Cal-Hi Sports Insider Blog

Quick-hitting, behind-the-scenes news and notes from the CalHiSports.com staff, including previews of upcoming content and events.

Need To Know: Internet Gambling

Sports’ betting has been in existence for several centuries. In ancient days, people used to place bets on gladiators who fight in the various Roman amphitheaters and fighting pits. Betting on horse races was quite common as well and has continued to evolve over the years.
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Mental Training: Free with Lucid app

Aaron Gordon as All-American. Photo: Ronnie Flores.

Former San Jose Archbishop Mitty CIF state champion Aaron Gordon only one of a growing list of professional athletes who are using mental training app launched earlier this year by Lucid. The Mission of San Francisco Bears also have used it. Now, any high school athletes in all sports can use this app for FREE.

Note: To check out this absolutely free app that can greatly enhance the mental skills of any high school athlete, CLICK HERE.

As many will remember, when the NBA’s Aaron Gordon was developing into a two-time Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year at Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, he had difficulty at the free throw line. Gordon would fidget at the line and had free throw shooting percentages that hovered around 50 percent.

Today, playing for the Orlando Magic, Gordon is making approximately 70 percent of his free throws. So was it just a question of practice, practice, practice?

Actually, the answer to that question is no. It was more of a mental aspect of training that Gordon has welcomed and it’s that mental training in the form of the Lucid phone app that all California basketball players — boys or girls — and all athletes in any sports really can benefit from and at no cost.

Graham Betchart of Lucid spent time on the phone with Cal-Hi Sports this week to discuss Lucid and how the system works.

“It’s all about next play speed,” said Betchart, who in addition to working with Gordon has worked with other NBA players, NFL players such as Brandon Marshall of the New York Giants. “It’s how fast you can think about and focus on the next play. Aaron had to buy into it. I don’t care if you’ve made 80 mistakes in a row, it’s all about the next play.”

Download the Lucid app on your phone today.


“Buy in. Buy in,” Gordon says on the GetLucid.com web site. “More than anything you need to be mentally strong. Training with Lucid gives me the mental strength I need to perform in the NBA.”

Betchart and Lucid have broken down the mental training program into a five-minute daily listening session that they call MVP.

“M stands for meditation, V stands for visualization and P is for positive self talk,” said Betchart, who also has helped coach the boys team at Mission of San Francisco, which on Friday won the CIF Division III state title. “Most young kids want to be MVPs. What I will see after someone consistently uses the program is a resilient person who has the ability to fail but will not get caught up in failure.”

When you think about it, this mental strength to play in the moment, maintain focus from play to play and remain calm carries over into all sports. Examples include quarterbacks who have just thrown an interception, a golfer who has hooked a tee shot into the trees and a baseball player who has struck out multiple times in row.

When the mental training program is operating on the app, after a brief time of meditation (breathing is present and centered), Betchart leads the athlete in visualizing himself or herself succeeding in difficult circumstances.

“The brain doesn’t know the difference when you are doing in your mind and when you are doing it for real,” he said. “It’s about imagining yourself put in situations and then overcoming them.”

The five-minute program ends with a series of positive self-talk statements. This would be similar before smart phones to taping up self-affirming words on a mirror so you see them every morning. Examples could be: “I will not miss a free throw tonight. I will ace that test.”

This mental training isn’t just for athletes, but the early focus of the app’s launch is on younger student-athletes and making everything easy and free.

“You simply download it onto your phone, for free, and then choose the workout you want,” Betchart said. “It’s mind-blowing how this mental training can improve anybody’s game.”


Boys BB: D2 to D5 CIF Title Picks

We love the story of San Francisco Mission trying to become the first S.F. public school to win a CIF state basketball title and we actually think the Bears will get it done in the Division III final on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center. Go inside to see which other teams we think will win state crowns this weekend.

RELATED: Girls BB Open & D1 Predictions |Boys BB Open & D1 Predictions | Girls BB D2-D5 Picks

Note: We hope you enjoy this free story on CalHiSports.com. To see next week’s final State Top 20 & final divisional state rankings will require a Gold Club membership. Some of the annual all-state teams this year and all state record updates also will be for Gold Club only. You can get this membership, however, for as low as $9.99 for three months. For info, CLICK HERE.

