Major changes this week after the first six due to Orange County and Inland Empire teams falling. Big movers led by Lynwood (now in the top 10), Carondelet and Huntington Beach.
There was a ceremony at halftime of the San Diego Mission Bay at Lynwood game last Saturday night to retire the jersey of current Mission Bay coach Sa’de Wiley-Gatewood, the 2002 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year who led Lynwood to the CIF Division I state championship that season as a sophomore.
By the time the game was over, despite a 31-point performance by previous State Athlete of the Week Briteesha Solomon, the pupil was schooled by the teacher, as longtime Lynwood coach Ellis Barfield and his Lady Knights breezed to a 70-51 victory over the Bucs.
It’s been a while since Barfield, now in his 19th season at Lynwood, has had a team in the spotlight.
The 2003 team with Wiley-Gatewood as a junior got Barfield his third CIF Division I state championship, but since then, while they’ve been taking care of business in the San Gabriel Valley League and making some noise in the CIFSS playoffs, it hasn’t been until this year that Barfield has had a team capable of making a run to Sacramento.
Plus, with the new Southern Section playoff format based on enrollment and performance over the past four years, Lynwood is now Division II and avoids the crowded D1 bracket.
Like his teams of old, Barfield has a lot of girls that can play, with seven of them averaging over five points a game.
“We have a lot of kids under the radar that don’t know how good they are,” Barfield said.
Barfield has coached senior point guard Shahana Zeigler (8.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 assists, 2.4 steals) since sixth grade. Versatile 6-foot senior Jolana Ford can play any of the positions down low. Amber Blockmon, a 6-foot-2 junior, is long, slender and quick, and she can hit the outside shot. According to Barfield, she’s getting a lot of looks from colleges.
“Putting the kids in college, that’s what keeps me here,” Barfield told Cal-Hi Sports.
Unfortunately, due to a tragic loss to the California girls basketball community, the start time of Saturday’s jersey ceremony and game with Mission Bay had to be pushed back to accommodate a memorial service for former Long Beach Poly star Judith Smith. Smith recently passed away at the age of 25 after battling health issues for several years.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(After games of Saturday, Feb. 4)
1. (1) Windward (Los Angeles) 21-3
The Wildcats proved on the court they are deserving of top billing in California after winning 65-62 at No. 2 Mater Dei in the Nike Extravaganza on Friday night in Santa Ana. That makes it two straight weeks the Wildcats have beaten a California heavyweight after the close win over Long Beach Poly. Macchi Smith, the hero of the victory over Poly, came through again. The sophomore guard had a team-high 16 points, including a rebound and putback off a missed free-throw by Imani Stafford with 26 seconds left that pretty much sealed the deal. The Wildcats now finish up Alpha League play and then the CIFSS playoffs, but at this point it’s hard not to look ahead to a Division IV SoCal showdown with La Jolla Country Day.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 21-3
Someone from California other than the state’s top team is going to have to knock off the Monarchs for them to drop below anyone else in the state and that still hasn’t happened. Nirra Fields was spectacular in the Windward loss. The UCLA-bound guard had a game-high 21 points. UCLA-bound 6-foot-1 Jordan Adams was clearly still not at 100 percent. She had six points and a team-high six rebounds playing inside-out. Size was a problem for a Mater Dei team that was out-rebounded 45-22 by Windward. Now, coach Kevin Kiernan’s girls must re-group in the drive for a title in the crowded CIFSS Div. 1AA playoffs. They already took down Fullerton Rosary this week and have a game with JSerra of San Juan Capistrano still remaining.
3. (3) La Jolla Country Day (San Diego) 23-1
The week started with a running-clock win over Francis Parker of San Diego and ended with a trip to San Juan Capistrano where the Torreys posted an easy 79-48 victory over JSerra. Kelsey Plum, the State Sophomore of the Year that’s making a strong statement for the junior award, had 23 points seven assists and six rebounds in that win. With Windward getting the win over Mater Dei, La Jolla Country Day’s hopes of possibly being State Team of the Year did not die. The Torreys could get the nod if they were to play and beat No. 1 Windward in the Division IV Southern Region final and then win a state title.
4. (4) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 22-2
It was a solid week for the Jackrabbits, who posted three wins. First came a 53-33 trouncing of previous No. 11 Fullerton Troy, and then two Moore League wins over Lakewood and crosstown Wilson, 64-44 and 68-44, respectively. Leading scorer Destiny King (11.3 ppg) had 13 points against Troy and 17 versus Wilson. On tap this week are games at crosstown Millikan and at home against Long Beach Jordan.
5. (5) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 19-2
It was back to the running clock in Hayward Area Athletic League wins over San Lorenzo and Arroyo of San Lorenzo. This week should be a little different. First, the Dragons host Castro Valley, and then Hayward Tennyson. They complete the week with a trip to Stockton for a showdown to decide Northern California overall bragging.
6. (6) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 19-3
Hanford, the top-ranked team in the CIF Central Section, was no match for the Rams as Regina Camera scored a game-high 25 points and had eight assists in a 79-51 victory. Earlier in the week, St. Mary’s defeated Edison of Stockton 81-21 and West of Tracy 94-26. The Rams may have their biggest game left this season on Saturday night at Delta College when they host No. 5 Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland.
