Big winners are Mater Dei, Corona Centennial, St. John Bosco, Chaminade, Bishop Mongtomery and Renaissance. Buzzer beaters are the difference for Chaminade and Renaissance. For Mater Dei, it’s just another win in a close game. Look for our CIF state finals’ predictions on Monday.
(Mark Tennis contributed to these writeups)
Note: For expanded State Top 20 rankings plus the next divisional state rankings, please check out a Gold Club membership. It’s less than $2 per month and some of our all-state lists in a few weeks also will be for Gold Club members only. For info, CLICK HERE.
OPEN DIVISION SOUTH
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 59, Westchester (Los Angeles) 54
After giving up a huge halftime lead, the kings of winning the close game did it again. For recap by Ronnie Flores, CLICK HERE.
DIVISION I SOUTH
Centennial (Corona) 80, Chino Hills 73 (OT)
In a rematch of an intense game played at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in December in which Centennial won by two points (77-75), the Huskies again outplayed Chino Hills down the stretch to pull out a dramatic overtime victory. With the win, Centennial advances to its first ever CIF state final in boys basketball.
It looked like Centennial (29-3) was going to close out the game in regulation as it held a 64-56 lead with 1:57 remaining. A series of points off turnovers, including two 3-pointers by Lonzo Ball (17 points, 11 assists, 3 steals), however, allowed Chino Hills to get back in it. Ball’s second 3-pointer from beyond NBA range tied the game with 34 seconds remaining. Chino Hills actually had a chance to win the game with 5.7 seconds remaining in regulation, but a 3-point attempt with one second remaining by K.C. Cyprian was just off.
“It was a hard fought game,” Chino Hills coach Steve Baik said. “We knew going into the game it was going to be a battle. In the second half their pressure affected us, but the guys decided to fight back.”
After giving up the late lead in regulation, Centennial decided to claw back as well. After Chino Hills (29-6) took a 65-64 lead on a free throw by Mark Williams (12 points, 9 rebounds), Deontae North hit a big 3-pointer to lift North’s spirits. After mishandling the ball on a few possessions at the end of regulation, Centennial’s Sedrick Barefield atoned for his miscues by nailing a 3-pointer of his own with 1:55 remaining in overtime to give his team a 72-66 lead.
“I told myself ‘next play,'” said Barefield, who finished with 21 points, five assists and four steals. “I was focused on doing whatever I had to do in order to win and fortunately we came out on top.”
North, bound for Long Beach State, had another big performance in his latest in a string of clutch post-season outings. North led all scorers with 27 points and 13 rebounds. He made 4-of-10 on 3-pointers, had three assists and two steals, but most importantly, provided the emotional lift necessary when his team needed it.
“Deontae has a knack for making big shots,” Centennial coach Josh Giles said. “It’s not something you teach, you either have it in you or you don’t, and he makes big shots.”
For Chino Hills, the game was about taking advantage of its opportunity to play for a state title after losing to state No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the first-ever CIF Southern Section Open Division title game. For Centennial, it was a big opportunity to atone for last year’s early-round playoff upset to Silverado of Victorville and put the program on the same tier as the school’s successful football program.
“Our football program deserves all the credit it gets, but our community and school support in the playoffs has been great,” Giles said. “On Tuesday night, it’s a long drive to get to Loyola, but we had a great crowd. Like Deontae said earlier, the second-round playoff loss last year really helped to motivate us this year.”
DIVISION II SOUTH
St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 72, Compton 55
This was a regional final between two extremely talented clubs that underachieved a bit this season. It was also between two clubs that have never appeared in the state final. In the end, Compton couldn’t slow down Jordan Brand Classic All-American Daniel Hamilton, as he led the Braves to their first state title game appearance and a big opportunity to make the regular season a distant memory with a 22-point, 9-rebound, 6-assist performance.
“This possibly being my last high school game in California was a big motivation,” Hamilton said.
The win also was Bosco’s second over the Tarbabes this season. Bosco beat Compton 58-52 in a second-round CIFSS Open Division consolation bracket game. Compton coach Tony Thomas felt it was the best he’d seen a familiar opponent play this season.
“They were relaxed and having fun and it led them to play some really good basketball,” Thomas said.