(All selections done with utmost respect to all players and coaches who have reached a state championship game.)
(Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens wrote two of these four breakdowns)

NorCal hoop fans have been following Moreau’s Damari Milstead since he was pup freshman starter four years ago. Photo: Twitter.com.


Division II
Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 25-9 vs. Esperanza (Anaheim) 29-3, Saturday, 4 pm

This game will feature two talented guards that both scored over 40 points in a game during the postseason, but we will give the slight nod to the Aztecs, who entered our Top 20 state rankings this week at No. 18 and has the senior headed to play in the Pac-12 next season.

Stanford-bound Kezie Okpala scored a school record 46 points during the regional semifinals and is averaging 30.7 points and 10.6 rebounds for the SoCal champions, who are looking for a state championship after losing twice in the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs. The Mariners’ resiliency will be tough for Esperanza to overcome. They trailed St. Francis of Mountain View 69-60 with under four minutes remaining before coming back to force overtime and getting the win in the NorCal final. Their Grand Canyon-bound standout Damari Milstead scored 43 points in that game.

While Milstead is averaging 25.9 points per game, the Mariners also have a difference maker in freshman Kyree Walker who is averaging 21.3 points per game. If he has a big game, it could be the difference on the Mariners pulling off the win, which wouldn’t be an upset but the winner of a contest that we look at being basically 50-50.

Predicted Score: Esperanza 72, Moreau 68

Division III
Mission (San Francisco) 34-1 vs. Villa Park 27-6, Friday, 4 pm

Both of these teams have had to overcome some adversity to reach the Golden 1 Center.

For Mission, it had to beat a St. Ignatius of San Francisco team that was the No. 2 seed in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division when the playoffs began. Mission was accomplished in the NorCal semifinals. The Bears then had to go on the road and beat Vanden of Fairfield team that earlier this season only lost to state No. 7 Sheldon by seven points. They got through that as well and are now on the verge of becoming the first S.F. public school to win a state title. The only other S.F. school to reach the state finals was Washington in 1982, which lost in the Division I championship to Carson. The Bears are already on the all-time state list for most wins in a season. The S.F. record is 36 set in 2001 by McAteer. While that record can’t be broken, McAteer that season only got as far as the NorCal finals.

Villa Park had to overcome losing in the CIF Southern Section divisional finals to Colony of Ontario. In fact, that loss was doubly hard to swallow because the Spartans also fell to 0-6 all-time in CIFSS finals. But now after avenging the loss to Colony in the SoCal D3 final, Villa Park can win its first state title.

Both teams are guard oriented. Mission features all-state grid-hooper Niamey Harris (23 points vs. Vanden) along with seniors Jamion Wright and Jayden Fostin. Villa Park has brothers Myles and Julian Franklin. Caleb Banuelos also can be huge making 3-pointers for the Spartans. In the end, it’s too hard to go against Mission’s momentum plus the fact that Villa Park has a loss to a Campolindo of Moraga team that went out in the NorCal D3 regional quarterfinals.

Predicted Score: Mission 60, Villa Park 54

Division IV
St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) 27-7 vs. Helix (La Mesa) 31-5, Saturday, 12 noon

While it’s hard to go against a Helix squad that has ramped it up to a very high level since the mid-season addition of 6-foot-9 junior transfer Miles Norris, we are in this case just because of how well the Bruins have done against elite NorCal competition all season.

Obviously, if St. Patrick-St. Vincent comes up with a stinker outing like it did in the NCS Division IV semifinals against Lick-Wilmerding (a 71-68 overtime loss) of San Francisco it wouldn’t even be close against Helix. We are going off the assumption that the team instead will be like the one that beat Lick-Wilmerding in a NorCal rematch (73-55) and then beat No. 1 seed Palma of Salinas (73-48) in the NorCal final. The Bruins, with 6-foot-4 Tavian Henderson (16.0 ppg) leading the way, also notched a regular season win over NorCal Open Division team Salesian of Richmond and early on also beat NorCal D1 state finalist James Logan of Union City.

