We wish we were writing about Corona High, Corona Centennial or Corona del Mar, but Saturday’s CIF regional semifinals in both boys and girls basketball were eclipsed in significance by off-the-court developments relating to the coronavirus outbreak. Two-time defending CIF NorCal Open Division champion Sheldon of Sacramento (boys) thought on Saturday that its season ended when its school district canceled all activities and closed its campuses for one week relating to an active case. On Sunday, the CIF tweaked its schedule, though, and there’s now a good chance Sheldon will play on Tuesday. Another NorCal boys game in D1 has been postponed. And this comes after last year’s D2 state champion Menlo School (girls) had to withdraw. Go inside for highlights, quick comments and more for each boys/girls division.
COMING LATER: More on Etiwanda boys win at Mater Dei
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BOYS OPEN DIVISION
SoCal: Top seed and No. 1 state overall Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (also two-time defending Open Division state champion) advanced to Tuesday’s regional final by defeating Harvard-Westlake of Studio City (25-7) 75-65. The Trailblazers (29-4) will face Etiwanda, which topped Mater Dei of Santa Ana 65-61 and means that the SoCal final will not be a rematch of the Monarchs and Sierra Canyon, which played for the CIF Southern Section Open title last week. Etiwanda (29-3) had lost to Sierra Canyon in a CIFSS pool-play contest two weeks ago and won earlier in the week over Rancho Christian of Temecula. Mater Dei (25-8) had a bye in the first round. In a game billed as the Battle of the Valley between Sierra Canyon and Harvard-Westlake at Pepperdine in which LeBron James and Drake were in attendance, the Trailblazers took control in the fourth quarter as Ziaire Williams hit for 11 of his 18 points. State Sophomore of the Year candidate Amari Bailey had 22 for the winners while Harvard-Westlake got 18 each from Mason Hooks and Brase Drottin.
NorCal: The big news involving Sheldon broke around 12 noon and sent shockwaves throughout Northern California. Since it was a school district decision, the CIF had no jurisdiction to get involved and since it was for an entire week, there also was no way to postpone Sheldon’s game scheduled for Saturday against Dublin to Monday of next week. As a result, Dublin was placed into the NorCal final while Sheldon was simply removed from the playoffs. After community response, the Elk Grove Unified School District asked the CIF to put the Huskies back in with the stipulation that it could still change pending more coronavirus updates. On Sunday, Sheldon (27-5) was back on the schedule with a Tuesday game against Dublin with the NorCal Open final switched to Thursday. The Gaels (25-6) will now try to re-focus on playing Sheldon again after thinking they wouldn’t be playing them. Meanwhile, Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland already has clinched a spot for the regional title. The Dragons (23-7), who beat Dublin for the first-ever CIF North Coast Section Open Division title last week, won on the road on Saturday night 73-60 against CIF Central Coast Section Open Division champ Archbishop Mitty of San Jose. Mitty ended 23-5. O’Dowd was led by Taj Phillips with 19 points while standout freshman Jalen Lewis had 18 points and eight rebounds. Dragons’ head coach Lou Ritchie had this to say to Darren Sabedra of the Bay Area News Group after the game when asked about the coronavirus concerns in Northern California: “As far as I am concerned, it was our last game,” Richie said. “Tomorrow is not promised and, in the Bay Area, it’s definitely not promised. What can happen over the next 48 hours? All it takes is one person to make a phone call.”
GIRLS OPEN DIVISION
SoCal: In its last four games at La Jolla Country Day, Etiwanda was a winner. But on Saturday with Te-hina Paopao scoring 19 points it was the state No. 1 Torreys that won 54-44 and kept alive their hopes for their first Open Division state title. Country Day (31-1) will now be hosting Windward of Los Angeles in the regional final. The Wildcats (27-4), who lost to Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Open Division championship last week, beat the Long Beach Poly team that upset Mater Dei last Thursday, 44-41. Windward is looking to win its third state title in four seasons. It won in the Open Division two years ago and three years ago won it in D1. The Jackrabbits finished 26-7 while Etiwanda ended at 27-6.
NorCal: Top seed Mitty’s dominance of the north continued with a 64-40 win at home on Saturday over Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa. There was no rust for the Monarchs (25-3), who had a first round bye. The state’s No. 3 overall team coming into the week will be No. 2 this week and already has a lopsided 75-39 win this year over the St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda squad it will play in the regional final. The Pilots (24-6) got past Clovis West on Saturday night 53-47. The Cardinals ended 28-5 while the Golden Eagles wound up 27-5 and were happy about making the final eight in the state for the sixth straight year.
BOYS DIVISION I
SoCal: The craziest bracket on the boys side so far has been this one. The final is going to come down to the No. 11 seed vs. the No. 14 seed and two teams from the same league. That No. 11 seed, however, was Ribet Academy of Los Angeles, which also has been No. 12 overall in the state. The Fighting Frogs (28-3) followed up their big win on Thursday over No. 1 seed St. John Bosco of Bellflower with another close, pulsating victory on Saturday of 76-73 over Windward of Los Angeles (28-8). That also was a win by the CIFSS D2-A champion over the CIFSS D1 titlist. League rival Renaissance Academy (27-9) advanced with a 76-73 victory in overtime over Damien of La Verne. The Spartans (26-9) were playing after they had to go to six overtimes (one of the longest games in state history) in Thursday’s 128-123 triumph over Riverside Poly. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Wildcats’ series of wins is they’ve done after losing talented 6-foot-8- sophomore Koat Keat for the rest of the season with an injury.
