By Harold Abend
Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens
The Cal-Hi Sports Caravan hit the road to Southern California last weekend to see No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) and No. 2 Windward (Los Angeles) in action on back-to-back nights.
First, it was three games at the Friday girls’ and boys’ session of the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei, and then on Saturday it was four of the six games at the P.A.W. Division IV showcase at JSerra in San Juan Capistrano.
If and when the two teams play each other in the CIF Southern California Open Division championship, we’ll give our thoughts on which one we think will win.
It didn’t happen in Orange County, but a different OC team, Troy of Fullerton, created the biggest headlines surrounding this week’s new state rankings when the Warriors knocked off previous No. 5 Long Beach Poly on the road 50-39. The Jackrabbits had to drop five spots in this week’s new rankings. Troy, meanwhile, moved up from No. 9 to No. 8.
Here are this week’s rankings:
(Updated through games played Saturday, Feb. 2; previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 23-0
The Monarchs have taken on anyone and everyone in the state and nation and remain unblemished. There’s not much more you can say about their quality of play so far this season. This week, they resume the march to the CIF Open Division championship and a fourth straight state title by playing Trinity League matchups with visiting Orange Lutheran and at Fullerton Rosary.
2. (2) Windward (Los Angeles) 22-0
With Jordin Canada at the point, the Wildcats can play with anyone, anywhere. Her first step is so quick she leaves even the quickest girl defenders flat-footed. Or, if the defense is able to collapse in the lane as she drives, her vision is so good she can pass the ball to an open teammate anywhere on the court. Nowhere was that more evident than in the win over JSerra at the P.A.W. Division IV Showcase.
3. (3) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 17-3
It’s hard to remember the last time the Dragons didn’t have a running clock against a league opponent. In actuality, in the newly aligned West Alameda County – Foothill League, Piedmont got within 24 points in that Dragons’ win last month. It just didn’t happen last week in a 58-point win at Castro Valley. This week, they take on Hayward and Berkeley before a matchup with No. 4 St. Mary’s of Stockton at home on Saturday that the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan will be covering.
4. (4) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 22-1
The Rams will travel to No. 3 Bishop O’Dowd on Saturday for the return trip in a series that began last year when the Dragons lost in Stockton. Last year, though, there was no open division so it was much bigger for rankings purposes. This year, the contest may not mean much because there could be a rematch in the CIF Northern California Open Division final. At this point, it looks like the winner of this game could end up as the No. 1 seed for that open division with the loser still in line to perhaps get No. 2. Before playing the Dragons, St. Mary’s plays at Stagg of Stockton and then hosts 23-2 McNair (a D2 state-ranked squad). The team will end its regular season on Feb. 11 at home against St. Francis of Sacramento.
5. (6) St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 20-4
For several weeks and various reasons, the Panthers were sitting one spot behind Long Beach Poly in the state top 20 even though they had a head-to-head win over the Jackrabbits. Now, with Poly taking a loss to Troy of Fullerton, there’s no doubt about St. Mary’s being higher. The Panthers didn’t exactly blow out unranked Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth in their big game of last week, but they did win 40-36. Gabby Green and Elexis Goodwin both led the way with 15 points. St. Mary’s closes its regular season this week with matchups against Salesian of Richmond and Eastside College Prep of Palo Alto.
6. (7) Chaminade (West Hills) 22-2
Last week saw the Eagles post two more easy Mission League wins, 56-39 at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and 79-43 versus visiting Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood. The supposed stinker loss is to an Oaks Christian team that couldn’t stay with Mater Dei but which did when it was at full strength. Head coach Kelli Dimuro and the girls move up a spot pending a rematch this week with No. 17 Alemany.
