Boys BB State Team of Year 2019

Stanley Johnson (left) was on four straight State Teams of the Year at Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Cassius Stanley (center) was on the last two at Sierra Canyon. Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills didn’t go back-to-back, but team he led in 2016 season was unbeaten and No. 1 in the nation. Photo: Willie Eashman, Mark Tennis & Andrew Drennen.

It’s a second straight State Team of the Year finish for Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth. And the way in which the Trailblazers showcased all of their talent during their win against Sheldon of Sacramento causes them to join the mix as one of the historically great teams in California. But how high? We haven’t done an all-time team ranking for boys basketball like we have for football, baseball and softball, so we’ll have to do that for the start of next season.

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What a fun two-year ride it’s been for the Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth boys basketball team. Once mid-season transfer Cassius Stanley got injected into the lineup in January of 2018 and then within a few weeks began to get linked up with the others already there, the Trailblazers have been the best team in California.

This year’s team followed up the accomplishment of last year’s team of winning the CIF Open Division state championship by defeating Sheldon of Sacramento 76-52 last Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Sierra Canyon also has now been officially named as the Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year for the second straight year. That honor simply goes to the Open Division winner each year, but that wasn’t true prior to the Open Division format coming on-line in 2013.

KJ Martin had 53 points combined in Sierra Canyon’s two wins for the CIF Southern Section Open Division title and the CIF Open Division state championship. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Despite head coach Andre Chevalier stating at the start of the team’s post-game press conference that “nobody thought we could do this,” Sierra Canyon was preseason No. 1 by Cal-Hi Sports and was thought to be a favorite to repeat by many others. That doesn’t mean it was easy, but with Stanley returning along with others such as senior point guard Scotty Pippen Jr., senior forward Kenyon Martin Jr. and junior forward Terren Frank along with the addition of 7-foot center Christian Koloko plus the expected stardom of incoming freshman Amari Bailey, the lineup that Chevalier could put on the court each and every night was something to behold.

Pippen’s leadership at the point and the way that Martin plays the game, with such passion and energy, had to make their NBA dads quite proud. They both continued to develop their overall games and should be outstanding college players. Since last year, Stanley has probably become the team’s top honors candidate and most consistent scoring threat. He had missed too many games last year to be considered as highly as his talent would seem to indicate.

It seemed quite evident throughout the game with Sheldon that the Sierra Canyon players wanted to make a statement about their place in history through their series of highlight plays, dunks and blocked shots. It’s definitely among the most talented starting fives that many of us along press row have ever seen, but when considering historical greatness there are other factors. This includes whether a team was No. 1 in the nation, whether a team might have been led by all-time great player or whether a team had to beat another team that was almost as strong.

Sierra Canyon checks a box for being a back-to-back Open Division state champion, but just four years ago in 2016 California had an undefeated mythical national champion. That would be the team at Chino Hills led by Mr. Basketball and eventual No. 2 first round NBA draft pick Lonzo Ball and his two brothers plus current Huskies’ senior Onyeka Okongwu. Some might take this year’s Sierra Canyon starting five as being stronger and more balanced, but the Trailblazers lost two national games to Montverde Academy of Florida. Chino Hills won them all, including one victory over Montverde.

It also wasn’t that long ago when famed program Mater Dei of Santa Ana and legendary head coach Gary McKnight had a 35-0 team that was No. 1 in the nation in at least one national poll. The Monarchs, like Sierra Canyon, also won back-to-back Open Division titles. In fact, it was the first two years of the Open Division in 2013 and 2014. They won state titles in the previous divisional format in 2011 and 2012 as well. Stanley Johnson, who now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, was the leading player of those Monarch teams.

Looking back further, there also were back-to-back State Teams of the Year at Westchester of Los Angeles in 2009-10, then also at Artesia of Lakewood for 2006-07 and an unbeaten team at McClymonds of Oakland in 2008. Those were in years without an Open Division (point for Sierra Canyon), but those Artesia teams had James Harden, someone that everyone in the world knows is an all-time great player, plus some other outstanding contributors. We may need to wait a few years, therefore, to see how this year’s Sierra Canyon players develop on into the future before getting an even more accurate reading as to where the team belongs in any all-time ranking.