NorCal: Saturday’s scheduled game between top seed Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco (22-5) and No. 4 De La Salle of Concord (24-7) was postponed to Monday due to a possible coronavirus case involving Riordan. Sources indicate if a positive test comes back that the Crusaders will have to drop out. And if there are more schools and districts closed down early next week, the CIF will have to consider the possibility of cancelling the state finals next weekend in Sacramento and ending the season after the regional final round. In the other NorCal semi on Saturday, last year’s D2 state champion, Campolindo of Moraga, upset higher seed Salesian of Richmond 60-59. It was another disappointing NorCal finish for the Pride (25-7), who have been upset recently in NorCal Open Division first round games. The Cougars improved to 25-6.
GIRLS DIVISION I
SoCal: It was a matchup of the last two State Freshman of the Year award winners as Isumeh “Ice” Brady (2019) and her team at Cathedral Catholic of San Diego defeated Harvard-Westlake of Studio City and a team led by 2018 winner Kiki Iriafen 59-56. Iriafen had 17 points to Brady’s 16 but Brady’s teammates did better, led by Taryn Johnson with 13 points and Izzy Navarro with 12. The Dons (20-10) will now play defending state champ Rosary of Fullerton, which won in its game on Saturday 46-37 over M.L. King of Riverside. Rosary (20-12) also will be trying to avenge an earlier loss to CCSD. The Royals played great defense in their win, holding the Wolves (26-7) to a season-low in points scored. Harvard-Westlake and new state No. 2 coaching wins leader Melissa Hearlihy ended the season at 23-9.
NorCal: It will be an all-North Coast Section regional final on Tuesday between defending NorCal D1 champion Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland and top seed Salesian of Richmond. The Dragons (21-7), who were advanced through to the regional semifinals when Menlo School (Atherton) had to withdraw (coronavirus issue), won on Saturday 67-50 over Clovis North of Fresno. The Pride (24-4) were looking to beat 2019 NorCal Open Division champion Pinewood of Los Altos Hills for the second time this season and did just that 53-44. Clovis North has had a great senior class and will rebuild next year after going 24-9. Pinewood ended at 25-5.
BOYS DIVISION II
SoCal: Andre Henry hit for 28 points and a game-winning shot as top seed St. Francis of La Canada edged Oxnard 67-66. The Golden Knights (29-8) will now play Roosevelt of Eastvale for the regional crown. The Mustangs (27-8), the CIF D1 state champ in 2017, also won in a similar game and by almost the same score, 66-65, but in overtime, over King-Drew of Los Angeles. The Yellowjackets ended 32-3 while King-Drew’s final record will be 25-9. Brandon Porter had 20 points for Roosevelt and helped the defense not allow King-Drew to get off a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds of the OT.
NorCal: The highest remaining seed is No. 2 St. Patrick-St. Vincent of Vallejo. The Bruins (25-10) won on Saturday 56-43 over Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton and will play Weston Ranch of Stockton next. Weston Ranch (23-12) won an all-Stockton regional semifinal 57-55 over St. Mary’s. The Cougars are finally looking like they did last season when they played in the NorCal Open Division. SHP final record will be 23-6 while for the Rams it will be 25-10.
GIRLS DIVISION II
SoCal: Schools just about three miles apart will be playing in the title game in this bracket after both Palisades (Pacific Palisades) and Santa Monica won on Saturday. The Dolphins (25-9) of the L.A. City Section downed Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista 60-55. The Vikings (29-7) clipped San Clemente 47-39. Mater Dei Catholic finished 20-10 with San Clemente at 29-5.
NorCal: Last year’s D4 state champions from Oakland Tech got one Central Section team out of the way and will now play another on Tuesday. The Bulldogs (25-8) won 68-64 in their Saturday contest over San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno. They will go for the regional title against Clovis. The Cougars (24-9), who are now the only Clovis school still going after Open Division and D1 losses by Clovis West and Clovis North on Saturday, won in their lower division game 70-63 against Del Oro of Loomis. SJM heads into the off-season with a 24-9 final record while the Golden Eagles ended 24-11 and will miss a great senior class led by recent NorCal Player of the Week Madison Perry.
BOYS DIVISION III
SoCal: The magical ride of El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, which was the No. 16 seed and had posted wins over No. 1 Shadow Hills and No. 9 St. Joseph of Santa Maria in its first two regional playoff games, came to end as the Conquistadors (15-17) were eliminated by Arroyo Grande 77-60. Providence of Burbank, a school located just outside the main gate of the Walt Disney Corporation world headquarters, won in the other regional semifinal 78-58 over Fountain Valley. Guards A’Jhani Levias and Jordan Shelley combined for 50 points for Providence with Levias hitting for 26 and Shelley 24. AG will be 27-6 heading into next week. Providence checks in at 28-7.
