With the Nike Extravaganza coming up Saturday at Mater Dei, the major moves in this week’s new order involve St. John Bosco, El Camino Real, Mission Viejo, Hart and Serra of Gardena. New divisional boys and girls rankings being done later this week as well.
By Ronnie Flores
Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens
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(Updated through games played Saturday, Jan. 26; previous ranking in
1. (1) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 19-2
The Jackrabbits won two easy Moore League matchups in preparation for Monday’s league showdown with Compton and next weekend’s game against No. 9 St. John Bosco. In Poly’s 71-35 win over Long Beach Jordan, the Jackrabbits’ defense held the Panthers to seven first-half points. Roschon Prince finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Jordan Bell added 12 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots. Two nights later, Poly downed Cabrillo 88-47 as the defense gave up only two points in the first quarter and led 54-19 at halftime. Prince netted 17 points and Poly got 15 points from guard Kameron Murrell. Compton’s only league loss is to Poly and the Tarbabes are coming off an impressive victory over previous No. 17 Santa Monica so they should be confident.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 21-1
The Monarchs rebounded from their 58-44 loss to St. Edward in Ohio on MLK Monday with a 93-53 Trinity League win over Santa Margarita. Once again it was Stanley Johnson leading the way with 35 points while freshman M.J. Cage, the son of former NBA rebounding phenom Michael Cage, added 12 points. Similar to Long Beach Poly, the Monarchs still haven’t lost to an in-state foe, but it still remains to be seen if the Monarchs can win a big game without a monster performance from Johnson. This week, the Monarchs have two big games against No. 9 St. John Bosco in the second round of league play and a non-league tussle with No. 17 Westchester in their own Nike Extravaganza. On Friday, the Monarchs take on an Eisehower of Rialto program reeling from the recent attempted carjacking and shooting of head coach Steve Johnson, who is still recovering at Loma Linda Medical Center.
3. (3) Sheldon (Sacramento) 16-4
There was only one game for the Huskies last week, but it was a big one as they took on Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove. That team broke into the Cal-Hi Sports Top 20, but Sheldon gave the Eagles a rude awakening to the big-time and dropped them out with an impressive 85-79 road win. Washington-bound Darin Johnson has been a big addition to Sheldon’s lineup since the turn of the new year. He had another big outing with 28 points. SDSU-bound guard Dakari Allen added 22 points while D’Erryl Williams, also bound for Steve Fisher’s program, added 18 second-half points to finish with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Among the top teams in the state, Sheldon has the most potent starting lineup with the addition on Johnson. Sheldon has only lost to one in-state foe (No. 10 Mitty) but that happened when Johnson and Williams did not play.
4. (4) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 23-0
After a light schedule two weeks ago for the Knights, the state’s only unbeaten ranked squad rolled to three victories last week. The first two came in Del Rey League action over St. Bernard of Playa del Rey (86-29) and Bishop Amat of La Puente (65-25). The third came at the Fairfax State Preview Classic over Lincoln of San Diego 79-34. You might be a bit puzzled by that score if you weren’t there, but over the weekend Lincoln coach Jason Bryant confirmed Tyrell Robinson is no longer part of the program and, of course, his twin brother Tyree was scheduled to miss at least the regular season with a foot injury. Neither was with the team this weekend. The Knights have a big game against Serra of Gardena on January 30 and if they win that one they’ll likely enter the loaded CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs unbeaten as the No. 1 seed. According to the parameters set by the CIF, Bishop Montgomery is not eligible for the new open division even if the team were to be unbeaten heading into the regional playoffs. According to a CIF official we spoke to on Monday, teams can choose to be in the open division, however, if they request to do so. We don’t see why the Knights wouldn’t make that request.
5. (5) Centennial (Corona) 22-1
The Huskies won three games last week, including a 72-66 win over Damien of La Verne, which was 18-3 entering the contest. The Spartans played Centennial tough, too, and led 34-33 at halftime. A 22-13 third-quarter, though, pulled the Huskies in front for good. Sam Finley tossed in a game-high 24 points and was backed up by sophomore Sedrick Barefield, who hit three straight 3-pointers in that third quarter. Centennial, which also won last week against Santiago of Corona (74-63) and Corona (82-52), will face Norco and M.L. King of Riverside in this week’s games and will be looking to improve upon a 14-game winning streak.
