There is one lone newcomer this week in the boys’ Top 20 as Modesto Christian joins list of California’s elite boys teams. Boys teams in the loaded CIFSS Open Division playoffs do get penalized for losing, but only one drops out of the rankings. For the girls, Mitty’s win over St. Ignatius doesn’t cause too much change, but Oaks Christian’s 66-42 loss to Chaminade gives the impetus to move up Ventura.
Check below for this week’s new list of the State Top 20 boys and girls basketball rankings.
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The post-season is now in full effect across the state, but in nine of the state’s 10 CIF sections, the early rounds don’t figure to generate many upsets among state-ranked teams. The majority of the opponents that the top seeds will face simply are not that strong and many are or will be blowouts. For some, such as top-ranked Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland, there are byes.
The first week of March should provide tougher matchups and the possibility of movement among teams in Northern California, the Central Valley and San Diego.
In the CIF Southern Section, the scenario is a bit different as many state ranked teams met in the first round of its open division. The result is monster quarterfinals games on Wednesday, including three pitting top 10 teams: No. 2 Mater Dei vs. No. 9 Chino Hills, No. 3 Bishop Montgomery vs. Del Rey League rival No. 8 Cathedral and No. 4 Sierra Canyon vs. No. 7 Etiwanda. The fourth quarterfinal pits No. 6 Corona Centennial vs. No. 11 Orange Lutheran.
Orange Lutheran pulled off the big upset of the first round, defeating previous No. 7 Damien by a point. As a result, the Spartans drop to No. 12 (just behind OLu) in the State Top 20 and can remain in the upper echelon of the state with victories in the CIFSS Open Division consolation bracket.
The same scenario holds true for first-round losers Long Beach Poly and Redondo Union. Last year, all 16 participants in the CIFSS Open Division playoffs made the SoCal regional and that should be the scenario again this season.
NEW BOYS BASKETBALL
TOP 20 OVERALL RANKINGS
(Compiled by Ronnie Flores; updated through games played Saturday, Feb. 21; previous rating in parentheses)
1. (1) BISHOP O’DOWD (OAKLAND) 21-4
2. (2) MATER DEI (SANTA ANA) 25-3
3. (3) BISHOP MONTGOMERY (TORRANCE) 27-1
4. (4) SIERRA CANYON (CHATSWORTH) 22-3
5. (5) FAIRFAX (LOS ANGELES) 28-2
6. (6) CENTENNIAL (CORONA) 22-4
7. (10) ETIWANDA 21-7
8. (11) CATHEDRAL (LOS ANGELES) 20-6
9. (14) CHINO HILLS 20-6*
10. (12) MOREAU CATHOLIC (HAYWARD) 21-5
11. (15) LUTHERAN (ORANGE) 23-4
12. (7) DAMIEN (LA VERNE) 23-4
13. (13) MONTE VISTA (DANVILLE) 23-3
14. (16) SACRAMENTO 23-4
15. (17) EL CERRITO 22-3*
16. (8) LONG BEACH POLY (LONG BEACH) 22-4
17. (9) REDONDO UNION (REDONDO BEACH) 21-6
18. (19) DE LA SALLE (CONCORD) 23-3
19. (20) WESTCHESTER (LOS ANGELES) 19-11
20. (NR) MODESTO CHRISTIAN 24-3
*Forfeit losses not included.
Dropped Out: Previous No. 18 Alemany (Mission Hills).
NEW GIRLS BASKETBALL
TOP 20 OVERALL RANKINGS
There were no upset surprises in last week’s first round of the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs, but as the funnel narrows the quarterfinal matchups in a couple of instances should be dandies.
Top-seeded Mater Dei didn’t have a bye like last year when there were only eight teams in the bracket and it means the Monarchs come into a quarterfinal matchup with Brea Olinda as fresh as they can be after an easy win over Riverside J.W. North.
