The winter season stretched almost into spring for the Rosary girls’ basketball team, and the Royals were in full bloom in the end, winning the CIF-State Division I title on March 8 in Sacramento.
It was the culmination of a long and historic season for Rosary, and for the Trinity League as a whole.
Before getting into specifics, here’s a quick rundown of the league’s biggest accomplishments.
*The JSerra girls’ soccer team won their third straight CIF-SS Division I title and then backed that up with their second consecutive Division I Regional championship.
*The Servite wrestling team won two CIF-SS team titles, their first Masters Championship in school history and then sent a school-record eight individuals to the CIF-State meet.
*The Mater Dei boys’ basketball team lost its top four scorers to graduation after last season and didn’t win the Trinity League title outright for the first time ever, but still grinded their way to the CIF Southern California Regionals Open Division championship game.
*The Orange Lutheran girls’ water polo team was also playing their best at the end, capping the season with an upset victory against top-seeded Laguna Beach in the SoCal Regional Championship game.
There were other impressive postseason runs, such as the Mater Dei boys’ soccer team barely missing out on their first Trinity League title, and then advancing to the CIF-SS Division I semifinals, or the thrilling overtime win by the Santa Margarita boys’ basketball team over Chino Hills to win the CIF-SS Division 1 title.
Rosary’s state title was clearly the most remarkable feat of the winter season, however.
The Royals finished second to Mater Dei in the Trinity League and went 0-3 in the CIF-SS Open Division pool-play round, dropping them into Division I for the state playoffs. Rosary then got hot and won five straight games in the tournament, capped by 75-58 win against Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland in the championship game.
Rosary coach Richard Yoon, who led the Royals to a Division III state title in 2017, told reporters that his players never stopped believing in themselves.
“The obstacles this team has conquered, it’s a tribute to them,” he said.
The biggest obstacle for the JSerra girls’ soccer team was Santa Margarita, which twice played the Lions to a scoreless tie during Trinity League play before finishing a game behind in the standings.
JSerra marched through the CIF-SS playoffs behind high-scoring striker Isabella D’Aquila, but then D’Aquila headed off to Spain to train with the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team and the Lions had to forge on without their leading scorer.
They didn’t skip a beat, however, winning all three regional games by multiple goals.
Marcos Magana (126 pounds), Josh Medina (132), Teddy Okada (138), Neil Carter (170) and Tristen Wilson (195) won individual CIF-SS Central Division wrestling titles for Servite.
Wilson went on to place fourth at state, Medina was seventh and Okada and Valor Buck (152) placed eighth for the Friars, whose 11th place finish in Bakersfield was tops in Orange County and the highest in program history.
Heading into the season, it was clear the Mater Dei boys’ basketball team was facing a rebuilding year. The Monarchs did quick work of reaching a competitive level, and should be an even tougher force next season with their top seven scorers eligible to return.