Long Beach Poly goes to the top of the heap prior to the Nike TOC and West Coast Jamboree. St. Mary’s of Stockton, meanwhile, moves up a spot to No. 2. There also are seven new teams in this week’s pecking order, led by new No. 11 Alemany of Mission Hills.
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Between now and the end of the year, just about all of the top California girls basketball teams will play in either or both the Nike TOC beginning this week in Phoenix and the West Coast Jamboree between Christmas and New Year in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
The way things are going so far, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were more changes among the top teams by the time the Jamboree concludes the day before New Year’s Eve.
In the meantime, the new No. 1 team is not an unfamiliar one, and another familiar team is nipping at its heels.
As for newcomers, the ones breaking in are new for this year but of the seven newly ranked teams there still some familiar faces, including some past CIF state champions.
Also, after the Top 10, it’s anybody’s guess at this point as the who-beat-who in a lot of cases will have your head spinning.
CAL-HI SPORTS UPDATED TOP 20
GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(Previous rating in parentheses; through games of Saturday, Dec. 13)
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1. (5) LONG BEACH POLY (LONG BEACH) 4-0
The defending CIF Open Division champion Jackrabbits boast a six-point win over previous No. 1 Chaminade at the Redondo tourney and also handed Redondo a 1-point loss. The other wins are gainst Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) and Gardena Serra. The Chaminade win and a decent resume bolt head coach Carl Buggs and his girls to the top going into the Nike TOC.
2. (3) ST. MARY’S (STOCKTON) 3-0
The Rams went to Hawaii and won the Iolani Classic but it wasn’t the highly nationally-ranked Riverdale Baptist (Maryland) team they thought they might face in title game. Instead, St. Mary’s met Hawaii’s top team and dispatched a Konawaena (Kealakekua) (13-1) team that had beaten Riverdale Baptist, 68-59, in handing the Hawaiian girls their first defeat. Like LB Poly, the Rams are off to the TOC but also will move on to the Platinum Division of the Jamboree.
3. (1) CHAMINADE (WEST HILLS) 8-1
The Eagles lost 63-57 to a fresher Long Beach Poly, which was the girls’ eighth game in 11 days. Still, it’s a loss and LB Poly is the defending CIF Open Division champs.
4. (2) MATER DEI (SANTA ANA) 7-1
The Monarchs rebounded from the one-point loss to Chaminade to win the South Coast Tournament with a very impressive 79-48 victory over a solid Placentia El Dorado. Katie Lou Samuelson scored 37 points in the title game and was tournament MVP. Samuelson is averaging 32 ppg this season. The Monarchs are idle until opening on Thursday at the Nike TOC.
5. (4) SIERRA CANYON (CHATSWORTH) 5-0
The San Fernando Valley girls won their games at the McDonald’s Classic in El Paso but the competition wasn’t top notch. The Trailblazers now move on to the Santa Barbara TOC before heading to Washington D.C. and the Title IX tournament where the competition will be tougher.
6. (6) ST. IGNATIUS (SAN FRANCISCO) 6-0
A 59-37 victory over Oaks Christian of Westlake Village gave the Wildcats the tourney title at the La Jolla Country Day Sweet 16. They earlier topped La Mesa La Mesa Helix, IMG Academy (Florida) and Pinewood of Los Altos Hills. SI followed that up with a solid 49-35 win over previous No. 7 Bishop O’Dowd and a 51-39 victory over Lynwood last Saturday at Laney College.
The Mats won the Lady Wildcat Tournament at Marin Catholic with blowout wins over Santa Maria St. Joseph and Santa Rosa and then a 60-50 win over St. Mary’s of Berkeley. They lost a heartbreaking 63-62 Iolani Classic opener to eventual runner-up Konawaena of Kealakekua, and then won their next two games easily. Next up is a resurgent Berkeley at their own Mats Classic on Thursday.
8. (10) VISTA MURRIETA (MURRIETA) 4-1
All of the Broncos’ games have been close except a blowout of Long Beach Millikan, a 1-point loss to Chaminade to go with single digit wins over Narbonne (Harbor City), Gardena Serra and Etiwanda. That resume moves them up a couple of notches.
9. (11) PINEWOOD (LOS ALTOS HILLS) 5-1
The defending Division V state champions opened at the La Jolla Country Day Sweet 16 with a solid 64-59 win over a Lakewood (Colorado) team that was 24-2 last season and one of the state’s top-ranked teams. Then, they beat a South Medford team that was the Oregon large school state runner-up last season. After losing by seven to St. Ignatius in the semifinals, they blew out Modesto Christian in the third place game.
10. (13) REDONDO UNION (REDONDO BEACH) 3-1
The Sea Hawks have wins over Palisades (Pacific Palisades) and a Lynwood team that has a win over Windward. They then lost a heartbreaker 39-38 to No. 1 Poly in the semis before surviving a 34-33 squeaker in beating Troy. Next up is the Santa Barbara TOC and an opener with Santa Maria St. Joseph. The resume and close loss to Poly means a three-spot bump.