One of Helix’s losses before Norris was by 57-48 to Serra of San Diego. Later on, head coach John Singer’s crew beat the Conquistadors 80-36. Helix also has Dylan Lee on the perimeter plus the all-around skills of Jaylen Arnold.

Prediction: St. Patrick-St. Vincent 66, Helix 61

Division V
St. Francis CCC (Watsonville) 29-2 vs. Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) 28-2, 12 noon, Friday

It will be a matchup of two teams making their first appearance in a state final and we will give the slight advantage to the team that has a head coach with a state championship pedigree.

The Huskies have won two straight games by one point led by head coach Harvey Kitani, who won two state championships at Fairfax of Los Angeles with Division I titles in 2004 and 2007. Junior guard Alex Garcia had 26 points in the SoCal finals while sophomore guard Chris Koon was the CIF-SS John Wooden Division V Player of the Year.

The Sharks, who have now won 23 straight games, were led by Jason Watkins in their NorCal championship win against Elliot Christian of Lodi as he scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half and knocked down a go-ahead three pointer with under a minute to go.

We also can’t get Rolling Hills Prep’s win over a CIF Southern Section champ from a higher division out of our heads. In that one, RHP handled Brentwood of Los Angeles 67-45.

Prediction: Rolling Hills Prep 57, St. Francis CCC 55

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle:


Girls BB: D2 to D5 CIF Title Picks

The somewhat awkward aspect of Santa Ana Mater Dei being in a “down” season from where the team usually finds itself (in the Open Division) to perhaps winning a Division II state title is one of the most interesting angles of this weekend’s CIF state finals. For SoCal’s sake, Mater Dei better win the D2 title game, too. We think the NorCal teams are going to take it in D3, D4 and D5.
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Super 8 Girls BB State Ranks Update

Mitty, Clovis West and Long Beach Poly are locked into the top three spots no matter what happens in the CIF Open Division state final between the top two. It’s after that, in which the order gets messy and the way it has been done this week may not be the way it ends up. Debate among us will continue until the final rankings.
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Super 8 Boys BB State Ranks Update

Woodcreek can still steal the final No. 1 ranking at the end, but for now still has to be fourth heading into CIF Open Division state title game behind No. 3 Chino Hills. SoCal D1 champ Roosevelt of Eastvale also moves up into the eighth spot.

NOTE: Our updated State Top 20 with lists of many other teams on the bubble will be posted each week but will require Gold Club membership to see for the rest of the season. Our breakdowns and analysis of what’s coming up and what’s already happened can’t be matched anywhere else because we’ve been following the statewide scene years and years longer than any other media source. For sign up info, CLICK HERE.

(Through games of Saturday, March 18; Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. (1) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 30-2
After getting past Mater Dei for the second time in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup (this time for the CIF Southern California Open Division title), the Knights now have to travel to Northern California to take on No. 4 Woodcreek for the Open Division state title. Yes, they are favored but their trip north to open the season did not go well in loss to Bishop O’Dowd even though they were not at full strength.

Jordan Brown scores two of his 31 points during Woodcreek’s win over Sheldon in NorCal Open Division championship. Photo: Willie Eashman.


2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 33-3
Despite the 60-53 margin in the loss to Bishop Montgomery, it was a closer matchup than when the Monarchs lost to the Knights in the CIF Southern Section finals. And if they hadn’t gotten called for two offensive fouls in the last 30 seconds, it might even have turned out differently.

3. (3) Chino Hills 30-3
It’s obvious to rank the Huskies third because their two in-state losses were to Mater Dei and Bishop Montgomery, they beat Mater Dei once and they have a head-to-head win over NorCal Open Division champ Woodcreek.

4. (5) Woodcreek (Roseville) 32-2
Many analysts felt the Timberwolves were going to lose in their rematch with No. 7 Sheldon in the NorCal Open Division final. They were down by 13 in the third quarter, but roared back for a 66-59 win to prove without doubt they were the superior squad all along.

