With dominant semifinal victories Feb. 15, Chaminade and Bishop Conaty-Loretto have reached the finals of the CIF-Southern Section girls’ basketball tournament and will play for divisional championships next weekend.

Chaminade, the fifth-ranked team in Division 1, overwhelmed No. 10 Mark Keppel 70-46 in the Feb. 15 semis, and will play Riverside’s M.L. King (29-1), seeded second, in the Feb. 23 final.

The Mission League champion Eagles (21-10) won their last CIF titles (Open Division) in 2015 and 2016, and also won the 2013 3A championship, all under coach Kelli Di Muro. Chaminade has won 12 of its last 14, while its opponent has won 24 straight, including a 49-37 over Long Beach Poly in the semis.

Bishop Conaty-Loretto, coached by Otis Hawkins and seeded sixth in Division 5A, defeated Saddleback 57-47, continuing a turnaround season that saw the Wildcats (20-12) lose their first four games, win their next five and go on to capture the Horizon League title.

Their Feb. 23 championship game against No. 1 seed Bloomington Christian (25-2) will be the Wildcats’ second time in a CIF final, having lost to L.A. Baptist 63-58 for the 2007 Division VA title.

In other semifinal play Feb. 15, Santa Margarita (D-2A) lost to Oxford 60-29; No. 1 St. Bonaventure (D-3A) was beaten by No. 4 Mayfair 59-47; and No. 16 Mary Star (D-5AA) lost to No. 1 Linfield Christian 54-27.

The Open Division round-robin Open Division tournament concludes tonight, with Bishop Montgomery (2-0) battling top seed Sierra Canyon (2-0) to qualify for a championship game berth. Mater Dei plays Rosary, and with a win could advance to the final depending on the Etiwanda-Windward outcome.

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

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