Mission League clubs Loyola of Los Angeles and Chaminade of West Hills from the CIF Southern Section and Foothill Christian from the CIF San Diego Section join the list of California’s elite teams. We wanted to get updated rankings out quickly this week as tournaments continue around the state on Monday and don’t be surprised if the rankings are shaken up because of the big post-Christmas tournaments.
The teams that schedule tough foes are always rewarded in our rankings and that is never more evident than at the top.
Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland has the dubious distinction of losing to the nation’s top-two ranked teams in the GrassrootsHoops.net FAB 50 rankings — No. 1 Montverde Academy of Florida and No. 2 Oak Hill Academy of Virginia.
Obviously, taking on those types of teams and losing won’t penalize the Dragons — or any other team in California — in a state rankings system.
On December 12, O’Dowd ventured to Florida to face Montverde Academy in a made-for-TV affair and left as 78-64 losers. The Dragons couldn’t overcome Ivan Rabb’s foul trouble and the triple double performance of national player of the year candidate Ben Simmons.
Montverde Academy is still unbeaten heading into Monday’s City of Palms Classic semifinals, where the state’s No. 2 and No. 3 ranked teams – Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth and Mater Dei of Santa Ana — lost in the early rounds.
Again, because that tournament is filled with FAB 50-ranked teams, there is no need to panic and drop those two squads for now. They’ll face plenty of competition at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs and have a chance to show their ranking is warranted.
O’Dowd ventured to the Iolani Classic in Hawaii over the past weekend and advanced to the championship game, where it fell to Oak Hill Academy, 58-49. Rabb reportedly had 27 pts, six rebounds and five blocked shots, but the Warriors field arguably the deepest team in the country and Lou Richie’s team couldn’t get over the hump.
Some teams have played tough opponents, but haven’t yet beaten one of them or have a hard to explain loss that keeps them a notch below in the rankings behind some others that have a key win or are still unbeaten.
One example is Orange Lutheran. The Lancers played Bishop O’Dowd tough in Hawaii, but have a stinker loss against La Mirada. Another example is St. John Bosco of Bellflower. Coach Derrick Taylor told us his club was better than its preseason forecast, and it appears he’s right, but the Braves don’t have a signature win yet. They played Oak Hill Academy, Long Beach Poly and Bishop Montgomery tough, but didn’t actually beat a team of that caliber — at least not yet.
CAL-HI SPORTS UPDATED TOP 20
BOYS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(Previous rating in parentheses; through games of Saturday, Dec. 20)
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1. (1) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 5-2
So who’s better between Montverde Academy (Fla.) or Oak Hill Academy (Va.), the top two ranked teams in the Grassroots Hoops FAB 50? O’Dowd coach Lou Richie might be the one that knows since those teams handed his team its two losses.
2. (3) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 2-1
The Trailblazers, who are playing without the injured Ira Lee, easily won their season opener and are currently 1-1 at the City of Palms Classic in Florida, which resumes Monday.
3. (4) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 7-1
Coach Gary McKnight recently won his 1,000th game, but Mater Dei saw its 46-game winning streak snapped in a 67-62 quarterfinal loss to talented Wesleyan Christian Academy (N.C.) at the City of Palms Classic. The Louisville Trinity team Sierra Canyon lost to is in the COP semifinals, as is WCA, so no need to flip or drop these two teams as of now.
4. (6) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 7-0
Veteran coach Doug Mitchell has this team playing well and the role players around all-stater Stephen Thompson Jr. have improved. There is a monster game with No. 5 Redondo on January 3 at the Take Flight Challenge.
5. (7) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 8-2
We didn’t penalize the Sea Hawks much for a loss at the Chicago Elite Classic and they bounced back to win the Tarkanian Classic against tough competition. This allows them to be in front of the Long Beach Poly team it lost to by two points at the Pac-Shores tournament.
6. (5) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 10-2
The Jackrabbits lost in the first round of the Tarkanian Classic, but it only costs them a spot. They lost in a close game to eventual finalist Putnam City West (Okla.) and own the earlier victory over Redondo to offset a loss to Loyola at the Beverly Hills Tournament.
7. (2) Centennial (Corona) 5-2
The Huskies, who own a victory over No. 10 Etiwanda, lost in the Tarkanian Classic semifinals to No. 5 Redondo Union by a point and to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas in the third place game.
