No. 1 Windward doesn’t think of itself as being state’s best heading into Saturday matchup with No. 2 Mater Dei. “They’re No. 1,” says Windward coach Steve Smith. This week’s only newcomers, by the way, are St. Ignatius of San Francisco and Lynwood.
Last Saturday’s marquee game of the eight-team Real Run Classic at Long Beach City College featured state No. 1 Windward of Los Angeles against No. 3 Long Beach Poly and as one would expect it went down to the wire with Windward holding on for a 54-53 win.
After opening a 51-42 lead with 3:45 left, Windward saw it evaporate after an 11-1 Jackrabbit run gave Poly a 53-52 advantage with 1:28 remaining.
Three lead changes later, Macchiati Smith hit a left-handed running layup with 11.5 seconds remaining for the game-winner.
Even after the sophomore’s basket, the game was far from over. The Wildcats used a foul at the seven-second mark. Courtney Jaco then forced a jump ball with 1.4 seconds remaining. With the 6-foot-7 Imani Stafford defending the inbounds and forcing a pass out beyond the arc, a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer by Poly’s Justyce Dawson clanked off the rim.
Jordin Canada dazzled the Long Beach City College crowd with a game-high 22 points and four assists.
Sophomore Arica Carter paced the Jackrabbits with 18 points while Destiny King scored 16 and added five steals and four rebounds.
The reward for coach Steve Smith and his girls is a road game at No. 2 Mater Dei where the state’s top spot will be at stake in a much-anticipated game Friday at the Nike Extravaganza in Santa Ana.
“It’s just like boxing. You have to knock out the champion,” Smith told Cal-Hi Sports.
“Hey, I saw them destroy Poly by 42 points in a game during fall when they were healthy,” Smith continued. “We may be the top-ranked team right now, but until someone in-state beats Mater Dei they’re number one in the state.”
Smith has a point. The Monarchs also have been State Team of the Year for 2010 and 2011.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(After games of Saturday, Jan. 28)
1. (1) Windward (Los Angeles) 18-3 Prior to the win against Long Beach Poly, the Wildcats had a running clock win over crosstown Pacific Hills. Sophomore 6-foot Kristen Simon had a double-double 21 points and 10 rebounds. This week, before taking on Mater Dei, the girls have two Alpha League games at nearby Brentwood and at home against Chatsworth Sierra Canyon.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 20-2 The Monarchs began last week with an 86-22 running clock victory over Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita, and then followed that up with a 76-52 win over visiting No. 16 Oaks Christian on Saturday. Washington State-bound Alexas Williamson led three girls in double-figure scoring in the Oaks Christian game. The senior guard had 23 points, UCLA-bound Nirra Fields had 20 points and USC-bound Jordan Adams chipped in with 16 points. Before the big matchup with Windward on Friday, coach Kevin Kiernan and the girls take a trip to nearby Orange to face Orange Lutheran.
3. (4) La Jolla Country Day (San Diego) 21-1 With Long Beach Poly losing to Windward, combined with the Torreys two-point loss to Poly two weeks ago coming after a 12-point win earlier in the season, there is now enough ammunition to make these rankings mirror the POWERADE FAB 50 and move coach Terri Bamford’s girls in front of the Jackrabbits. In the only game last week, La Jolla Country Day blew past Bishop’s of La Jolla 66-33 at home. Four girls hit double-figures and 10 girls scored. Kelsey Plum led the way with 15 points, five assists and five steals.
4. (3) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 20-2 Coach Carl Buggs’ girls opened the week with three running-clock wins, at Long Beach Jordan, at home against Long Beach Cabrillo and on the road at Compton. Then came the one-point heartbreaking loss to Windward. “Six inches and it would have been a different story,” Buggs said in a text, referring to the last-second shot by Justyce Dawson. Despite the loss, Buggs’ girls only flip-flop with the La Jolla Country Day team they lost to by 12-points in December and edged by a deuce in a rematch 10 days later.
