This group begins with Bonita Vista of Chula Vista and then Rosary of Fullerton. We also have three teams from the Sacramento area’s Sierra Foothill League, plus No. 1 teams from Ventura County and San Francisco. We go down to No. 40 Valley View (Moreno Valley) and then have more than 25 teams listed on the bubble.
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2021-22 CAL-HI SPORTS PRESEASON
GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE RANKINGS
(This is the 41st consecutive season that CalHiSports.com will provide state rankings in girls basketball, which is just one year shy of how long we’ve done boys; Last year’s final rating in parentheses with 2020-21 won-loss record; *Forfeits not included.)
(Cal-Hi Sports co-founder and editor Mark Tennis contributed to these rankings)
16. (8) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 24-5
As we go down the pecking order we place Bonita Vista pretty far behind the Clovis West team that ended their season in a 56-46 loss on the road in Fresno in the first round of the Southern Regional Open Division playoffs. The Barons lose current New Mexico State freshman Selena Peterson and one other senior contributor, but they return and All State First Team selection Mahliya Wilson plus more. Wilson, a flashy sophomore combo guard, was second on the team in scoring last season at 13.1 points per game plus 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals per contest. Another player returning is junior guard Kaylyn Buchanan. She averaged 6.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.3 assists per game. A player head coach Tristan Lamb is looking to be the “third wheel” is Alyssa Alvarado, a junior point guard ho averaged 5.2 points per game last season. Lamb has a very young team consisting of two juniors, five sophomores and two freshmen, and no seniors. Bonita Vista will be hosting its Gold Crown Holiday Tip-Off tournament with some top teams in the field including Sierra Canyon.
17. (19) Rosary Academy (Fullerton) 17-6*
With the fact that Royals’ head coach Richard Yoon returns all 11 players from last year’s team that got all the way to the CIF Southern Regional Division 1-A title game before falling to Long Beach Poly, some might think Rosary should be higher, and possibly ahead of Poly. However, the Royals did lose by 30 points and they also had a loss to an Esperanza team that has just as many returners, so despite Esperanza coming in ahead of Poly, the Royals fall in two spots behind the Jackrabbits but still two spots higher than their final rankings finish from last season. Despite all the returners, the Royals are still young and only have two seniors, with one of them Utah Valley-bound Kaylee Byon. The Royals’ top player was an All Division 1 CIF Southern Section Division and Second Team All State Juniors selection, and according to Yoon she averaged 29.8 points per game. Had that number been reported it would have been the top mark in the CIF Southern Section and No. 3 in the state. Another player who had a great sophomore season and could have a breakout junior year is front line 6-footer Ava Dominguez (12.3 ppg). An up and comer to look for is sophomore forward Allison Clarke 14.0 ppg).
18. (39) Folsom 7-1
Just about every analyst and coach queried has the Bulldogs as the top team from the Sacramento metro area to begin the season not so much on their record last year but the fact that they have some solid returning talent, four freshmen who are very good, and in fall ball they have been beating the pants off everyone. We agree and made them the area’s top team for the preseason. The top returner is CSU Stanislaus-bound senior point guard Makayla Jackson. Another senior who head coach Lynn Wolking likes a lot is Oregon Tech-bound Chelsea Ching. A junior who looked good over the summer and can shoot the 3-ball is 6-foot wing Charlotte Climenhage. A sophomore starting to get some D1 interest is 6-foot-2 center Kamryn Mafua. Another girl who looked good this summer is sophomore combo guard Ella Uriate. That’s all fine and dandy but a big part of the reason there’s a lot of hype surrounding Folsom is because of the four freshmen that have been added to the mix, and one in particular, 5-foot-11 wing Ava Rawlins. She has over a dozen offers including a few from the Pac-12. According to Wolking, the other three freshmen — Aryn Bright, Jada Tupou and Sophia Minderman — will also see playing time as well.
19. (13) Windward (Los Angeles) 14-3
When we did the Final Expanded Rankings we hinted that the Wildcats could be close to the top of the heap after a tumultuous season and with things getting back to normal. That was then and this is now, and my how things have changed. The two biggest changes are superstar junior Juju Watkins has transferred to Sierra Canyon, and current Washington Mystics assistant coach and former Windward head coach Vanessa Nygaard is back at the Windward helm after a one-year hiatus. Windward won’t have Watkins, but Princeton-bound Skye Belker is back as the top returner and Nygaard has another young player to mentor in Samari Bankhead. The 6-foot incoming freshman is regarded as one of the top shooting guard prospects from the 2025 class in the nation. Nygaard has won three state championships and knows how to get the most out of her players so don’t sleep on the Wildcats.
