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SportStars NorCal Girls Basketball Rankings | Dec. 12 SportStars NorCal Girls Basketball Rankings | Dec. 12
Our First In-Season NorCal Girls Basketball Rankings Has Nine Teams Rising From Their Preseason Spot; PLUS: Some Analysis On New NCS Playoff Proposal •... SportStars NorCal Girls Basketball Rankings | Dec. 12

Our First In-Season NorCal Girls Basketball Rankings Has Nine Teams Rising From Their Preseason Spot; PLUS: Some Analysis On New NCS Playoff Proposal •

NorCal Girls Basketball Rankings

All records are through Monday, Dec. 11. Previous rank in parenthesis. Records obtained through
PICTURED ABOVE: No. 17 Salesian from last season’s North Coast Section Open Championship game. (Chace Bryson photo)

1. (1) Archbishop Mitty-San Jose   3-0

2. (2) Folsom   6-0

3. (3) St. Mary’s-Stockton   5-1

4. (7) Acalanes-Lafayette  5-1

5. (5) San Ramon Valley-Danville   5-1

6. (16) Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F.   6-0

7. (8) Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland   3-1

8. (9) Carondelet-Concord   6-0

9. (10) McClatchy-Sacramento   3-2

10. (4) Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa   5-2

11. (18) Piedmont  5-0

12. (12) Pinewood-Los Altos Hills   5-2

13. (NR) St. Francis-Mountain View   7-1

14. (NR) Los Gatos   4-0

15. (14) Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills   5-2

16. (NR) Riordan-S.F.  7-1

17. (15) Salesian-Richmond   2-0

18. (11) Oakland Tech   2-4

19. (17) Vanden-Fairfield   3-3

20. (13) Pleasant Valley-Chico   6-3

DROPPED OUT: No. 6 Antelope, No. 19 Moreau Catholic-Hayward, No. 20 Evergreen Valley-San Jose


Antelope 2-2. Colfax 6-0, Cornerstone Christian-Antioch 8-0, Foothill-Palo Cedro 8-1, Monta Vista-Cupertino 6-0


OK, Archbishop Mitty is number-three-in-the-nation good. Some other teams are pretty good too, but really, we won’t know much more until after the holiday tournaments sort everything out.

In the meantime, though, the new North Coast Section playoff proposal is worth a little consideration. The idea has been approved by the Sports Advisory Committee, and will now go to the Board of Governors for final approval — which isn’t necessarily going to happen, for reasons that will become clear.


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The starting point is that the present NCS system isn’t working. The basic idea sounded good: Teams that were consistently too good for their enrollment level would be moved up to a higher enrollment level, and teams that were consistently overmatched at their enrollment level would be moved down.

But the unintended consequence was that Division I slowly became crowded with powerhouses, leaving the “normal” D-1 teams unable to qualify for NorCals. At the same time, bigger schools that dropped down often found the competition so much weaker that they suddenly started winning lots of games and taking NorCal berths away from schools that belonged in that division.

So the Open was initiated, taking the top six teams out of their divisions and into the Open, thus, supposedly, making it easier for “normal” schools to advance to NorCals. But the details wound up punishing Div. II and Div. III schools, and created plenty of annual controversy – and appeals to not be moved up a division because of success that was due to a strong class of athletes who had now graduated.

So the new proposal calls for 11 Open teams that can come from any division, and all 11 go to NorCals. Divisions 1 through 5 now get two representatives each, which is where the objections will come. Previously Div. IV and V were guaranteed four NorCal slots, and Open teams could only come from the top three divisions, which were guaranteed just two.

The new plan balances all the divisions, theoretically, except for the fact that Open teams will disproportionately come from the top two divisions. That means the “normal” teams in those divisions will have an easier chance of qualifying for NorCals. The ”normal” teams in Divisions III, IV and V will not. And since all schools will vote, expect those from D-4 and D-5 to be firmly in opposition, with their smaller brethren in Div. VI (which retains four NorCal spots) most likely sympathizing.

Overall, however, this is a better, more equitable plan for more teams than the old way of doing things. Yes, it will be marginally harder for Div. IV and V schools to get to NorCals, but it will also be marginally easier for Div. I and II teams to move on – and much easier for Division III.

Ideally, of course, NCS (and all sections) would meet at the end of the season, and using MaxPreps rankings as a starting point, seed all the playoff teams from 1 to 104. That seeding would be regardless of enrollment, past achievement or anything except what happened on the court during the season. Since committees seed the all the teams anyway, they’re doing the work already. So why even bother with divisions? Let the best teams rise to the top, and let them battle it out.

To complete the reform, though, there should be only one “state” champion: The Open winner. The rest would be Division champs, and would get a banner to hang in the gym. But to claim that the Open champ and the D-5 champ are at the same level is pure fantasy, and CIF should make that clear by dubbing only one team as the best in California.

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