By Harold Abend
Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens
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The Cal-Hi Sports Caravan was in full throttle over the MLK Day weekend.
On Saturday, the road led to Stockton for the Jim “Jimbo” Darnall MLK St. Mary’s Showcase. After catching three games there, it was on to Pittsburg for three games at its MLK “Let Freedom Ring” event.
MLK Day saw a break from girls hoops but not basketball, as the Caravan covered six boys games on Monday at Cal’s Haas Pavilion.
The highlight on Saturday was St. Mary’s taking on a La Jolla Country Day team that despite being a D4 enrollment school and a team that doesn’t have a deep bench has played one of the state’s toughest schedules.
What the Torreys do have is Kelsey Plum, and despite playing the last few weeks with a stomach virus, the Washington-bound guard still did it all, finishing with a triple-double 25 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and five steals.
The problem for Plum and the Torreys, and 2012 State Coach of the Year Terri Bamford, is that lack of depth and St. Mary’s exploited that with its deep lineup in a 89-76 win.
St. Mary’s had five girls in double-figure scoring. University of Pacific-bound Unique Coleman had 19 points and seven rebounds. Junior Charise Holloway had her best game since returning two weeks ago from injury and finished with 19 points. Onome Jemerigbe and 3-point specialist Kat Tudor had 15 points apiece, and Brijanee Moore, who many girls basketball analysts and college coaches feel is the No. 2 sophomore point guard in the state behind O’Dowd’s Asha Thomas, had 12 points, nine steals, eight rebounds and seven assists – and she was sick too, according to head coach Tom Gonsalves.
The first game at St. Mary’s saw Visalia Redwood senior Carissa Turley record a double-double 24 points and 13 rebounds, but it came in a losing effort to Stockton Lincoln, in a 58-55 victory for the Trojans and first-year head coach and girls basketball analyst Chris Roemer.
Gonzaga-bound Bayli McClard had 20 points and nine rebounds, and junior guard Brooke Johnson added 17 points, in a 49-43 Hanford win over Sacramento at Stockton.
After meandering through the Delta from Stockton to Pittsburg, the Caravan took in the matchup between reigning state champions in the “Let Freedom Ring” marquee game won by defending Division III titlist O’Dowd, 70-39, over 2012 Division V champion Brookside Christian of Stockton.
O’Dowd’s big front line, particularly Cal-bound K.C. Waters, was too much for Brookside, and Thomas put the clamps on Brookside scoring whiz Tiara Tucker, who scored just six points after setting the Northern California record twice with outings of 63 and 73.
Here are this week’s rankings:
(Updated through games played Monday, Jan. 21) (Previous ranking in parenthesis)
1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 20-0
The first team in the rankings to get to the 20-win mark had two easy league wins, 58-22 and 78-33, respectively over Fullerton Rosary and Palisades of Pacific Palisades, and another blowout by 56 points in an MLK Day match-up with Oxnard Pacifica. This week, the Monarchs actually play someone that may give them a game when they travel down the I-5 to San Juan Capistrano for a Saturday date with JSerra. The following weekend, the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan will be in Santa Ana for the Friday night marquee Nike Extravaganza matchup with Oaks Christian of Westlake Village.
2. (2) Windward (Los Angeles) 19-0
One notch below the Monarchs in wins and position in the state, the Wildcats barely broke a sweat in 127-57 combined scoring wins over Los Angeles Archer and Chatsworth Sierra Canyon. They then took a trip to nearby Los Angeles Brentwood for a 30-point MLK Day win as a present for their faithful. This week, Windward has an Alpha League game against visiting cross-town Milken before a doozy when they host to Long Beach Poly on Saturday night. The following weekend, the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan will follow up the Friday visit to Mater Dei with its own trip down the I-5 on Saturday to San Juan Capistrano to see Windward take on JSerra in that school’s showcase event.
3. (3) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 14-3
A busy four-game stretch through MLK Day began with three blowouts and ended in a hard-fought six-point win over La Jolla Country Day on Monday at the event in Stockton. “I only know about the three (losses),” mused Dragons head coach Malik McCord, when asked to confirm his team’s record. This week should be much easier for McCord’s team with just two league home games on the schedule against Arroyo of San Leandro and San Leandro.
4. (4) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 18-1
There were two blowouts in league last week followed by a solid win over La Jolla Country Day and a comeback victory over South Medford (Medford, Ore.) in the two-day MLK Day event in Stockton. The 84-69 victory over South Medford doesn’t reflect the fact that the Rams overcame a double-digit first-half deficit and trailed 43-42 at the half. Unique Coleman had 24 points and 13 rebounds, Brijanee Moore added 21 points, and Onome Jemerigbe contributed 11 points and five steals. South Medford, one of Oregon’s top teams, which lost to both NorCal St. Mary’s teams at Stockton, got 30 points (five 3-pointers) from senior guard and D1 college prospect Kylie Towry. St. Mary’s already has an 87-58 win this week at crosstown and previously undefeated McNair.
