Previewing the 2023 CIF State Open Division Playoff Teams
California features some of the best high school basketball talents in the entire country and with section playoffs coming to an end, we now jump into the CIF state playoffs.
This year’s CIF State boys basketball Open Division bracket features three nationally ranked teams and multiple other squads who have proved they’re right up there in that consideration with them. The bracket is divided into regions and features five teams from the south and north of California playing each other, those teams standing from each will face in the championship.
Last year, Centennial (Corona) took down Modesto Christian (Modesto) in the state championship. Let’s take a look at the list of teams competing for this year’s title…
- Centennial (Corona)
The Huskies won their 3rd straight Southern Section Open Division championship after Loyola Marymount commit Aaron McBride delivered an incredible game-winning dunk just before time expired against St. John Bosco which also extended their winning streak to 19. Coached by Josh Giles, the Huskies have Duke commit Jared McCain who is one of the top guards in the nation and the team also starts 4-star UCLA commit Devin Williams, underrated 2024 guard Eric Freeny, and senior guard Mike Price. Centennial plays a national schedule and has taken down powerful non-Californian teams like Camden (NJ), Archbishop Stepinac (NY), Lake Highlands (TX), and Bishop Gorman (NV) to claim their spot as the No. 2 team in the nation (SCNext). The Huskies are looking to repeat as state champions in the Open Division and haven’t lost to a Californian team in nearly two years.
Wow. Aaron McBride delivers a game-winning poster dunk as Corona Centennial takes down St. John Bosco to win the CIF SS Open championship for the 3rd straight year.— Griffin Greenberg (@griffgreenberg) February 26, 2023
The LMU commit finished with 18 pts and over 10 reb, check it out... @hoopseen @sethg @aaron_mc2023 @coachjg5 pic.twitter.com/irkX7dcwp5
- St. John Bosco (Bellflower)
Despite falling to West Ranch in the first game of pool play in the Southern Section Open Division playoffs, St. John Bosco took down a very talented Harvard-Westlake squad and St. Bernard to advance to the championship. Even though they lost to Centennial, the Braves hung around and had the lead multiple times in the game. Although they’re a younger team, they have proved they can compete with the best. 5-star sophomore Elzie Harrington is averaging 15.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 5.9 APG and 3.1 SPG, sophomore Kade Bonam is averaging 15 PPG and over 7 RPG, and Loyola commit Jack Turner is averaging 13.8 PPG and 4.8 APG on the year. The Braves have multiple contributors in each class and head coach Matt Dunn has done an outstanding job with his 26-6 team.
- Harvard-Westlake (Studio City)
Harvard-Westlake has been one of the best Californian teams all season, let alone a top team in the country throughout the year. The Wolverines are 30-2 and champions of the competitive Mission League. Their loss to St. John Bosco in pool play of the Southern Section Open Division playoffs caused them to miss the championship, but they now will get a rematch with Bosco in the second round of the state playoffs on Saturday, which follows their first-round bye. The Wolverines are led by 4-star senior Brady Dunlap and feature 4-star juniors Trent Perry and Harvard commit Robert Hinton, Princeton commit Jacob Huggins, 4-star sophomore Nik Khamenia, and junior Christian Horry. Coach David Rebibo is looking for his 300th career win this Saturday. Harvard-Westlake is ranked No. 14 in the country.
Harvard-Westlake takes down Notre Dame in 2OT in a huge Mission League matchup.— Griffin Greenberg (@griffgreenberg) January 19, 2023
Game-of-the-year candidate! Each team went back and forth in a packed ND gym. Trent Perry had 27 with many clutch FTs & Jacob Huggins had 18 with huge putbacks. @HWHoops @trent_perry0 @JacobHuggins12 pic.twitter.com/E8cdNyFpGn
- St. Augustine (San Diego)
The Saints are currently on an eight-game winning streak and cruised through the San Diego Section Open Division playoffs, beating each team by at least 16 points. 4-star Jurian Dixon has had a big senior season for the Saints. Point Loma commit Jaden Matingou and juniors Lolo Rudolph & Ian de la Rosa have also been key in their 27-4 season. The Saints play with a ton of energy and have a strong home-court advantage which could play into their first-round matchup against West Ranch.
