Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth is the new No. 1 after previous No. 1 Salesian of Richmond is sent packing in a stunning NorCal regional opener.That shocking result highlights the tricky point of the season in rankings where the balance between rewarding teams for overall great performances versus teams that are actually still playing comes into focus. With a week to go, we tend reward the teams still alive and that means a big jump up for SoCal Open regional finalist Mater Dei of Santa Ana. The two newcomers this week — James Logan of Union City and Branson of Ross — are also still alive in the NorCal playoffs, as we explain all of the the movement in our award-winning, in-depth breakdowns and rankings.
CAL-HI SPORTS UPDATED TOP 20
BOYS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(Previous rating in parentheses; through games of Saturday, March 2)
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1. (2) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 30-3
With previous No. 1 Salesian being shocked in its first game of the NorCal Open Division playoffs, the favorite in the SoCal Open and the defending CIF open champion moves back to the top of the heap. Our preseason No. 1 was in that spot until its regular season finale versus Rancho Christian, which was No. 2 in the state at that time and is now at No. 8. As expected, Sierra Canyon had no trouble in its SoCal Open Division first round game, as it downed bubble club Torrey Pines of San Diego, 82-38. Then in the SoCal Open Division semifinal, the Trailblazers edged No. 7 Westchester, 65-60, after the L.A. City Section Open Division runner-up shocked Rancho Christian in its regional opener. When the CIF gave Torrey Pines a two seed and it fell to No. 15 seed Taft of Woodland Hills in D1 South last year in a game that wasn’t an upset, you knew the Torreys were going to have a tough time staying with Sierra Canyon. Perhaps the CIF should have taken a sixth CIFSS team or given Sierra Canyon a bye, because instead of being competitive in D1, Torrey Pines was overwhelmed as Mr. Basketball candidate Cassius Stanley had 19 points and rugged forward K.J. Martin added 16. Playing Westchester, of course, was another matter, as the Comets had a lot of momentum after defeating Rancho Christian and are always a tough playoff foe to face. Westchester led 33-32 at halftime and the game was tied late at 58-58 on a 3-pointer, then Stanley answered with a 3-pointer of his own and Scotty Pippen Jr. scored on a driving lay-up to give the Trailblazers the cushion they needed. Junior forward Terren Frank, who missed a majority of the regular season with injury, came up big with 17 points for Sierra Canyon, which will host Mater Dei of Santa Ana in a Tuesday regional final at Simi Valley High School. The way it played out with results from around the state, it’s also now a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.