BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Ridgeview's girls basketball team got exactly what it wanted when the CIF unveiled state playoff brackets Sunday afternoon.
Instead of being bumped up to the ultra-competitive — and brand-new for this year — Open Division, the Wolf Pack was given the top seed in the Division II Southern California bracket. That means Ridgeview could play as many as three state playoff games at home, starting at 7 Wednesday night against Redondo Union.
If Ridgeview (26-3), led by Stanford signee Erica McCall, wins all three of those home games, it would play in the Division II Southern California final March 16 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. The winner of that game plays for the state championship March 23 in Sacramento.
Many expected Ridgeview to the be the Central Section team picked for the Open Division. Instead, the surprise choice was Stockdale (24-5), which beat Ridgeview in December but lost the Division I Central Section championship game to Clovis West. The Golden Eagles stayed in the Division I state playoffs.
Stockdale, the final of six seeds in the Open Division SoCal bracket, will play at No. 3 Santa Ana-Mater Dei in the first round Friday. Many considered Mater Dei to be the best team in the nation until the Monarchs lost 73-72 to Etiwanda in the Southern Section Division I-AA semifinals.
Garces and Tehachapi also received state playoff bids and have road games Wednesday. Garces is the No. 15 seed in Division II and plays at No. 2 Lynwood, and Tehachapi is No. 12 in D-III and plays at No. 5 Reseda.
On the boys side, Independence (32-1) also avoided the Open Division and is the No. 3 seed in Division III. The Falcons, who used an 11-0 game-ending run to beat Tulare-Mission Oak 62-60 for the D-III section title, play No. 14 Compton (20-9) in Wednesday's first round.
If it wins, Independence will also host a second-round game Saturday against either No. 6 Simi Valley-Royal or No. 11 Sun Valley-Polytechnic.
Fresno-Bullard, the Division I Central Section champion, was picked for the Open Division and is the No. 4 seed.
Garces, which lost a double-overtime game to Hanford West for the D-II section title, was seeded 15th in Division II and plays at No. 2 Redondo Union in Wednesday's first round. No other Kern County boys team received a state playoff berth.