Tag Archives: Bosco Basketball

Sports: Bosco CIF Division One State Playoff Preview

by Caleb Wiley

After a disappointing 0-3 outing in the Open Division Playoffs, the St. John Bosco basketball team has a chance to immediately turn it around with an opportunity to win a Division One State Championship this month.


In a season where the sky was the limit, the Bosco Braves have been through seemingly endless adversity. They lost both top big men – Jonathan Salazar and Christian Estrada – to injury. Many close losses against top teams have coincided with this team as well.

The name of the game for the Braves is going to be how well they can get back up when they are down. Going through many struggles have made this team persevere and grow closer together. They will have to do this once again after going winless in their Open Division pool.

After two close losses against Corona Centennial and Sierra Canyon, people were liking their chances against Mater Dei to close out their pool, especially since they beat them in their last matchup. However, it seemed like Mater Dei just couldn’t miss, making shot after shot in route to a relatively easy victory at the Bosco Thunderdome.

“They played really well, but I honestly thought that we were really tired. We gave it our all against Sierra Canyon and probably never recovered from that,” said Varsity Head Coach Matt Dunn.

Mater Dei beat Bosco 81-69 in a game where they took a big lead and never looked back. With the loss, Bosco finished their pool 0-3.

Looking forward, Bosco now has made the D-1 State Playoffs for the second season in a row and find themselves with a top five seed in the southern section. At the three seed, Bosco will take on Vista High School in the first round.

Both Vista and Bosco come in with the same record of 21-9, but Vista’s wins don’t come close to the competition of teams that Bosco has beaten. Vista is coming from the Avocado East League – which is no pushover – but it does not come close to the level of competition Bosco faces in the Trinity League. The Trinity League is known as one of the best leagues in the nation for high school basketball.

The potential matchup that immediately stands out when you look at the bracket is the possible rematch between Chino Hills and Bosco. Chino has a tough game against Mayfair first, but if both teams win their first round matchups then the second round will feature a rematch between Bosco and Chino Hills again this year.

Last year, St. John Bosco lost to Chino Hills in the regional finals 67-51 after the Braves were outscored 27-2 in the 4th quarter. Having something to look forward to at this time is something this team needs, especially after a string of tough losses.

“To be able to get a chance to redeem ourselves from last year doesn’t always happen. I’m glad we may get a chance to play them again,” said senior point guard Chris James.

However, the the Braves can’t look too far ahead.

“After a long layoff following a tough journey, it does get challenging for guys to stay in the right mindset. We have the ability to make a great run now, but we got to be at a place where we are able to play our best,” said Coach Dunn.

Fellow Trinity League opponent Santa Margarita and Open Division teams Rancho Verde and Etiwanda are all sure to be contenders to look out for as the playoffs progress.

Bosco is always ready to compete and play hard no matter what or who is in front of them. The team is excited to have a chance to redeem themselves.

“We are extremely excited to have another opportunity to win a ring and bring Bosco pride to our community. Especially for us seniors, it’s our last shot,” said senior forward Joshua Adoh.

The team is also liking their chances about their second go-around at the Division One state playoffs.

“I feel we are more experienced and have learned a lot from our first time. I feel confident that we are capable of winning,” said Chris James.

The Braves play their first game Tuesday – tomorrow – at the St. John Bosco Thunderdome, so come out and support the team as they start their playoff journey.

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.


Pool 1

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.


Pool 2

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.

5. Etiwanda

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.



Sports: Bosco Basketball Continues Win Streak

by Ethan Piechota

After facing clear mid-season adversity as a result of injuries and close losses, Bosco basketball has rebounded and re-established themselves as clear contenders in Southern California.

When star big man Jonathan Salazar went down with an unfortunate season-ending injury, everyone began to count Bosco basketball out.


Photo // LB Press Telegram

“St. John Bosco is just not the same team without injured Jonathan Salazar,” said LA Times writer Eric Sondheimer on Twitter.