Tyler Dorsey, who could gain All-American acclaim next season, also was a difference-maker with 20 points. He made 9-of-10 free throws. Sophomore wing Vance Jackson had a big game in his own right for St. John Bosco (22-11) with 18 points, including 3-of-6 on 3-pointers.
“We talked about keeping the big three (Hamilton, Dorsey, Jackson) under control, but all of them did a good job,” Thomas said.
St. John Bosco is now 1-1 in regional title games. Two years ago, Alemany beat the Braves 62-61 in a D3 final after erasing a 18-point Bosco lead in the final four and a half minutes.
“Been there and done that, we’ve been in those shoes,” St. John Bosco coach Derrick Taylor said about the experience of not pressing with a big lead. “Me and Daniel were on top of it (to let the others know).”
Compton (26-7) is now 0-3 in regional final games. In 1998, the Tarbabes lost to a Santa Margarita team that featured future NFL and Heisman Trophy-winning QB Carson Palmer and in 2010 lost to a Lincoln of San Diego club that featured current UCLA guard Norman Powell.
Fresno State-bound Isaiah Bailey had a team-high 20 points for the Tababes.
Senior Iziahiah Sweeney, who likely will sign with a college in the spring, added 17 points, but Compton only made 1-of-8 on 3-pointers and 6-of-12 free throws while Bosco connected on 4-of-10 and 24-of-29, respectively.
“It was a great fun,” Bailey said. “I’m glad I picked Compton to go to school. I’m going to miss it.”
St. John Bosco will now try to add the school’s first CIF state basketball title to its first CIF state football title that was won last December and will play NorCal champion Folsom.
DIVISION III SOUTH
Chaminade (West Hills) 53, Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 52
It was a spectacular outing for Michael Oguine of the Eagles, who racked up 32 points on 12-of-24 shooting, and banked in a 25-foot shot at the buzzer to stun Santa Margarita.
According to the L.A. Times, Oguine made his game-winner after Santa Margarita missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation with just over four seconds left. After the miss, Trevor Stanback got the rebound for Chaminade and passed to Oguinne.
Santa Margarita was attempting to become the third team from the Trinity League to reach the CIF state final along with Mater Dei and St. John Bosco. The Eagles were led by Devonte Klines with 15 points, all in the second half.
Chaminade’s boys also will now join the school’s girls team next week in Sacramento for an attempt at the boys-girls sweep.
DIVISION IV SOUTH
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 66, Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello) 56
Guards Justin Bibbins and Stephen Thompson Jr. continued to shine in the post-season for the Knights, who won their fourth regional title in the 2000s.
Coach Doug Mitchell’s squad also wanted to erase the thoughts of losing in last year’s D4 South final. The Knights did it behind Thompson with 26 points and Bibbins with 17 points and six assists.
Bishop Montgomery, which improved to 27-6, was consistently ahead of the Cardinals throughout the game, but had trouble at times stopping Gligorije Rakocevic (17 points, eight rebounds) and Balsa Dragovic (14 points, seven rebounds). Joey Covarrubias added 14 points and six assists
In their last appearance in the D4 state final in 2009, with current Cal stars Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon leading the way, the Knights lost at the buzzer to Salesian of Richmond.
DIVISION V SOUTH
Renaissance Academy (La Canada) 58, View Park (Los Angeles) 55
According to the L.A. Times, it was a pair of 3-point shots in the closing seconds that decided this game. With five seconds left, Marquise Mosley made one for Renaissance that broke a 55-55 tie. Then at the buzzer, View Park’s Jordan Starling missed one that would have tied the score. The Wildcats will now be trying to win their first CIF state title next week in Sacramento. They lost in the D5 regional final two years ago to eventual champion Village Christian of Sun Valley. They went to the state final in 2008 and lost to Branson of Ross when that school won its third D5 title in a row.
Mosley was only 1-of-8 on 3-pointers when he took his eventual game-winning shot, but he finished with 14 points and three assists. Renaissance also featured K.J.Okmanas with 16 points (he made 14-of-16 free throws) and Marty Gaizauskas with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
For View Park, 6-foot-10 junior center Chance Comanche showed he’ll be a force as a senior next season with 14 points and 15 rebounds.