5. (5) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 16-2
Arica Carter knocked down 22 points while Keyla Morgan hit for 20 as the Jackrabbits won a showdown game in the Moore League 63-52 last week over state-ranked Millikan. Prior to that, coach Carl Buggs’ girls rolled to easy league wins against Lakewood and Long Beach Wilson. This week, the Jackrabbits could make a big impact on the state when they travel on Saturday to face unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Windward.
6. (6) St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 14-4
The Panthers played five games over the MLK Day stretch and ended it with a tight win over a Berkeley team that has talent but is inconsistent. The week had a downer with an OT loss to Salesian of Richmond, but that was followed by nine-point win over a South Medford team that took its lumps in Stockton, but has a win over national power Riverdale Baptist of Maryland. The Panthers still have to get credit for the win over Long Beach Poly and its right around this level of the rankings that a team can take a loss to a team like Salesian in a league rivalry game. The loss helps Salesian but doesn’t punish the Panthers too much considering the overall season they have had.
7. (8) Chaminade (West Hills) 18-2
It was two league wins for the Eagles, including a 55-42 win over visiting Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood, and a 49-46 squeaker to arch-rival Alemany. The team had no MLK action, but the win over Alemany gets it a small bump but not past Berkeley St. Mary’s since the schedule is not anywhere near as tough and the Eagles have the loss to Oaks Christian. Against visiting Alemany, it was UC Santa Barbara-bound Mi’Chael Wright as usual doing the heavy lifting. The 5-foot-11 senior power forward had a double-double 12 points and 15 rebounds.
8. (9) Santiago (Corona) 17-2
While the Sharks didn’t stick their necks out in MLK action, they also knew they had a tough game coming up this week against state-ranked Corona Centennial (a game they have already won). That result will be taken more under consideration for next week’s rankings. In last week’s final game, Shiana Carrington led a group of four in double-figure scoring with 18 points in a 76-42 triumph against M.L. King of Riverside. Santiago also is playing a strong non-league opponent later this week with a matchup against Keppel of Alhambra.
9. (10) Troy (Fullerton) 16-3
A 3-0 week for the Warriors concluded with a 46-37 victory over Quest Prep of Nevada. Gabriella Hanson had another strong outing for Troy with 22 points. The team gave up most of a 44-17 lead in the final quarter with bench players. Earlier, Troy rolled to league wins over Sonora of La Habra (49-32) and Fullerton (70-22). This week, the Warriors will look to continue to inch their way up the state rankings with a non-league matchup on Saturday against Brea Olinda.
10. (11) Millikan (Long Beach) 19-2
Even though the Rams suffered an 11-point loss last week to No. 5 Long Beach Poly, they played tough enough and have done enough over the course of the season to move into this week’s top 10. This move also was helped by previous No. 7 Archbishop Mitty suffering an upset to league rival Sacred Heart Cathedral. In the loss to Poly, Millikan trailed by just two points late in the third quarter. The girls won in their previous outing 66-43 over Lakewood as Alyssa Benton and Basha Brulee-Wills each scored 12 points. The Rams play at Cabrillo of Long Beach and at Compton in this week’s games.
11. (7) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 13-4
Prior to posting a solid 14-point win over Sacramento on MLK Day in Stockton, the Monarchs took a five-point home loss in the West Catholic Athletic League against Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco), a loss that continues to prove that anyone other than the top teams can get beat in a tough league. Still, they have to drop since the Irish have one stinker loss, but not that far with Mitty’s showing at the Nike TOC and the fact that the Irish are a good team. Junior standout Kelli Hayes wreaked havoc on Sacramento, finishing with 27 points, seven rebounds and six steals. The Monarchs already have an 11-point win this week at crosstown Presentation.
12. (13) Miramonte (Orinda) 16-1
The Matadors continue to inch up the ladder since their only blemish remains the loss to No. 2 Windward at the Nike TOC. Coach Kelly Sopak’s girls blew out Martinez Alhambra and then had no problem with Fresno Clovis West in 70-54 win on MLK Day in Stockton. The rubber meets the road against No. 11 Mitty this Saturday at the Campolindo Shootout, an event the Cal-Hi Sports Caravan will be covering. The Matadors already have a 33-point win this week on the road in Dublin.
13. (14) Etiwanda 15-2
Following up the team’s big win from two weeks ago over La Jolla Country Day, it was no problem for the Eagles in three Baseline League games. In a 81-24 romp past Rancho Cucamonga, Amy Okonkwo shined with 19 points and 11 rebunds. The other wins came against Alta Loma (87-20) and Glendora (66-29). There will be guaranteed to be at least one test this week since Etiwanda is facing Serra of Gardena on Saturday.