5. (6) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 27-3
Although the Trailblazers have a loss to St. Augustine in the SoCal Open playoffs, their other quality wins cause them to be higher in the rankings. Two of the teams Sierra Canyon defeated — La Lumiere of Indiana and Memphis East of Tennessee — are among the top five-ranked teams in the nation.

6. (4) St. Augustine (San Diego) 28-5
Saints’ losses to Fairfax and Heritage Christian can’t be completely ignored, and their final ranking next week will depend on the outcome of the CIF Open and D1 state title games.

7. (7) Sheldon (Sacramento) 30-4
The Huskies fell one spot after losing to No. 4 Woodcreek in the Sac-Joaquin Section D1 final but remain at No. 7 after losing to the Timberwolves in the NorCal Regional final.

8. (12) Roosevelt (Eastvale) 25-8
SoCal D1 top seed Damien of La Verne was in the eighth spot last week, but now the SoCal D1 champions have been moved up into it. Matt Mitchell had 35 points when Mustangs beat Centennial of COrona 68-65 to win program’s first SoCal regional title.


Boys BB: D2-D3-D4-D5 Regional Finals

Helix players mixt it up with at least one of their young fans after they topped Immanuel of Reedley in CIF SoCal Division III championship. Photo: @HelixScotties/Twitter.com.


In boys basketball regional finals played Saturday but not at Santa Clara or Long Beach State, winners were Moreau Catholic and Esperanza in D2, Mission of San Francisco and Villa Park in D3, St. Patrick-St. Vincent and Helix in D4 and St. Francis CCC of Watsonville and Rolling Hills Prep in D5.

RELATED: Other Girls Regional Division Finals | Girls NorCal Open & D1 Finals | Boys NorCal Open & D1 Finals | Girls SoCal Open & D1 Finals | Boys SoCal Open & D1 Finals

Note: We hope you enjoy this free story on CalHiSports.com. To see next week’s new State Top 20 & new divisional state rankings will require a Gold Club membership. Some of the annual all-state teams this year and all state record updates also will be for Gold Club only. You can get this membership, however, for as low as $9.99 for three months. For info, CLICK HERE.

(Writeups for this post by Paul Muyskens, Ronnie Flores & Mark Tennis)

Division II North
Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 81, St. Francis (Mountain View) 77

Damari Milstead showed why he is a big time recruit as he all but carried his team to a state championship appearance. The four-year standout scored 43 points on the night in front of a sellout crowd at the 1,300-seat gym in Mountain View. Milstead had 19 points alone in the first half but the Lancers led 36-34 at halftime and exploded for 26 points in the third quarter to take a five-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The game still needed overtime to decide a winner after being tied at 71 after regulation. With 3:52 to go in regulation, the Mariners trailed 69-60 but they tied it late in regulation on a Milstead layup and ended the fourth quarter on a 11-2 run with six of those points coming from Milstead. Failing behind 75-71 in overtime, it was once again Milstead time for the Mariners as he would score the game’s next five points to give his team the lead. He also made four free throws late to clinch it. We actually had Moreau higher in our divisional rankings than the CIF seeding and it was yet another example of the Cal-Hi rankings being more accurate than the CIF seeding. Milstead was a freshman three years ago when Moreau lost to Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in the CIF Division IV state final.

Kezie Okpala has been a monster for Esperanza of Anaheim all season and has now led the Aztecs to within one win of their first-ever CIF state title. Photo: Devin Ugland.


Division II South:
Esperanza (Anaheim) 68, Pasadena 58

The Aztecs used a hot shooting hand to build a big lead and advance to their first-ever CIF state final, but not before the Bulldogs made a game of it in the final period. Esperanza, which was state-ranked for most of the
regular season and qualified for the CIFSS Open Division playoffs (where it lost its first two games), built a 49-28 lead at the end of the third period and looked like it would waltz to face Moreau Catholic of Hayward in next week’s state final. Pasadena, which was also making its first appearance in regional final and was a CIFSS Division 1A finalist, caught fire to makes things interesting. In particular, junior guard Bryce Hamilton caught fire, as he scored 19 fourth quarter points, including five 3-pointers, to get his team within 62-57, but no closer. Hamilton, one of the state’s best junior guards, finished with a game-high 34 points. One of the state’s best players regardless of class, Stanford-bound Kezie Okpala, finished with 28 points for Esperanza, which also got 17 points from Jared Obermeier. Esperanza upped its record to 29-3, while Pasadena finished 27-7.

