Simple logic says Bakersfield High’s boys should land the Central Section’s top Division I seed Friday because the Drillers won the Southwest Yosemite League with a 10-0 record and defeated Central, which won the section’s best league, the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
Simple logic also says in no way should a league champion be seeded below a team in its own league. And, while remote, it’s actually a possibility with Central being seeded below Clovis West.
The problem: “simple logic” is nowhere to be found in the section bylaws.
This often results in debate and, guaranteed, that will apply to the top tier of the D-I boys.
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And for those unhappy with the D-I boys placements or any other among five boys and girls divisions, for that matter, Friday in the Porterville office of section Commissioner Jim Crichlow, be careful where you direct your wrath.
Specifically, don’t aim it at Crichlow’s five-member seeding committee, which largely doesn’t determine the seedings, it merely announces them.
That’s the biggest misconception of the entire process.
“We follow the rules,” Associate Commissioner Jeff Cardoza says.
We follow the rules.
Central Section associate commissioner Jeff Cardoza on a section basketball seeding process blueprinted by an advisory committee
“We don’t make them,” Crichlow adds.
The rules are established by the section’s Basketball Advisory Committee and approved by the Board of Managers.
And here they are:
▪ Each division will be seeded in quads. Meaning, a 12-team division would be seeded in three blocks of four. They basically follow coaches rankings, which go 10 deep. Those divisions with more than 10 will have the extra teams placed by the committee, with travel being the primary consideration.
▪ Once the first block of four is established with an overview of coaches rankings, the specific seeding of the four is decided on three criterion: coaches rankings, overall winning percentage and strength of schedule.
▪ A team automatically earns the top seed if it receives 70 percent of the coaches’ first-place votes.
▪ If that doesn’t apply, a team earns a higher seed when ranked against another by qualifying higher in both the overall winning percentage and strength of schedule categories.
▪ If that still doesn’t determine a seed, then a prioritized tie-breaker is used: place in common league, head-to-head results, record versus common opponents, MaxPreps division rankings and overall winning percentage. If the first criteria, place in common league, is met, the process goes no further.
Back to D-I boys.
It’s a three-horse race for the top seed with Bakersfield (19-10), Central (17-6) and Clovis West (25-3). Central and Clovis West split while going 9-1 and 8-2 in the TRAC.
It’s unlikely any of the three will earn automatic top billing under the 70 percent standard. It will be a 13-team division, so at least 10 first-place votes would be required to land the automatic top seed.
Clovis West (.892) has the better winning percentage over Central (.739) and Bakersfield (.655). But Central (17.9, according to MaxPreps through Thursday) has the better strength of schedule over Bakersfield (13.9) and Clovis West (12.7).
The key is which two of the three will be ranked against each other, as determined by the coaches’ rankings.
If Central and Bakersfield: Central wins by virtue of having the better overall winning percentage and strength of schedule. And no matter that the Grizzlies were beaten, 79-77, by the Drillers on Dec. 16 at Clovis West.
If Central and Clovis West: Central wins with the first tie-breaker – place in common league.
If Clovis West and Bakersfield: Clovis West wins with the second tiebreaker – head-to-head results. The Golden Eagles, at home, beat the Drillers 98-91 in overtime on Dec. 15.
To repeat: Bakersfield deserves it, but good money says Central.
Grizzlies close strong – Central, the defending D-I champion, finished the regular season Wednesday at home by defeating Clovis East 73-60 behind 26 points from Cam’Ron Wilson; 15 points, eight assists and five steals from Cash Williams; and 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks from Kobe Foster.
The was the Grizzlies’ 10th league title – sixth outright – in a program launched in 1925, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
“I feel we’ve earned the right for the No. 1 seed because winning the league outright just speaks for itself,” said Central coach Greg Streets, who took over the program last year. “We can get better; I can’t settle, I never settle. Defensively, I think we could play a whole lot better because that’s where it starts for us.”
Wilson and Williams, as sophomores, played integral roles for the Grizzlies last year. And the left-handed Williams took over at point guard this season when Utah-signed defensive back Jaylon Johnson didn’t return for basketball while concentrating on football.
“Cash is growing up right in front of my eyes,” Street said. “He’s a three-year varsity player and a team leader who has grown into the (point guard) role. Last year, he could defer a little to Jaylon, but Jaylon’s not here and those are big shoes to fill. Cash is doing an excellent job; I just couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Clovis West girls surging again – Clovis West’s girls are 12 for 12 in TRAC titles under coach Craig Campbell after going 10-0 in the conference for the fifth-straight year. They are 117-3 in the TRAC in his career.
The Eagles, seeking a fifth-consecutive section title and eighth overall under Campbell, are 27-2 and ranked second in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and second and fifth nationally in USA Today’s Computer and Expert rankings and seventh nationally by MaxPreps.
Career scoring for Clovis West’s four-year varsity players, according to Barnett: Megan Anderson 1,166, Sarah Bates 1,184, Bre’yanna Sanders 1,163 and Danae Marquez 927.
History for McLane girls – McLane won the first North Yosemite League girls basketball championship in school history, according to Barnett, when the Highlanders (17-12, 8-2) finished in a first-place tie with Fresno.
Emily Mendoza, with 1,398 points in four seasons, is the career-leading scorer for McLane, which will play D-III in the postseason.
Sanger clips Edison in OT – Sanger denied Edison a co-title in County/Metro Athletic Conference boys basketball when Arron Mosby closed a 17-point night with a rebound basket with 10.9 seconds remaining in overtime on the Apaches’ court. The Tigers then missed a shot at the buzzer.
Memorial won the league championship with a 68-59 win over Bullard. The Panthers finished 8-2 in the league with Sanger and Edison at 7-3.