(Continued from Part I; last year’s final rating in parentheses with last year’s win-loss record)
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13. Alemany (Mission Hills) 31-4 (24)
This might be the best team in the San Fernando Valley this season after last year’s rather young group reached the CIF Division III South semifinals. The Warriors will look for more this season due to the return of 5-foot-11 senior Leslie Lopez-Wood. Also back will be 5-foot-10 junior guard Hannah Johnson, who was an all-state sophomore third team honoree. Sophomore stars Breanna Calhoun and Nia Britt are also returning. In addition, coach Bryan Camacho will have the extra benefit of everything not being new since last season was his first with the program after previously directing a successful team at Bellarmine-Jefferson of Burbank.
14. Lynwood 26-6 (21)
Veteran coach Ellis Barfield loses four seniors that averaged over 5.0 points per game but last season he had eight girls at that scoring level and four return from a team that lost 53-51 to Santa Ana Foothill in the CIF Southern Regional Division II semifinals. The top returner is long and rangy Amber Lockmon, a 6-foot-2 senior post that can run the floor and is beginning to get more D1 looks. The backcourt will return two quick junior guards that can also shoot the ball, Jazmine Johnson and Priscilla Lopez. Barfield is scheduling tough to open the season in hopes of preparing to make a deeper playoff run, with his Knights not only playing in the Nike TOC but also heading to Wyoming for the Gillette Energy Classic.
15. Hanford 25-5 (27)
Despite having just three seniors on his team last season, coach Tom Parrish’s Bullpups won the CIF Central Section Division I championship and lost in the Southern California playoffs by just seven points to Long Beach Poly. Back to lead the team again is 5-foot-11 senior Bayli McClard, who knocked down 18.5 points and had 9.6 rebounds per game last season and recently signed to go to Gonzaga. Junior Brooke Johnson averaged 10.6 ppg while senior Gabby Gomez hit for 9.4 ppg. Parrish has guided the program to five straight section titles and a 97-game section win streak. This year’s club, though, figures to be better against top teams from outside the section.
16. Berkeley 29-3 (8)
Despite announcing her retirement right after the awards ceremony of her team’s second consecutive CIF Division I state runner-up finish, coach Cheryl Draper is back, and although she lost a ton of talent, she still has enough firepower to be the top preseason Division I team in Northern California. Highly regarded prospect Rachel Howard returns after looking good during the summer and fall. The 5-foot-11 wing and returning junior forward Desire Finnie will provide most of the size along with senior forward GaryAnna Youngblood. For the first time in many years, ball-handling will be a concern so new leadership will need to be found.
17. Salesian (Richmond) 31-5 (18)
The Pride would have been a lot higher in these rankings, especially since they return one of the state’s top juniors, Mariya Moore, the ESPN Women’s Basketball No. 18 overall player, but budding star Ma’Ane Mosely transferred to St. Mary’s of Berkeley and sophomore standout Mariah Williams moved out of the area. This means Salesian looks somewhat like a one-girl team until things sort out. Junior Alana Horton and her solid 5-foot-10 frame and 5.6 ppg and 4.3 rpg average from last season will lead the remaining returners. The Pride are playing in the Nike TOC and the Diamond Division of the West Coast Jamboree.
18. Bishop’s (La Jolla) 20-10 (NR)
Coach Marlon Wells’ Knights lose one senior off a team that lost to Windward in the CIF Southern Regional Division IV quarterfinals after losing to La Jolla Country Day in the CIF San Diego Section D4 title game but beating No. 26 Mater Dei (Chula Vista) in the section semifinals. The top returner is 6-foot-3 junior Imani Littleton after a 20-point, 8.2 rebound contribution last season as the team’s leading scorer. The highly regarded Littleton is being looked at by several Pac-12 and other major D1 programs. Senior Columbia-bound Devon Roeper returns after the 6-foot-3 forward averaged 18.4 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Another big that returns is 6-foot-1 junior forward Sierra Ducey. Senior Cynthia Burboa will handle the point guard duties.
19. Millikan (Long Beach) 17-12 (NR)
Coach Lorene Morgan’s club probably still won’t come too close to Long Beach Poly in the Moore League, but should be much improved and among the best in Southern California. Basha Brulee-Wills, a 5-foot-9 senior forward, tops the group of returnees with 11.0 points and 10. 5 rebounds per game last season. Others back include mighty mite point guard Johanna Dungca and 5-foot-7 guard Erin Hagan (10.6 ppg).
20. Kennedy (Sacramento) 26-9 (36)
Led by third-team all-state junior Lynette Johnson, the Cougars will be looking to go far once again in the CIF Northern California Division I playoffs. After finishing in a tie for second in league play behind Sacramento, Kennedy ended up in the regional final where it lost to Berkeley. Johnson, who averaged 17 points per game as a sophomore, will be joined as a returning starter by 6-foot senior forward Tiara Haskell plus more of the team’s usual cast of outstanding 3-point shooters.
Next 15 teams that received consideration for the Top 20:
21. Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 24-8 (NR)
With one of the leading candidates for our CalHiSports Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year coming back in Stanford-bound Erica McCall, the Wolfpack will be a tough team to beat. McCall hit for 25.8 points per game last season. Much of the team’s other players also are back, topped by senior Alex Green.
22. Mark Keppel (Alhambra) 28-5 (NR)
There was only one senior on the Aztecs’ roster last season and that senior was not guard Alyson Lock, the team’s best player. Lock, who has signed with Loyola Marymount, averaged 16.8 points and 5.8 assists per game as a junior.
