Tuesday, March 20, 2012
New Cal-Hi Sports Girls BB Top 20
By Harold Abend
It’s a scramble after No. 1 Mater Dei and No. 2 La Jolla Country Day and it could get scrambled again for next week’s final rankings after this weekend’s CIF state championships.
There should be some very competitive games this coming weekend at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento.
More in depth analysis of the individual games will be coming from ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports later this week.
Although we got some argument from La Jolla Day Country Day coach Terri Bamford, the top spot appears to be Mater Dei’s to lose heading into its matchup with Berkeley in the D1 title game.
Windward’s fall from grace has shaken things up, but its team last week isn’t the same one that beat Mater Dei in the Nike Extravaganza, plus the fact Country Day split with Long Beach Poly now becomes an even bigger factor in Mater Dei being in the top position.
There were four newcomers this week with two of them still in action, new No. 15 Laguna Hills and new No. 18 Salesian of Richmond. New No. 16 Foothill (Santa Ana) and new No. 20 Orinda Miramonte both lost in their respective regional title games.
(Through games played on Saturday, March 17)
(Last week’s ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 33-3 The top spot in California is totally in the Monarchs’ hands after a 54-43 win over a Long Beach Poly team in the CIF Division I Southern Regional title game that has split with No. 2 La Jolla Country Day. A win over Berkeley on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Sacramento at Power Balance Pavilion and coach Kevin Kiernan and his girls are in California’s catbird seat for the third straight season.
2. (2) La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 31-1 The score was a lot lower than expected in the Torreys’ 46-36 win over Serra of Gardena in the CIF Division IV South final, but few doubted the outcome, despite Country Day only leading 33-28 after three quarters. From there, Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year candidate and 2011 State Sophomore of the Year Kelsey Plum took over. The result is coach Terri Bamford makes a return to Sacramento for the sixth time in search of her third state title and first in Division IV. The opponent is new No. 18 Salesian of Richmond.
3. (4) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 31-4 A loss to Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Regional D1 title game doesn’t drop the Jackrabbits below any winners or other losers, particularly with having the win over Brea Olinda and a split with La Jolla Country Day. In fact, coach Carl Buggs’ team moves up a spot with the demise of Windward. The only way Poly could fall in the final rankings would be if Mater Dei were to fall to Berkeley or Country Day gets upset by new No. 18 Salesian, with one or both an unlikely scenario.
4. (6) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 29-3 Despite a pretty substantial loss to St. Mary’s of Stockton, the Dragons get to move up to the top of the heap in Northern California. The St. Mary’s loss was on the road, but the Dragons have a win over the Mitty team that just knocked off St. Mary’s. Plus, all you have to do is look at the size and skill on the floor when O’Dowd plays. It’s an elite team for sure. The Dragons still have not won a state title on the girls side despite their recent success and will need to take care of business Saturday in the Division III final against No. 15 Laguna Hills.
5. (8) Berkeley 29-2 Owning a win over Mitty keeps the Yellowjackets in front for now pending what they can do against Mater Dei in relation to what SoCal teams did earlier in the playoffs. Depending upon that game, and what O’Dowd and Archbishop Mitty do in their state title games, the Yellowjackets may move in relation to other NorCal teams as well. In the NorCal D1 56-38 championship game victory over Kennedy of Sacramento, the game was pretty much over when Arizona State-bound Elisha Davis hit her fourth NBA-length 3-pointer to give Berkeley a 29-14 second quarter lead.
6. (14) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 27-5 In an upset that rivals the El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge win over Berkeley in the 2010 D1 NorCal title game, the Monarchs did what few felt they could do when they toppled previous No. 5 St. Mary’s of Stockton 53-51 in the CIF Division II North championship. Now, veteran coach Sue Phillips, the 1999 State Coach of the Year, will go for her and the school’s fifth state championship. The Monarchs are 4-4 in state finals under Phillips.
7. (5) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 30-4 A fourth straight CIF state title -- this one also would have been two straight in Division II -- was just not in the cards for the Rams this season. Despite leading until late in the fourth quarter, the girls were ground to a halt in a 53-51 loss to Mitty in the NorCal final. It’s strange in the rankings to see St. Mary’s behind the Bishop O’Dowd team it beat in February, but O’Dowd does have a win over Mitty and is in line to win a state title (even though it isn’t in a division as strong as the first two). A lack of rebounding ended up being a big factor in the loss. The Monarchs won that battle 51-32. No one from St. Mary’s other than junior Courtney Range had more than three rebounds.
8. (7) Brea Olinda (Brea) 26-7 Considering the Ladycats lost Jeanier Olukemi to transfer and it was the first year for coach Kim Cram-Torres having to follow the legendary Jeff Sink, it would have to be considered a very good year for the girls from Northern Orange County after finishing as a Southern Regional Division I semifinalist. Next year will be a question, though, with Pepperdine-bound Keitra Wallace and several other seniors leaving, and only junior point guard Anna Kim as a returning starter.
9. (9) Serra (Gardena) 30-4 Rejane Verin took advantage of the missing inside players from Windward of Los Angeles and scored 24 points to lead the Cavaliers past the previous No. 3 Wildcats 80-58 in the CIF Division IV South semifinals. Although Serra fell short in the final in a 46-36 loss to No. 2 La Jolla Country Day, the win over Windward combined with the earlier triple-overtime triumph over the Wildcats in the CIFSS Div. IV-AA final means that the Cavaliers have to be in front of Windward in the final rankings.
