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Preview: SoCal Girls Finals Preview: SoCal Girls Finals
And then there were 48. That’s how many high school basketball teams continued practice schedules this week with dreams of a state title. The... Preview: SoCal Girls Finals

And then there were 48. That’s how many high school basketball teams continued practice schedules this week with dreams of a state title. The majority of that number gets cut in half on March 18 as 24 boys teams and 24 girls will attempt to take the last step to the state finals — which take place March 25-26 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. We’ll have preview glances for each of the regional championship games taking place in Northern and Southern California this Saturday. First up, the NorCal girls.

Here’s how they’ll roll out:

Thursday, noon: NorCal Girls
Friday, 8 A.M.: NorCal Boys
Friday, noon: SoCal Girls
Friday, 4 P.M.: SoCal Boys

CIF Girls Basketball Southern Regional Championship Matchups

OPEN DIVISION

Jasmine Jones of Long Beach Poly. (Nicc Jackson/@wcgbmedia via CalHiSports.com)

MATCHUP: No. 1 Clovis West-Fresno (31-2) vs. No. 2 seed Long Beach Poly (26-3), March 18, 4 p.m. at The Pyramid at Long Beach State
HISTORY: Cal-Hi Sports No. 2 Clovis West has never even played for a Southern Regional championship while Cal-Hi Sports No. 3 Long Beach Poly will look to improve on a 7-3 record in SoCal title games.
CLOVIS WEST KEYS TO VICTORY: Against top teams the Golden Eagles have been near or above their 74.1 points per game scoring average, and if they can score at least 70 points and play solid team ball with the kind of defense they have shown — except in the second game against Centennial-Las Vegas when they lost 70-46 at the MLK in Stockton — coach Craig Campbell and his girls should win again just like they did in a 70-67 overtime victory over Poly at the Nike TOC.
LONG BEACH POLY KEYS TO VICTORY: If USC-bound 6-3 post Ayanna Clark becomes unstoppable inside, and other players like Loyola Marymount-committed Jasmine Jones and flashy guard Danae Miller play well, Poly could well be looking at an eighth SoCal title. Either way, with Poly and Clovis West so close we think this will be a duplicate of the first meeting in December and go to an extra period.
PREDICTION: Clovis West 67, Long Beach Poly 64 OT

DIVISION I

Ventura star Aubrey Knight will play at Colorado next season. (Twitter.com)

MATCHUP: No. 1 Windward-Los Angeles (28-4) vs. No. 3 Ventura (25-7), March 18, Noon at the Pyramid at Long Beach State
HISTORY: Windward is 3-0 in Southern Regional title games but two of those were in Division IV. They were also the first Southern Regional Open Division champions when the 2013 team beat Mater Dei-Santa Ana 81-71 in the inaugural year of the division. Defending CIFSS Div. I-AA champion Ventura has been on the short end of three SoCal title games, twice in Div. I and once in Div. II. Their most recent title game was a loss to Serra-Gardena in the 2015 SoCal Div. I final.
WINDWARD KEYS TO VICTORY: Simply said, it’s Cal-Hi Sports reigning State Freshman of the Year Charisma Osborne. Of the four SoCal Div. I semifinalists that were ranked by Cal-Hi Sports, the Wildcats were the highest at No. 16 because they are the best one-girl team in the state still alive in the top playoff divisions. The supporting cast for head coach Vanessa Nygaard needs to play well, like in their four wins over Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth, but Osborne has to be on.
VENTURA KEYS TO VICTORY: Coach Ann Larson likes to play defense, and if she can find a way to slow down Osborne, keep the score low, and seniors Svannah Paige and Aubrey Knight play well, the Cougars could be playing for a first ever state championship.
PREDICTION: Windward 58, Ventura 51

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