Now is when the rubber really meets the road as the drive to the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento for the March 8-9 state championships begins this week. There were not a lot of surprises in the Open Division selections for Northern California since we knew with a lack of Open Division level teams in the region that the possibility existed the CIF would only take six teams. The other observation is just how good and deep the CIF Southern Section can be is highlighted by the fact we felt strongly six teams from the CIFSS would be chosen for the SoCal Open playoffs, and that is what happened. There was no question Archbishop Mitty would be the top seed in the NorCal Open but now the Monarchs start the road to the state capital as the No. 1 ranked team in the state as well. We have two newcomers this week and lots of movement in almost every position in the pecking order.
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CAL-HI SPORTS UPDATED TOP 20
GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(Previous rating in parentheses; through games of Saturday, Feb. 23)
1. (2) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 25-2
For those who have followed the rankings on a weekly basis, they know the Monarchs went into the Nike TOC in December as the No. 1 team in the state but when head coach Sue Phillips had to spend all night in an emergency room with several players who exhibited flu-like severe dehydration, and then they lost their next two games, Phillips and her girls fell from grace and all the way to the seventh spot. It was noted at the time that Mitty would have to work its way back up and that is just what the girls have done. They moved up three spots the next week when they won the Surf and Slam tourney in San Diego that included some national level talent. Two weeks later, they went to No. 3 behind Windward and Sierra Canyon, and then after Windward lost in its first meeting with Sierra Canyon the Monarchs moved into the No. 2 spot where they have been the last four week. That all changed last week when Windward beat Sierra Canyon and the Monarchs won their fourth straight CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title after trouncing West Catholic Athletic League rival St. Ignatius, and then dismantling a Pinewood team, 72-51 in the title game, that itself had been No. 1 for a week. Now, after winning 22 straight games, including victories not only over Pinewood, but NorCal Open selections Carondelet, Salesian, St. Joseph Notre Dame and NorCal D1 top-seeded Sacramento, Mitty goes into the CIF Northern Regional Open Division playoffs as the top seed and top-ranked team in the state. Stanford-bound Haley Jones had a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds, and Hunter Hernandez, a combo guard who is quickly developing into one of the top sophomore guards in the state, had a career game after finishing with a double-double 21 points and 10 rebounds. She also played some amazing defense. With only six teams in the NorCal Open Division, the Monarchs have a bye and will be in action on Saturday against the winner of the Wednesday night St. Joseph Notre Dame at Salesian (Richmond) winner.