We could have shaken things up even more from the preseason top five and while there is a change in that group the real changes are after that and particularly in the second 10 where it seems like teams not expected to lose have tanked and the who-beat-whom syndrome dropped a lot of teams from the preseason rankings. We have included results from earlier this week to reflect the records but there were no upsets anyway. Some teams have already begun to play in tournaments on Thursday of this week.
CAL-HI SPORTS UPDATED TOP 20
GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(Preseason rating in parentheses; through games of Wednesday, Dec. 12)
Note: The next Girls BB State Top 20 update will be after the holiday tournaments, including the West Coast Jamboree, which is going to keep Uncle Harold quite busy until it’s over since he is a major part of that event. After the New Year, all of our award-winning writeups, analysis and predictions of what’s coming next will be content for our Gold Club VIPs only. To become a member of our Gold Club so you can check out all of our girls basketball content, including state record updates and state stat stars, CLICK HERE.
1. (2) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 2-0
Unlike the CIF Southern California and Central California sections, the Central Coast Section teams started almost two weeks later and thus Mitty has only played two games, and hasn’t really had to break a sweat. Even though she didn’t see action in the second half of their rout in an opener against Arroyo Grande, and then didn’t really look to score in the second half of a 67-29 victory over Christian Brothers (Sacramento) at the Elite Showcase after netting 23 points and 11 rebounds in the first half, Stanford-bound Haley Jones still had 25 points and 15 rebounds with six assists and five steals, all in the first half against Arroyo Grande. Then at the Elite Showcase with her future college coach Tara VanDerveer watching from the stands with her parents Patrick and Monique Jones, Haley showed exactly why ESPN Hoopgurlz ranks the USA U17 Gold Medal winner and FIBA tournament All-Five selection as the top player in the country after she waltzed to 30 points and 23 rebounds. Mitty may have some problems at the Nike TOC as some analysts have suggested but until then the Monarchs have to take the catbird seat in this group.
2. (3) Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 3-0
Based on their overall body of work, we are reluctantly keeping Pinewood behind Mitty in the two spot and that means they now become the bridesmaids. Like Mitty, the Panthers’ schedule is light so far, but they barely beat Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) and Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) by two and three points, respectively. They do have a blowout win over a Dublin team that upset a Cardinal Newman team that has a win over O’Dowd but also a loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral. Head coach Doc Scheppler and his girls, including Stanford-bound Hannah Jump, are off to Hawaii where they have a Thursday game with Lahainaluna of Lahaina at the Iolani Classic. They return to face St. Francis (Mountain View) before being one of the headliners of the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree.
3. (4) Clovis West (Fresno) 9-0
This is another team that we are reluctantly moving up based on personal observation of their performance at the Elite Showcase where they were very fortunate to pull out a 38-37 victory over a very solid McClatchy (Sacramento) in a game that was in doubt until the final buzzer. Aari’yanna Sanders was the heroine. The senior got a rebound and her putback that gave her 11 points for the game and the final tally of the game was followed by a defensive stop near the buzzer when the Golden Eagles’ senior forward came flying at the McClatchy shooter and partially deflected the shot to preserve the win. Southern California-bound Madison Campbell led the way with 13 points. Part of the reason we’re keeping Clovis West in this spot in the pecking order is the Golden Eagles are 9-0 heading to the Iolani Classic in Hawaii where they open with Sacred Hearts Academy of Honolulu.
4. (1) Windward (Los Angeles) 9-1
There was a thought of moving the defending CIF Open Division champions up from where we’ve had them on the Monday ticker-tape rankings the last two weeks since the preseason rankings came out, but a loss to an up-and-down Bishop Montgomery of Torrance team that they avenged in a big way, but against a team that has subsequently lost four games, has to hold Windward back for now. One thing to note is the St. Mary’s (Inglewood) team that beat Bishop Montgomery is undefeated. There is little doubt head coach Vanessa Nygaard and her girls, including reigning Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year and UCLA-bound Charisma Osborne, are going to have a lot to say about the eventual state and SoCal pecking order. They meet Alemany (Mission Hills) this week before heading off to the Nike TOC in Phoenix where they open with perennial national power Riverdale Baptist of Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
5. (5) Etiwanda 8-1
Just like Windward, the Eagles have a lone 59-50 loss to Bishop Montgomery, which they avenged with a 52-39 victory and because of it, and the fact they just had a huge 56-52 victory over Mater Dei-Santa Ana in the championship game of the Troy Classic Shootout in Fullerton, they get to keep their preseason spot after dropping out of the ticker-tape top five the past two weeks. Like the Windward team they fall in behind, this is a team that could be moving up depending on how they do in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree. First, they have a date with La Jolla Country Day on Saturday before resting up for the Jamboree where they open with Sacramento.