23. Brookside Christian (Stockton) 30-4 (NR)
Although the Knights probably won’t be ready to challenge crosstown St. Mary’s any time soon, they should be one of the best overall in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section regardless of school size. Coach Que Ngo’s team had only one senior and it was a group that breezed to the CIF Division V state title. Super junior Tiara Tucker averaged 25.3 ppg as a soph, which was down from more than 32 she dropped in as a freshman. Sophomore center Raky’ra Gabriel (11.8 ppg) also is among the returnees.
24. Brea Olinda (Brea) 26-7 (7)
The Ladycats lost a lot of firepower from last year’s team that lost to Long Beach Poly in the CIF Division I Southern Regional semifinal after earlier knocking off the Jackrabbits in the CIFSS playoffs. Two solid returnees to watch, though, are 5-foot-8 senior point guard Anna Kim, who is going to Long Beach State, and 5-foot-8 sophomore forward Shaylissa Jarrett. Those two combined for more than 21 points per game last season.
25. St. Anthony (Long Beach) 15-12 (NR)
The Saints may only be D5 going by enrollment but head coach James Anderson has a loaded roster of 15 girls, including 6-foot-4 Duke-committed post Kendall Cooper. They also return several other solid contributors from last season, including senior guard Sydney Heard and senior forward Gabriela Moura-Hayes.
26. Mater Dei (Chula Vista) 21-6 (NR)
The No. 3 team from the CIF San Diego Section has two very solid returners, including 6-foot-1 University of San Diego-bound Alexandria Young, and Northern Arizona-bound muscular and deceptively speedy guard Brittani Lusain. Another returner that looked improved over the summer and fall is 5-foot-10 junior guard Kandiss Barber.
27. St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 26-6 (34)
The runner-up to Archbishop Mitty in the West Catholic Athletic League last year that made it to the Northern Regional CIF Northern Region Division III semifinals before losing to St. Mary’s of Stockton returns enough underclass talent to still be the WCAL’s No. 2 team. The top returner is 6-foot-2 junior center Josie Little who began to assert herself in last year’s playoffs.
28. Sacramento 26-7 (28)
Coach Michelle Massari’s team should once again be a threat after going 14-0 in the Metro League and reaching the CIF NorCal Division III semifinals. Three double-digit scorers are gone, but returning is junior Ayanna Edwards (6-4, C) and senior Allie Green (5-8, G), who has signed with Pepperdine.
29. Carondelet (Concord) 27-4 (14)
This year’s team has some rebuilding to do without Notre Dame-bound Hannah Huffman and other key starters. It’s hard to see the Cougars dropping that far, though, since 5-foot-7 junior Natalie Romeo is back and ranks as one of the top junior guards in the state.
30. Ventura 26-5 (38)
Coach Ann Larson’s team will be bolstered by the return of three starters and six letterwinners. The Cougars, who also were 19-1 on the JV level, should be led by 5-foot-9 senior guard Haley Graham and 5-foot-10 junior forward Marki Meyer.
31. La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 24-5 (NR)
Coach Mario Flores has several solid returning starters, led by 6-foot-5 post Savannah Irwin and crafty guard Esther Wofford, who can light it up from outside the arc. Another player to look for is sophomore guard Taylor Pierce.
32. Miramonte (Orinda) 31-2 (19)
Both of the Matadors’ losses last year were in somewhat lopsided contests against preseason No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd, but they won every other game and figure to be among the top teams once again in the CIF North Coast Section. Although leading player Janine Loutzenhiser is gone, two top returnees are guards Megan Reid, a 5-foot-8 junior, and Carly Gill, a 5-foot-5 senior.
33. Stockdale (Bakersfield) 26-5 (NR)
The No. 2 team from the CIF Central Section returns all but one starter from a team that lost to Hanford in the CIF Central Section Division I section title game and then to Fontana Summit in the CIF SoCal D1 playoffs. The top returner is 5-foot-9 senior guard Leigha Moland (13.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg. 3.6 steals) but three other girls return that averaged more than six points per game.
34. JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 22-7 (NR)
Four starters are back for the Lions, who beat Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in last year’s CIFSS Division IV-AA playoffs before losing to Windward. Sophomore Coco Miller led the scoring as a freshman with 16 points per game and was closely followed by senior August Touchard at 14 ppg.
35. Horizon (San Diego) 12-17 (NR)
The Panthers’ record last year was without 6-foot-1 incoming freshman Dijonai Carrington, a girl that can play any position on the floor, and who will start her career playing for her mother, Vickie Carrington, as one of the highest regarded incoming freshman girls in the nation. The returners are led by juniors Janae Omusi and Sarah Porter.
Teams on the Bubble (Listed alphabetically):
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 22-12
Bonita (La Verne) 27-5
Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) 20-8
Chaminade (West Hills) 24-5
Clovis West (Fresno) 19-11
Eastside Prep (Palo Alto) 17-14
Foothill (Tustin) 28-6
Gunn (Palo Alto) 21-7
Laguna Hills 26-9
McNair (Stockton) 28-5
Mission Bay (San Diego) 26-7
Modesto Christian 27-7
Narbonne (Harbor City) 28-7
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 23-5
Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 22-10
Sheldon (Sacramento) 21-8
St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 26-10
Summit (Fontana) 28-4
Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 14-13
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