Sports: Bosco Basketball CIF Preview
By Caleb Wiley
The St. John Bosco basketball team now has made the CIF Southern Section Open Division for two years in a row, and they are even more prepared and ready to make a long run and hopefully bring home the trophy.
Along with making Open Division, the team also are Trinity League champions for the first time in school history. Bosco is proud of what the team has done, and bringing a league title back is no small accomplishment.
“I couldn’t be more proud of that, this is the year where everybody said that the Trinity League was as deep as its ever been,” said varsity head coach Matt Dunn.
The players are excited and ready to take on their second try at Open. Last year, Bosco took a first-round exit against Bishop Montgomery and the players have been looking forward to getting back ever since.
However, this can be their biggest asset coming into playoffs. The experience that comes with just being in Open along with the amount of returning seniors will serve this team well.
“We have a lot of guys who have done this before. I think senior leadership is really important,” said coach Dunn.
This team has had a lot of good times this year but were plagued with injuries that the team had to overcome. Jonathon Salazar became their starting center but was ruled out for the year with a knee injury.
Not long after, Chris Estrada – who filled in the starting center role – was sidelined as well with a gruesome knee injury. Bosco now has lost their starting center twice, but remain strong.
When key players go down, someone who can rally and lead a team to persevere becomes imperative. Good thing leaders aren’t something that Bosco lacks.
“Chris James has been a big part of this team. He’s a great leader. As well as Jalen Manson, he’s a great leader too,” said sophomore forward Scotty Washington
As the team is looking forward to Open, they train and work hard every day striving to get better. Bosco knows it will be a tough next three games but are feeling confident no matter who they get matched up against.
“I am feeling confident in my team. We’ve been prepping and perfecting our stuff. We’re going to be ready,” said Washington
St. John Bosco comes in at the 6th seed, which is a two-spot improvement from last year. Here are the rest of the teams in Open.
2. Sierra Canyon
Sierras Canyon looks to go back to the CIF Open Division State Championship game after losing to Mater Dei there. The main reason this star-studded team is not at the top spot is that they couldn’t end the season with a win against Rancho Christian.
3. Corona Centennial
With a record of 25-3 and the only teams they have lost to is the top two teams in Rancho Christian and Sierra Canyon, Centennial is looking like a tough out. The first game Centennial plays is St. John Bosco as it should be a good showing of who is the real deal.
7. Mater Dei
The reigning CIF Open Division State Champions come into playoffs with the 7th seed. More importantly, they get a rematch against rival school St. John Bosco and prove to everybody that they are still the team to beat.
1. Rancho Christian
This year the Open Division basketball playoffs are moving to a pool format. At the number one seed we have Rancho Christian coming in with a 24-4 record. Rancho Christian had a convincing 61-58 win against top-ranked Sierra Canyon that locked up the top spot for them.
4. Rancho Verde
Rancho Verde comes in at the number 4 seed with a 15 game winning streak and an overall record of 24-4. During this winning streak the team has beaten top-ranked opponents such as St. John Bosco and Long Beach Poly as well beating 47th in state Notre Dame High twice. It seems like nobody can beat the Mustangs as of late.
At the 5th seed, we have the 24-3 Etiwanda basketball team. With such a good record and good wins throughout their schedule such as Rancho Verde and St. John Bosco, Etiwanda gets a bottom 4 seed due to their last 52- 60 loss against Chino Hills where they were down 9-16 in the first and were never able to get the lead.
8. Bishop Montgomery
The former first seed now gets the last spot in Open, in a season that has been a clear result of a team suffering from a loss of star seniors. The Knights look to complete the run they couldn’t after their loss to Sierra Canyon last season.