6. (7) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 8-0
The computer rankings and the first CIF Southern Section poll selected by its basketball advisory committee likes the Trailblazers as the top team from Southern California and while we like them as well they have not faced any real teams that would threaten them and their best wins are over Rosary Academy (Fullerton) and Mark Keppel of Alhambra in the Keppel tournament, and a Bishop Alemany (West Hills) team that has a loss to Keppel and a Gardena Serra team that has four losses, the last two in their own invitational. Sierra Canyon faces Windward in mid-January in Gold Coast League play whether or not head coach Alicia Komaki and her girls are tested before then in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, the Interstate Shootout in Portland later this month, or against Granada Hills Charter in early January, remains to be seen. This is a team that could be moving up prior to facing Windward.
7. (8) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 9-1
The Monarchs move up not so much because of who they have beaten, since their best win is against Troy in a decisive 59-37 victory in the Troy Classic, but based on their lone loss to Etiwanda, 56-52, in the title game at Troy. Head coach Kevin Kiernan and his girls are currently playing in the Orangewood tournament before heading to the Nike TOC. The big news around campus like it was for football head coach Bruce Rollinson getting to 300 career wins (still counted by us at 298 because of forfeits) is Kiernan now has 756 career coaching victories after a Tuesday win over Downey putting him only five behind the 761 victories of Joe Vaughan of Ventura Buena (1976-2007) for the top spot for career coaching wins on that list in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.
8. (12) Carondelet (Concord) 2-0
The Cougars make the biggest jump based on their 50-48 win over Salesian (which was No. 5 on our ticker on Monday) despite that team being shorthanded, and their 55-36 victory against Bear Creek of Stockton at the Elite Showcase coming in that team’s second game of the day. Senior guard Erica Miller drove the lane and got her shot up and over 6-foot-5 Angel Jackson of Salesian for the game winner that bounced off the rim a couple of times before going through the net as the buzzer sounded. Washington-bound 6-foot-3 post Ali Bamberger now has started the season with two double-doubles after 18 points and 13 rebounds with three blocked shots against Bear Creek and 10 points and 11 rebounds against Salesian. Carondelet is in the Mats Tip-Off Classic at Miramonte this week and then heads to the Nike TOC before coming home for the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree.
9. (6) Salesian (Richmond) 3-1
The Pride had moved into the No. 5 spot on the ticker-tape the past two weeks but after a loss to Carondelet they lose that spot and three more from their preseason ranking. This is a team that has to take its lumps right now since although USC-bound Angel Jackson had 30 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks against Carondelet the rest of the team only managed 18 points in the 50-48 loss. Plus, they were without Hawaii-bound Makayla Edwards, who has a broken nose. Head coach Stephen Pezzola and his girls have a game on Saturday with St. Ignatius before heading to the Nike TOC and then back home for the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree. According to Pezzola, a mask may allow Edwards to play at the TOC and Jamboree. Pezzola also has three transfers that will be eligible for the Jamboree so this is a team that may take its lumps now but could move back up.
10. (10) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 3-0
Head coach Tom Gonsalves’ squad holds on to its preseason spot but only by the barest of margins and with only three games under its belt after expected easy wins over Sacramento Bradshaw Christian, and then Pitman of Turlock this week but a 61-56 overtime win last week over Eastside College Prep of East Palo Alto at the Elite Showcase. St. Mary’s is at the Mats Tip Off Classic this week for three games beginning with California (San Ramon) on Thursday before heading to the Nike TOC next week and then the Gold Division of the West Coast Jamboree.
11. (21) Miramonte (Orinda) 7-1
With everyone above them losing and possessing pretty checkered records, the Mats have to move way up. It’s based not only on the fact they were impressive at the La Jolla Country Day Sweet 16 tournament where every analyst in attendance said they were the second best team next to the Colorado No. 1 Highlands Ranch team that handed them their only defeat in winning the Sweet 16, but they also have handed Clovis North its only loss and because of that they have to come up ahead of that team. Head coach Kelly Sopak has a lot of girls that can handle the rock with a much improved sophomore Mia Mastrov drawing raves from analysts. Mastrov has a lot of help from juniors Erin Tarasow, Rebecca Welsh and Amerika De Los Santos, plus the lone senior on the roster, Emily Huston, plus others off the bench. Sopak and his girls are hosting the Tip Off Classic this week and opened with a so-so win Tuesday over Berkeley St. Mary’s but they face Carondelet on Saturday.
12. (13) Clovis North (Fresno) 6-1
Like the Miramonte team that edged them 75-72 last week, the Broncos can’t get passed with the loss and in fact they move up a spot. Junior guard Savannah Tucker set a school record with 38 points but it wasn’t enough in the loss to Miramonte. Prior to the lone loss, head coach Heather Long and her girls won four games at the Nike Central Valley Showcase but didn’t meet host and arch rival Clovis West. This week, they are at the Ventura tournament and they will be in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree where they open with Carondelet.
13. (9) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 9-4
The girls from Torrance have a couple of questionable losses to St. Mary’s Academy by two points and Troy at the Troy Classic but they have splits with Windward and Etiwanda and other quality wins, and according to multiple sources in Southern California, they are very solid and have had some had girls in and out of the line-up due to illnesses. One top coach that has played them and was willing to comment but asked to be anonymous said the following. “They had girls missing against St. Mary’s and have had all season but they are very good and will be in the mix with the top teams down here.” The result is at this time the Knights’ girls drop but with head coach and WNBA veteran Noelle Quinn and her girls, they still can command some respect in the topsy-turvy second half of the rankings. Plus, looking ahead they will have Mater Dei transfer and sophomore sensation Kylee Pepe eligible soon.