With Brea winning on the road last week and Mater Dei winning at home, the CIFSS format calls for Brea-Olinda to get the home game, and that’s something that’s not lost on the mind of Monarchs’ head coach Kevin Kiernan.
“I’m happy they went to 16 teams in the Open Division this year and glad we didn’t have a bye. A full bracket is much better,” Kiernan told Cal-Hi Sports.
“It’s still a death march, though,” Kiernan continued. “We have to play Brea at their place and that’s a crazy game. The place will be packed with their fans and this is a huge Orange County game. It’s not often Brea is an underdog in their own house.”
Another interesting matchup is No. 8 Sierra Canyon going to No. 10 Alemany. Both teams won at home last week so the format called for a coin flip and No. 4 seed Alemany won it over the No. 5 seed.
Few will give new No. 20 Ventura a chance against No. 4 Chaminade, but host and No. 18 Vista Murrieta will likely be a good test for No. 3 Long Beach Poly with No. 2 seed Poly heading out to the Inland Empire to meet the No. 7 seed.
There may not have been any upsets or surprises in the West Catholic Athletic League because nothing that happens in the wild-and-wacky WCAL is a surprise – and last week was just another dose of the league’s who-beat-who syndrome.
Archbishop Mitty could have folded after a 59-48 loss to No. 17 Sacred Heart Cathedral. The setback to the Irish girls ended Mitty’s chances to win the WCAL outright. Instead, No. 11 Mitty rebounded to beat No. 5 St. Ignatius in the league finale to gain a share of the league title.
With the loss to the Irish, the win over the Wildcats still left Mitty as the No. 3 seed in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division behind St. Ignatius and No. 7 and second-seeded Pinewood.
None of that matters to Mitty head coach Sue Phillips. She seemed as energized as the players after her team rebounded from the SHC loss.
“When you have extra incentive where a victory gives us an elite championship, it’s easy to rebound, plus Sacred Heart Cathedral is a solid team, and it helped us against St. Ignatius because we needed to learn from our mistakes.”
Mitty now faces Bubble team and sixth-seeded Eastside College Prep (East Palo Alto) in what should be a very interesting contest.
Eastside won a game earlier this year against No. 14 Bishop O’Dowd with only four players at the end of the game, and they lost to Pinewood in overtime three weeks ago with only three players on the court at the end of the contest.
(Compiled by Harold Abend; updated through games played Saturday, Feb. 21; previous rating in parentheses)
1. (1) MATER DEI (SANTA ANA) 26-1
2. (2) ST. MARY’S (STOCKTON) 26-1
3. (3) LONG BEACH POLY (LONG BEACH)
4. (5) CHAMINADE (WEST HILLS) 22-3
5. (4) ST. IGNATIUS (SAN FRANCISCO) 20-4
6. (6) MIRAMONTE (ORINDA) 24-2
7. (7) PINEWOOD (LOS ALTOS HILLS) 22-2
8. (8) SIERRA CANYON (CHATSWORTH) 21-4
9. (9) CARONDELET (CONCORD) 24-2
10. (10) ALEMANY (MISSION HILLS) 23-5
11. (12) ARCHBISHOP MITTY (SAN JOSE) 19-5
12. (15) VANDEN (FAIRFIELD) 24-3
13. (14) GARCES (BAKERSFIELD) 26-1
14. (16) BISHOP O’DOWD (OAKLAND) 18-8
15. (17) BREA OLINDA (BREA) 23-3
16. (18) NARBONNE (HARBOR CITY) 22-4*
17. (19) SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL (SAN FRANCISCO) 14-10
18. (20) VISTA MURRIETA (MURRIETA) 22-6
19. (13) SALESIAN (RICHMOND) 25-3
20. (NR) VENTURA 23-5
*Forfeit wins or losses not included.
Dropped Out: Previous No. 11 Oaks Christian (Westlake Village).
Mark Tennis & Paul Muyskens contributed to this report.
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