6. (6) Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga) 18-2
Every game is now crucial for eventual seeding in the loaded CIF Southern Section Division I-AA playoffs, in which Etiwanda is ranked No. 4 behind Centennial and in front of Loyola according to last week’s CIFSS poll. The Eagles closed out a 3-0 week with a 56-51 win over CIF San Diego Section powerhouse La Costa Canyon. They had to come from behind as LCC had surged to a 29-16 halftime lead. Etiwanda’s big second-half was fueled by Darryl Adigwu (20 points) and Jordan McLaughlin (12 points). The Eagles will have a similar week coming up with two Baseline League contests (against Los Osos and Alta Loma) and then a non-league matchup against state-ranked Loyola on Saturday.
7. (7) Bullard (Fresno) 18-2
Any loss that the Knights suffer between now and the CIF Central Section Division I playoffs would be a big upset. Even a loss in those playoffs might be an upset. Last week, after taking care of Los Angeles Dorsey on MLK Day, Bullard rolled past Sanger (66-36) and Madera (74-24). Powerfully built Calvin Young topped the scoring against Madera with 19 points. This week, the Knights do play Edison of Fresno, which also has gone 4-0 so far in the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
8. (8) Salesian (Richmond) 18-3
Jermaine Edmonds Jr. pumped in 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to spark The Pride past St. Patrick/St. Vincent of Vallejo 56-48 in the closest game of last week. Following the team’s win over De La Salle of Concord on MLK Day, Salesian also won last week against Pinole Valley (60-39). This week, Salesian faces No. 4 Sheldon and the big rankings question next week could be if Salesian were to win, would that be enough to hop Bullard (a team the Pride has lost to) or do both squads move up together?
9. (11) St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 17-4
The Braves move up two spots this week for three reasons. One, they are coming off an important 77-68 Trinity League win over JSerra of San Juan Capistrano and a 67-64 win over previous No. 9 Loyola at the Fairfax State Preview Classic. Lastly, having recently seen both teams, the Braves are a better team than No. 10 Mitty and have games this week against No. 2 Mater Dei and No. 1 Long Beach Poly where they’ll have two more chances to prove they are one of the state’s best teams as projected in the preseason. Guard Tyler Dorsey and forward Darien Williams struggled at times during the first round of league play to find their roles in the lineup, but the newcomers have been playing better as of late. Dorsey had 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the victory over JSerra and netted a team-high 21 points in Saturday’s win over Loyola. Williams has cut down on his shot attempts from the perimeter and provided solid defensive support on Loyola’s 7-foot- Thomas Welsh. The Braves will have to find a way to slow down Stanley Johnson against Mater Dei and take good shots against a Poly team that doesn’t have the firepower on the perimeter that Bosco has.
10. (10) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 15-4
The Monarchs beat their rivals from Bellarmine Prep of San Jose 73-67 and then concluded the week by beating St. Ignatius of San Francisco 57-44. All-American Aaron Gordon helped turn back SI with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Mitty has three games on its schedule this week with matchups at home against St. Francis of Mountain View and Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco and then one on the road at Serra of San Mateo.
11. (9) Loyola (Los Angeles) 16-5
It’ another week and of course Loyola is the trickiest team to rank. The Cubs deserve to be in front of O’Dowd because their log is a bit stronger, including the ability to avenge losses to Harvard Westlake and Crespi in the coming weeks. We also know they’re a much better team with junior point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, but they’ll likely be without him again this week, including against No. 6 Etiwanda. In Loyola’s loss to St. John Bosco, Trey Mason kept it close to the end by making six 3-pointers and finishing with 28 points.
12. (12) Bishop O’ Dowd (Oakland) 16-3
The Dragons defeated Piedmont and Hayward last week and similar to No. 7 Bullard of Fresno it will be a big upset for them to lose any game between now and the post-season. In a 83-38 triumph last week over Hayward, Paris Austin and Dezmond Chatman each shined with 16 points. Coach Lou Ritchie’s club plays Alameda and San Lorenzo in this week’s West Alameda County Foothill League games.
13. (14) Brentwood (Los Angeles) 19-2
Folks shouldn’t think that the Eagles were ripe for an upset last week because they needed a game-winning 3-pointer with seven seconds left from Ountae Campbell to beat Rolling Hills Prep of San Pedro 51-50. They did hit the floor that morning without top two players Leland King (taking the SAT) and Tra Holder (out with a sprained ankle). The team will need to be at full strength for its rematch this week with No. 16 Pacific Hills. This week’s other games will be against Viewpoint of Calabasas and Campbell Hall of North Hollywood.