20. (23) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 1-3
As a result of the pandemic, no team in Northern California had a more discombobulated season than the Dragons. The O’Dowd gym was scheduled for reconstruction at the end of a 2020-2021 season and that didn’t start until it should have ended. That meant limited practice facilities that affected not only the girls but the boys as well and other programs needing to practice in a safe and controlled environment. That coupled with the fact Cal-bound 6-foot-1 star Amaya Bonner was hurt and hardly played at all last season and O’Dowd was in a league where the team averaged less than seven games meant the season was basically a throw away. Now, according the head coach Malik McCord, Bonner is “healthy, improved a lot, playing aggressively and mentally tough,” and that could spell trouble for O’Dowd’s opponents. Bonner will be joined by some solid returners led by sophomore point guard Savannah Jones (12 ppg, six rebounds, six assists per game last season) and sophomore wing Nyah Greenwood (eight points, six rebounds). Two freshmen McCord likes are point guard Athena Velazquez and 6-foot-1 forward Madison Gordon.
21. (27) Camarillo 11-2
The top team from Ventura County in the Final Expanded Rankings assumes the same honor but a few spots higher to start this season. The top returner is Gabriella Jaquez, the little sister of current UCLA junior Jamie Jaquez Jr. Last season, Gabriella went out with a bang after dropping in 52 points in a heartbreaking 73-72 loss to Torrance Bishop Montgomery in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Had Camarillo played more games, the 31.7 points per game scoring average of Jaquez would have led the state. She also averaged 14.8 rebounds, 2.9 steals and 2.4 assists per game. After last season, Jaquez was named the MVP of the Nike Nationals as a member of the victorious Cal Stars. Besides Jaquez, who was an All State First Team Juniors and has committed to UCLA to join her big brother, Scorpions head coach Mike Prewitt has several solid underclass players returning, including juniors Emily Lim and Kailani Peralta, and senior Anika Carey.
22. (34) Carondelet (Concord) 10-1
The Cougars, like most of the Northern California teams, had a very light schedule in the spring with a lone loss — 56-48 to San Ramon Valley in East Bay Athletic League – Mountain Division action. Second season head coach Kelly Sopak and his Cougars could be much higher but they will be having to wait for Stanford-bound Talana Lepolo to finish her sit out period. Lepolo, a senior guard who is considered one of the top defenders in the state, sat out all of the COVID-shortened season after transferring from Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame. Once she is eligible on December 19 and teams up with Carondelet’s top returner, All State First Team Juniors and UC Davis-bound Nya Epps, the Cougars will be very formidable.
24. (24) Antelope 9-1
Like most of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section teams, Antelope had a COVID-shortened spring season with a lone 5-point loss to Salesian at home. Antelope loses Jzaniya Harriel, who is now at Stanford, but even so head coach Sean Chambers and his Titans could very well have been the top team in the Sacramento Metro Area but Rocklin junior transfer Mary Carter has to sit out and won’t be eligible until after Christmas. No stats were available for last season but as a freshman the 6-foot-2 Carter averaged a double-double 13.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. When she’s eligible, Carter will join top returners Samiya Dillard, a 6-foot-1 sophomore forward who averaged 9.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season, and junior point guard Ivy Babcock, who went for 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.9 steals last season.
25. (25) Mission Hills (San Marcos) 21-7
Head coach Christopher Kroesch and his Grizzlies come in at the same spot where they finished in the Final Expanded Rankings. The top seed in the CIF Southern Regional Division 1-AA playoffs had its season ended by Lynwood in the first round but it was still a solid season for Mission Hills. The Grizzlies start out as the No. 4 team from the CIF San Diego Section in the preseason rankings. All but two seniors return for Kroesch, including leading scorer Jessica Grant. The junior combo guard averaged 16.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Senior guard Kennan Ka (12.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg last season) is back as is sophomore point guard Mariah Brown (7.0 ppg) plus others.
26. (40) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 13-5
Some analysts and coaches we queried had St. Ignatius higher in their pecking order than Bishop O’Dowd, Carondelet and even San Ramon Valley. They all had second year head coach and former Wildcats’ star Maya Fok and her girls as the No. 3 team from the CIF Central Coast Section as we do. St. Ignatius boasts one of the top seniors in the CCS in Sabrina Ma, who has committed to San Jose State. She returns after averaging 18.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Another senior returner will be two-sport star Claire Untalan. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 12.2 points and 12.1 rebounds per game and has D1 interest in both basketball and volleyball. A third senior to look for is Soon Ja Elzey.
