Senior Khalil Bedart-Ghani (1), driving to the basket against Chaminade's… (Bret Hartman / Bret Hartman/For…)
Sixteen teams were selected Friday to be part of the new Southern Section Open Division boys' basketball playoffs, and let's just say there were some surprises.
For one, powerhouse Long Beach Poly (19-7), the Moore League champion, did not get chosen. Instead, second-place Compton (22-5) was put in, along with two teams from the Camino Real League — Los Angeles Cathedral (22-3) and Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart (20-6).
Also not chosen was Lake Forest El Toro (24-2), considered the second-best team in Orange County behind unbeaten Santa Ana Mater Dei. Much emphasis appears to be have been given to strength of schedule and quality victories.
The teams: Torrance Bishop Montgomery, Cantwell-Sacred Heart, Cathedral, Corona Centennial, West Hills Chaminade, Chino Hills, Compton, Etiwanda, Riverside North, Loyola, Mater Dei, Lakewood Mayfair, Redondo, Gardena Serra, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon and Bellflower St. John Bosco.
Nine of the 16 teams are private schools.
As for Long Beach Poly not being chosen, Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said, "They did not make the criteria."
The criteria for selection includes: strength of schedule; overall record; Freeman/MaxPreps rankings; strength at the end of the season; head to head vs. Open Division entries; overall record vs. Open Division entries; victory versus quality opponents; quality loss; unexpected loss.
"It's going to be the best high school tournament the state has ever seen," Loyola Coach Jamal Adams said.
Five of the teams were pulled from 1AA. Other divisions that lost top teams were 2AA, 3A, 4AA and 4A. The seedings and bracket will be announced on Sunday. First-round games are Feb. 21.
First-round winners will be given an automatic berth to the state tournament. First-round losers will continue playing in a consolation bracket, with the eventual champion also getting an automatic berth to the state tournament. And teams that lose twice still are eligible to be chosen for the state tournament.
Twelve teams were selected for the Open Division girls' bracket — Mission Hills Alemany, Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, Chaminade, Etiwanda, Lynwood, Alhambra Mark Keppel, Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly, Serra, Sierra Canyon, Fullerton Troy and Windward.
First-round girls' games are Feb. 22.