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Basketball: Southern Section advisory committee supports new Open Division

October 02, 2013|By Eric Sondheimer

Big changes could be coming to the Southern Section boys' and girls' basketball playoffs this spring.

A basketball advisory committee gave overwhelming support on Wednesday to creating an Open Division for the upcoming playoffs. Now it will be up to Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod to decide whether to accept the reommendation. The strong support means it's likely to be accepted.

Currently, there are 12 division championships. That would not change. The Open Division would replace 3AAA for boys and girls. Between 12 and 16 teams would be chosen at the end of the regular season by a committee to play in the Open Division.

The incentive for the teams selected for the Open Division is they would receive a guaranteed berth to the state playoffs regardless whether they lose in the first round or make it to the final of the Open Division.

Any school that is ranked in the top 10 of their division in a final poll will be eligible to be selected for the Open Division. Six teams will be selected from Divisions 1, 2 and 3, six teams will come from Divisions 4, 5 and 6 and as many as four will be selected as at-large teams from any division.

The Open Division is designed to bring together “the best of the best,” regardless of enrollment. By removing teams from certain divisions at the end of the regular season based on ability and performance, it will create opportunities for other schools to win division championships and create a division for "elite teams."

“I like it,” Corona Centennial boys' Coach Josh Giles said. “Every once in a while, we’re good enough to compete [with the best]. When we’re good enough, I want to play them. At the end of the day, it’s the most fair for most of the schools.”

Eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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