Our new boys hoops rankings are done at the usual time after a short week due to the Monday MLK holiday from the previous week. Despite that, there is plenty of movement, especially as a result of the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Two new teams join the fray this week that were previously in the rankings and by this time next week the massive CIF Southern Section and L.A. City Section will have playoff pairings set. We’ll also know which team won this Saturday’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown at Pasadena City College between Sierra Canyon and Rancho Christian.
CAL-HI SPORTS UPDATED TOP 20
BOYS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(Previous rating in parentheses; through games of Saturday, Jan. 26)
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1. (1) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 23-2
After returning home from the cold weather of New England following their loss to national power Montverde Academy of Florida, the Trailblazers warmed back up with Gold Coast League victories over previously ranked L.A. Brentwood (88-63) and Campbell Hall of North Hollywood (93-50). In the Brentwood game, which was marred by a late skirmish that halted the contest with 57 seconds remaining, Scottie Pippen Jr. hit 6-of-10 shots from 3-point range and scored 25 points, while K.J. Martin added 19. After easily dispatching Campbell Hall and after one more league contest against Paraclete of Lancaster on Tuesday, all eyes will point to the big matchup to close the regular season on Saturday versus No. 2 Rancho Christian in a showcase dubbed the Battle of the Valleys. The game was recently moved to Pasadena City College and will be televised on Los Angeles television station KDOC, a new broadcast partner of the CIF Southern Section. While the move from Cerritos College to Pasadena City College might mean more of a pro-Sierra Canyon crowd, the most important factor for the Trailblazrs will be to try to slow down Evan Mobley, Rancho Christian’s talented 7-foot junior. Arizona-bound Christian Koloko must stay out of foul trouble and the output of Pippen (who didn’t play well versus Montverde Academy) will also be key.