The CIF Northern California Open Division field is taking shape, and not everyone is happy about the outlook.
Sheldon and Modesto Christian are locks to advance to the NorCal Open tournament – the best of the best – after winning their Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals on Wednesday. It also appears likely that Folsom and Capital Christian will be pulled into the Open, despite semifinal losses, as the seeding committee has in recent seasons made it a point to stuff the best teams into one bracket, thus considerably thinning out the other brackets.
Said Rollings, "It's a shame they'd take all four of us because it really waters down the Division I field."
Sheldon, which edged Folsom 69-65, and Modesto Christian, which topped Capital Christian 69-59, will play for the D-I section championship on Saturday at Pacific.
Folsom coach Mike Wall said his team can compete with any in Northern California but doesn't agree his outfit should be an automatic Open entry. Folsom has won three D-I section titles since 2008 under Wall and won D-II section and NorCal titles in 2014. Folsom has competed in the Open Division twice. Sheldon reached the NorCal Open final last season, falling to Woodcreek.
"It's almost a punishment for a team's success," Wall said of the Open Division concept that was initially created for private-school powers, thus allowing public schools a fighting chance in other divisions. "I think they'll stick us in the Open. I don't like it. We're a Division I school. We're not private. We don't recruit. We don't have five transfers. We don't have players driving 25 miles to get to school. We don't do what teams in the Open Division do."
He added, "We know we can compete. But if you have too much success, you're going to get put in the Open even if you don't reach (a section final)."