5. (5) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 17-2 Finally, after three weeks of league action, the Dragons had a game that didn’t go to a running clock, although they still had easy wins. Coach Malik McCord’s girls beat Hayward 58-35 on the road and Moreau Catholic of Hayward 65-27 at home. K.C. Waters had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Oderah Chidom 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Moreau win. On tap this week are teams from Arroyo of San Lorenzo and San Lorenzo they’ve already beaten by a combined score of 141-13.
6. (6) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 16-3 Another week and another two wins for the Rams as they lit up the scoreboard in wins last week over Lincoln of Stockton and Tokay of Lodi. Opening the week at home against their local rivals, Charise Holloway scored 21 points and Regina Camera added 19 points as they opened up a 17-0 lead on the way to defeating the Trojans 89-46. It was raining 3-pointers in Lodi to end the week as the Rams hit 16 from long distance in a 91-28 win over the Tigers. Courtney Range led the way with 20 points while Camera made four from downtown and finished with 19 points. After games this week against Edison of Stockton and West of Tracy, they will host Central Section power Hanford on Saturday.
7. (7) Edison (Huntington Beach) 18-2 The Chargers started the week with a 67-31 win over Newport Beach Newport Harbor. Then, in a rematch of last year’s CIFSS Division 1A title game, they played through foul trouble to earn a hard-fought 67-59 victory over visiting No. 11 Troy of Fullerton. Karlie Samuelson, getting closer to full-strength since returning from an injury, led the way with 23 points, Katie Lou Samuelson scored 14 points despite playing with a strained quad and Rilee Horton added 14 points and seven rebounds. Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach are on this week’s schedule.
8. (8) Brea Olinda (Brea) 16-4 In their only game last week, Anna Kim had 14 points and Shaylissa Jarrett added 11 in a 66-38 romp over Placentia El Dorado. Coach Kim Cram-Torres and the girls are busier this week, visiting a Canyon of Anaheim team that has been tough this season, and then hosting Anaheim Esperanza and El Modena of Orange.
9. (9) Santiago (Corona) 22-0 Entering the second half of Big VIII League play, the Sharks continue to move closer to finishing the regular season with an undefeated record. Chrishae Rowe scored a game-high 20 points and Shiana Carrington added 17 as they opened up last week with a 79-34 home win over Norco. Paris Jones then took her turn to lead the offense in a 68-45 road win over previous state No. 18 Centennial of Corona as she scored 19 points.
10. (10) Summit (Fontana) 17-3 The Skyhawks stay put this week and may not move much until the playoffs. A loss in Sunkist League play certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon as their league win streak has reached 56 games entering this week’s games against Bloomington and Norte Vista of Riverside. Summit started last week with a 43-24 triumph over Patriot of Riverside behind Ashley Weissman’s 10 points. The team then beat Jurupa Valley of Mira Loma 59-44.
11. (11) Troy (Fullerton) 13-6 The week started great for coach Roger Anderson and the girls of Troy after a 58-24 win at La Habra. It ended with a 67-59 loss at Edison, but with the kind of game they gave Edison, the decision was made not to drop the Warriors despite six losses, all to teams ranked above them or out of state teams with solid records. This week, they have Long Beach Poly, Buena Park and Sonora of La Habra. Depending on how well they do against Poly, they may have to drop next week.
12. (12) Berkeley 16-2 Not much to write about here after a running clock win against El Cerrito and a 59-30 victory over Alameda. Arizona State-bound Elisha Davis had five 3-pointers and 21 points against Alameda. This week, the Yellowjackets have one Alameda Contra Costa League game on the road at Pinole Valley.
13. (13) J.W. North (Riverside) 19-3 The Huskies stay just a game behind Santiago of Corona in the Big VIII League after defeating Centennial of Corona and Riverside Poly last week. After a narrow 57-54 win over Centennial, they went on the road and picked up a 74-58 win over the Bears. Kamille Diaz scored a game-high 19 points while Pricilla Brooks added 18 points in the road win. After a home game against Roosevelt, they will have a chance to avenge a 65-61 loss this week when they go on the road to take on Santiago.
Freshman center/forward Brianna Beckman of No. 18 St. Ignatius looks to pass during game against arch-rival Sacred Heart Cathedral.
