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Since two California girls basketball teams have claimed national titles in the last two years, then we give permission to the Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth girls to do the same.
The best that can be officially done for the Cal-Hi Sports state records is to name a State Team of the Year and the Trailblazers left no doubt about that by their 69-51 triumph over Pinewood of Los Altos Hills last Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento for the CIF Open Division state championship.
There isn’t a computer ranking or another national ranking that currently has Sierra Canyon in the No. 1 position, but it wouldn’t be a stretch and arguably head coach Alicia Komaki’s girls have a stronger case than either the Clovis West of Fresno girls from 2017 or the Archbishop Mitty of San Jose girls from last year.
Unlike Clovis West, which had a 23-point loss the last time it played a Centennial of Las Vegas team that was mysteriously ranked lower in the computer and in at least one other national poll, Sierra Canyon’s only loss in a 33-1 season was to league rival Windward of Los Angeles, which the Trailblazers also beat twice. Their state title win in 2019 also was much more decisive than Clovis West’s.
San Jose Archbishop Mitty’s No. 1 national ranking last year by some sources, of course, came despite the Monarchs not even winning in the CIF Open Division state playoffs. Windward of Los Angeles did win the Open Division state title and therefore was the State Team of the Year.
Windward of this year also lost by just 52-51 to current consensus national No. 1 Miami Country Day at the Nike TOC in Arizona. If Country Day doesn’t win the Geico National Invitational tourney, then why couldn’t Sierra Canyon take its place?
Many were looking forward to a possible Sierra Canyon-Mitty Open Division state final this year, but Mitty was upset in the CIF NorCal Open semifinals by Salesian of Richmond. Sierra Canyon almost lost in its SoCal regional final to Clovis West, but rallied back on the road from a 20-point deficit in the second quarter to post a 74-70 victory.
Several factors contributed to Komaki being able to have the state’s most balanced starting lineup in terms of inside and outside excellence. One-time two-sport volleyball player Amanda Olinger concentrated only on basketball for her senior year and became more of a shot-blocking rebounding machine. The chemistry up front with Olinger and 6-foot-2 forward Alexis Mark and the chemistry in the backcourt with juniors Vanessa DeJesus and Ashley Chevalier also was much improved from the previous season when DeJesus and Mark joined the fold as transfers. Plus, if teams left senior Angela Bacoulis open to shoot 3-pointers, she often made them pay. She hit 3-of-6 from beyond the arc against Pinewood.
Sierra Canyon becomes only the third State Team of the Year in girls basketball from the San Fernando Valley. The previous two have been El Camino Real of Woodland Hills for 1979 (before CIF state playoffs began) and Chaminade of West Hills for 2016.
Komaki has built the program at Sierra Canyon after learning the ropes from her own high school coach and her coaching mentor, Kevin Kiernan, who is now at Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Komaki played for Kiernan at Troy of Fullerton and was on a state title team there in 2002. Kiernan would have his first State Team of the Year at Troy in 2006. The state’s all-time winningest head coach then had State Team of the Year finishes at Mater Dei for three straight years from 2010 to 2012. Komaki now has a CIF Open Division title and State Team of the Year honor of her own. And with the players coming back next season (all starters except Bacoulis will be back), she may not have to wait very long for her second.
Cal-Hi Sports Girls Basketball
State Teams of the Year All-Time List
2019 – Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (33-1)
2018 – Los Angeles Windward (27-3)
2017 – Fresno Clovis West (34-2)
2016 – West Hills Chaminade (31-4)
2015 – Stockton St. Mary’s (34-1)
2014 – Long Beach Poly (27-3)
2013 – Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (30-3)
2012 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-3)
2011 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-1)
2010 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (32-1)
2009 – Brea Olinda Brea (33-2)
2008 – San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral
2007 – Long Beach Poly (36-1)
2006 – Fullerton Troy (33-1)
2005 – Piedmont (32-2)
2004 – Piedmont (33-2)
2003 – Lynwood (32-1)
2002 – Lynwood (32-0)
2001 – Harbor City Narbonne (28-3)
2000 – Harbor City Narbonne (34-0)
1999 – San Jose Archbishop Mitty (31-0)
1998 – Harbor City Narbonne (32-1)*
1997 – Berkeley (29-3)
1996 – Irvine Woodbridge (32-2)
1995 – Irvine Woodbridge (33-1)
1994 – Brea Olinda Brea (33-0)
1993 – Lynwood (31-0)
1992 – RH Estates Peninsula (33-0)
1991 – Berkeley (30-2)
1990 – Inglewood Morningside (32-3)
1989 – Inglewood Morningside (33-1)
1988 – Fremont Oakland (28-0)**
1987 – San Diego Point Loma (34-0)
1986 – San Diego Point Loma (31-1)
1985 – Compton (26-0)
1984 – Ventura Buena (31-0)
1983 – Ventura Buena (28-4)
1982 – Riverside Poly (34-0)
1981 – Riverside Poly (29-0)
1980 – Berkeley (29-0)
1979 – Woodland Hills El Camino Real (19-0)
1978 – Huntington Beach (25-2)
1977 – Los Angeles (16-0)
1976 – Ventura (23-0)
1975 – Chula Vista Hilltop (18-0)
1974 – Berkeley (19-1)
1973 – Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (12-0)
1972 – Ventura Buena (8-0)
*Forfeit losses not included. CIF Division I state title vacated due to residency issues.
**Eleven wins forfeited due to use of ineligible player.