The CIF Central Coast Section high school basketball playoffs are getting used to an entirely new format for basketball. While the North Coast Section stays the same, the CCS has added an open division which conforms to what the CIF is doing. If you're confused by the alphabet soup, you’re not alone. It's really tough to figure out which teams will play where.
For the CCS, the purpose of adding the open division was to keep the West Catholic League teams from dominating every playoff division. While that didn't really work this year, it's a good thought. For the boys, the top three divisions all have one WCL team in the finals. Still, the goal of giving new teams a chance at a section title is a good one. You also have some exciting games from interesting match-ups.
For example, I shot a game last week in the CCS Division 1 bracket with No. 6-seeded Fremont taking on unseeded Sequoia. On paper, Fremont with a 17-7 record should have run all over Sequoia with a 9-18 record coming into that game.
The Firebirds from Fremont started it out that way, taking an 11- point lead to the half. But Sequoia has been playing well late in the season and had the confidence to come back in the second half. By the end of the third quarter, Sequoia had caught up making it a back and forth game into the fourth quarter.
The game was tied at 36 with Fremont holding the ball with a chance to win in regulation. But Sequoia stole the ball with six seconds left. Sequoia’s Jared Woo raced down court and despite some defensive pressure was able to lay it in as time ran out.
The Sequoia bench emptied with a dog pile on the court, capped off with one of the coaches attempting to add to the pile. It was a moment of pure joy for the Sequoia team. With the old playoff system, Sequoia would not have qualified and this moment would not have happened. You could argue Sequoia did not belong in the playoffs with a losing record, but the team won two playoff games and lost by just six in their next game to eventual Division 1 finalist Santa Teresa.
If you were at the game and saw the raw happiness of the Sequoia squad, you would say this new playoff system is pretty cool.