Bishop Montgomery, Santa Margarita, Providence/Burbank and Santa Clara have reached their divisional finals of the CIF-Southern Section boys’ basketball tournament and will play for championships Feb. 23.

Bishop Montgomery made its way into the Open Division final against Sierra Canyon, each by winning their respective round-robin mini-tournaments on Feb. 15.

The Del Rey League champion Knights (24-5 overall) defeated Etiwanda 72-65 to post a 2-1 A Bracket record, as did top-seeded Rancho Christian, but the Knights won the teams’ head-to-head battle.

In the B bracket, Sierra Canyon (27-3), the nation’s No. 1 team according to Maxpreps, clinched the title game slot opposite Bishop Montgomery by beating Centennial/Corona 75-68, while Mater Dei beat St. John Bosco 81-69.

Sierra Canyon ended the year No. 1 in the Southern Section, with Bishop Montgomery 11th. The Knights are seeking their seventh CIF title, having won the Open Division in 2015, and are making their tenth finals appearance.

In semifinal action on Feb. 16, seventh-seeded Santa Margarita (22-10) won its Division 1 contest by upsetting No. 3 Harvard-Westlake, 50-45. The Eagles will play No. 1 seed Chino Hills (20-9) in quest of their eighth CIF championship and their first since winning the 3AA title in 2017, to go with four runner-up finishes.

No. 1 seed Providence/Burbank (25-6) routed No. 4 Orange Vista 73-53 for the right to play for the Division 4A title against second-seeded Ribet Academy (18-3), located several miles away on what years ago was the Pater Noster High School campus in Glassell Park. For Providence, it’s the second finals appearance in school history; the Pioneers were beaten 65-62 in overtime by Holy Martyrs in the 2012 5A finals.

And in Division 5AA, top-seeded Santa Clara (25-6) shut down No. 7 Hueneme 51-37, and will meet third-seeded Sage Hill (22-10 for the title. Santa Clara, whose legendary coach Lou Cvijanovich died last November, is in a CIF-SS final for the first time since winning the VAA title in 1999; the Saints have won 14 championships overall, and have been runners-up four other times.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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