27. (NR) Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 8-4
The Trojans didn’t have a great season in the spring and never really got untracked like many of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section teams that just didn’t play enough games. In fact, Oak Ridge only played against Sierra Foothill League competition. Two of its losses were to a Folsom team they beat once, one was a bad loss to a Whitney of Rocklin they avenged four days later, and the other was to a solid Del Oro. It should be noted that Washington-bound senior star Teagan Brown only played 10 games and the two games she missed they lost, once to Folsom and also to Whitney. Brown (18.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.9 steals per game last season), an All State First Team Juniors honoree, also is a four-year varsity standout. She is back along with every other major contributor, including 6-foot-3 senior post Ella Ray (9.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and 6-foot senior Kamryn Hall (6.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg) plus others.
28. (35) Bishop’s (La Jolla) 12-9
The Knights’ girls had nine losses, but all of them were to ranked teams. Of their local CIF San Diego Section losses, the one to look at was a 63-61 defeat the hands of Mater Dei Catholic. The Knights get to start a few spots ahead of that team by virtue of the fact they return all their leading scorers led by senior and All State Third Team Juniors selection Angie Robles. The senior point guard filled the stat sheet with 18.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.0 steals. Leading scorer Renee Chong (19.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 33 3-pointers) is back for her senior season. Another senior to look for is Natalia Sierra. She went for 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds last spring.
29. (NR) Viewpoint (Calabasas) 9-5
The Patriots come in to the rankings for a few reasons. First, they tied for first place in the Gold Coast League with Windward and Sierra Canyon based on a win over Windward and an overtime loss to Sierra Canyon. Next is they had a win over Serra of Gardena, and finally they made enough radar screens of coaches and analysts to make the Girls Basketball: Teams to Watch this season in the Southland list of Los Angeles Times sports scribe Eric Sondheimer. In his comments, Sondheimer notes that all five Patriots’ starters from last season return.
30. (28) Serra (Gardena) 11-3
For these first rankings, the Cavaliers fall in behind the Viewpoint team that upset them last season. Serra didn’t qualify for the CIF Southern Regional playoffs after the season ended in a heartbreaking CIF Southern Section Division 1 63-62 loss to an Esperanza team that went on to a runner-up finish and also a semifinal finish in the CIF SoCal Division 1-A playoffs. Head coach Mckinsey Hadley loses a couple of solid senior contributors, but Cal-committed senior point guard Jailah Donald returns after averaging 24.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.3 steals per game. Two sophomores to look for are 5-foot-11 power forward Brooklyn Taylor (10.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg last season) and point guard Elariah Roa. She averaged 8.9 points a game last season.
31. (29) Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) 20-9
Despite only being the No. 5 seed in the CIF Southern Regional 2-AA Division, a 61-54 loss to Cathedral Catholic in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division was telling of things to come after the Crusaders went on to win the 2-AA SoCal title with a convincing 56-42 victory over Alemany of Mission Hills. Leading scorer Kayanna Spriggs graduates but head coach David Monroe returns a lot of talent led by junior combo guard Asia Boone who averaged 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Monroe has some other talent returning, including sophomore guard Chloe Webb (10.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg last season), plus others.
32. (6) Lynwood 14-4*
The Lady Knights take a huge drop from the spring and the reason is that not only did they lose McDonald’s All American and All State Best of the Best honoree Rayah Marshall to graduation, but they also lost three of their other leading scorers. Head coach Ellis Barfield, who enters this season with 623 career victories, does return solid junior wing Jaushylynn Ruffin and her 9.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game averages last season. Barfield is a proven winner so we’ll see which other underclass players and potential newcomers step up to fill the void.
33. (31) Roosevelt (Eastvale) 15-3
With the retirement of Dennis Ullom first year head coach Brian Harris inherits a team that lost twice last spring to No. 1 Centennial (Corona) and the third loss was a 52-46 defeat in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals to Fairmont Prep. Along the way, they defeated Big VIII League rival and a solid ML King of Riverside twice. The Mustangs lose several seniors, including Jaachi Nwanevu, but some talent returns, led by junior Carley Bolden and sophomore Sydney Nelson.
