By Zach Cavanagh
Capistrano Valley Christian boys basketball team had been to CIF-SS semifinals in recent memory, but never to a CIF-SS Final.
In 2015, the Eagles had advanced to the Division 5A semifinals but fell two points short of the championship game. CVC went back to the Division 5A semifinals in 2016 but lost by 20 points.
The Eagles had posted plenty of 20-win seasons and won league championships, but even the opportunity to play in the ultimate postseason title game had eluded them. That was until last Saturday, Feb. 16.
CVC, No. 3 seed in Division 3A, defeated No. 2 seed Palos Verdes, 48-34, to advance to the program’s first CIF-SS championship game. The Eagles will take on Palm Springs for the title on Saturday, Feb. 22, 12:30 p.m. at Azusa Pacific University.
All season, people looked to dynamic senior Festus Ndumanya to lead the Eagles, but in the quarterfinals and semifinals, people on the outside took notice of CVC’s team effort.
Junior Luke Powell led the Eagles with 15 points in the semifinals and 22 points in the quarterfinals. Ndumanya put up 13 points in the semifinal, and senior Riely Petronis scored 11 points in the semifinal.
CVC’s championship game opponent is Desert Empire League champion Palm Springs. The Indians beat the No. 4 and No. 1 seeds in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to reach the title game.
CVC and Palm Springs have nearly identical scoring averages with 59.8 and 57.9 points per game, respectively, and 49.6 and 49.3 points allowed per game, respectively.