There are four area teams that are experiencing the thrill of the CIF State Basketball Championships for the first time, while another has become a regular in the postseason competition.
Although no local programs were able to capture a CIF Southern Section championship this season, three girls’ teams reached the semifinals in their respective divisions and one boys’ squad advanced to a division final.
The quartet will be in action today for first-round games in the state playoffs.
The Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls’ squad is making its fourth straight appearance in the state tournament. The No. 5-seeded Guards (23-8) will play at 7 p.m. at home against No. 12 Los Angeles Baptist in a Division IV Southern California Regional opener.
The Guards won their fifth straight Santa Cruz League championship this season and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA semifinals to Gardena Serra, 71-54.
Bell-Jeff has been led by senior All-CIF standouts Rishonda Napier and Jasmine Smith.