Division III North:
Mission (San Francisco) 72, Vanden (Fairfield) 68

Yet another overflow crowd saw this game and CIF officials actually had to delay the start of the second half as they had to try to push out some of the crowd and checked tickets. Before the delay, it was a 43-29 lead for the Bears but the Vikings came back and cut that lead down to 55-51 entering the third quarter, thanks to a 15-2 run. Down eight with 3:35 remaining, the Vikings then got it down to one point with 1:13 left and would have a chance to have the lead but the Bears defense held strong and came away with the win. We saw tweets that Mission became only the fourth San Francisco public school team to reach a state boys final, but that is not correct. There’s only been one S.F. public school to play for a state title and that was Washington in 1982 in a Division I loss to Carson. In the last two attempts for an S.F. public school win a NorCal title, McAteer lost to head coach Don Lippi and Oakland Skyline in Division I in 1989 and lost to Archbishop Riordan (an S.F. public school) in Division III in 2001.

Division III South:
Villa Park 78, Colony (Ontario) 67

The Spartans will join their league rivals from Esperanza in the state finals after avenging an earlier loss to the Titans and not only that they did it as a road team. Villa Park (24-6) had lost to Colony 74-70 in the CIFSS Division 2AA final, but came through in the second half (including a 24-6 run in the third quarter) to win in a rematch. Colony (30-6) just couldn’t fight back after that. The Spartans have been a big story in Orange County all year for how they’ve played without 2016 standout Evan Battey. They were led Saturday by Julien Franklin and Caleb Banuelos with 19 and 18 points, respectively.

Division IV North:
St. Patrick-St. Vincent (Vallejo) 73, Palma (Salinas) 48

Despite playing in front of a crazy crowd on the road, the Bruins came out on fire on a 10-0 run and led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter and by as many as 18 in the first half on their way to a comfortable win. Leading 32-17 at halftime, they turned into a 58-32 lead entering the fourth quarter. They will be the underdog next week when they take on Helix of La Mesa, but no one expected them to beat a Palma team by 25 points that last year lost to Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood in the D4 state final and had the type of experienced players that made the Chieftains a favorite to win their second straight NorCal crown. St. Patrick-St. Vincent, which bounced back from an upset loss to Lick-Wilmerding in the NCS D4 semifinals but showed their promise in an earlier win over NorCal Open Division team Richmond Salesian, improved to 27-7. The Bruins also will be the only boys or girls hoop team going to Sacramento trying to win a state title that won a CIF state football title last December. They won theirs in Division 6A against Strathmore.

Division IV South:
Helix (La Mesa) 80, Immanuel (Reedley) 69

This game went back-and-forth and was only a one-point margin for the host Highlanders going into the fourth quarter. That’s when Dylan Lee heated up from 3-point line and ended up scoring 14 of his 20 points in that final period to lift Helix to the win. The Highlanders (31-5) not only advanced to their first-ever CIF state final (too bad we didn’t have state playoffs in the early 1970s when they had the legendary Bill Walton) but extended their current winning streak to 22 games. Head coach John Singer, who has won more than 600 games, also got huge performances from Jaylen Arnold (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Miles Norris (19 points, 12 rebounds). Immanuel (23-8) kept up with the Highlanders for most of the night behind the hot shooting of junior guard Nate Kendricks, who finished with a game-high 32 points.