14. (14) Etiwanda 16-3 The Eagles have now won five straight after wins over Rancho Cucamonga and Glendora last week. Starting slow, they dominated the second quarter 25-11 on the way to the 55-37 road win against Rancho Cucamonga. Cierra Miles led the offense with 13 points while Ashtyn Anderson had a double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds in the Baseline League win. They will be on the road for a pair of games this week as they take on Upland and Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga.
15. (15) Mission Bay (San Diego) 15-5 Thank goodness for the running clock, or there would be even worse blowouts than the Buccaneers’ 85-29 and 69-17 wins last week over San Diego’s Lincoln and University City, respectively. Previous State Athlete of the Week Briteesha Solomon registered two triple-doubles, with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 steals against Lincoln and 21 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists versus University City. Two Western League games are on tap this week, then coach Sa’de Wiley-Gatewood takes the girls back to where she earned the 2002 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year award when the team travels to play new No. 19 Lynwood.
16. (16) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 17-4 The Lions don’t move in this week’s rankings since their 76-51 loss last week was to No. 2 Mater Dei. Although that’s a big margin, Oaks Christian also still has head-to-head win over Carondelet. Coach Ken Plummer’s team also won games last week 85-22 against Fillmore and 75-33 over Santa Clara of Oxnard. In the game against the Monarchs, Beth Mounier had a strong outing with 20 points.
17. (19) Carondelet (Concord) 16-3 Coach Margaret Gartner’s team climbs a little higher this week after two easy East Bay Athletic League wins 89-47 and 84-51 over California of San Ramon and 84-51 over Amador Valley of Pleasanton, respectively. Five players registered double figures in the California win, including Natalie Romeo with 18, Melissa Russi with 15 and Hannah Huffman with 14. The Notre-Dame-bound Huffman led the way with 25 points against Amador Valley, while Romeo had 20 and Russi added 18.
18. (NR) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 16-3 Like Carondelet, the Wildcats don’t have much size, but they made up for it in hustle and scrappiness in a 56-49 victory over previous No. 18 Archbishop Mitty of San Jose. The win avenges a loss to Mitty on the road last month. The decision to give the spot to St. Ignatius and drop Mitty was very difficult, since both have a loss to Berkeley with Mitty’s being by two points and SI by seven. However, with the Cal-Hi Sports caravan in the house for last week’s contest in San Francisco, the hosts were the better team. That could very well change in the West Catholic Athletic League playoffs.
19. (NR) Lynwood 15-4 It’s been quite a while since three-time state championship coach Ellis Barfield and his Knights have been in the rankings. The Knights are on an eight-game winning streak since taking an out-of-state loss in the Energy Classic in Wyoming. In fact, all four of the team’s losses are to out-of-state teams that are one of each state’s best teams, Springfield (Oregon), Campbell County (Wyoming), Meadowlake (Washington) and Highland Ranch from Colorado. This past week, Barfield’s girls had two easy San Gabriel Valley League wins over Downey and Compton Dominguez, 46-22 and 51-24, respectively. Senior 6-foot center Jolana Ford led the way against Dominguez with 15 points. Barfield will play Mission Bay of San Diego on Saturday, which is coached by one of his former players, Sa’de Wiley-Gatewood.
20. (20) Chaminade (West Hills) 19-3 Robyn Brown was the only player in double-digits as she scored 11 points in a 49-28 win over Louisville of Woodland Hills that got Chaminade’s last week off to a solid start. The Eagles won their other game 53-35 over Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada Flintridge as Mi’Chael Wright led the way with a team-high 12 points. This week’s games are against Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.
Dropped Out Previous No. 17 Centennial (Corona), No. 18 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 15-5.
On the Bubble Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 15-5, Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills) 22-2, Canyon (Anaheim) 15-7, Centennial (Corona) 18-4, El Toro 21-2, Foothill (Santa Ana) 16-4, Lincoln (Stockton) 16-3, Miramonte (Orinda) 20-0, Narbonne (Harbor City) 17-6, Poly (Riverside) 17-5, River City (West Sacramento) 21-1, Sacramento 15-6, San Diego 17-5, Serra (Gardena) 19-3, St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 19-6, St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 14-6*, Stockdale (Bakersfield) 18-3.
Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.