No surprise in final BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – The six state championship games will be played on Friday and Saturday in Sacramento.

But the results of those games aren’t going to impact the Southern California BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25 ranking for the 2016-17 season, which is why you’re about to take a look on the final Top BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25 that is made up of teams from the CIF Southern, Los Angeles and San Diego sections.

And, based on what happened in both sectional and regional play, the choice for the top spot couldn’t be any easier.

During the regular season Coach Doug Mitchell’s Torrance Bishop Montgomery squad didn’t face one of the other 15 teams selected to the CIF Southern Section’s 16-team Open Division.

But the Knights handled every post-season challenge tossed their way – and then some.

En route to the Southern Section title, they knocked off No. 18 (in the final Top 25 rankings) Oak Park, No. 10 (and 5-seed) Santa Margarita, No. 4 (and 1-seed) Sierra Canyon and No. 2 (and 3-seed) Mater Dei.

They were just as methodical and impressive while knocking No. 12 Torrey Pines (the San Diego Open runner-up), No. 3 (and 4-seed) Chino Hills and Mater Dei – again – for the right to represent the South in the State Open championship game.

The Southern Section’s “Big Four” of Mater Dei, Chino Hills and Sierra Canyon filled out the Top Four in the final Top 25, with L.A. City Open champion Birmingham at No. 5.

The Final Southern California Top 25:

  1. Torrance Bishop Montgomery/Southern Section Open (1) 30-2

Next up: Saturday, vs. Roseville Woodcreek, State Open final, Sacramento, 8 p.m.

Frank Says: The Knights have had to cope with elite bigs in Marvin Bagley III (Sierra Canyon), Onyeka Okongwu (Chino Hills) and Bol Bol (Mater Dei/twice) en route to Southern Section and regional titles. They’ll face another one Saturday night in 6-foot-9 junior Jordan Brown.

  1. Santa Ana Mater Dei/SS Open (2) 33-3

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: If the Monarchs’ Class of 2018 stays intact, Coach Gary McKnight will have the preseason No. 1 team in the state next season.

  1. Chino Hills/SS Open (3) 30-3

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: If all of the underclassmen from this season are in Chino Hills uniforms next November, the Huskies will make it 5 for 5 in SS Open Division appearances and be one of the five-best teams in California.

  1. Chatsworth Sierra Canyon/SS Open (4) 27-3

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Assuming Marvin Bagley III is still in the program as a senior, the Trail Blazers will be part of the fifth Southern Section Open playoff bracket – regardless of who is on the court with him.

  1. Lake Balboa Birmingham/A. City Open (5) 27-4

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Even with some significant personnel losses, the Patriots will likely have the best player in the L.A. City ranks in Devonaire Doutrive.

  1. Eastvale Roosevelt/SS Open (7) 25-8

Next up: Friday, vs. Union City Logan, State D-I final, Sacramento, 6 p.m.

Frank Says: The Mustangs have collected 20 percent of their wins this season against one team (hint: it resides in Corona).

  1. La Verne Damien/SS Open (6) 31-5

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: The Spartans were a combined 3-2 (two wins over Roosevelt, one against Centennial with losses to Centennial and Mater Dei) against the teams that played in the Pyramid Saturday.

  1. San Diego St. Augustine/San Diego Open (8) 28-5

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Here is another strong candidate to be one of California’s five best teams next season.

  1. Corona Centennial/SS Open (9) 27-10

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Even with the loss of three seniors (including UCLA-bound Jalen Hill) in the starting lineup, there is quite the strong foundation of underclass talent to make a strong run in the Southern Section Open Division next season.

  1. RSM Santa Margarita/SS Open (10) 21-9

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: There will be enough big, experienced and gifted players on hand for the Eagles to challenge Mater Dei for a Trinity League crown and Southern Section championship.

  1. Woodland Hills Taft/L.A. City Open (11) 27-11

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Should all of the underclass pieces stay in place, the Toreadors will be neck and neck with Fairfax as the best team in the L.A. City ranks in 2017-18.

  1. San Diego Torrey Pines/SD Open (12) 28-5

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: No matter how many seniors he loses, there is rarely much slippage – season-to-season – in this programmed directed by John Olive.

  1. Westchester/L.A. City Open (13) 24-10

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: The Comets should have a strong group of guards next season.

  1. Fairfax/L.A. City Open (14) 26-6

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Taft or Fairfax . . . let’s see who is enrolled come September before we project the best team in the L.A. City Section.

  1. Long Beach Poly/SS Open (15) 22-9

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: The Jackrabbits will have one of the state’s best backcourts next season.

  1. Vista/SD Open (16)

Next up: 2017-18 season
Frank Says:
Lock this program into the No. 2 slot (behind St. Augustine) in the preseason San Diego rankings next fall.

  1. Harbor City Narbonne/L.A. City Open (17) 25-9

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: As usual, these guys will “sneak up” on folks who don’t realize how strong Anthony Hilliard’s program is.

  1. Oak Park/SS Open (18) 23-9

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Pre-season Top 10 in SoCal next November – pencil it in right now.

  1. El Cajon Foothills Christian/SD Open (19) 24-7

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Barring the unforeseen transfer, this program’s streak of consecutive seasons with McDonald’s All-Americans seems destined to end at two.

  1. Redondo Beach Redondo Union/SS Open (20) 26-7

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: This was program that used a lot of underclassmen who gained valuable experience that will serve them well next season.

  1. Anaheim Esperanza/SS Open (21) 29-3

Next up: Saturday, vs. Hayward Moreau Catholic, D-II final, Sacramento, 4 p.m.
Frank Says:
Stanford-bound Kezie Okpala is helping this program have a best-ever season.

  1. Santa Monica Crossroads/SS Open (22) 20-11

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: First and foremost, whoever is coaching this program will have to be sure Shareef O’Neal is still wearing the school’s uniform next season.

  1. Pasadena/SS 1A (“Next 10”) 26-8

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: The Bulldogs are on track to be a part of the SS’s Open Division in 2018.

  1. Studio City Harvard-Westlake/SS 1A (23) 23-12

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Cassius Stanley, Johnny Juzang, Mason Hooks .  . . there are a whole lot of gifted underclassmen in this program.

  1. SJC JSerra/SS Open (24) 18-12

Next up: 2017-18 season

Frank Says: Six-ten Joel Mensah will be quite the imposing figure in the middle for this

program next season.

Next 10 (alpha listing): Alemany 24-6; Colony 30-6; Etiwanda 21-12; Heritage Christian 20-10; La Canada 25-5; Los Alamitos 22-7; Maranatha 18-11; Rancho Verde 26-4; Santa Monica 22-8; and Villa Park 27-6.

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Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

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