Price of Los Angeles and Jesuit of Carmichael join the list of California’s elite clubs as only two teams drop out based on the results of early-season games. We don’t penalize teams we know will be strong in the post-season too harshly for an early-season loss, especially when those teams have more tough games coming up.
In the myriad of holiday tournaments, and the fact there is a showcase every single weekend until the section playoffs begin in early February, one thing we remind ourselves as veteran ranking compilers in the early weeks of a basketball season is not to get overly excited about a nice win or get too down on a talented team because of a loss.
A great example of that is top-ranked O’Dowd’s victory over Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas in the marquee game of the NorCal Tip-Off Classic on November 29. Gorman began the season ranked No. 4 nationally in the FAB 50 compiled by GrassrootsHoops.net and it was a big early-season win for the Dragons and for Northern California basketball in general.
What the victory means, however, won’t fully be known until down the line when the teams play more games and the results are analyzed. For instance, Gorman could go on to win the Tarkanian Classic and other big games on its schedule.
Or O’Dowd’s victory might not mean that much.
On Saturday night, Bishop Gorman lost 51-49 to Jesuit of Carmichael in the title game of the Wild West Shootout in Reno, Nevada. Senior guard Isaiah Bailey was named tournament MVP as the Marauders shocked a team with two likely McDonald’s All-Americans.
Does that win mean we jump Jesuit all the way near O’Dowd at the top of our rankings? No, because it remains to be seen how good the Marauders are but they do get rankings credit and are now No. 18 in the state.
Another example is Etiwanda, which just lost on Saturday afternoon to state No. 2 Corona Centennial 67-63 in a game we saw a couple of hours before the Huskies’ football team won the CIFSS Pac-5 title. Taking in the game, it was evident Etiwanda will be a major CIFSS Open Division contender and will get stronger after the 30-day sit period for transfers that ends Jan. 5.
The Eagles do drop three spots because of an upset 61-59 loss to Great Oak of Temecula, but it makes no sense to drop them any further considering how tough they played Centennial, what they have on their schedule the rest of the way and how good we know coach Dave Kleckner’s club is.
Etiwanda is just one of many teams, especially in the transfer-heavy CIF Southern Section, that will look different after transfers become eligible in January. No. 16 Chino Hills also falls into that category and that’s another reason to not jump the gun on rising or dropping a team in our state rankings.
CAL-HI SPORTS UPDATED TOP 20
BOYS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(Preseason rating in parentheses; through games of Saturday, Dec. 6)
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1. (1) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 2-0
NorCal powerhouse plays FAB 50 No. 1 and two-time defending mythical national champion Montverde Academy (Fla.) on December 12 in Florida.
2. (2) Centennial (Corona) 3-0
The Huskies, coming off a victory over No. 8 Etiwanda, are the No. 2 seed in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas behind Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas.
3. (3) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 0-0
The talented Trailblazers open their season Dec. 10.
4. (4) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 1-0
After easy 88-32 win over Dos Pueblos of Goleta, coach Gary McKnight is four wins from No. 1000.
5. (9) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 4-0
The Jackrabbits won the Dijon Thompson Pac Shores Tournament and are one of many talented teams in this week’s Beverly Hills Tournament.
6. (11) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 5-0
The Knights have seemed to move on just fine without graduated Division IV State Player of the Year Justin Bibbins (Long Beach St.), winning the Trevor Ariza Tip-Off Classic over up-and-coming St. John Bosco of Bellflower.
7. (6) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 3-2
The Sea Hawks didn’t play well at the Chicago Elite Classic, but don’t get penalized too much for the loss, with the other coming against Long Beach Poly by two points in the title game of their own Pac-Shores tournament.
8. (5) Etiwanda 2-2
The Eagles were upset by two points against Great Oak of Temecula and lost by four points to No. 2 Centennial.
9. (10) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 1-0
Defending CCS Open Division champs started with a 72-68 home victory over Sheldon of Sacramento and have some tough games coming up later this month.
10. (12) Folsom 4-0
The Bulldogs’ football team is looking to win a CIF Division I state title and the hoops team has started off strong.
11. (13) Fairfax (Los Angeles) 4-0
The Lions won the El Segundo tournament title with a 79-66 victory over preseason No. 22 Loyola of Los Angeles, as the talented guard trio of Donald Gipson, Lindsey Drew and Lorne Currie Jr. combined for 55 points.
12. (16) Modesto Christian 4-0
Coach Richard Midgley’s club was impressive at the NorCal Tip-Off Classic and Children’s Hospital Tip-off Invitational and moves up four spots.
13. (14) Village Christian (Sun Valley) 5-0
The Crusaders won the Burbank tournament for the third consecutive year, but we’ll use caution before moving this team up too fast or too high.
14. (17) El Cerrito 3-0
The Gauchos beat the Drake of San Anselmo team that lost to No. 20 Moreau Catholic at the buzzer by five points (58-53).
15. (BB) Price (Los Angeles) 4-0
Coach Michael Lynch is closing in on 500 career victories and with St. Anthony of Long Beach transfer Larond Williams in the fold, this talented team was able to defeat No. 16 Chino Hills and preseason No. 30 Cantwell Sacred Heart in overtime to capture the Rose City Roundball Classic.
16. (7) Chino Hills 3-1
The Huskies have three potential starters, including 6-7 Shane Hopkins, sitting out and if they don’t get them eligible in January, this team won’t be as good as last season.
17. (18) Damien (La Verne) 5-0
The Spartans won the Sierra Vista tournament with a 67-53 win over Glendora as tourney MVP Jeremy Hemsley netted 22 points while talented Bryce Peters and Malik Fitts added a combined 36 points.
18. (31) Jesuit (Carmichael) 3-0
Last year’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champions know how to win close games, as the Marauders proved against Bishop Gorman.
19. (19) Cathedral (Los Angeles) 1-0
Head coach William Middlebrooks’ club began the season on Saturday with a 81-70 victory over Morse of San Diego.
20. (20) Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 1-0
This team is currently without sophomore point guard Damari Milstead and will need him in order to make noise at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic, which includes No. 3 Sierra Canyon, No. 4 Mater Dei, No. 8 Etiwanda, No. 9 Mitty and No. 10 Folsom.
Previous No. 8 Westchester (Los Angeles), No. 15 Maranatha (Pasadena).
Teams On The Bubble
Alemany (Mission Hills) 3-1; Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello) 3-1; Chaminade (West Hills) 4-0; De La Salle (Concord) 0-0; Foothill (Santa Ana) 5-0; J.W. North (Riverside) 4-0; La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 3-1; La Mirada 4-0; Loyola (Los Angeles) 3-1; Maranatha (Pasadena) 2-2; Orange Lutheran (Orange) 3-1; Sacramento 0-0; Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 2-0; San Ramon Valley (Danville) 1-0; Sonora (La Habra) 3-1; St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 6-2; Westchester (Los Angeles) 5-3; Windward (Los Angeles) 2-0.