CIF-SS Open Division pairings revealed

The CIF-SS Open Division pairings were released Sunday and Mater Dei earned the No. 1 seed. Check out the rest of the pairings.

St. John Bosco is slated as a No. 14 seed to take on No. 3 Loyola in the first round on Friday.

Kevin Carden / FOX Sports West

There was some trepidation on the part of St. John Bosco. If you were to talk to some of their players at the beginning of the month, there was concern that they would not be a part of the 16 teams to be selected to play in the CIF Southern Section Boys Open Division Tournament.

Some felt they had to knock off Mater Dei in Trinity League play to even have a shot.

Its head coach, Derrick Taylor, however, didn't feel that way. He felt his teams body of work was too strong to be left out, namely in the area of strength of schedule. He was correct and the Braves were one of the teams announced on Friday.

The pairings were released Sunday and St. John Bosco is slated as a No. 14 seed to take on No. 3 Loyola in the first round on Friday.

St. John Bosco as a No. 14 seed speaks to the depth of the Open Division which CIF Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod has said could be "the most exciting and competitive championship tournament in section history."

"The seed is a little high," Taylor said. "We had the losses to Etiwanda and Mayfair and that sets you back."

Like Taylor, there was no uncertainty on the part of the Redondo coaching staff either. If you talked to members of their staff at the beginning of the month, they would have acknowledged that. The seeding was the only question. Staff members felt they were a solid No. 4 until losing to Corona Centennial at the Nike Extravaganza.

Open Division is tough and anyone could get beat on any given night

Mater Dei senior forward Stanley Johnson

Sunday revealed the Seahawks as the No. 6 seed hosting No. 11 Compton. In a bracket immersed with interesting matchups, the Redondo vs. Compton matchup in the first round ranks near the top.

To no surprise, the No. 1 team in the nation, Mater Dei earned the No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Etiwanda, the aforementioned No. 3 Cubs and the aforementioned No. 4 Huskies of Corona Centennial.

For the undefeated Monarchs, it's business as usual.

"We've been the No. 1 seed four times now," Mater Dei senior forward Stanley Johnson said to FOXSportsWest.com via text message "I've only won one CIF title, so it really doesn't mean anything."

One of those CIF title shortcomings for the Monarchs came last season at the hands of Etiwanda in the Division I-AA finals.

As the top two seeds, they're favored to meet again in the Open Division finals, however the Eagles aren't taking anything for granted.

"Open Division is tough and anyone could get beat on any given night," said Etiwanda point guard Jordan McLaughlin to FOXSportsWest.com via text message. "Just have to bring it every night."

Every night, indeed. The journey to the March 8 final at Honda Center begins Friday, Feb. 21.