Alemany knocks off Chaminade and makes a move into this week’s rankings. The only other change sees St. Mary’s of Stockton and Bishop O’Dowd switching positions with the Rams going up after last Saturday’s win.
This is the time of the season when the cream rises to the top, as the best teams are either in their respective section playoffs, finishing up league play, or in league playoffs in preparation of section playoffs.
The bottom line is at this time of the year there are very few surprises.
Certainly the 76-67 win by St. Mary's of Stockton over Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland last Saturday wasn't really a surprise, considering the last time the three-time defending state champions lost at home was to the Danielle Robinson-led Archbishop Mitty of San Jose team six years ago.
The bottom line was St. Mary's was the better prepared team and executed its game plan of all-out pressing and excellent 3-point shooting perfectly, especially early on.
Courtney Range was dominant in the paint, Charise Holloway converted scoring opportunities, Regina Camera hit from outside and played good defense, and Onome Jemerigbe was a significant contributor on both ends of the court.
The strategy of Coach Tom Gonsalves also successfully got O'Dowd's two big girls, K.C. Waters and Oderah Chidom, in foul trouble early.
Was this the same team that lost 71-52 in early January to La Jolla Country Day?
"We're a much better team than we were then. We're at a different level now," Gonsalves told Cal-Hi Sports after the O'Dowd win.
"We needed this game," said Range, who finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. "In Arizona and against Country Day we didn't play that well. As a team, we needed to prove we could play against good teams."
The only other rumble in the rankings this week occurred toward the bottom where Alemany of Mission Hills won the grudge match of the three games with West Hills Chaminade to reclaim that spot.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(After games of Saturday, Feb. 11)
1. (1) Windward (Los Angeles) 23-3
After the big win over Mater Dei two weeks ago, the Wildcats finished Alpha League play with running-clock victories over Campbell Hall of North Hollywood and crosstown Pacific Hills. No one gets a bye in the 32-team CIF Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs, so the top seed will open at home on Thursday against Nipomo.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 23-3
The Monarchs rebounded from the Windward loss with blowout Trinity League wins over Rosary of Fullerton and JSerra of San Juan Capistrano, 61-34 and 73-37 respectively. Now is when the journey really begins in the super-loaded 34-team field of the CIFSS Division 1AA playoffs. Coach Kevin Kiernan's girls were given the No. 2 seed and await the winner of a Thursday wild card game between Inglewood and Riverside M.L. King.
3. (3) La Jolla Country Day (San Diego) 23-1
The Torreys only had one game last week and Maya Hood registered a double-double 29 points and 12 rebounds in a 77-25 Senior Night win over Horizon. Coach Terri Bamford and the girls finish up league play this week at arch-rival Bishop's of La Jolla before they move into the CIF San Diego Section Division IV playoffs.
4. (4) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 24-2
Despite an early exit from last year’s playoffs and a comparable record to Mater Dei, it wasn’t totally unexpected that the Jackrabbits were awarded the No. 1 seed in the CIFSS Division 1AA playoffs. Still at some point, it more than likely will take a Poly win over Mater Dei to get a trip to Sacramento next month. Last week, the Jackrabbits prepped for the playoffs by finishing Moore League with two victories -- 52-41 over Long Beach Millikan and 92-24 over crosstown Jordan.
5. (6) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 23-3
Although the Rams looked as strong as any team they’ve had in recent years in the first half of their win against O’Dowd, they can only move up one spot in this week’s rankings because of the previous loss to No. 3 La Jolla Country Day and Country Day’s split with No. 4 Long Beach Poly. The team will have senior night in its regular season finale Thursday against Tokay of Lodi. Bad news for the rest of the state: It’s not going to involve that many players and only one starter.
6. (5) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 21-3
Until the teams below them play the kind of non-league opponents that coach Malik McCord lined up this year, the Dragons will just flip-flop with St. Mary's this week after the 76-67 loss on the road to the Rams. Despite early foul trouble, the front line duo of Oderah Chidom (17 points, 12 rebounds) and K.C. Waters (15 points, 13 rebounds) both registered double-doubles, although the bulk of the production was when the game was pretty much decided. Having an 81-11 and 82-27 wins preceding the game didn't help in a lackluster start that saw O’Dowd fall behind 56-27 early in the third quarter against St. Mary's. Before heading into the CIF North Coast Section Division III playoffs, the girls finish up league play at Hayward Mt. Eden and home against Hayward.
7. (7) Santiago (Corona) 27-0
Putting the final touches on their undefeated regular season, the Sharks picked up two wins in Big VIII League play. Chrishae Rowe led the way with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists as the Sharks opened the week with a 57-40 win at Poly of Riverside. Ending the regular season at home against Roosevelt of Corona, it was Shiana Carrington who led the offense with 16 points. Seeded No. 3 in the CIFSS Division I-AA playoffs, Santiago opens the postseason Saturday against Rancho Cucamonga.
8. (8) Summit (Fontana) 21-3
The Skyhawks finished a perfect Sunkist League record with a pair of home wins last week to end the regular season. Jillian Alleyne scored 23 points while Adrianna Brodie added 19 points and 16 rebounds in a 71-30 win over Kaiser of Fontana. The regular season finale was even more lopsided as Summit defeated Patriot of Riverside 67-19. As the top seed in the CIFSS Division I-A playoffs, Summit will host Mission Viejo on Saturday.
9. (9) Berkeley 19-2
The Yellowjackets ‘ on-the-court record remains the same at 17-2 after they received a second forfeit this year from a Richmond team having trouble fielding a squad. Prior to the NCS Division I playoffs next week, the girls finish Alameda Contra Costa League play this week at Hercules and at home against El Cerrito.