NorCal: There also was a No. 16 seed still going in this bracket, but like El Camino Real in the south, Wood of Vacaville was ousted. The Wildcats (25-8) were beaten 63-41 by St. Mary’s of Berkeley, which is from the same league as Salesian of Richmond and St. Patrick-St. Vincent. Carmel will be next for the 25-10 Panthers. The small school CCS powerhouse (26-4) clipped Foothill of Palo Cedro from the Northern Section 55-50. Foothill ended at 27-6.
GIRLS DIVISION III
SoCal: Winning for the 33rd time this season (No. 1 total in the state), Paloma Valley of Menifee triumphed in its regional semifinal 60-54 over Righetti of Santa Maria. The team’s opponent in the region final, Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates, should have no trouble getting pumped up to beat a team known as PV. The Panthers (25-9), who won on Saturday 60-40 over Viewpoint of Calabasas, get pumped up to play PV (as in Palos Verdes) all the time. Righetti ended the season at 24-5 with Viewpoint at 20-10.
NorCal: Woodside Priory of Portola Valley, which won the NorCal D4 title two years ago, will try to win it in a higher division on Tuesday when it meets St. Mary’s of Berkeley. Woodside Priory (21-9) topped Aptos 59-53 in its regional semifinal while St. Mary’s (26-7) got past Los Gatos 61-46. The two CCS squads ended 27-5 and 21-9, respectively.
BOYS DIVISION IV
SoCal: Schools in Bakersfield from the CIF Central Section tend to play in SoCal regional games and this year there is a Bakersfield school in the D4 regional final after Bakersfield Christian defeated Narbonne of Harbor City on Saturday night 56-57. The Eagles (26-6) also are trying to add a CIF basketball title to the D3-A football title they won in December. Up next for Bakersfield Christian will be Palisades of Pacific Palisades. The Dolphins (18-11) won their game 49-45 over St. Pius X-St. Matthias of Downey. Narbonne capped its season at 22-13 while SPSM ended at 29-7.
NorCal: The final game still has not been played yet for Brookside Christian of Stockton. The Bruins (26-8), who represent a school that will be closing at the end of the school year, went to Fresno on Saturday and beat Hoover of Fresno 52-48. They may have an even tougher task on Tuesday when they have to travel to play No. 2 seed Lincoln of San Francisco. The Patriots ended at 24-10. The Mustangs (29-4) advanced by turning back University of San Francisco 69-58. University’s final record will be 24-9.
GIRLS DIVISION IV
SoCal: Ontario Christian freshman Chloe Briggs scored 39 points and moved past 1,200 for her career in leading her team past La Salle of Pasadena 59-51. According to Pete Marshall of the Sun/Daily Bulletin, Briggs has surpassed the CIFSS single-season record held by Cheryl Miller (Riverside Poly). We still have to check our single-season list. The Knights (32-3) are facing top seed Lancaster in Tuesday’s region final. Lancaster (23-8) advanced by beating Point Loma of San Diego 51-44, a team that was 24-2 coming into the night. La Salle finished 26-9.
NorCal: Based on our state rankings (done after Thursday’s games) in this division, it was expected that No. 1 Colfax and No. 2 Sierra Pacific of Hanford would win and then play each other on Tuesday. It wasn’t easy for the Falcons (30-4), who got past CIF Northern Section top division champ Pleasant Valley of Chico, 47-44. It was easier for Sierra Pacific (28-7) as the Golden Bears defeated Argonaut of Jackson, 62-42. Final records for Pleasant Valley and Argonaut, respectively, will be 18-12 and 30-5.
BOYS DIVISION V
SoCal: The seeds held true for this bracket as No. 1 seed Eastside of Lancaster won on Saturday and so did No. 2 seed Roosevelt of Los Angeles. Eastside (18-13) had the closer game as it nipped Trinity Classical Academy of Valencia 50-49. The Roughriders (23-10) downed Delano 59-54.
NorCal: It was almost a case of No. 1 and No. 2 winning in this bracket as well, but No. 2 Bradshaw Christian of Sacramento lost to No. 3 San Domenico of San Rafael 64-58. Top seed Pierce of Arbuckle won its game 54-50 over Eastside College Prep of East Palo Alto. The Bears improved to 28-4. San Domenico will enter the regional final at 20-12.
GIRLS DIVISION V
SoCal: While we have one regional final in SoCal girls of schools three miles apart, it’s not quite the same for D5 as Madison of San Diego will travel to East Bakersfield. The Blades knocked off No. 1 seed San Jacinto Valley Academy on the road, 60-55, but had played tougher competition during the season and were higher ranked (by computer and by us). Madison, a school that has won CIF state football titles in D2 and seems misplaced in D5, moved on with a 46-37 victory over San Diego High.
NorCal: Top seed West Valley of Cottonwood didn’t have much trouble playing University Prep of Redding for a third time and beat its Northern Section rival on Saturday 47-27. The Eagles (26-8) will now host Branson of Ross in the region final. The Bulls (25-9) slipped past Monte Vista Christian of Watsonville 47-46.