Division V
St. Francis (Watsonville) 69, Elliot Christian (Lodi) 64

Well before the game got going, the gym in Watsonville was standing room only and there was still a long line of people trying to get in. They were rewarded with a game that was tied with under two minutes left and was just a one-point game with under 30 seconds remaining. Jason Gallo came up with a big rebound and was fouled with 10.5 seconds left as he went to the line and made both free throws to extend the Sharks lead to 67-64. The Eagles had a chance for a tying three pointer but were unable to knock it down and Gallo added two more free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining to account for the five-point margin. Both teams were trying to reach their first CIF state final and it appeared they were going to collide on this night the very first time we analyzed the top teams from D5 in Northern California last month. We don’t have final totals yet, but we know that Elliot Christian senior Jimmy Beltz will not be breaking the single season state 3-point record set at 165 in 1994 by Chad Bickley of Santa Maria Valley Christian.

Division V South:
Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro 60, Notre Dame (Riverside) 59

In a matchup of teams both making their first appearance in a SoCal regional final, it was the team with the head coach with a state championship pedigree that advanced to next week¹s state title game. That coach is Harvey Kitani, who won two D1 state titles at L.A. Fairfax (2004, 2007) before taking over the Huskies this season. Rolling Hills Prep, which moved to 28-2, will face St. Francis of Watsonville after holding off Notre Dame for the gut check road win. Notre Dame trailed by double digits with a minute and a half remaining, but hit some late 3-pointers and saw RHP miss some free throws to make things interesting. The Huskies were led to victory by junior Alex Garcia, who finished with 26 points, and CIFSS John Wooden Division V Player of the Year Chris Koon, who finished with 13 points.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle:


Girls BB: D2-D3-D4-D5 Regional Finals

Campolindo of Moraga’s girls show their pride after triumph in CIF NorCal Division III championship against St. Mary’s of Berkeley. Photo: @CampolindoHS/Twitter.com.


In girls basketball regional finals played on Friday-Saturday but not at Long Beach State or Santa Clara, winners were Mater Dei of Santa Ana and Vanden in D2, Rosary and Campolindo in D3, Los Osos and West Campus in D4 and Eastside College Prep and Rolling Hills Prep in D5. Mater Dei actually won its game on Friday.
Read more…


Super 8 Girls BB State Ranks Update

Pinewood avenges a loss to Bishop O’Dowd and has now joined the top five while looming and seemingly ready for a NorCal Open Division showdown against state No. 1 Archbishop Mitty is 2015 Open Division state champ St. Mary’s of Stockton.

NOTE: Our updated State Top 20 with expanded writeups of the first eight teams plus the next 12 and lists of many other teams on the bubble will be posted each week but will require Gold Club membership to see for the rest of the season. Our breakdowns and analysis of what’s coming up and what’s already happened can’t be matched anywhere else because we’ve been following the statewide scene years and years longer than any other media source. For sign up info, CLICK HERE.

(After games of Saturday, March 11)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. (1) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 26-2
College coaches were everywhere for the Monarchs’ 92-71 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral to start the NorCal Open Division playoffs. They were there mainly to see super sophomore Haley Jones, who didn’t disappoint with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Haley Jones from No. 1 Archbishop Mitty is one of the top sophomores in the nation. Photo: Harold Abend.


2. (2) Clovis West (Fresno) 31-2
If there were any thoughts about it being easy for the SoCal Open Division top seed to cruise to a spot in the state finals, those were dashed quickly as Troy of Fullerton pushed the Golden Eagles until the last 20 seconds before falling 68-61.

3. (3) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 26-3
On the other side of the Southern Regional Open Bracket to Clovis West is the Jackrabbits, who did their part in advancing toward an expected matchup vs. the Golden Eagles on Saturday by rolling over Fairfax 77-58. Jasmine Jones led the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

4. (4) Mission Hills (San Marcos) 30-2
We saw both Mission Hills and Clovis West lose at the MLK Showcase in Stockton so it would be kind of funny if the two played for the SoCal Open Division title. The Grizzlies certainly can’t be forgotten heading into their matchup at Poly on Tuesday after beating Etiwanda last week 54-40.