14. (16) El Camino Real (Woodland Hills) 21-2
It’s time to move ECR in front of Deer Valley in the overall state rankings. The team only has one stinker early against Chaminade, with the other loss to Brentwood, and two less losses overall than the Wolverines. The Conquistadors also looked impressive Saturday at the Fairfax State Preview Classic against Orange Lutheran with a 65-57 triumph. Both Julian Richardson and Michael Thomas led the way with 17 points apiece. This week, ECR plays Birmingham of Lake Balboa and Chatsworth.
15. (15) Deer Valley (Antioch) 16-4
After topping Newark Memorial of Newark on MLK Day, the Wolverines clobbered Liberty of Brentwood 87-50 in their only game from last week. Scoring leaders included Kendall Smith (22 points), Jeff Brown (18 points) and Marcus Lee (13 points, 13 rebounds). Deer Valley should now roll heading toward the CIF North Coast Section Division I playoffs. This week’s league games will be against Freedom of Oakley and Pittsburg.
16. (13) Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) 17-3
The Bruins fall three spots following their loss last week to Windward of Los Angeles, a team with eight losses but also a team that has been hot recently. They also don’t drop any further because of owning a head-to-head win over No. 17 Westchester and because they get to play No. 13 Brentwood right away this week. In addition to the loss, Pacific Hills netted a 72-66 triumph over Campbell Hall.
17. (18) Westchester (Los Angeles) 19-5
It was a ho-hum week for the Comets, but they needed it with Palisades of Pacific Palisades and then No. 2 Mater Dei coming up on back-to-back nights this week. In a 76-55 win against LACES, Cameron Young led the scoring with 14 points while Kevin Rutledge scored 13. Coach Ed Azzam’s team will be a big underdog playing the Monarchs in their own Nike Extravaganza, but a good showing even in a loss could be a very positive with the L.A. City Section playoffs right around the corner.
18. (NR) Mission Viejo 20-2
It seems like the Diablos have been a team in the No. 15 to No. 25 range in the state for several years and this week they get to go back into the Top 20. The key for them sticking around this time is avenging a one-point loss in this week’s game against El Toro of Lake Forest. In last week’s 60-52 victory over Capistrano Valley of Mission Viejo, football standout Max Redfield knocked down 16 points while three-year starter Evan Zeller connected for 14.
19. (NR) Hart (Newhall) 21-1
The Indians were an easy choice to join this week’s Top 20 after they avenged their lone loss to West Ranch of Valencia with a dominating 84-65 victory. Myles Franklin was particularly impressive as he poured in 30 points. Hart also is a team to watch for the postseason because it will compete in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AAA playoffs and could be a very good choice in Division III statewide since there are so many CIFSS teams in Division I and Division IV. The Indians have games this week against Saugus and Golden Valley of Santa Clarita.
20. (NR) Serra (Gardena) 18-5
It’s time to move in the next team from the loaded CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoff grouping, as the Cavaliers get the nod over teams such as Tustin, Windward, J.W. North, Cathedral Catholic and Serra of San Mateo because of their quality schedule. Losses are to No. 17 Westchester, No. 4 Bishop Montgomery (twice) and No. 8 Salesian. Plus, a recent loss to Alemany has been balanced by a 70-55 win over the weekend against Harvard-Westlake. Serra has been playing without talented junior guard Chris Sandifer, but is getting improved play from junior wings Tavrion Dawson and Ron Freeman. The Cavs will have another crack at unbeaten Bishop Montgomery on Wednesday.
Teams That Dropped Out:
Previous No. 17 Santa Monica, No. 19 St. Augustine (San Diego), No. 20 Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove).
Teams on the Bubble:
Army-Navy (Carlsbad) 17-4
Bellarmine (San Jose) 13-4
Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 19-3
Chaminade (West Hills) 15-6
Crespi (Encino) 17-6
Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 15-7
J.W. North (Riverside) 19-3
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 18-4
Modesto Christian 18-2
Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 17-4
Price (Los Angeles) 20-3
Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 14-8
San Leandro 16-4
Santa Monica 16-5
Serra (San Mateo) 15-3
St. Augustine (San Diego) 15-4
Village Christian (Sun Valley) 18-3
Windward (Los Angeles) 14-8
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