7. (8) Santiago (Corona) 22-2
It was a ho-hum week for the Sharks, but their high state ranking was greatly strengthened due to Fullerton Troy’s win over previous No. 5 Long Beach Poly because it was Santiago that handled Troy 65-57 back on Jan. 12. After the girls toppled Roosevelt of Eastvale 79-31, last week ended for them with an 85-18 romp past Corona. Leading scorers were Shiana Carrington (22 points), Chrishae Rowe (20) and Monique Billings (19). Santiago ends its regular season with league contests against M.L. King of Riverside and Centennial of Corona.
8. (9) Troy (Fullerton) 20-3
Heading into last Saturday night’s game against previous No. 5 Long Beach Poly, it’s doubtful that the Jackrabbits thought that a freshman from Troy would score 19 points against them. That’s what Barbara Stanggan did in the key non-league contest, however, in helping the Warriors to a 50-39 triumph. Troy rolled in its other two games last week – 58-24 vs. La Habra and 60-20 vs. Buena Park – and moves up to No. 8 in this week’s rankings. The team should cruise this week in its final two regular season outings against Sonora of La Habra and Fullerton.
9. (11) Miramonte (Orinda) 21-1
Long Beach Poly losing paves the way for a team everyone that has seen them, including Windward Coach Vanessa Nygaard who beat them, and girls basketball guru Bob Corwin, who saw them in that game, believe is legit. With two easy league wins last week, 91-25 over Walnut Creek Las Lomas, and 83-26 over Lafayette Acalanes, and coupled with the big win over No. 15 Mitty two weeks ago, the Mats get the larger rankings bump they couldn’t get last week. The girls already have an 80-43 win this week over arch-rival Moraga Campolindo.
10. (5) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 20-4
It’s hard to figure how the Jackrabbits were beaten by 11 points by No. 8 Troy one week after they pushed No. 2 and unbeaten Windward into overtime before suffering a loss. Senior Jada Matthews helped keep Poly close in the defeat and finished with 13 points. And unlike Troy and many other top teams, this group of girls can’t put it into cruise control this week. One of the team’s final two regular season contests will be Thursday against No. 11 Millikan.
11. (10) Millikan (Long Beach) 23-2
Erin Hagan sparkled with 18 points and was closely followed by Alyssa Benton (16 points) and Basha Brulee-Willis (15 points) when the Rams beat Wilson of Long Beach 73-40 to conclude a 2-0 week. They actually have to drop one spot this week, however, due to having a head-to-head loss to Long Beach Poly and then with Poly having to fall down to No. 10 after it lost on Saturday to Troy of Fullerton. This week, Millikan will get to play Poly again and will need to win to avenge an earlier loss and set up a tie with the Jackrabbits for the Moore League championship.
12. (12) Etiwanda 22-2
Coach Anders Anderson’s squad is still riding high from its win two weeks ago over Serra of Gardena, a defending champ from the CIF Southern Section from last season. The Eagles didn’t let up in wins last week over Los Osos (83-25) and Alta Loma (80-30). The are expected to wrap up a 10-0 run through the Baseline League this week with contests against Rancho Cucamonga and Glendora.
13. (13) Salesian (Richmond) 21-4
There were no problems last week in a running clock win over El Cerrito and a 64-35 victory over Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame. This week, the Pride have a Tuesday night matchup the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan will be attending with No. 5 Berkeley St. Mary’s at Contra Costa College. They already own a 62-59 overtime win in a game last month at St. Mary’s College.
14. (14) Carondelet (Concord) 18-3
It was a very solid week for the Cougars after head coach Margaret Gartner’s girls registered two East Bay Athletic League wins. First, Carondelet won 78-48 at Amador Valley (Pleasanton), a team that owns a win over the Monte Vista (Danville) team the Cougars lost to earlier in the season. Second, the Cougars avenged that defeat with 14-point win over the Mustangs last week at home. In the win over Monte Vista ,junior sensation Natalie Romeo just missed a triple-double after finishing with 31 points, 10 steals and nine assists. This week, Carondelet has two league games before a non-league contest on Saturday at home with up-and-down Antioch Deer Valley.
