Redondo Union boys basketball team begins CIF playoff run in elite Open Division
Redondo Union’s boys basketball team won’t have a chance to defend its CIF Southern Section Division 2AA title this season, but the Sea Hawks are right where they want to be.
Coach Reggie Morris Jr. led Redondo to a 22-4 regular-season record while running the table in league competition to improve his Bay League winning streak to 57 that began in 2009 when he was a coach at Leuzinger.
Morris’ season-long goal was to have Redondo play the newly formed Open Division where 16 teams selected from the 11 regular season divisions will compete for the ultimate championship in the Southern Section and the Sea Hawks accomplished the feat.
Redondo’s No. 1 ranking in Division 2AA, strength of schedule and quality losses were among the criteria used to select Open Division teams.
Two of Redondo’s losses were to teams competing in the Open Division. The Sea Hawks lost to top-seeded Mater Dei, which is also the top ranked team in the state and No. 2 in the nation. Later in the season, Redondo suffered a 7-point loss to Centennial/Corona, the No. 4 seed in the Open Division.
“We strongly believe that this is the most impressive CIF sectional tournament field ever assembled and, as such, could produce the most exciting and competitive championship tournament in section history,” said CIF-SS Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod.
Besides a championship bracket, the Open Division will feature a consolation bracket which allows schools who lose in the first round to still qualify for the CIF State tournament by winning that bracket. Schools that lose in the first round and in the consolation bracket may still qualify for the state tournament if they meet the criteria set forth by the State CIF.
Redondo is seeded sixth and begins its quest for a CIF title on Friday with a home game against No. 11 Compton (22-5). All basketball games with the exception of the finals at scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.
If Redondo wins, the Sea Hawks would likely face No. 3 Loyola in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 28. Loyola is ranked second in the state and is led by Redondo Beach resident Thomas Welsh, a 7-foot center who signed with UCLA prior to the season (see story page 13).
Mira Costa (18-8) finished fourth in the Bay League but earned an at-large berth in Division 2AA. Coach Jeff Amaral’s Mustangs are seeded ninth and travel to Lynwood (16-11) in the opening round on Friday. With the exception of the Open Division, second round games are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Bay League runner-up Peninsula (13-12) is seeded tenth in Division 1A and will host Burbank (13-13) in the first round. Pioneer League champion Lawndale (18-8) is seeded fifth and hosts Ventura (11-14).
In Division 2A, North Torrance and Torrance will represent the Pioneer League. North (20-4) is seeded seventh and hosts Grand Terrace (13-11) while Torrance (13-13) travels to No. 12 Savanna (16-8).
Two teams will represent the Bay League in Division 3AA. Palos Verdes (12-12) travels to No. 14 Gahr (15-11) and Leuzinger goes on the road to face No. 2 Atascadero (28-2).
In Division 5AA, two SouthBay teams collide when No 5 Chadwick (17-6) hosts Vistamar (10-10).