10. (3) Windward (Los Angeles) 29-5 Still having wins over Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly on keeps the Wildcats above Summit for what is a tough call on where to place them with all of the questions surrounding the reasons for not having Kristen Simon for the final two games or Texas-bound Imani Stafford for the 80-58 SoCal D4 semifinal defeat by Serra. Whatever the reasons, Windward has to drop behind Serra for the final rankings. State Sophomore of the Year candidate Jordin Canada still shined, just as she did at the Nike TOC and as the MVP of the West Coast Jamboree.
11. (10) Summit (Fontana) 28-4 The season for coach Latrina Duncan's Skyhawks came to an end with a 79-69 loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the SoCal Division I regional semifinals. Earning their way into that game, they avenged an earlier loss with a 45-44 win over a Santiago of Corona squad that had just one loss all year. Summit also has a win over D2 state finalist J.W. North of Riverside.
12. (11) Santiago (Corona) 31-2 Starting the season with 30 straight wins, the Sharks would have gladly traded a few of those at the start of the season for a few more at the end as they lost 45-44 in the second-round of the D1 SoCal regional playoffs to Summit of Fontana. Santiago also beat the Skyhawks earlier in the season and also owns a pair of wins against CIF D2 state finalist J.W. North of Riverside.
13. (16) J.W. North (Riverside) 30-5 Due to a 57-49 win over Foothill of Tustin in the CIF Division II South championship, the Huskies will be playing for the Division II state title Friday against Archbishop Mitty of San Jose. The Huskies are behind Santiago of Corona in the rankings since they lost twice this season to the Sharks. Other key wins this season so far include those against Etiwanda, Ventura and Palisades of Pacific Palisades.
14. (13) Carondelet (Concord) 27-4 Despite a 54-51 loss to Mitty in the CIF Division II North semifinals, the Cougars gave Mitty all it could handle in a similar game that Mitty had with St. Mary’s in the championship. The result is that Carondelet holds its own in the rankings for now, and slides in behind the J.W. North team that takes a shot at Mitty this weekend.
15. (NR) Laguna Hills 26-8 The Hawks have a lot of losses, but almost all of them came early and for the last two months they’ve been outstanding. Their 75-69 win in the CIF D3 South final came over a Mission Bay of San Diego squad that was No. 15 in last week’s rankings. They’ve also posted two post-season wins over an Alemany of Mission Hills team that was in the top 20 as well. Celia Marfone drilled 4-of-5 on 3-pointers against Mission Bay and ended with 28 points. Marfone and the rest of the girls will have to stay just as hot for them to have a chance at upsetting No. 4 Bishop O’Dowd in Saturday’s final.
16. (NR) Foothill (Tustin) 28-6 This team easily could have been in the No. 20 slot last week instead of Sacramento, but gets to go in at No. 16 this week thanks mainly to the 52-50 victory over previous No. 12 Lynwood in the CIF D2 South semifinals. Although the season ended with the loss to J.W. North in the regional final, the game was close. It all adds up for a strong finish to the season for coach Vince Namba and his girls.
17. (12) Lynwood 26-5 There was some sentiment in seeing veteran Lynwood coach Ellis Barfield getting another shot at a state championship, but still it was great season for a team that was only seeded No. 5 in the CIFSS Division 2AA playoffs. Lynwood eventually won the section title over the same J.W North team that beat Foothill in the CIF D2 South title game after Foothill ended Lynwood’s season with an overtime win in the semifinals.
18. (NR) Salesian (Richmond) 31-4 It’s taken a long time for a D4 team from Northern California to break into the rankings, and depending upon how the upstart Pride fare in their matchup with No. 2 La Jolla Country Day in the Division IV state championship, their stay could be short. They could remain if they’re very competitive, or shoot way up if they can pull off the big upset. This team won its first North Coast Section title and first NorCal title and beat St. Mary’s (Berkeley) twice to do it.
19. (18) Etiwanda 23-4** Despite just having four losses on the season, the Eagles saw no March Madness action as their season came to an end in the challenging CIFSS Division IAA playoffs as they lost to Long Beach Poly 53-48 in the quarterfinals. Some of the standout wins included those against Foothill of Henderson, Nev., Summit of Fontana and Buena of Ventura. In Baseline League play, Etiwanda went a perfect 10-0.
20. (NR) Miramonte (Orinda) 31-2 Veteran coach Kelly Sopak got the most out of a team that lost only to Bishop O’Dowd in games that were somewhat close. For those who said the Matadors didn’t play anyone, their resume included two league wins over a solid San Ramon Dougherty Valley, and a Northern Regional playoff run that included road wins over two section champions, CCS D3 champion Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco and Sac-Joaquin Section D3 champ Sacramento, which was No. 20 in last week’s rankings.
Dropped Out: Previous No. 15 Mission Bay (San Diego), No. 17 St. Ignatius (San Francisco), No. 19 Huntington Beach.
On the Bubble: Bellarmine-Jefferson (Burbank) 24-9; Canyon (Anaheim) 21-8; Chaminade (West Hills) 24-5; Edison (Huntington Beach) 23-4; El Toro (Lake Forest) 27-4; Hanford 25-5; Huntington Beach 26-6; Mission Bay (San Diego) 26-7; Modesto Christian 27-6; Narbonne (Harbor City) 28-7; Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 23-5, Palisades (Pacific Palisades) 30-5, Rialto 25-2*; Sacramento 26-6; San Diego 27-6; St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 26-9; St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 26-6; St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 24-7*; Stockdale (Bakersfield) 26-5.
Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.