June 14, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Top-seeded La Habra looks to make more history in CIF 3AA finals vs. St. Bonaventure

La Habra students cheer on the Highlanders during the semifinal victory. (Photo courtesy Mark Bausman, For OC Sports Zone).

It’s a very special week for La Habra High School as the top-seeded boys basketball team gets ready to take on St. Bonaventure for the CIF 3AA title Saturday afternoon at the Toyota Arena in Ontario.

Tip-off is 2 p.m.

“Very excited for the opportunity this Saturday,” said La Habra coach Aaron Riekenberg. “Our boys have earned the first CIF final appearance for our school in its 70 year existence. So proud of this group, but we still want more.”

Riekenberg said his team, which is riding a 19-game winning streak, has plenty of respect for St. Bonaventure (24-8).

“St. Bonaventure is an extremely well coached team with some next level talent,” he said. “Dylan Benner is a special player that will be playing D1 basketball and the rest of their starting five can really fill it up as well. They’re experienced at this level as this will be back to back CIF final appearances for them. We will have our hands full, but nothing comes easy at this stage.”

St. Bonaventure advanced to the CIF 4AA finals last year, losing to Valencia of Valencia 65-62.

La Habra (27-4) has been led in the playoffs by junior Jaedon Anderson, who is averaging 18.3 points and 5.3 rebounds; sophomore Acen Jimenez, who is averaging 15 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.8 steals; and junior Grayson Sinek, who is averaging 17 points, five rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals.

The Highlanders scheduled starting lineup for Saturday will include Anderson, Jimenez, Sinek and juniors Sebastian Esparza and Ulavai Fetuli. 

La Habra reached the finals by defeating Yorba Linda 71-56, Long Beach Jordan 75-73, Sage Hill 47-44 and Hesperia 63-44.

St. Bonaventure advanced by defeating Inglewood 56-39, Bonita 67-53, Valley View 51-44 and Serra 67-64.

Both teams will also advance to the CIF Southern California regionals next week.


—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com