10. (10) Lynwood 20-4
The Lady Knights finished up San Gabriel Valley League play with a 52-44 win at Gahr of Cerritos, and a 50-43 home win over Downey. Very surprisingly, coach Ellis Barfield’s team only received the No. 5 seed in the CIFSS Division 2AA playoffs and open at home against Fullerton Sunny Hills.
11. (11) Edison (Huntington Beach) 21-3
There was good news and some very bad news for the Chargers' faithful last week. The good news was victories over crosstown Marina and Los Alamitos. The bad news is the team will lose junior standout Karlie Samuelson for the season due to a swollen spleen from mono. Her freshman sister, Katie Lou, is being tested for the same condition this week. The No. 4 seed in the CIFSS Div. 1AA playoffs opens at home against Quartz Hill.
12. (12) Brea Olinda (Brea) 20-5
With the outcome of the Century League championship in their own hands, the Wildcats did what they needed to do by winning two games last week, including the regular season finale at Foothill of Tustin. Keitra Wallace scored a game-high 24 points and Taylor Spears had 10 in a 71-44 win over the Knights to end the regular season and clinch the crown. Brea Olinda opens the CIFSS Div. I-AA playoffs Saturday against Arcadia.
13. (13) Carondelet (Concord) 21-3
The Cougars continued to roll in East Bay Athletic League wins over Livermore and Granada of Livermore and also beat Deer Valley of Antioch. In the 77-73 non-league win at perennially-tough D1 Deer Valley, super sophomore Natalie Romeo scored a game-high 21 points to lead the way. Prior to the NCS D2 playoffs, Carondelet finishes up East Bay Athletic League play with Pleasanton Foothill and California of San Ramon.
14. (14) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 21-3
The Wildcats finished West Catholic Athletic League regular-season play with wins over Notre Dame of Belmont, St. Francis of Mountain View and Presentation of San Jose. They still only snagged the No. 2 seed in the league playoffs behind an Archbishop Mitty of San Jose team they split with in the regular season. They open at home on Tuesday with Notre Dame.
15. (16) Mission Bay (San Diego) 18-6
The Buccaneers’ lone game last week saw them post a 79-59 over crosstown Cathedral Catholic. Briteesha Solomon had 25 points, 15 rebounds and 11 steals. Arizona-bound Keyahndra Cannon had 21 point, 11 rebounds, 12 assists and nine steals. Before the CIF San Diego Section D3 playoffs, the girls finish up league with San Diego Scripps Ranch and Lincoln.
16. (17) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 21-4
A loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana may have ended a season-best nine-game winning streak, but the Lions have now won five straight to end the regular season. The second of two wins last week was 69-20 at home against Fillmore. Kailee Severt scored 21 points and Meghan McIntyre had 15 in the easy win. Oaks Christian is seeded No. 2 in the CIFSS Div. IV-AA playoffs behind state No. 1 Windward and opens the postseason with a matchup against Santa Ynez.
17. (18) J.W. North (Riverside) 23-4
Bouncing back from a road loss to unbeaten Santiago of Corona, the Huskies ended the regular season with a pair of Big VIII League wins to finish in second-place. Pricilla Brooks scored a team-high 15 points while Brittany Crain and Kamille Diaz each scored 13 points in a 63-41 road win against King of Riverside. Crain then scored 11 points to lead the way in a 49-36 triumph over Norco. Seeded third in the CIFSS Division II-AA playoffs, the Huskies will open up the postseason with a game against Yucaipa.
18. (NR) Alemany (Mission Hills) 26-2
It was an easy call to put Alemany in as this week’s only newcomer and it was easy to put the Warriors in front of Etiwanda. Coach Bryan Camacho’s team avenged an earlier loss to previous No. 15 Chaminade of West Hills by edging the Eagles 48-46 last week in a Mission League contest. Since the team also has a head-to-head win over Etiwanda, the win jumped the Warriors to No. 18 in this week’s rankings. Their only other loss is to No. 4 Long Beach Poly. Alemany will play the winner of a game between Barstow and South Pasadena on Friday in a CIFSS Div. III-AA playoff opener.
19. (19) Etiwanda 21-3
Jazzmyn Oliver scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Ashtyn Anderson had 12 points and eight rebounds as the Eagles ended their regular season by defeating Rancho Cucamonga 43-27. They capped a 10-0 run in the Baseline League, but the highest seed they could get in the super-tough CIFSS Div. I-AA playoffs was a No. 8. Etiwanda meets Great Oak of Temecula Saturday in its first playoff game.
20. (20) Huntington Beach 21-4
The Oilers ended the regular season with a pair of comfortable wins as they get ready to face Dana Hills of Dana Point in the CIFSS Div. I-A playoffs this week. Kelsey Minato had a game-high 16 points while Danielle Kennedy added 13 points in a 55-28 road win over Newport Harbor. A 64-37 win over Marina of Huntington Beach on senior night ended the regular season.
Dropped Out: Previous No. 15 Chaminade (West Hills).
On the Bubble: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 19-5; Canyon (Anaheim) 19-7; Chaminade (West Hills) 22-4; El Toro (Lake Forest) 23-2; Foothill (Tustin) 20-5; Hanford 20-4; Miramonte (Orinda)24-0; Narbonne (Harbor City) 23-6; Rialto 23-1; River City (West Sacramento) 24-1; Sacramento 19-6; San Diego 21-5; Serra (Gardena) 21-3; St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 22-7; St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 20-6; Stockdale (Bakersfield) 22-3.
Note: Paul Muyskens contributed to this report.
Corrections or comments? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.