11. (NR) BISHOP ALEMANY (MISSION HILLS) 4-0
This week’s highest ranked newcomer won the Nike Central Valley showdown with a semifinal 55-39 win over Qak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) and then a 61-53 win over host Clovis West (Fresno) in the championship game. “They’re very good,” said Clovis West head coach Craig Campbell regarding Alemany.
12. (NR) SALESIAN (RICHMOND) 6-0
The defending NorCal Open Division champions and state runners-up had questions about size in the paint but the guard-oriented Pride has opened with wins over McClatchy of Sacramento and Sacred Heart Cathedral. Minyon Moore of Salesian also has been named as this week’s NorCal Player of the Week.
13. (NR) CLOVIS WEST (FRESNO) 4-1
The top team from the CIF Central Section proved themselves with a win over Loomis Del Oro after a close loss to new No. 11 Alemany.
14. (NR) ST. MARY’S (BERKELEY) 4-1
The Panthers’ lone loss is to Miramonte by 10 points but they have a win over Sacramento Bradshaw Christian and dealt the Eastside Prep team that beat O’Dowd its only loss.
Getting a win over Bishop O’Dowd stamps head coach Donovan Blythe’s squad as an elite club. The Panthers only had four players on the floor at the finish in the win over the Dragons as well. They also have suffered their only loss to St. Mary’s of Berkeley, which is one spot higher in this week’s rankings.
16. (7) BISHOP O’DOWD (OAKLAND) 1-2
An easy win over Santa Rosa was followed by a puzzling loss to Eastside Prep and then as expected a loss to St. Ignatius. We’re not quite ready to write off the Dragons but the mustard meets the hot dog in the next two weeks at the TOC and Jamboree.
17. (NR) OAKS CHRISTIAN (WESTLAKE VILLAGE) 6-3
Losses are to Mater Dei and St. Ignatius in the finals of two top tournaments, and the one stinker loss is to a Keppel team that has quality wins and losses as well. The wins are over Modesto Christian, Colorado Highlands Ranch and San Marcos Mission Hills teams that have some good wins, plus Bakersfield Garces and West of Torrance teams that are off to solid starts.
18. (17) MCCLATCHY (SACRAMENTO) 2-1
The Lions beat Sacramento’s Sheldon and Bradshaw Christian handily but then lost to new No. 12 Salesian in the title game of the Christian Brothers tournament.
19. (16) MODESTO CHRISTIAN (MODESTO) 5-2
After opening with a decisive 60-47 win over Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) and then 58-55 over Sweet 16 host La Jolla Country Day, the Crusaders then lost to Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) and were blown out by Pinewood.
20. (NR) BREA OLINDA (BREA) 5-0
The No. 2 team in the Orange County Register rankings and the last of this week’s newcomers snags the final spot in a decision between previous No. 12 La Jolla Country Day and previous No. 20 Fairfield Vanden, plus Berkeley and several others. Like Vanden, the early schedule has been light but the LadyCats are going to the TOC and Jamboree albeit not in the top divisions.
Previous No. 9 Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco), No. 12 La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla), No. 14 Windward (Los Angeles), No. 15 Troy (Fullerton), No. 18 Centennial (Corona), No. 19 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance), No. 20 Vanden (Fairfield)
Teams On The Bubble
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 4-2
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 2-3
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 8-1
Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) 3-2
Brookside Christian (Stockton) 5-1
Cajon (San Bernardino) 8-0
Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) 2-2
Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 4-2
Carondelet (Concord) 3-0
Centennial (Bakersfield) 4-4
Centennial (Corona) 6-1
Deer Valley (Antioch) 4-2
Del Oro (Loomis) 6-1
Enterprise (Redding) 3-1
El Dorado (Placentia) 7-1
Fairfax (Los Angeles) 4-4
Foothill (Santa Ana) 3-1
Garces (Bakersfield) 6-1
Horizon Christian (San Diego) 3-3
JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 6-3
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 6-0
La Jolla Country Day (San Diego) 2-2
Mark Keppel (Alhambra) 4-4
Millikan (Long Beach) 4-4
Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 6-2
Mission Hills (San Marcos) 8-2
Mt. Carmel (San Diego) 6-0
Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 8-0
Narbonne (Harbor City) 1-2
Oak Hills (Hesperia) 5-1
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 2-2
Orange Lutheran (Orange) 6-0
Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 5-1
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 2-3
Santa Barbara 7-0
Scotts Valley 4-2
Serra (Gardena) 4-4
St. Francis (Sacramento) 6-0
St. Paul (Santa Fe Springs) 8-1
Torrey Pines (San Diego) 5-1
Troy (Fullerton) 4-4
Vanden (Fairfield) 3-0
West (Torrance) 5-3
Windward (Los Angeles) 4-4
Cal-Hi Sports co-founder & editor Mark Tennis also contributed to these rankings. Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend