Bishop O’Dowd, Bishop Montgomery and Bullard bump their way up from the preseason list but Long Beach Poly remains on top. Next regular season rankings will be done after the major holiday invitational tournaments.
By Ronnie Flores
Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens
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(These are the first rankings of the 2012-13 regular season; updated through games played Saturday, Dec. 15; preseason rating in parentheses)
1. (1) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 5-0
The top-ranked Jackrabbits opened their season by capturing the Pac Shores Tournament with three relatively easy victories and a 60-55 victory over L.A. City Section power Westchester in the title game. All-American candidate Roschon Prince netted 24 points, while tournament MVP Jordan Bell chipped in 10. For the first time under head coach Sharrief Metoyer, Poly ventures to the City of Palms Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla., where many of the nation’s top teams traditionally play before Christmas. Metoyer knows this will be his team’s toughest regular season competition ever and in order to come home victorious, Poly will need strong play from guards Brandon Staton and Ke’jhan Feagin, who combined for 23 points in the win over Westchester.
2. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 3-1
The Monarchs opened their season with quality wins over Carmichael Jesuit (64-42) and preseason No. 3 Sheldon (71-65). In the victory over Sheldon, Mr. Basketball USA candidate Aaron Gordon, last season’s state player of the year, netted 24 points as the defending NorCal Division I champions were without D’Erryl Williams (foot injury) and transfer Darin Johnson (eligibility issues). Last Thursday, Mitty traveled to Texas to take on national preseason No. 12 Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas) in a nationally-televised contest it led for most of the way before losing in overtime, 56-53. Gordon’s potential game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer. Mitty came back home and bounced back with a 71-60 victory over preseason No. 10 San Diego Lincoln at the 1st Drew Gooden Invitational. Gordon tweeted a picture of the ankle injury he suffered early in the game against Fort Bend Travis and even though the ankle still bothered him against Lincoln, Gordon finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
3. (2) Salesian (Richmond) 5-1
As it usually does, the defending CIF Division IV state champs opened its campaign at the Gridley Invitational and defeated state-ranked Newark Memorial by a point (55-54) before losing to still unbeaten Bullard of Fresno 60-54. Despite 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists from Cal-bound Jabari Bird, Salesian saw its 30-game winning streak snapped and its 35-game win streak against California opponents. The Pride bounced back with a quality 60-47 victory over Serra of Gardena at the Drew Gooden Invitational as Jermaine Edmonds had a fine all-around performance with 12 points, eight assists, four steals and three rebounds. The loss to Bullard only drops Salesian one spot because the team has a solid national-level schedule in front of it with the ability to move up.
4. (6) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 5-0 (6)
When told of Mater Dei’s preseason national ranking by PrepNation.com (No. 8) and USA Today (No. 11), star junior Stanley Johnson’s remark was “Huh, wow talk about added pressure.” Although he agreed with our assessment that the Monarchs’ were placed much too high, he did feel his supporting cast was underrated and that the Monarchs would still be a force on a national scale. Johnson and crew won the Jim Harris TOC with victories over Compton (64-56) and Trinity League rival JSerra (87-66). Mater Dei won’t be going to the City of Palms Tournament in Florida this season and instead will be attending the new Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. Besides the Monarchs and the host school, Sheldon, Bishop O’Dowd, Compton, Fairfax, Modesto Christian and Morgan Park of Chicago will hit Sin City before Christmas.
5. (12) Loyola (Los Angeles) 8-0 (12)
The questions surrounding the Cubs coming into the season were whether super junior point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright had enough support around him on the perimeter and had 7-foot junior Thomas Welsh improved enough to make an impact against top-tier teams. Both questions seem to be answered, as the Cubs have already won two tournament titles. Coach Jamal Adams’ club defeated Pacific Hills (79-75) and Santa Monica (68-62) en route to the South Bay Classic title and beat SaMoHi a second time and new No. 19 West Ranch at the Santa Monica Tournament. In addition to Welsh, Adams has another up and coming player in guard Mtume Armour, who especially shined in the early season win over Pac Hills.
6. (3) Sheldon (Sacramento) 1-1
Despite missing a good chunk of their team, including Washington-bound Darin Johnson, the Huskies still played Archbishop Mitty of San Jose tough, losing just 71-65 in only their second game of the season. Also among those out with injury was D’Erryl Williams, who was the Sacramento Bee Player of the Year last season. Freshman point guard Devin Greene showed he’s a new name to watch as he scored 20 points in the loss while Antonio Lewis had 17 points. Sheldon opened its season with a 77-72 win over San Leandro and will have a chance to earn its way back up with an impressive showing at the Tarkanian Classic and the Torrey Pines Classic.
7. (35) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 3-0
With a nice start to the season under new coach Lou Richie, the Dragons made the biggest move up from our preseason state rankings as they go up 28 spots and into the top 10. The main reason has been the play of sophomore power forward Ivan Rabb, who some have said could be one of the top sophomores not just in the state but in the nation. O’Dowd’s big win so far this season was against preseason No. 9 Deer Valley of Antioch by a 91-86 final score in their season opener as Rabb scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. The Dragons also have a one-point win over Oakland and a four-point win over preseason No. 17 Pacific Hills of Los Angeles.