14. (NR) Folsom 6-0
With McKenzie Forbes off to Cal and Shayley Harris now at UCLA, a lot of people wrote off Folsom but the Bulldogs have proven the naysayers wrong after wins over a very solid McClatchy team as well as St. Ignatius in the Roseville Classic and West Campus. Sophomore guard Charity Gallegos has been playing very well and 6-foot-6 junior post Katie Harris as well as senior guard Hanna Beckman have shined as well to start the season. The Bulldogs are in the Oak Ridge Trojan Toss tournament before heading south for the SoCal Holiday Prep Classic in San Diego.
15. (30) St. Joseph-Notre Dame (Alameda)
The Pilots have a lone loss to Salesian but they looked really good in a 43-29 win over a preseason ranked Sacred Heart Cathedral that has a win over Cardinal Newman. This is a team with a tremendous amount of underclass talent that is adjusting to not having one of its top players and inside presence Sophie Nilsson out with an injury. They haven’t played the toughest schedule but they don’t have any stinker losses like teams below them and head coach Shawn Hipol is taking his girls to the Energy Classic in Wyoming later this month and we’ll see how they do.
16. (31) McClatchy (Sacramento) 6-2
The Lions have a 2-point loss to Folsom but they looked very solid against Clovis West and had that team on the ropes before losing a 38-37 heart-breaker. This is a team that could be the sleeper as the top team from the Sac-Joaquin Section, particularly if Washington-committed Nia Lowery and Kamryn Hall continue to play well and other girls step up for head coach Jeff Ota.
17. (NR) Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills) 9-2
Head coach Johnny Garcia and his girls have losses to Sierra Canyon and a stinker loss of sorts to Keppel at that team’s tournament but they have wins over Gardena Serra, La Jolla Country Day and a solid Centennial of Corona team that has some very good wins. Looking to the future, they also play Windward on Friday before resting and then coming north to play in the West Coast Jamboree where they open with Pinewood in the Platinum Division.
18. (29) Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills) 9-1
Head coach Jared Honig and his girls have a close loss to a Valencia team that has played a very tough schedule and also has losses to Harvard-Westlake and Chaminade, but Granada Hills has beaten those two. A stinker loss of sorts is one thing but the over dozen teams they pass have multiple losses with stinkers involved and everyone queried in Southern California as we tried to unravel the mess since the preseason rankings agrees the girls from the San Fernando Valley deserve to be ranked in this group.
19. (26) Bear Creek (Stockton) 5-1
The Bruins dealt Antelope its lone loss and have a lone loss themselves to Carondelet at the Elite Showcase, but it was on the same day they played Antelope in the championship game of the Rocklin tournament and won 65-56. Despite the Carondelet loss, we could see by personal observation they are very talented, but head coach Anthony Matthews could not get enough out of a tired group of girls that just plain wore out at halftime against Carondelet after a game in the afternoon and an over two-hour ride from Rocklin to Chabot College in Hayward. Based on that fact, it still looks like the Bruins will be one of the top teams in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
20. (NR) St. Mary’s Academy (Inglewood) 12-0
Every so often a team comes out of the blue and this year it’s the girls from Inglewood. We got pushback from every coach and analyst we talked to that this team would lose by 30 to a short-handed Bishop Montgomery team they squeaked by with what one coach called “smoke and mirrors” but until they fall from grace they have to b rewarded at this time for the Bishop Montgomery win and for being unbeaten despite the weakness of the rest of their schedule.
Dropped Out From Preseason Rankings
Previous No. 11 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland); No. 14 Cathedral Catholic (San Diego); No. 15 Mission Hills (San Marcos); No. 16 La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla); No. 17 Serra (Gardena); No. 18 Long Beach Poly (Long Beach); No. 19 Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood); No. 20 Rosary (Fullerton).
Teams On The Bubble
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 1-4
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 5-4
Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 5-5
Brentwood (Los Angeles) 10-1
Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 5-3
Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 5-3
Centennial (Corona) 5-2
Chaminade (West Hills) 4-4
Christian (El Cajon) 4-2
Harvard-Westlake (N. Hollywood) 6-4
Heritage (Brentwood) 4-1
La Jolla Country Day 4-5
Lakeside (Lake Elsinore) 7-0
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 1-4
Mark Keppel (Alhambra) 2-2
Mission Hills (San Marcos) 5-3
Mount Miguel (Spring Valley) 10-1
Lakeside (Lake Elsinore) 7-0
Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 3-2
Roosevelt (Eastvale) 11-0
Rosary (Fullerton) 6-2
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 2-2
Serra (Gardena) 4-4
St. Ignatius (San Francisco)
St. Francis (Mountain View) 6-0
Troy (Fullerton) 5-4
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