The CIF Southern Section released their 2020 high school boys basketball playoff brackets on Sunday. In Division 1, Windward and Poly/Riverside are the two top seeds.
Scorebook Live California reporter Connor Morrissette breaks down the biggest storylines from Division 1 before play begins on Wednesday.
WHO WILL CONTEND FOR A TITLE?
I think Windward, Riverside Poly, Bishop Montgomery and JSerra all have chances to win. Those three teams have the coaching and star power to make a deep run.
WHO WILL SURPRISE?
Valencia and Beverly Hills are two teams that should go far that are outside the top four seeds. Valencia has only lost five games all year. They’re led by three solid upperclassmen in junior Noah Veluzat and seniors Jake Hlywiak and Junior Camacho.
If Beverly Hills beats Camarillo they will play Mayfair in the second round. That is a winnable game for the Normans, a team with just four losses. They’re led by senior point guard Ben Ramirez.
WHICH PLAYERS WILL BE X-FACTORS?
Jaren Harris – Windward – 2021
If Harris can consistently hit threes and handle the ball when Dylan Andrews is pressured, that will help the Wildcats immensely. Windward has struggled when they don’t get key contributions from players outside their big three of Andrews, Kijani Wright and Devin Tillis.
Jalen Vazquez – Bishop Montgomery – 2022
Vazquez has missed the majority of the season for the Knights with a leg injury. He’s now healthy and Bishop looks like a new team. Vazquez is a very good shooter and even better ball handler. He turns the Knights into contenders.
RJ Smith – Damien – 2022
Malik Thomas is Damien’s go to guy, but Smith is a key cog in the Spartans’ machine too. The sophomore is a sharpshooter and he’ll be needed in order for Damien to win multiple games.
Christian Moore – Brentwood – 2022
Moore scored 30 points to lead Brentwood to an upset win over Windward in the regular season. He’s only a sophomore, but he’s capable of taking over games. Brentwood has had an up and down season, if Moore plays like he did against the Wildcats, then his Eagles team can beat anyone.
WHO WINS IT ALL?
Riverside Poly. The Bears took Rancho Christian down to the wire; I think they have what it takes to win Division 1. Lamont Butler and DJ Davis are great players.