- West Ranch (Valencia)
West Ranch finished the season at 29-2 with big wins against Bishop Gorman (NV), Kell (GA), St. John Bosco, Notre Dame twice, Mater Dei and Etiwanda. The Wildcats have gotten great play all year from a lot of their seniors including 4-star Jazz Gardner, Boise State commit Andrew Meadow, Jaqari Miles, and Isaiah Fields. Juniors James Evans and Darrell Morris have also been key pieces for the team. The No. 17 team in the nation looks to bounce back from their loss to Harvard-Westlake as they travel down to San Diego to play St. Augustine in the opening round.
- Modesto Christian (Modesto)
The Crusaders beat Jesuit by 26 points to repeat as CIF Sac-Joaquin Section champions. Last year, MC made it all the way through the Open state playoffs as the No. 3 seed before falling to Centennial in the championship. Modesto Christian is currently on a 10-game winning streak, winning by at least 15 points in all but one of those wins. San Diego State commit BJ Davis is averaging 18.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG in his senior campaign, and Jalen Brown is averaging 15.7 PPG and 4.5 RPG. The Crusaders have a number of contributors and will look to make another run following the transfer of 4-star Arizona commit Jamari Phillips.
- Dougherty Valley (San Ramon)
Dougherty Valley earned their bid as the No. 2 seed after beating De La Salle in the CIF North Coast Section Open Division championship. The Wildcats are fueled by their electric backcourt duo of Ryan Beasley and Connor Sevilla. Beasley, a San Francisco commit, is 23.1 PPG, 8 RPG and 2.3 SPG and Sevilla is averaging 21.8 PPG, shooting just below 50% from three. The Wildcats have also gotten big play from Blake Hudson and Aadi Malali and will face St. Joseph following their first-round bye.
2023 San Francisco commit Ryan Beasley put on a show in Dougherty Valley's win over O'Dea.— Griffin Greenberg (@griffgreenberg) December 27, 2022
Beasley dropped 37 points, knocking down shots with high efficiency and using his speed to get to the hoop. Very explosive and underrated guard that also has great court vision. @rybeazz pic.twitter.com/OZ8wWcD24p
- St. Joseph (Santa Maria)
This is the 5th straight 20+ win season for the Knights. They took down top-seeded Clovis West in this year’s CIF Central Section Division 1 championship to claim their bid to state. St. Joseph is led by 5-star Tounde Yessoufou, arguably the most exciting player to watch in the state. Yessoufou, who is just a sophomore, is averaging 28.2 PPG (7th in the state), 10.9 RPG and 3.9 SPG. The Knights have a well-rounded squad with Caedin Hamilton, Julius Price, and Luis Marin frequently making their mark on games. St. Joseph is now in the Northern section of the playoff after being in the Southern last season and falling to Harvard-Westlake in the first round as the No. 7 seed.
- Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
The Monarchs possess a 22-5 record heading into state. The talented team has multiple options that they’ve gone to throughout the season, which have led to their 12-2 league play record. Princeton commit Derek Sangster has had a big senior season, and junior Gavin Ripp has shown his ability to score at multiple levels, especially being a threat inside with his skill, IQ, and build. Archbishop Mitty will face De La Salle in the first round of state, a team they previously beat 62-52 earlier in the season.
- De La Salle (Concord)
De La Salle fell to Dougherty Valley in the championship but still claimed their bid to state with some big wins on their side throughout the season. 4-star sophomore Alec Blair and senior Evan Wells have been bright spots for the Spartans throughout the season, but the deep team has multiple other players who have come through in big moments. De La Salle gave West Linn (a team that beat No. 1 Duncanville) their lone loss on the year, as well as beating Coronado (NV) and St. John Bosco. De La Salle is a team that can turn it on at any moment and they’ll look to do so in their rematch with Archbishop Mitty.