Just a couple of weeks after we did the same for the boys, for the first time ever we present our writeups of the 30 greatest girls basketball teams in state history. This follows previous presentations for football, baseball and softball. The criteria for what we’re looking for is explained in this free, introductory post and we have an alphabetical list of all 30 teams that have been selected for inclusion. We will give you a spoiler that placed in the No. 1 position is an unbeaten team that had three future first-round WNBA draft picks.
FOR A LOOK AT THE GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAMS IN STATE HISTORY,
FOR A LOOK AT THE GREATEST BASEBALL TEAMS IN STATE HISTORY,
FOR A LOOK AT THE GREATEST SOFTBALL TEAMS IN STATE HISTORY,
FOR A LOOK AT THE GREATEST BOYS BASKETBALL TEAMS IN STATE HISTORY,
FOR TEAMS RANKED FROM NO. 1 TO NO. 15, CLICK HERE.
FOR TEAMS RANKED FROM NO. 16 TO NO. 30, CLICK HERE.
We hope you enjoy this free post on CalHiSports.com. All of the actual rankings and writeups for these teams plus the recent addition of all-time state records in girls basketball are for Gold Club members. You can now join for one-month rate of just $3.99 or $24.99 for one year. For subscription info, CLICK HERE.
Arguing about which teams deserve to be ranked higher and which teams have been missed is the point of completing such a task as ranking the 30 greatest high school girls basketball teams in California history. It’s expected and kind of fun. It’s not always fun with our longtime girls basketball editor Harold Abend, but for this project it wasn’t bad. We only really disagreed on the order of teams and by only a few places for most teams.
Our two main content initiatives for the CalHiSports.com site during the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequential shutdown of high school sports from last March until (we hope) January of 2021 have been to finish or update all-time greatest team rankings in football, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and softball. We’ve already updated those rankings for football, baseball and softball and did the boys all-time greatest teams a little more than two weeks ago, led by McClymonds of Oakland (1958).
The other main initiative is adding and/or updating all state records we have in those same five sports. We still have some categories to add for football, but all of the offensive categories were updated through the last season and now appear on the site. We also have completed state record updates and have added numerous categories to the site in both boys and girls basketball. Our baseball state records were wrapped up last and all we have left is softball to be compiled and added to the site after that.
Before reading through all of the 30 teams that have been selected for this girls basketball feature, keep in mind that it is not a ranking of the 30 “best” teams in state history because obviously many teams from more than 30 or 40 years ago might not be able to step on the same court the way girls practice, play and shoot three-pointers these day. Plus, as Harold pointed out in some of the writeups, teams from the 1980s and many but not all in the 1990s didn’t play in all of the national elite tourneys that they do today.
Greatness is about historical context, it’s about being that much better than one’s contemporary competition and it’s about being No. 1 in the state and No. 1 in the nation, which in most years in California was mythical and not determined on the court. It’s still mostly mythical nationally.
For these all-time state rankings, we also are not going to go against our own published state rankings for a given season. If a team was not No. 1 in the final Cal-Hi Sports rankings it wasn’t going to be ranked in this package in front of the team that was ranked higher for that season.
Secondly, finishing No. 1 in a credible national ranking was used as a barometer to measure a team’s greatness. We actually helped start one of the nation’s pollsters, Clay Kallam of MaxPreps, when doing our own Student Sports FAB 50 in the 1990s. We haven’t been part of a national ranking in girls basketball since 2014. We of course still look at Clay’s rankings today. Harold also follows many of the girls national rankings every week.
Harold has been the primary girls basketball editor/analyst for Cal-Hi Sports for more than 20 years, but has been watching top girls teams in the state for almost as many years as Cal-Hi Sports has been around. He jokes that he got hooked in 1982 when assigned to the CIF state finals that year in Oakland to see Cheryl Miller and her team at Riverside Poly. We got hooked a couple of years earlier when watching Jackie White of Fresno San Joaquin Memorial.
These rankings were compiled primarily by Harold and then were adjusted through meetings with yours truly. We also have talked about the topic many times over the years with many others from around the state. Plus, Harold got some input on the teams coached by Kevin Kiernan at Mater Dei and Troy of Fullerton.
Teams can move up or move down in these all-time rankings based on how graduates from those teams do in later years. We’ll be checking on girls at Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth from 2018 and La Jolla Country Day of 2020 and if players from that squad end up starring in the WNBA within five years, for example, we would give that team a higher all-time ranking.
For these first 30 teams, we kept teams from the same eras, so to speak, together. We didn’t consolidate Mater Dei 2010 and Mater Dei 2011, for example, into one writeup. For the boys, we did, but there are a lot more years to consider for the boys (back into the 1950s or even longer) than the girls. The earliest two girls teams we’ve selected for this first 30-team edition were both from 1981.
Finally, of course, nothing we’ve ever done, including this project and the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book & Almanac, would be possible without all the research that was done for so many years by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis (1936-2004).
Here is an alphabetical list of the 30 teams we’ve decided to include in this feature:
Archbishop Mitty of San Jose 1999
Archbishop Mitty of San Jose 2018
Brea Olinda of Brea 1994
Buena of Ventura 1984
Clovis West of Fresno 2017
La Jolla Country Day of La Jolla 2012
La Jolla Country Day of La Jolla 2020
Locke of Los Angeles 1981
Mater Dei of Santa Ana 2010
Mater Dei of Santa Ana 2011
Mater Dei of Santa Ana 2012
Morningside of Inglewood 1989
Narbonne of Harbor City 2000
Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates 1992
Point Loma of San Diego 1985
Point Loma of San Diego 19846
Poly of Long Beach 2007
Poly of Riverside 1981
Poly of Riverside 1982
Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco 2008
Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton 1994
Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth 2019
St. Mary’s of Stockton 2010
St. Mary’s of Stockton 2015
Troy of Fullerton 2006
Windward of Los Angeles 2018
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports