Boys basketball loses to Corona Centennial in CIF Southern Section Final


Allegra Drago

The boys basketball team huddles up during a timeout in its match against Corona Centennial High School in the final of CIF SS Open Division Playoffs.

Charlie Seymour

The boys basketball team lost to Corona Centennial High School 68-48 in the final of California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Open Division playoffs on Feb. 25. Up until the match, the team had maintained a 24-2 overall record.

After being down 12-20 at the end of the first quarter, the squad went down 18-35 by the second half. Corona Centennial maintained a lead of at least seven points for the rest of the game. 

Despite the loss to Corona Centennial, the team qualified for CIF Open Division State playoffs. Small forward Brady Dunlap ’23 said while the team is disappointed with the result against Corona Centennial, it needs to move past the loss to be able to find success in the state tournament.

“We just need to stay focused and believe [in ourselves],” Dunlap said. “It was a tough game last Friday, but it doesn’t define our team at all.”

Because Corona Centennial was the number one seed in the Southern Section tournament, the final match took place at the school’s gym. Dunlap said the energy of the away game got into the heads of players early on.

“With the whole environment of the gym [and the fans], we started to play less and less like ourselves,” Dunlap said. “I felt like early foul trouble also got into our heads.”

Power forward Jacob Huggins ’23 said the team can not dwell on the result of the regional tournament if it wants to maintain the momentum it had prior to the defeat to its games in state playoffs.

“The [team] accomplished a lot and won some big games before the loss,” Huggins said. “We need to remember that we are a good team, and when we execute [our] game plan, we’re unbeatable.”

Huggins said that the team will prepare for its upcoming games by working to amend the mistakes it made against Corona Centennial.

“We need to improve on our help defense off of ball screens and weak side rebounding,” Huggins said. “Corona scored a lot of points off of ball screens and that seemed to be our weak spot on defense. 

The team plays St. Joseph High School in its first match of CIF Open Division State playoffs at home March 2.