15. (15) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 17-5
The Monarchs posted two wins in West Catholic Athletic League play, 56-43 at vastly improved St. Francis (Mountain View) and 66-18 over visiting Belmont Notre Dame, but they’re not in first place. The Sacred Heart Cathedral team that beat them at home is in the catbird seat by a half game, and Mitty travels to San Francisco on Thursday for a game with the Irish the Caravan plans on attending.
16. (16) Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 21-2
For the second time on the season the Mustangs have posted an Inland Valley League win over defending CIF Southern California Division II champion J.W. North of Riverside. Last week’s win was 55-46, which was even a bit more impressive than the previous 66-63 triumph since it came at J.W. North. Rancho Verde will close its regular season with meetings this week with Arlington of Riverside and Vista del Lago of Moreno Valley.
17. (18) Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills) 20-5
With a game looming this week at home against No. 7 Chaminade, the Warriors move up one position in the rankings due to previous No. 17 La Jolla Country Day’s loss to St. Bernard of Playa del Rey. Alemany won its games last week over Louisville of Woodland Hills (80-56) and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks (49-42). When the two teams met earlier in Mission League play, Chaminade prevailed 49-46.
18. (19) JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 18-6
The Lions got almost all the calls in the first half, and only trailed 26-25 at halftime in an eventual 59-48 loss to No. 2 Windward, but they showed on the court that they are a Top 20 team and maybe should be higher in the rankings. This is why the team received a one-spot bump despite that defeat. The upside for head coach Mary Rossignol is the team is very young. August Touchard (15 points vs Windward) is a senior, but Coco Miller (16 points vs Windward) is a sophomore, 6-foot-4 center Megan House is a sophomore, and 6-foot-2 power forward Courtney Vaccher is a junior. The Lions get tested again this week against Orange Lutheran.
19. (20) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 17-6
Last week’s newcomer showed it belongs in the rankings after giving Mater Dei just as much in a 74-46 loss as other ranked teams that have played the No. 1 in the nation Monarchs. The result is after posting one of the higher point totals against Mater Dei, and in the den at the Nike Extravaganza in Santa Ana, the Lions can’t drop out in this group and in fact move up a spot.
20. (NR) St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 18-6
After the big 56-48 win over previous No. 17 La Jolla Country Day, the Vikings enter the top 20 behind Oaks Christian and the JSerra team that beat them in a fairly close game. The only stinker loss is to Canyon Springs, but key wins have come over Keppel of Alhambra and Ridgeview of Bakersfield. Woodbridge of Irvine and its two out of state losses were considered but the Warriors have a recent loss to Edison of Huntington Beach. The Vikings might not last long into next week if they can’t get past Serra of Gardena this week on the road after a two-point win at home two weeks ago.
Dropped out: Previous No. 17 La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 10-11
On the Bubble
Berkeley 13-9, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 19-6, Bishop’s (La Jolla) 16-9, Bullard (Fresno) 17-4, Brea Olinda (Brea) 18-4, Brookside Christian (Stockton) 19-4, Cajon (San Bernardino) 23-0, Canyon (Canyon Country) 20-4, Centennial (Corona) 20-3, Clovis West (Fresno) 16-5, Eastside College Prep (East Palo Alto) 16-5, Enterprise (Redding) 22-1, Hanford 19-4, Heritage (Brentwood) 17-4, Horizon (San Diego) 17-6, J.W. North (Riverside) 15-5, Kennedy (Sacramento) 18-4, Keppel (Alhambra) 21-4, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 22-2, Lynbrook (San Jose) 18-3, Lynwood 16-5, McClymonds (Oakland) 17-3, McNair (Stockton) 23-2, Miller (Fontana) 20-3, Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 19-3*, Oakland Tech (Oakland) 16-4, Orange Lutheran (Orange) 21-3, Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 20-3, Sacramento 19-4, Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 18-4, San Clemente 16-5, Serra (Gardena) 19-5, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 20-5, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 18-2, Woodbridge (Irvine) 22-3.
(*not including forfeits)
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