Previewing CIF state championship high school basketball games
The CIF state championships in basketball return to Golden 1 Center in Sacramento for the first time since 2019. Here’s a look at the 12 games on Friday and Saturday.
Division V girls, 10 a.m. Shalhevet (23-6) vs. San Domenico (23-11): Shalhevet, a Jewish school located off Fairfax Avenue, won the regional championship behind sophomore guard Arielle Grossman, who scored 24 points in the final. San Domenico, located in Marin County, is a dominated by sophomores. Coach Mike Fulton won state titles as coach at Branson in 2007 and 2008.
Division V boys, noon: Ontario Chaffey (24-2) vs. San Francisco Stuart Hall (21-12): Chaffey reached the final with a win over Westminster La Quinta. Senior guard Daniel Chavez has been a productive scorer during the playoffs. Stuart Hall likes to shoot threes and will be tested by the NBA arena setting.
Division III girls, 2 p.m.: Pasadena La Salle (31-2) vs. Oakland Tech (20-11): Sophomore guard Audrey Chen is averaging 14.5 points for a team that’s on a 23-game winning streak. They’re trying to give former Loyola basketball coach Jamal Adams his first state title as La Salle’s new principal. Oakland Tech is led by junior guard Mari Somvichian.
Division III boys, 4 p.m.: Venice (21-9) vs. Chico Pleasant Valley (31-3): Two proud public schools will do battle in what should be one of the more entertaining games. A Los Angeles Unified School District team hasn’t won a state title since Westchester in 2010. Sophomore Tyler Hunt has been Venice’s top player all season. Pleasant Valley has four players averaging in double figures.
Division I girls, 6 p.m.: Windward (23-1) vs. Richmond Salesian (20-5): Windward has played against the best teams in Southern California all season and looks ready to put in a top performance behind junior guard Skye Belker and freshman center Samari Bankhead. Salesian has played top teams in Northern California close and will offer a strong challenge.
Division I boys, 8 p.m.: La Verne Damien (31-4) vs. Clovis North (22-11): Clovis North is the lowest seed to make a final at No. 13. Sophomore Connor Amundsen has been rising up in the playoffs. Damien coach Mike LeDuc, in his 42nd season, was in a state final in 1989 when Tracy Murray scored 64 points in a Glendora loss. His team has experience and talent, led by RJ Smith and Spivey Word.
Division IV girls, 10 a.m.: Imperial (28-6) vs. Ross Branson (23-9): Branson has been a frequent participant in the state final.
Division IV boys, noon: San Diego Scripps Ranch (25-11) vs. Napa Justin-Siena (21-11): Scripps Ranch is trying to become among the few teams to ever win state football and basketball titles in the same school year. One of their players is 6-8 quarterback Jax Leatherwood. Vince Jackson, a 6-4 junior, and 6-6 Travis Hightower lead Justin-Siena.
Division III girls, 2 p.m.: Newport Beach Sage Hill (26-10) vs. Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (27-6): Sage Hill won its regional final on a last-second shot by Kat Righeimer. The team has a group of players who came up from Kobe Bryant’s Mamba youth basketball program. San Joaquin Memorial is led by 6-2 junior Meadow Roland, who’s averaging 19.2 points and 11.1 rebounds.
Division II boys, 4 p.m.: Santa Ana Foothill (31-3) vs. Elk Grove (27-6): Foothill has relied on the leadership and clutch play of point guard Cruz Billings, along with great chemistry and teamwork and dependable rebounding. Ameere Britton, a 6-2 senior, leads Elk Grove with an 18.2 scoring average.
Open Division girls, 6 p.m.: Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (29-2) vs. San Jose Archbishop Mitty (30-1): To get past Sierra Canyon, you need to figure out how to deal with junior Juju Watkins, the Gatorade state player of the year. When she stays out of foul trouble, Sierra Canyon flourishes. Mitty has dominated Northern California all season and has an impressive 6-2 sophomore in Morgan Cheli.
Open Division boys, 8 p.m.: Corona Centennial (32-1) vs. Modesto Christian (30-5): No opponent has gotten closer than 20 points of the Huskies in more than a month. With terrific guards and improving big men in Devin Williams and Aaron McBride, Centennial is poised to win its first state title. But a young, thriving Modesto Christian team looks forward to the challenge. Sophomore guard Jamari Phillips will get to test himself against some top defenders. He’s averaging 24 points for Modesto Christian.
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