Losing Salazar was a big blow, with the 6-foot-7 senior acting as his team’s primary scorer and inside presence, headed to the University of the Pacific next year on a Division 1 basketball scholarship.

However, the Braves’ squad – stacked with veteran players – has rallied amongst themselves and reasserted Bosco as a force to be reckoned with once again.

This past week, the Braves have beaten three state-ranked teams, beginning with two Trinity League wins over Orange Lutheran and Mater Dei. They also defeated Modesto Christian 68-65 over MLK weekend in San Francisco.

“Losing Jonathan was a hard hit for our team. We had to learn how to adjust without him being on the court, and unfortunately we had to lose some games in the process. [Jonathan] still contributes to the team in any way he can, whether it’s him cheering on the sidelines or trying to help us on the court,” said senior standout guard Christian James.

For the second straight year, Bosco defeated Mater Dei at home, this time with a 77-74 win over the Monarchs to take over first place in the Trinity League.

Christian James lead the way with 25 points, proving himself on a premier stage as one of the best guards in the state. Joshua Adoh and Josh Camper hit four three’s a piece and the Bosco faithful rushed the court after the win.

James has stepped up in a big way during Salazar’s absence, but gives credit to his teammates for stepping up with him.

“To be honest, it’s not really one person leading – we have several. All the little things that the team has been doing has contributed to our success in league,” said James.

The Braves can clinch a Trinity League title with a win over Servite on January 31st.

“Everyone is locked in and focused on completing one of our main goals, to win league,” said James.

The game is an away game, and the team will need the support of its fans to get the job done and claim their title.




RECAP: Bosco Basketball Wins Fr. Barry Tournament

by Ethan Piechota

After a strong 5-0 start, the St. John Bosco Braves basketball team headed up to Sacramento to play in the Fr. Barry Tournament at Jesuit High School, where they would take on top-ranked teams across the state. 


Credit – @BoscoBasketball on Twitter

The Braves beat St. Mary’s by 26 points to start off their tournament run, a great all-around team win with seniors Chris James and Jonathan Salazar both scoring 14 apiece to lead the way. Everyone contributed as the Braves coasted to a victory.

Bosco then took on Mitty in the semifinals, a close, down-to-the-wire game. They ultimately came out on top, winning 61-54 with James leading the way with 20 points.

Bosco was tested in this one, and responded well to the challenge as they advanced to the tournament championship game with the win.

They capped off their impressive overall tournament with a 85-69 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the finals, as Jonathan Salazar exploded for 36 points on his way to winning the MVP of the tournament.

Chris James and junior guard Josh Camper also made All-Tournament teams in recognition of their great play throughout.

After the championship game, James received his first official Division 1 offer from UC Davis, so congrats to Christian.

The Braves are now 8-0 and will host the Bosco Classic this week, inside the Thunderdome. They take on Rancho Dominguez High School tonight at 7:30 PM, and will need support from their fans in their first home game of the year.

Sports: Bosco Basketball Season Update And Preview

by Caleb Wiley

After coming off a very successful season one game away from the Division One State Championship game in California, the top-ranked St. John Bosco basketball team comes in with the highest expectations this program has had in years.


Credit – Parker Gray

This team is the deepest team Bosco has had in a while. They have players like forward Jordan Brown and guard Gabe Campos, who can get on the court and do other things than scoring, like defending and hustling. They understand winning.

“We have have a lot of guys who do the little things very well. They can come into the game and be impactful right away,” said senior starting point guard Chris James.

Along with scrappy players, this team is filled with experience, as there are eight seniors on this roster who are all returning from last year. When you have a lot of returning seniors, it can set you up for a deep run in the playoffs.

“In my time here, this is the first time we have a real seniors class. All these guys were freshman when I started here. The most seniors I have ever had on a team was three. So, having that senior leadership and guys that have been through the ups and downs, which we never really had before, is big,” said varsity Head Coach Matt Dunn.

