by Che Womack, Contributing Writer
The 2020 CIF Division 1 State Playoff Bracket is one of the most competitive playoff brackets in state history. The bracket features teams venturing from the Trinity League, to the Los Angeles City Section, all the way south to the San Diego Section. All 32 teams are looking to get hot right now as a state championship is on the line.
The St. John Bosco Braves received the No. 8 seed in the CIF Southern Section Open Division Playoffs — the third season in a row the Braves earned this seeding. Bosco struggled in its portion of the bracket, as it went 1-2 in pool play with the two defeats being greater than 20 points. However, the Braves managed to pull out a four-point victory against cross-town rival St. Anthony.
The Braves did have some bright spots, however, while playing in the Open Division. In their first game against the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers, Jeremiah Nyarko scored 13 points while grabbing two rebounds and a steal.
In the second game of pool play, Bosco faced the Etiwanda Eagles, and junior Lamaj Lewis and senior Josh Camper both scored in double figures. Camper made two 3-pointers en route to 11 points, while Lewis had 10 points along with seven rebounds and four assists.
In the last Open Division game, which ended in a Braves’ victory, senior Wynton Brown and Camper both scored in the double digits. Brown earned a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Camper scored 14 points, nine of which came from beyond the 3-point line.
The win proved to be critical for the Braves, as they were awarded the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the CIF State Division 1 Playoffs. However, the bracket holds a complex group of teams, all of which have a great chance of winning regionals and going up north for a chance at a state title.
In the first round, Ribet Academy (Los Angeles, CA) won decisively over Los Angeles City Section Champion Westchester. The Braves will host Ribet Academy on Thursday, March 5th in the Thunderdome.
“We have to come out strong, especially in the 1st quarter,” senior forward Wynton Brown said. “Keeping the intensity throughout the game will be key.”
In the other parts of the bracket, Windward and Torrey Pines — who were favorites — both ended the seasons of Fairfax and Chaminade. However, upsets had the upperhand in the first round: Lower seeds JSerra Catholic, Damien, Long Beach Poly, and Renaissance Academy ended defeated Santa Clarita Christian, St. Anthony’s, St. Augustine, and Cathedral Catholic, respectively.
“We can’t play down to the competition,” Camper said. “The biggest thing for us is not getting comfortable. I felt like teams that get upset are super comfortable, and if we get comfortable, we will lose.”
The upsets in this bracket just show the true nature of March Madness around the basketball world.
The Braves look to go on a run and go 4-0 for a state championship. But first, Ribet Academy is on the clock. Braves tip off tonight at 7 pm in the Thunderdome.