It’ll be a busy week in the valley with 15 total boys and girls teams making the cut into the CIF Southern Section basketball playoffs after CIF released the brackets on Sunday afternoon. The Desert Valley League received four berths for both boys and girls teams, while two local De Anza League boys and girls teams qualified for the postseason, with three total Victory League squads joining the rest.
The most firepower on the boys side lands in Division 3AA where both league champions, Rancho Mirage and La Quinta, landed in the bottom half of the bracket. The Rattlers picked up the third seed and host Grand Terrance, while La Quinta will host Burbank, both on Wednesday.
Rattler coach Rob Hanmer came into Sunday afternoon uncertain of whether his team would end up No. 3 or No. 2, which would have given Rancho Mirage a bye in the first round, but Hanmer said he’s happy with how things turned out.
“Three is my lucky number, so we’ll take it,” he said. “We’ve had it both ways (with a bye or not). The benefit of getting it is having one less home game, and down the road that might be helpful, but our bracket is really good with 10 league champs. If you’re starting Friday night, you’re up against a really good team who’s already feeling really good about themselves.”
The Rattlers made it all the way to the semifinals last season without a loss the whole season before falling to Chaminade. This season’s bracket may be tougher, Hanmer said, but last season’s journey that came up empty could give the team an edge in hopes of taking home hardware this season.
“We’re going to have to play really, really well, and last year’s playoff team really did,” he said. “This year, we toughened up our schedule and challenged ourselves a little bit more. Our young kids are continuing to improve, and Charles (Neal) is excited about doing something special.”
In Division 2A, Palm Springs will host either Valley Christian or Cerritos on Wednesday after the teams’ wildcard game, while Palm Desert will travel to Sunny Hills, both on Wednesday. Both the Aztecs and Indians made it all the way to the quarterfinals, along with Rancho Mirage, a year ago.
Indio (4AA) and Desert Hot Springs (4A) will hit the road on Wednesday for their first round games at Barstow and Heritage, respectively. Desert Christian Academy was the valley team, boys or girls, to receive a bye in the first round. They will host the winner of Riverside County Education Academy at Lycee International on Friday in the Division 5A bracket.
On the girls side, Shadow Hills, the DVL winners who clinched the school’s first team DVL title, will enjoy a home game against Hemet on Thursday in Division 3A. Palm Desert, who finished tied for second in the DVL with Palm Springs, was the only other girls squad to land a home first round game, as they’ll host Jurupa Valley, while the Indians travel to Ayala in the Division 2A bracket, both on Thursday.
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Elsewhere, Rancho Mirage clinched the team’s first postseason appearance in Division 4A, where they’ll host Sage Hill, while Cathedral City will travel to Notre Dame (Riverside) in Division 4AA, both on Thursday.
Palm Valley will kick the entire playoff slate off for the valley as they play in the wildcard round of Division 6 at Calvary Baptist on Tuesday. Desert Christian Academy (5A) and Coachella Valley (5AA) both play in 16-team brackets that will begin on Saturday, as the Arabs travel to Mesa Grande Academy, while the Conquerors play at San Jacinto Valley Academy.
CIF playoff schedule
Girls’ water polo
D5: Culver City at Xavier Prep (at Palm Desert Aquatic Center), 5 p.m.
D7: Palm Springs at San Bernardino, 5 p.m.
D6: Palm Valley at Calvary Baptist, 7 p.m.
Girls’ water polo
D2: Palm Desert at Riverside Poly, 5 p.m.
D4: Peninsula/Notre Dame at La Quinta, 5 p.m.
D2A: Valley Christian/Cerritos at Palm Springs, Palm Desert at Sunny Hills (both at 7 p.m.)
D3AA: Burbank at La Quinta, Grand Terrace at Rancho Mirage (both at 7 p.m.)
D4AA: Indio at Barstow, 7 p.m.
D4A: Desert Hot Springs at Heritage, 7 p.m.
D2A: Palm Springs at Ayala, 7 p.m.
D3A: Hemet at Shadow Hills, 7 p.m.
D4AA: Jurupa Valley at Palm Desert, Cathedral City at Notre Dame (Riverside) (both at 7 p.m.)
D4A: Rancho Mirage at Sage Hill, 7 p.m.
D5A: Riverside County Education Academy/Lycee International at Desert Christian Academy, 7 p.m.
D5AA: Coachella Valley at Mesa Grande, 7 p.m.
D5A: Desert Christian Academy at San Jacinto Valley Academy, 7 p.m.