34. (36) Clovis 11-6
The No. 2 team from the CIF Central Section comes in a couple of spots higher than it finished in the 2021 Final Expanded Rankings. Clovis received the No. 3 seed in the Southern Regional 1-AA playoffs and as expected lost to No. 6 seed and visiting Etiwanda, 59-41, to end what was still a solid season. Head coach Greg Clark loses one senior contributor but returns a lot of talent led by the junior duo of leading scorer and All State Second Team Sophomores Devin Miller (16.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Genevieve Tamondong (8.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg), the leading rebounder. Senior Erin Tatum (6.5 ppg) rounds out the top three returners.
35. (NR) Cajon (San Bernardino) 13-2
The No. 4 seed in the CIF Southern Regional 2-AA playoffs had its season ended by eventual champion Mater Dei Catholic but it was still a solid season for the Cowboys’ girls. Along the way, they had a signature win over Viewpoint. Cajon returns a lot of underclass talent led by junior combo guard and leading scorer and Second Team Sophomores selection Ayanna Campbell (18.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 6.6 assists, 5.1 steals) and 6-foot sophomore wing and All State First Team Freshmen selection Mlykelle Richards (15.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg). Another player who averaged 14.7 points per game is senior guard Talia Washington.
36. (NR) Chaminade (West Hills) 9-5
Word out of the San Fernando Valley is head coach Megan Kelso and her Eagles are poised to make some noise as the top team from the Mission League and as such they made the LA Times Girls Basketball Teams to Watch list this season for the Southland. All of Chaminade’s losses last year were to ranked teams and Kelso returns a solid core led by senior point guard Kayla Cabaccang.
37. (30) Alemany (Mission Hills) 18-3
The CIF Southern Section Division 2-AA champions and Southern Regional Division 2-AA runners-up only lost three seniors off a 16-player roster from last season and the result is that the Warriors have some solid returning talent led by All State Third Team Juniors and 6-foot-3 senior post Chloe Williams. No stats were available from last season but as these rankings are being released Alemany is already 3-0 to start the season and should breeze in the Sunshine League.
38. (NR) Piedmont 14-2
The Highlanders were on the radar screen of all the Northern California analysts and coaches queried. They therefore land in this spot in the NorCal pecking order. Head coach Bryan Gardere has a lot of returning underclass talent led by All State First Team Sophomores selection Trinity Zamora. Look for Piedmont to give Bishop O’Dowd a tussle in the West Alameda County – Foothill League.
39. (NR) Del Oro (Loomis) 10-3
If you’re counting, this is the third team from the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Sierra Foothill League to grab a top 40 preseason state ranking. The Golden Eagles are behind Folsom and Oak Ridge to start, but did get one win over Oak Ridge last season and return their top player, senior guard Madison Butcher. She led the way with 15.8 ppg last season and has been one of the top players in the Sac Metro region for the last three seasons. Leading rebounder Gabby Kime is 6-foot-5, much improved and is getting small college offers.
40. Valley View (Moreno Valley) 12-8
No team returned more underclass production than the Eagles. The top returner is All State First Team Sophomores selection Ari Long. The 6-foot junior wing led the CIF Southern Section in scoring and was second in the state with a 32 points per game average. Long also made 75 three-pointers and that was by far and away the most in the state that we could find. Two other players to look for are the junior duo of Kennadi Lauderman and Sydnie Trujillo.
Teams On The Bubble
American (Fremont) 9-1
Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 18-7
Arroyo Grande 13-4
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 11-6
Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 0-0
Eisenhower (Rialto) 11-3
El Camino (Oceanside) 17-6
Fairmont Prep (Anaheim) 17-8
Hamilton (Los Angeles) 10-3
Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) 21-4
Heritage (Brentwood) 10-2
James Logan (Union City) 12-1
Laguna Creek (Elk Grove) 2-0
Lincoln (Stockton) 3-1
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 8-5
McClatchy (Sacramento) 2-0
Miramonte (Orinda) 12-2
ML King (Riverside) 12-5
Mount Miguel (Spring Valley) 19-6
North (Torrance) 10-3
Ontario Christian (Ontario) 22-3
Orangewood Academy (Garden Grove) 13-9
Palisades (Pacific Palisades) 13-6
Paloma Valley (Menifee) 13-5
Priory (Portola Valley) 10-4
Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 22-8
Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 10-5
Righetti (Santa Maria) 14-3
Roosevelt (Fresno) 20-2
Sage Hill (Newport Beach) 19-7
San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) 13-0
St. Joseph (Santa Maria) 19-7
Valley Christian (San Jose) 6-4
Vanden (Fairfield) 11-1
West (Torrance) 18-5
Westlake (Westlake Village) 21-3
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend