CIF soccer, basketball championships preview
Three local high school teams have earned their spots in their respective division’s CIF championship games.
This weekend will feature their chances at raising a championship banner.
Here’s everything you need to know for the upcoming slate of Santa Clarita Valley CIF championship appearances:
Hart girls’ soccer reaches end of bracket with Harvard-westlake
The Hart Indians have reached the end of the CIF bracket and will finish against the Harvard-westlake Wolverines.
Hart fell just short of reaching the CIF championship last season and made it the team’s goal to return for another deep playoff run. The mission isn’t quite accomplished yet as the Indians will look to close out CIF with one more win.
Hart’s full-game unbeaten streak is now at 16 games (the team forfeited to Newport Harbor), dating back to mid-december. Since then, the Indians have allowed just three goals while netting 57.
Hart’s impressive defense and triangle of death on offense have fueled the run as the team looks to add more hardware to its sensational season. The trio of Ariana Salvador, Briley Phelps and Alexis Nguyen have totaled 45 goals and 40 assists this season.
Harvard-westlake has already downed one SCV team, in West Ranch, but now has the Indians in its way of a CIF championship.
The Wolverines, like the Indians, have plenty of talent to go around. The backline entails USYN defender Giselle Thompson as well as Clemsonbound Dani Lynch.
Harvard-westlake has won its last three playoff games by just one goal or in a shootout, displaying the Wolverines’ comfort with playing in tight matches. The teams will also likely be playing in some wet conditions with the weather forecast showing 100% chance of rain on Friday, so the ball may be moving a little quicker on the turf at Cougar Stadium.
The Indians and Wolverines face off Friday at 5 p.m. for the CIF Division 2 championship at
Cougar Stadium, at College of the Canyons.
Valencia hoops to face St. Bonaventure in 4AA Finals
Valencia boys’ basketball is on a tear, and while the team didn’t snag a league title, the Vikings have their shot at a bigger banner.
The Vikings will take on the St. Bonaventure Seraphs in the CIF title game.
St. Bon is led by six-foot, seven-inch junior Dylan Benner. The forward is averaging just under 17 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Seraphs, while adding just over a pair of assists and blocks a game. Benner’s big year may draw the forward some extra attention so look for Sam Seiden, Matthew Wilson and Nico Macias to add some big scoring numbers for the Seraphs.
The Seraphs have some size on their roster but Valencia matches up well. Vikings junior Bryce Bedgood is pushing six-foot, ten-inches and has had a dominating postseason to say the least. Bedgood is averaging over 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks a game in Valencia’s playoff run. Vikings point guard Kai Davis took control of the CIF semifinals matchup with Beaumont. Davis finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Mikah Ballew, Jayden Ares and Maurice Pitts have also shown they can add big numbers for Valencia.
Both teams enter the championship game with just one loss in the calendar year with long win streaks. They also both reach the title game after mediocre years in the 2021-22 season, displaying some great coaching from both sides.
Valencia and St. Bonaventure will tip-off at Mira Costa, on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Hart girls’ basketball gets long-awaited rematch with La Salle
The Hart Indians have had their eyes on a CIF championship all season. That title will be on the line on Saturday with a little extra drama added, as Hart will play the La Salle Lancers for the crown.
It will be just over a year when the two take the floor again since La Salle knocked out Hart last season in the CIF semifinals. The Lancers went on to win the championship and now will aim to repeat.
2022 CIF Player of the Year Audrey Chen leads La Salle with 14.9 points, 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals a game this season. The Lancers also have an interior presence with six-foot freshman Casey Higgins. The freshman averaged nearly a double-double this season with 10 points and 9.4 assists a game this season.
Hart’s squad is full of returners from last year, who want another shot at the Lancers. The two teams split games in the 2021-22 season, with Hart taking round one in the regular season.
Indians sophomore Morgan Mack enters the game red-hot, after pouring in 30 points in the team’s semifinal win over San Juan Hills. ALL-CIF guard Laney Grider was the only Indian in double-figures in the loss to La Salle, while three Lancers went over the mark.
Hart is amped for the rematch and will face the Lancers in a neutral venue for the championship. The Indians and Lancers take the court at Mira Costa high school, on Saturday at 4 p.m.