Some other teams that also probably will be highly considered for the first Cal-Hi Sports all-time team rankings in boys basketball should be Dominguez of Compton for 2000 (repeated as State Team of Year, No. 1 in nation and had Tyson Chandler at center); St. Joseph of Alameda for 1992 (repeated as State Team of Year, led by point guard legend Jason Kidd); Inglewood of 1980 (unbeaten, No. 1 in nation); Verbum Dei of Los Angeles for 1974 (fourth straight year as No. 1 in state); Compton for 1969 (back-to-back unbeaten teams); and McClymonds of Oakland for 1960 (three straight unbeaten teams and led in 1960 by Paul Silas, one of NBA’s top 50 all-time players).

Ivan Rabb and team at Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland in 2015 is the only one from Northern California that has been able to finish No. 1 in the state. Photo: Everett Bass.

Cal-Hi Sports Boys Basketball
State Teams of the Year All-Time List

2019 – Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (32-3)
2018 – Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (27-4)
2017 – Torrance Bishop Montgomery (31-2)
2016 – Chino Hills (35-0)
2015 – Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (28-4)
2014 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (35-0)
2013 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2012 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2011 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (32-3)
2010 – Los Angeles Westchester (32-3)
2009 – Los Angeles Westchester (35-2)
2008 – Oakland McClymonds (32-0)
2007 – Lakewood Artesia (33-2)
2006 – Lakewood Artesia (32-1)
2005 – Los Angeles Westchester (25-3)
2004 – Los Angeles Westchester (23-2)
2003 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2002 – Los Angeles Westchester (32-2)
2001 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (33-2)
2000 – Compton Dominguez (35-2)
1999 – Compton Dominguez (32-3)
1998 – Los Angeles Westchester (29-3)
1997 – North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (35-1)
1996 – Compton Dominguez (34-2)
1995 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (36-1)
1994 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (29-2)
1993 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (26-2)
1992 – Alameda St. Joseph (32-3)
1991 – Alameda St. Joseph (31-3)
1990 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-1)
1989 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (25-2)
1988 – Los Angeles Manual Arts (27-3)
1987 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (31-1)
1986 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (25-2)
1985 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (24-0)
1984 – Long Beach Poly (31-2)
1983 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (27-2)
1982 – Carson (26-2)
1981 – Long Beach Poly (26-2)
1980 – Inglewood (29-0)
1979 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (28-1)
1978 – Pasadena (26-2)
1977 – Oakland Fremont (25-1)
1976 – Long Beach Poly (30-1)
1975 – Elk Grove (27-5)
1974 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (30-2)
1973 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (29-2)
1972 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (30-1)
1971 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (29-2)
1970 – Berkeley (32-0)
1969 – Compton (30-0)
1968 – Compton (32-0)
1967 – Los Angeles Fremont (16-2)
1966 – Los Angeles Jordan (18-0)
1965 – Long Beach Poly (29-3)
1964 – Long Beach Poly (32-1)
1963 – Oakland McClymonds (19-3)
1962 – Oakland McClymonds (23-0)
1961 – Compton (28-3)
1960 – Oakland McClymonds (22-0)
1959 – Oakland McClymonds (22-0)
1958 – Oakland McClymonds (21-0)
1957 – San Francisco Poly (28-1)
1956 – El Cerrito (31-1)
1955 – Alhambra (27-2)
1954 – San Francisco St. Ignatius (26-2)
1953 – Los Angeles Loyola (34-2)
1952 – Compton (32-0)
1951 – Los Angeles Jefferson (27-0)
1950 – Chico (15-3)
1949 – Los Angeles Washington (21-0)
1948 – San Francisco Lincoln (29-2)
1947 – Los Angeles Mt. Carmel (34-2)
1946 – Stockton (20-2)
1945 – San Diego Hoover (16-1)
1944 – Alameda (15-1)
1943 – San Francisco St. Ignatius (14-0)
1942 – Palo Alto (18-0)
1941 – Glendale Hoover (21-1)
1940 – Long Beach Poly (22-2)
1939 – San Francisco Lowell (17-3)
1938 – Whittier (24-3)
1937 – San Francisco Lowell (17-3)
1936 – San Diego (14-1)
1935 – Santa Barbara (14-1)
1934 – Santa Barbara (16-1)
1933 – Stockton (16-2)
1932 – San Francisco Lowell (18-3)
1931 – Whittier (25-1)
1930 – Palo Alto (13-0)

Note: List continues back to 1903 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac. All selections prior to 1975 made retroactively based on research by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle:

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