The Soquel High boys basketball team will open postseason play against one of the best teams in the state, and against one of the top recruits in the nation.

Stu Walters is nevertheless excited.

The Soquel coach said his team wanted to receive a bid toward the Central Coast Section's new Open Division playoffs this year, and it officially earned it Sunday.

The Knights (20-6) were awarded the No. 8 seed in the Open Division and a date with Aaron Gordon and top-seeded Archbishop Mitty (22-5) on Friday night.

The two teams will play at Piedmont Hills at 5:30 p.m.

"We're excited and I think our kids are up to the challenge," said Walters, whose team won the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title outright this season.

"We've played a tough schedule so far this year and we'll see what we can do," he added.

A total of 13 teams from Santa Cruz County qualified for the CCS playoffs, including the Soquel and Pacific Collegiate School girls teams, each of whom earned No. 1 seeds in their respective divisions.

First-round games begin Tuesday.

The Soquel boys, who automatically qualify to the NorCal regional playoffs as a result of earning a CCS Open Division bid, will play at least two games and as many as three in the Open Division.

Other matchups include No. 2 Serra (23-4) against No. 7 El Camino (22-5); No. 3 Sacred Heart Cathedral (16-10) against No. 6 Piedmont Hills (22-5); and No. 4 Archbishop Riordan (17-9) against No. 5 Palo Alto (23-1).


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Two-time defending state champion Mitty, meanwhile, is ranked No. 7 in California, according to MaxPreps, and has won five straight games. The Monarchs were crowned champions of the West Catholic Athletic League after going 13-1.

Gordon, meanwhile, is a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward who has reportedly narrowed his list of scholarship offers to Washington, Arizona, Oregon and Kentucky. He is No. 4 on the 2013 ESPN 100 national player rankings.

On Thursday, he was named a McDonald's All-American.

Walters said Gordon got into foul trouble during Saturday's WCAL Tournament final against Serra and was forced to come out of the game. Still, his teammates helped build a 13-point halftime lead en route to a 69-50 victory.

"They're not a one-man team," Walters said. "They're the best team we've played all season. ... It's going to be a challenge for us."

Other SCCAL boys teams that qualified to the CCS playoffs include Santa Cruz (16-10), Aptos (19-7) and St. Francis (16-10).

Santa Cruz earned the No. 5 seed in Division III and a first-round bye. It won't play until Thursday at 7 p.m., when it will host either No. 12 Valley Christian (5-20) or Del Mar (20-5).

No. 6 Aptos also earned a first-round bye in D-III. The Mariners, too, are off until Thursday at 7 p.m., when they will host either No. 11 Terra Nova (13-12) or Sobrato (10-14).

St. Francis garnered the No. 3 seed in D-V and a first-round bye as well. The Sharks will play at Alma Heights on Saturday against either No. 6 Thomas More (18-5) or No. 11 Oakwood (19-5).

Monte Vista Christian (18-6), champions of the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division, earned the No. 8 seed in D-IV and a first-round bye. It will host No. 9 The King's Academy (13-11) on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Pajaro Valley (12-12), which needed to defeat rival Watsonville in order to finish with a .500 record, earned a win over the Wildcatz Friday and qualified to the Division II playoffs on Sunday.

The Grizzlies will visit No. 10 Los Gatos (10-14) during Tuesday's first round at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to Thursday's second round against No.7 Mountain View (15-9).

It's only the third time Pajaro Valley has qualified for CCS -- the first time since 2009.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

The Soquel girls, fresh off their improbable comeback over Scotts Valley in the SCCAL Tournament championship on Saturday night, received the No. 1 seed in the Division IV playoffs.

The Knights (24-2) were in the discussion of possibly earning a bid into the Open Division, which includes the top eight teams in the CCS, regardless of enrollment. Not reaching the Open, though, instead supplied Soquel with the top seed in D-IV, which also includes No. 3 Scotts Valley (16-10) and No. 6 MVC (21-3).

Soquel, which won the D-IV title last year, earned a bye until Saturday's quarterfinal round. It will play at Notre Dame-Belmont, at a time to be announced, against either No. 8 Seaside (15-8) or No. 9 Notre Dame-Belmont (6-19).

The same is true for Scotts Valley, which won't play until Saturday, while MVC earned a first-round bye and won't play until Thursday. The Mustangs, co-champions with Watsonville of the MBL-P, will host either No. 11 Oceana (10-13) or Harker (17-6) -- with the winner advancing to Saturday's game against Scotts Valley.

The Wildcatz (17-7) garnered the No. 11 seed in D-I and will host Monta Vista (12-10) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

PCS (22-4) also earned a No. 1 seed -- for the first time in school history -- in the D-V bracket. The Pumas will play in Saturday's quarterfinals at Castilleja against Oakwood (6-6) or No. 8 Summit Prep (16-5).

St. Francis (13-12) earned the No. 3 seed in D-V, and will play Saturday at Castilleja against either No. 6 Santa Catalina (12-10) or Jewish Community (8-8).

Santa Cruz (16-10) received the No. 9 seed in Division III and will visit No. 8 San Mateo (11-13) on Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to Saturday's quarterfinals against top-seeded Burlingame (25-2).

CCS BASKETBALL
TUESDAY

First round
BOYS, D-II: Pajaro Valley (12-12) at No. 10 Los Gatos (10-14), 7 p.m.
GIRLS, D-I: Monta Vista (12-10) at No. 11 Watsonville (17-7), 7 p.m.
THURSDAY
Second round
BOYS, D-III: Sobrato (10-14)-No. 11 Terra Nova (13-12) winner at No. 6 Aptos (19-7), 7 p.m.
BOYS, D-III: Del Mar (20-5)-No. 12 Valley Christian (5-20) winner at No. 5 Santa Cruz (16-10), 7 p.m.
BOYS, D-IV: No. 9 The King's Academy (13-11) at No. 8 Monte Vista Christian (18-6), 7 p.m.
GIRLS, D-III: No. 9 Santa Cruz (16-10) at No. 8 San Mateo (11-13), 7 p.m.
GIRLS, D-IV: Harker (17-6)-No. 11 Oceana (10-13) winner at No. 6 MVC (21-3), time TBA
FRIDAY
First round
BOYS, Open Division: No. 8 Soquel (20-6) vs. No. 1 Archbishop Mitty (22-5) at Piedmont Hills High, 5:30 p.m.
SATURDAY
Quarterfinals
BOYS D-V: No. 11 Oakwood (19-5)-No. 6 Thomas More (18-5) winner vs. St. Francis (16-10) at Alma Heights High, time TBA
GIRLS, D-IV: TBD vs. No. 3 Scotts Valley (16-10) at Notre Dame-Belmont, time TBA
GIRLS, D-IV: No. 9 Notre Dame-Belmont (6-19)-No. 8 Seaside (15-8) winner vs. No. 1 Soquel (24-2) at Notre Dame-Belmont, time TBA
GIRLS, D-V: Jewish Community (8-8)-No. 6 Santa Catalina (12-10) winner vs. No. 3 St. Francis (13-12) at Castilleja High, time TBA
GIRLS, D-V: Oakwood (6-6)-No. 8 Summit Prep (16-5) winner vs. No. 1 Pacific Collegiate School at Castilleja High, time TBA