8. (19) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 5-0
Coach Doug Mitchell’s Knights have also moved into the top 10 after opening the season with five wins. The victories have included two wins over teams ranked inside the preseason top 30. Making their way to the semifinals of the Westchester tournament, the Knights defeated Serra of Gardena 70-53 as Lamond Murray Jr. scored 17 points and Stephen Thompson Jr. scored 14 points to get to play the hosts in the tournament finals. In that game, Justin Bibbins and Lamond Murray Jr. each scored 17 points as the Knights again scored 70 points and defeated Westchester 70-63. It’s a strong start for Bishop Montgomery, but this year the team needs to show it can consistently play at such a high level.
9. (5) St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 5-1
The Braves’ loss is by just one point to No. 15 Inglewood, which does drop them out of the top five but they stay in the top 10 and could quickly make their way back up into the top five with some top nationally ranked teams upcoming on their schedule. Later this week, St. John Bosco heads to South Carolina to play in the Chick Fil-A Classic with a game against Wesleyan Christian Academy of North Carolina to open the tournament. Before the loss, the Braves also started the season with five wins as they captured the El Rancho Tournament championship. In the final, sophomore Tyler Dorsey scored 27 points while Isaac Hamilton scored 26 points in a 89-55 win over View Park of Los Angeles.
10. (33) Bullard (Fresno) 3-0
This ranking could still be too low for the Knights since they topped nationally ranked Salesian of Richmond 60-54 to win the Gridley tournament. Still, the CIF Central Section’s top-ranked team and the section’s two-time defending champions have only played three games and aren’t in any of the top national-level holiday tournaments. They are in the local Holiday Invitational Tournament are then go to the Oaks Christian tourney. Coach Tony Amundsen has his 10-man rotation once again clicking and it’s a senior oriented group as well. Leading players have included Gridley tourney MVP Corey Silverstrom (21 ppg), Calvin Young (18.7 ppg) and point guard Chris Russell (8 ppg, 6 apg).
11. (8) Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga) 7-2
The Eagles have split with Corona Centennial and their only other loss is to Westwind Prep of Arizona. Junior Jordan McLaughlin is averaging 17.5 ppg.
12. (NR) Centennial (Corona) 9-1
This team was almost put into the preseason state rankings despite having a losing record last season. So far this year, the wins have come as expected, including one against Etiwanda. The ranking can now match a much better record.
13. (17) Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) 6-2
To put this ranking in perspective, the Bruins also are now No. 1 among CIF Division IV level teams in Southern California. Their only losses are to higher-ranked Loyola and Bishop O’Dowd with big wins against Westchester and Deer Valley of Antioch.
14. (9) Deer Valley (Antioch) 8-2
Kendall Smith has had a 48-point outing so far while Marcus Lee has dominated up front. The two recently led the Wolverines past perennial NorCal power De La Salle to win the Chris Vontoure Classic. The only reason they aren’t ranked higher is that they’ve lost to both Bishop O’Dowd and Pacific Hills.
15. (15) Inglewood 5-2
Both of the Sentinels’ losses have come to Corona Centennial. Since the Huskies are now higher and Inglewood also has a big win over St. John Bosco, the current ranking is still matching the preseason ranking.
16. (7) De La Salle (Concord) 3-1
Coach Frank Allocco’s team was placed ahead of Deer Valley in the preseason because of being the defending CIF North Coast Section Division I champion. Now that Deer Valley has defeated the Spartans and Deer Valley itself has two losses, De La Salle had to tumble nine spots in these rankings. De La Salle and bubble squad Serra of Gardena were supposed to head to The Gulfshore Shootout in Naples, Fla., but the tournament was cancelled. Not only did De La Salle and Serra lose out on games, the schools also lost out on a significant amount of money and Serra coach Dwan Hurt is not too particularly happen about the situation.
17. (NR) Mission Viejo 11-0
As reported in last week’s State Stat Stars, Evan Zeller set a school record for the Diablos with a 50-point explosion. They also started this week with a perfect record. The best win, though, has only been the one over preseason No. 32 Foothill of Santa Ana.
18. (18) Newark Memorial (Newark) 2-2
Coach Craig Ashmore’s club might only be 2-2, but one loss was by just one point to Salesian of Richmond. The other one was to No. 15 Inglewood.
19. (NR) West Ranch (Valencia) 4-1
This team’s only loss has been to No. 5 Loyola. Quality wins have come against the likes of Chaminade, Alemany (defending Division III state champ) and Crespi of Encino.
20. (NR) Chaminade (West Hills) 4-1
The Eagles are right behind the West Ranch team that has dealt them their only loss. Top wins have come against El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, Santa Monica and Oaks Christian of Westlake Village.
Teams That Dropped Out:
Previous No. 10 Lincoln (San Diego), No. 11 Alemany (Mission Hills), No. 13 Compton, No. 14 Santa Monica, No. 16 Cathedral Catholic (San Diego), No. 20 Windward (Los Angeles).
Teams on the Bubble:
Alemany (Mission Hills) 4-2
Brentwood (Los Angeles) 8-1
Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 8-1
Central (Fresno) 5-0
El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 8-2
Fairfax (Los Angeles) 3-2
Foothill (Santa Ana) 7-1
Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 6-2
Lincoln (San Diego) 3-2
Modesto Christian 4-0
Oak Park (Agoura Hills) 7-1
Price (Los Angeles) 7-1
Santa Monica 7-3
Serra (Gardena) 6-3
Serra (San Mateo) 5-1
Village Christian (Sun Valley) 9-1
Westchester (Los Angeles) 8-4
Windward (Los Angeles) 2-3
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