mar (17-9), which lost twice in the last week and could have its hands full in its opener against Santa Margarita (13-13). Bottom line is that nobody's likely to beat top-seeded Price (19-6).
Division 3A: Another division dominated by other regions, sixth-seeded Garden Grove Pacifica (20-6)—with at road game at Jurupa Valley (14-11) to open—is positioned to make a run through third-seeded Inglewood (20-5).
Division 5AA: St. Margaret's (17-6) in Division 5AA, is seeded behind Flintridge Prep (21-2). The Tartans open against Viewpoint (12-14). Flintridge Prep (21-2) is the top-seeded team in the division.