5. (6) Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 25-3
It’s been a meteoric rise for head coach Doc Scheppler and his girls who weren’t even ranked a few weeks ago. The Panthers move up again with an avenging 51-43 triumph over Bishop O’Dowd in the NorCal Open Division.

6. (7) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 21-8
Due to the players who are now in the Rams’ lineup, there are some who think the winner of their game at Mitty on Tuesday in the NorCal Open Division semifinals will be the team that eventually winds up as the CIF state champion. St. Mary’s topped Salesian of Richmond 72-49 in last Friday’s regional quarterfinals.

7. (11) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 29-3
The new Cinderella of the Open Division playoffs was the only No. 7 seed in either girls or boys action to come out of the first round victorious. The Cardinals did that by knocking off No. 2 seed Carondelet on the road 48-47 in a matchup that showed again how closely bunched the top teams from the CIF North Coast Section have been all season.

8. (5) Carondelet (Concord) 28-5
Season complete. This is where the Cougars fall after their loss to Cardinal Newman in the NorCal Open Division. They may not fall further as the season ends, either, if the NorCal teams win state titles in the top two girls division in two weeks in Sacramento.


Super 8 Boys BB State Ranks Update

St. Augustine moves from No. 7 to No. 4 after big win over Sierra Canyon in CIF SoCal Open Division. Damien of La Verne also is now at No. 8 and looking strong in CIF SoCal Division I bracket.

NOTE: Our updated State Top 20 with lists of many other teams on the bubble will be posted each week but will require Gold Club membership to see for the rest of the season. Our breakdowns and analysis of what’s coming up and what’s already happened can’t be matched anywhere else because we’ve been following the statewide scene years and years longer than any other media source. For sign up info, CLICK HERE.

(Through games of Saturday, March 11; Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. (1) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 28-2
After a little bit of a slow start, the Knights cruised to a 64-49 win over San Diego Section Open Division runner-up Torrey Pines in their SoCal Open Division opener. They play No. 3 Chino Hills next in the semifinals on Tuesday night at El Camino College.

Gelo Ball grabs rebound for Chino Hills during 2016 CIF Open Division state final at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Photo: Phillip Walton/SportStars.


2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 32-2
The ability to have a rematch with either Bishop Montgomery or Chino Hills should prevent the Monarchs from looking past San Diego St. Augustine in Tuesday’s CIF SoCal Open Division semifinals. Mater Dei, which already has two wins this year over the Saints, topped Westchester of Los Angeles 74-60 last Friday.

3. (4) Chino Hills 30-2
Due to the upset loss by Sierra Canyon to St. Augustine, the Huskies are now ahead of Sierra Canyon in the rankings for the first time this season. In their 130-110 shootout win vs. Birmingham last Friday, Li’Angelo Ball poured in 52 points.

4. (7) St. Augustine (San Diego) 28-4
For knocking off previous No. 3 Sierra Canyon and becoming one of the final four in the CIF SoCal Open Division, the Saints get to jump to fourth in this week’s rankings. It may be an even bigger upset for them to beat Mater Dei on Tuesday only because the Monarchs have already beaten them twice.

5. (5) Woodcreek (Roseville) 30-2
The Timberwolves got hopped this week by St. Augustine, but didn’t drop below Sierra Canyon in this week’s rankings. They will face defending NorCal Open Division champ De La Salle on Tuesday after winning their NorCal opener 68-66 vs. Capital Christian.

6. (3) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 27-3
By the time the season is over and all of the Open Division games are in the books, the Trailblazers’ overall season resume should put them higher in the rankings. Right now, though, they have to drop behind teams still playing.

7. (8) Sheldon (Sacramento) 2893
The Huskies fell one spot after their loss to Woodcreek by two points in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 final and now get that position back. If they win in Tuesday’s NorCal Open semis over Archbishop Mitty, they might play Woodcreek again.

8. (9) Damien (La Verne) 31-4
This is the highest-ranked team that is not in the Open Division, but is considered No. 1 in the state among those going for the D1 state title. Damien just beat Fairfax of L.A. 60-44 and plays Corona Centennial on Tuesday in D1 South semifinals.