The Southern Section has announced the 16 teams selected to participate in the Open Division of its high school basketball playoffs, and fans shouldn't expect many first-round routs.
That's what distinguishes the Open Division from all others. The teams are all so closely matched that the No. 1 seed could get knocked off by No. 16, as almost happened last season when Santa Ana Mater Dei barely held off Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart in a boys' opener.
The Open Division consists of the best boys' and girls' teams plucked out of the 11 divisions of the Southern Section.
Torrance Bishop Montgomery received the No. 1 seed in the boys' division. Mater Dei is No. 2, followed by Sierra Canyon and Corona Centennial. In the girls' division, Mater Dei is No. 1, followed by Long Beach Poly, West Hills Chaminade and Mission Hills Alemany.
Thursday's first-round boys' games: No. 16 Riverside JW North at No. 1 Bishop Montgomery; No. 9 Cathedral at No. 8 Redondo; No. 12 Orange Lutheran at No. 5 La Verne Damien; No. 13 Alemany at No. 4 Corona Centennial; No. 14 Bellflower St. John Bosco at No. 3 Chatsworth Sierra Canyon; No. 11 Cantwell-Sacred Heart at No. 6 Etiwanda; No. 10 Chino Hills at No. 7 Long Beach Poly; No. 15 Price at No. 2 Mater Dei.
Wednesday's first-round girls' games: No. 16 Riverside JW North at No. 1 Mater Dei; No. 9 Brea Olinda at No. 8 Corona Centennial; No. 12 Gardena Serra at No. 5 Sierra Canyon; No. 13 Long Beach St. Anthony at No. 4 Alemany; No. 14 Westlake Village Oaks Christian at No. 3 Chaminade; No. 11 Moreno Valley Canyon Springs at No. 6 Ventura; No. 10 Alhambra Keppel at No. 7 Vista Murrieta; No. 15 Cajon at No. 2 Long Beach Poly.
Several schools are breathing a sigh of relief in that they were not selected: The boys' teams from Altadena Renaissance Academy, Pasadena Maranatha, La Mirada and La Habra Sonora were all considered contenders for spots in the boys' Open Division, but they get to stay in their appointed divisions and compete for section titles there.
"I'm glad CIF did the right thing," Maranatha Coach Tim Tucker said. "If Trevor Stanback was with us, by all means put us in the Open Division. Those 16 teams, we didn't beat one of them."
Stanback, a 6-foot-10 junior, was expected to team with Tyler Dorsey this season to give Maranatha a potent 1-2 punch. But Stanback hasn't played a game because of an undisclosed medical condition.
Maranatha (15-8) will compete in the 4A division.