8. (9) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 5-0
Defending CCS Open Division champs won the Father Berry Classic and defeated No. 14 El Cerrito, 70-61, in overtime on December 20. Even though Sebastian Much did not play and Ben Kone was saddled with foul trouble, Mitty was able to gut out the victory.
9. (11) Fairfax (Los Angeles) 6-0
The Lions move up two spots, getting credit for routing the Loyola team Long Beach Poly lost to. ‘Fax will be in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic along with No. 12 Loyola, No. 5 Redondo Union, and No. 7 Centennial, among others.
10. (8) Etiwanda 7-2
The Eagles drop two spots since its loss to previous No. 2 Centennial doesn’t carry as much weight as it did in the last rankings shuffle. The upset loss to Great Oak of Temecula also comes into play now that Centennial has lost.
11. (10) Folsom 8-0
Perhaps the Bulldogs’ football dominance will rub off on the basketball team, which hasn’t yet beat a team of note. They open the MaxPreps Holiday Classic with Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas).
12. (NR) Loyola (Los Angeles) 7-1
This squad was ranked No. 22 in the preseason and showed what it could do with a win over No. 6 Poly for the Beverly Hills Tourney title. The Cubs only have a loss to No. 9 Fairfax and open the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic with No. 5 Redondo Union.
13. (19) Cathedral (Los Angeles) 4-0
Coach William Middlebrooks’ club gets a six spot bump because it remains unbeaten. Its first test will be on Monday versus bubble team Alemany of Mission Hills.
14. (14) El Cerrito 5-1
The Gauchos stay put after taking No. 8 Mitty into overtime before losing. Sayeed Pridgett went bonkers with 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and now the team has strongman Carlos Johnson eligible.
15. (15) Price (Los Angeles) 8-1
Similar to Etiwanda, coach Michael Lynch’s team is afforded its one early stinker loss, in this case a 58-57 setback to Tahquitz of Hemet in which the Knights missed numerous free throws. They still get credit for wins over No. 16 Chino Hills and Cantwell Sacred Heart.
16. (16) Chino Hills 6-2
The Huskies lost a tough 82-74 Tarkanian Classic quarterfinal contest to eventual champion Redondo Union, but won its other three games in Las Vegas. The other loss is to No. 15 Price.
17. (NR) Chaminade (West Hills) 7-0
Ranked No. 28 in the preseason, coach Todd Wolfson’s team jumps in the rankings after knocking off previous No. 13 Village Christian, 77-74. On Monday, ‘Nade takes on 8-0 Crespi of Encino.
18. (NR) Foothills Christian (El Cajon) 8-2*
We give coach Brad Leaf’s club credit for beating two solid out-of-state clubs at the Tarkanian Classic (Constitution of Philadelphia and Lone Peak of Utah) and playing No. 6 Poly and No. 16 Chino Hills tough in losses. Down the line, however, they’ll have to prove they are better than La Costa Canyon.
19. (20) Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 2-3
We don’t penalize the Mariners for three out-of-state losses and give them rankings credit for their big 59-51 win over No. 20 Modesto Christian at their own winter classic. Moreau also will get back sophomore point guard Damari Milstead for the MaxPreps Holiday Classic.
20. (12) Modesto Christian 5-1
The Crusaders hang on to the last spot after their loss to No. 19 Moreau Catholic on Saturday. The main reason is how impressive they looked at the NorCal Tip-Off Classic and tough competition coming up.
*Forfeit losses not included.
Teams That Dropped Out:
Previous No. 13 Village Christian (Sun Valley), No. 17 Damien (La Verne), No. 18 Jesuit (Carmichael).
Teams On The Bubble
Alemany (Mission Hills) 6-1; Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello) 6-2; Canyon (Anaheim) 8-2; Damien (La Verne) 8-1; De La Salle (Concord) 4-0; Foothill (Santa Ana) 9-1; J.W. North (Riverside) 6-0; La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 9-1; Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 7-1; Orange Lutheran (Orange) 7-2; Sacramento 4-1; Sonora (La Habra) 8-2; St. Francis (Mountain View) 4-1; St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 9-4; Torrey Pines (Del Mar) 9-0; Village Christian (Sun Valley) 8-2.