As is another of our traditions, we present our expanded, final Top 40 overall girls basketball team rankings, this time covering the 2015-16 season. Teams getting a bump based on the CIF state finals are Sierra Canyon, Alemany and Cajon. St. Mary’s of Stockton also finishes second in a close call based on overall season results in front of CIF Open Division runner-up Miramonte. For reasons why did those moves, plus writeups on all 40 teams, check out this post.
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Cal-Hi Sports Final Top 40
Girls Basketball State Rankings
(Previous ranking in parentheses; through games of Saturday, March 26; additional writeups by Mark Tennis & Paul Muyskens)
1. (2) CHAMINADE (WEST HILLS) 31-4
The Eagles went from ninth to fifth to fourth to third to second and now to State Team of the Year in five weeks. Head coach Kelli Di Muro and her girls showed why they were the best team in the final few weeks and particularly in the state title game where the dynamic Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year finalist duo of USC-bound Valerie Higgins and Duke-commit Leaonna Odom gave one of the top performances by a pair in a top division state title game ever. However, when you look at the score at the end of their 80-71 victory and the box score as well, it becomes apparent it wasn’t just Odom (33 points and 15 rebounds) and Higgins (16 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) that helped take control and seal the deal after Miramonte took a 53-51 lead in the late third quarter. The other girls who stepped up to help at both at the beginning of the game and the end are two that are returning and will be the core of next year’s team, juniors Melissa Wright and Isabel Newman. Wright had a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds and converted in some key plays down the stretch in the state title game. Newman had 12 points and was hot early when the Eagles led by 20 points. Chaminade will likely not be anywhere near as good next season but will still be one of the top teams in Southern California.