Southern Section releases basketball playoff pairings

Southern Section releases basketball playoff pairings
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One of the most talent-laden groups of girls’ basketball players learned their team seedings Sunday when the Southern Section released the eight-team bracket for the Open Division.

Let’s state the obvious: There will be few easy wins.

Corona Centennial (19-0) was awarded the No. 1 overall seed and will lead Pool A with No. 4 Orangewood Academy, No. 5 Windward and No. 8 West Torrance. Santa Ana Mater Dei (14-0) is No. 2 and leads Pool B with No. 3 Studio City Harvard-Westlake, No. 6 Lynwood and No. 7 Etiwanda.

Playing among the eight teams are three McDonald’s All-Americans — Stanford-bound Brooke Demetre of Mater Dei, Stanford-bound Kiki Iriafen of Harvard-Westlake and USC-bound Rayah Marshall of Lynwood. Corona Centennial has UCLA commit Londyn Jones. Windward has the best sophomore in the nation in Juju Watkins.

Defending champion Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (11-0) was given the No. 1 seed in the boys’ eight-team Open Division. Joining the Trailblazers in Pool A are No. 4 Etiwanda, No. 5 L.A. Ribet Academy and No. 8 Bellflower St. John Bosco. Corona Centennial (18-1) is seeded No. 2 and leads Pool B, which includes No. 3 Mater Dei, No. 6 La Verne Damien and No. 7 Harvard-Westlake.

Open Division begins play Friday in the round-robin format that culminates with the winner of Pool A facing the winner of Pool B for the championship.

In Division 1 boys, North Hills Heritage Christian is seeded No. 1 and West Hills Chaminade No. 2.

There are issues many boys’ and girls’ teams have experienced. Mater Dei’s girls’ team just finished 14 days of not playing any games because of COVID-19 protocols. The Monarchs’ boys’ team won its first 24 games, then lost center Wilhelm Breidenbach to a knee injury that will leave him unavailable for the playoffs. Windward is unbeaten when Watkins plays, and she has been cleared to participate in the playoffs after USA Basketball moved national team tryouts to later in June.

Corona Centennial’s boys’ team does not know if sophomore guard Kylan Boswell will be available for Friday’s playoff opener against Harvard-Westlake. He left Sunday for Colorado Springs to participate in week-long national team training session. The hope is he’ll be able to get on a plane back to Los Angeles on Thursday night, pass a coronavirus test and play. “We’ll see how it works out,” coach Josh Giles said.

Also, there are graduation ceremonies next week that could force teams to play Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

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High school basketball Southern Section playoff pairings

High school basketball: Southern Section playoff pairings

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