Top 5 storylines for this weekend’s CIF state basketball championships

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Here are five storylines for Southern California teams playing in the CIF State basketball championships Friday and Saturday at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento:

1. Will the Etiwanda girls present their case to be national champion?

Call it the People’s Main Event. The Eagles (31-3) take on Archbishop Mitty of San Jose (30-0) in Saturday’s 6 p.m. girls Open Division final. Archbishop Mitty is ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps while Etiwanda is third. If the national title implications aren’t enough drama, the Eagles and USC-bound Kennedy Smith edged Archbishop Mitty at the buzzer in the finals last season.

2. Can the Harvard-Westlake boys repeat as Open Division champion?

The Wolverines (32-3) and USC commit Trent Perry need to beat Salesian College Prep of Richmond (31-1) in Saturday’s 8 p.m. finale to join Sierra Canyon and Mater Dei as back-to-back champions in the modern Open Division era. Sierra Canyon accomplished the feat in 2018-19 while Mater Dei had its run in 2013-14.

3. Will St. John Bosco punctate its late surge with a state title?

The Braves (27-7) went 1-2 in the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs but can claim the Division I crown by defeating San Ramon Valley (29-7) in Friday’s 8 p.m. championship. St. John Bosco is riding the momentum of defeating rival and Trinity League champion Mater Dei in overtime in the SoCal regional final.

The Braves won Division II in 2014 in their only other appearance in the state finals.

4. Can Chatsworth sophomore Alijah Arenas shine in his first state championship game?

High-scoring sophomore Alijah Arenas, son of former NBA all-star Gilbert Arenas, leads Chatsworth (20-14) into Saturday’s noon clash with Monterey (24-6) in the Division IV boys final. Arenas is averaging 32.6 points and has the chance to shine on the home court of the Sacrament Kings. His father played at many similar venues during an 11-year career in the NBA. Alijah, a 6-foot-4 guard, wears jersey No. 0, which his father donned in the NBA.

5. Will the Bishop Montgomery girls notch state title No. 7?

Bishop Montgomery’s girls (22-5) will be seeking to put their own signature on Friday’s 6 p.m. showdown against Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland (24-6) in the Division I final. Bishop Montgomery is seeking its seventh state title, and first since 2003. Second-year coach Rheina Ale leads a squad that starts two seniors with a freshman, sophomore and junior.

Earlier this season, Bishop Montgomery beat Bishop O’Dowd 57-33 at the Nike TOC in Arizona.

If Bishop Montgomery wins again, it would move into sole possession of third place for most state title in girls basketball behind Brea Olinda (10) and St. Mary’s (eight). Archbishop Mitty could notch its seventh state championship on Saturday night.

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