14. (15) Salesian (Richmond) 13-4
There were four wins for the Pride during the MLK stretch, including a 62-59 overtime league home victory over Berkeley St. Mary’s, and ending in a 42-41 squeaker over San Francisco St. Ignatius at the Marin Catholic MLK event. Still, there’s not much room to move up despite the big win over St. Mary’s but it looks good in their overall body of work. In the Pride’s game with their archrival Panthers, 5-foot-11 junior phenom Mariya Moore went for a season-high 37 points with 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
15. (16) Carondelet (Concord) 13-3
The Cougars gain back one of the six spots they dropped last week after putting 90-plus points on the board in two blowout East Bay Athletic League wins, 92-55 over Livermore, and 91-36 over Livermore Granada. The junior combo of Natalie Romeo and Makenzie Cast had 21 points apiece versus Livermore, and Romeo had 24 points and Cast 15 against Granada. Coach Margaret Gartner’s girls already own a 46-point win this week over San Ramon California. The Cougars face Berkeley at the Campolindo Shootout this weekend in what should be an interesting matchup.
16. (19) Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 15-2
Lashanique Youngblood went for 17 points to lead the Mustangs past Valley View of Moreno Valley 67-41. In the team’s only other outing from last week, it blew out Vista del Lago of Moreno Valley 68-15. Rancho Verde has a good test in a non-league game this week against Ventura.
17. (20) Centennial (Corona) 17-1
Heading into this week, the Huskies’ only loss was to Rancho Verde. That has already changed with an early-week loss to Corona Santiago so this bump from last week’s rankings will be diminished. Still, Santiago is an elite team (No. 8 above) and the girls did have a good week leading into that matchup. The highlight was a 56-48 triumph over St. Anthony of Long Beach at the Narbonne Extravaganza. Samantha Logan had 17 points and 10 rebounds and was closely followed by teammate Ashley Merrill with 16 points.
18. (17) La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 8-10
The Torreys looked very good at times against No. 4 St. Mary’s of Stockton and were with No. 3 O’Dowd all the way in a close loss, plus they still have a win over an Alemany team that barely lost to Chaminade. The losses have mounted, but they got stuck in the wrong division at the Nike TOC because of having an individual standout like Kelsey Plum, plus she’s had a stomach virus for a few weeks that was real bad the week of the JSerra loss. Despite being ill, Plum still had the big triple-double against St. Mary’s and 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds against O’Dowd. Another girl that impressed at Stockton was Mai-loni Henson. The 6-foot freshman had 17 points and six rebounds against St. Mary’s and 11 points and 12 rebounds versus O’Dowd.
19. (18) Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills) 17-5
After dropping a heart-breaker to No. 7 Chaminade 49-46 in a game the Warriors led 46-45 with 48 seconds left, they bounced back to defeat always-tough Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood 76-56. Hannah Johnson led the way against Chaminade with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Alemany plays Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada in this week’s only game.
20. (NR) JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 17-4
It was a close call between JSerra and Gardena Serra for the 20th position this week and we decided to go with a newcomer. The Lions have a number of quality wins (including one against La Jolla Country Day) and they get to take another crack at No. 1 Mater Dei at home on Friday. The girls also are coming in off of a solid week, which ended with a 58-36 win against Marlborough of Los Angeles. Both Coco Miller and Courtney Vaccher each scored 18 points.
Teams That Dropped Out:
Previous No. 12 Serra (Gardena).
On the Bubble
Berkeley 9-8, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 17-5, Bishop’s (La Jolla) 14-7, Bonita (La Verne) 16-4, Bullard (Fresno) 14-3, Brea Olinda (Brea) 14-3, Brookside Christian (Stockton) 15-3, Cajon (San Bernardino) 19-0, Canyon (Canyon Country) 16-4, Clovis West (Fresno) 12-5, Enterprise (Redding) 18-1, El Dorado (Placentia) 18-3, Hanford 15-4, Heritage (Brentwood) 14-4, Horizon (San Diego) 16-5, J.W. North (Riverside) 11-4, Kennedy (Sacramento) 14-4, Keppel (Alhambra) 17-3, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 18-2, Laguna Hills 16-5, Lynbrook (San Jose) 15-2, Lynwood 12-5, McNair (Stockton) 20-0, Miller (Fontana) 16-3, Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 16-2*, Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 12-5, Orange Lutheran (Orange) 18-3, Ridgeview (Bakersfield) 17-3, Sacramento 15-4, St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 16-5, St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 14-4, San Clemente 14-5, Serra (Gardena) 17-3, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 16-5, Wilcox (Santa Clara) 15-2, Woodbridge (Irvine) 18-3.
(*not including forfeits)
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