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Boys' basketball: City Section runner-up won't feel too bad

February 25, 2013 |  7:05 am

Saturday's City Section Division I championship game between Westchester and Woodland Hills El Camino Real at Cal State Dominguez Hills should be evenly matched. Both teams have looked forward to the anticipated game for weeks.

While both schools want to win the City title, the loser won't be feeling too down afterward. That's because the state tournament begins next week, and with the addition of the new Open Division, the City runner-up certainly has a shot at doing some damage in Division I.

The champion is almost certain to be selected for the Open Division, though if Westchester wins, it will have to petition to play in the Open Division. The runner-up will likely go into Division I, which will be weakened because the Southern Section 1AA champion will be in the Open Division and possibly the runner-up, too.

As for which teams make the Open Division from the Southern Section, I'd say Mater Dei and the Long Beach Poly-Etiwanda winner, along with the winner of La Verne Lutheran-Gardena Serra. Pacific Hills also could be selected if it beats Brentwood in the 4A final based on the criteria of winning two straight section titles. The Southern Section can send a maximum of four teams to the Southern California Open Division regional.

The Southern Section will have to decide which of its quarterfinalist losers in 1AA and 1A will get at-large berths to Division I. Loyola and Mission Viejo have good shots of qualifying based on their body of work.

But there could be some real drama figuring out the state pairings that will be released on Sunday afternoon.

-- Eric Sondheimer