NEW Girls BB State Top 20

Players and coaches from St. Francis of Sacramento are shown after collecting CIF NorCal D1 regional title plaque. Photo:

Players and coaches from St. Francis of Sacramento are shown after collecting CIF Northern California D1 regional title plaque. Photo:

It will be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown indeed when Miramonte and Chaminade meet on Saturday in the CIF Open Division state championship. It’s just not the No. 1 team many had been expecting since last season after previous No. 1 St. Mary’s of Stockton was stunned in the NorCal Open Division semifinals by Pinewood. There are no newcomers this week, but Division I state finalist St. Francis of Sacramento has gotten a bump.

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(Previous ranking in parentheses; through games of Saturday, March 19; additional writeups by Mark Tennis & Paul Muyskens)

1. (2) MIRAMONTE (ORINDA) 32-0
After what Pinewood did to previous No. 1 St. Mary’s a lot of folks at least expected it to be closer than a 73-40 victory by the Matadors over Pinewood in a game that came perilously close to going to a running clock. The 33-point victory in the NorCal Open Division final was preceded by three 37-point leads in the fourth quarter. Sabrina Ionescu did nothing to change her status as the leading candidate for Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year after finishing with 29 points and 16 rebounds with six assists and four steals, but the deal is still not totally sealed for the state’s top player, and the biggest prize for the Matadors of winning an Open Division state championship is anything but in the bag. For that to happen on Saturday vs. No. 2 Chaminade, the cast surrounding Ionescu will need to continue its stellar play. Eastern Washington-bound 5-10 forward Uriah Howard will need to play bigger inside than she is and like she has all season. She had 11 points and 11 rebounds against Pinewood. Sophomore guard Claire Steele wasn’t bothered by Sleep Train Arena like a lot of shooters and made 4-of-7 from outside the arc en route to 14 points. Senior guard Keana delos Santos and junior wing Elle Louie have also been playing well and to beat Chaminade all the pieces will have to fall in place.

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