Every one of those seniors are doing their job in leading this team and the younger guys, which this team needs since they do play many sophomores and juniors on the court as well.

“I think what makes this team special is that we have a lot of leaders. I think Chris James and Gabe Campos are consistently good leaders. Jalen Manson and Fernie Gomez have been great verbal leaders leading with their voice. Then, Josh Adoh always does an amazing job with just how hard he plays,” said coach Dunn.

The team had their first games in the El Monte tournament in November and had their way throughout. The teams they played were not the best competition, but Bosco did their thing regardless as they went on to this tourney’s championship, going 4-0 and winning by an average of 40 points per game.

The last game they played was against St. Anthony, and this was a close game. It went down to the wire, however St. Anthony did not pull the upset as Bosco won this game 67-64. It was a scare, but the team stayed resilient and found a way to win this game.

Bosco currently stands at 5-0 and have a big road trip tournament coming up as they travel to Sacramento for their second tournament of the year. There are gonna be some top-notch opponents this time around. This is a great opportunity for Bosco to show that basketball is for real this year.

“Everybody is going to be good this tournament, there are gonna be eight catholic schools participating. Five of them are from Northern California and a couple are from Arizona. We start off with St. Mary’s, which is the number 20 team in the state,” said coach Dunn.

There are a lot of expectations that come with this season for the Bosco basketball team. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bosco is ranked #3 in all of Southern California.

This ranking could soon be on the rise, as the team looks to have a great tournament in Sacramento and a great rest of the season.



Bosco Basketball: 2017-2018 Season Recap

by Caleb Wiley

The past season for the St. John Bosco basketball team was its best in a while. This team had many accolades and achievements that not many thought were possible coming into the year. Even though they had their ups and downs, the season was not a let down as they overcame many obstacles. 

When this team was at its peak, it was really fun to watch. The team had a great record of 25-8 and had the most wins against open division teams in California. The league record of 6-4 was not the greatest, but getting 3rd in the very tough Trinity League is not something to be ignored.

The feather in the teams’ cap was of course beating our rival school Mater Dei for the first time ever in the sport with a 60-51 win. This really had a big impact on the students as well as the Bosco community in general. People now began to obtain an idea of just how good this team could be.

Another huge highlight of the season was making it into the CIF Open Division. Making it into the Open Division meant this team was now part of an elite stash of just 8 teams in Southern California. Varsity head coach Matt Dunn had a high point of his own exclaiming, “One highlight of our year that made me very proud of our players was beating Rancho Christian 3 times because they only have 5 losses all year long so 3 of them were from us.”

With highs, come the lows. There was a point in the season where the team went on a 4 game losing streak in the middle of league. The lull included a loss to an 11-17 Orange Lutheran team. Junior point guard Gabe Campos explains, “We kind of had our streak of losing but we picked it back up afterwards.” The team went through much adversity but kept fighting through until the end of the season.

In the Division 1 CIF State Southern regional Finals, Bosco lost to Chino Hills 67-51 in a heart-wrenching end to a historic season for the Braves. Bosco was in control until the 4th quarter, when they couldn’t seem to buy a bucket. The team went 1-23 from the floor in the whole 4th quarter. It’s tough to beat a talented team like Chino Hills when shots are not falling. However, the team still stuck together through all the tough times.

The players were having fun and a good time. During the losing streak, their chemistry was really getting battled tested, but the team actually grew because of it. Returning players from last year can all say the team was in a much better place than the years past. Senior forward Sandy Ryan said it best:

“Last year our chemistry as a team wasn’t that great but this year it’s really changed.” 

It was very evident that they became more of a family throughout the year. The season was very much a season to remember but hopefully the team does not get complacent. Next year, with most of the team returning, they have a great chance to be even better. 

Coach Dunn explains, “I’m really excited to see how much better each individual guy can get.” He knows how good this team can be and I feel there is no limit to how much better this group of players can get. St. John Bosco will have the chance to win league for the first time in a long time next season in the wintertime.