7. (9) Santiago (Corona) 25-0
With a pair of wins last week, the Sharks moved that much closer to finishing the regular season with a Big VIII League championship and an undefeated record. Chrishae Rowe led the way with 22 points as the Sharks took control in the third quarter on the way to the 75-52 road win at Corona. Ending the week at home against J.W. North of Riverside, they picked up a 63-48 win after trailing 38-37 after three quarters. Already this week the Huskies have picked up a 57-40 road win at Poly of Riverside that clinched the Big VIII League championship.
8. (10) Summit (Fontana) 19-3
Coach Latrina Duncan's Skyhawks moved to a win away from a Sunkist League championship after a pair of wins last week that saw them allow just 10 points in both games. Kylie Coppi first scored 23 points in a 74-10 home win over Bloomington. Ending the week at Norte Vista of Riverside, Summit returned home with a 70-10 win. Jillian Alleyne scored a game-high 17 points to go with 14 rebounds.
9. (12) Berkeley (Berkeley) 17-2*
With teams above them losing, the top Division I team in Northern California gets a three-spot bump this week after a blowout Alameda Contra Costa League win over Pinole Valley and only have one game on the schedule this week on the road at Richmond if that team can field a squad. The Oilers forfeited to Berkeley already this season.
10. (19) Lynwood 18-4
The Lady Knights make a huge leap up and take their place as the top Division II team in Southern California. They do have one stinker loss to Canyon Country Canyon early in the season when they hadn’t yet jelled. This past week’s 70-51 win over Mission Bay was very convincing. Against Mission Bay, four girls hit double-figure scoring led by Priscilla Lopez with 17 points. Shahana Zeigler, Alize Lofton and Jazmine Johnson had 10 each. What a match-up it would be if the Lady Knights where to match up in March against St. Mary’s of Stockton in Sacramento for the Division II state championship.
11. (7) Edison (Huntington Beach) 19-3
This is where the Chargers fall after their 73-70 loss to Huntington Beach. They don’t have to fall farther because they posted a win over the Oilers earlier in the season and also have other quality wins, especially one against state-ranked teams Etiwanda and Troy of Fullerton. The loss also snapped Edison’s Sunset League winning streak at 46 games. Karlie Samuelson led the way with 18 points and Monay Lee had 17 points.
12. (8) Brea Olinda (Brea) 18-5
Like Edison, Brea also takes a four-spot drop after a loss. In the Ladycats’ case, their loss to Canyon of Anaheim was more lop-sided (64-46), but injuries were involved and a banged-up group of players may be hard-pressed to go far in the upcoming CIFSS playoffs. Brea won in its other two games last week – 68-26 over Esperanza of Anaheim and 92-25 over El Modena of Orange. Anna Kim had 20 points against the Aztecs while Pepperdine-bound Keitra Wallace chipped in with 17.
13. (17) Carondelet (Concord) 18-3
There are some in the Bay Area who have had the Cougars ahead of Berkeley for most of the season and this week is a good time to at least bring the two closer together. Carondelet continued to roll in the East Bay Athletic League last with large-margin wins against Monte Vista of Danville (72-43) and San Ramon Valley (74-28). Hannah Huffman scored a game-high 20 points while Melissa Russi added 15 points in the win over the Mustangs. Natalie Romeo led the way in the win over the Wolves with 21 points.
14. (18) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 18-3
With teams from Orange County and the Inland Empire beating each other, the Wildcats get a huge bump but still stay behind Brea Olinda since each has a loss to an Anaheim Canyon team that has pulled off some upsets this year. Despite a flu epidemic at the school that saw 300 students and 60 teachers out sick last week, the Wildcats were still able to get wins over Sacred Heart Cathedral and Valley Christian of San Jose, 61-52 and 71-43, respectively. Kaitlyn Crawley led the way against the rival Irish with 16 points. Maria Kemiji-McDonald had 16 points against Valley Christian.
15. (20) Chaminade (West Hills) 21-3
The Eagles are the new owners of a double-digit winning streak after a pair of wins increased their streak to 10 since their last loss back in December. Annie Tarakchian scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while Mi'Chael Wright scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 67-42 win over Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood. Then with a 51-33 win over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks they moved to a perfect 8-0 in Mission League play and lead Alemany of Mission Hills by one game with two games left to play. They were set to play Alemany on Tuesday.
16. (15) Mission Bay (San Diego) 17-6
Despite the 70-51 setback to Lynwood, the Buccaneers only drop one spot this week since their only questionable loss is to a Pacifica Terre Nova team that played over its head at the West Coast Jamboree. Prior to the Lynwood game, coach Sa’de Wiley-Gatewood and her girls posted wins over crosstown Our Lady of Peace and La Jolla 58-50 and 62-26, respectively. Besides the 31 points she had against Lynwood, junior star Briteesha Solomon had 27 points, 13 rebounds and nine steals against La Jolla. Arizona-bound Keyahndra Cannon led the way against OLP with 21 points, nine rebounds, six steals and six assists.
17. (16) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 20-4
Meghan McIntyre connected for 18 points to lead the Lions past Lutheran of Orange 53-45 at the Nike Extravaganza. Their high score of the week, though, was 80-43 over St. Bonaventure of Ventura. Kailee Severt scored 20 points and Brianna Barrett added 19 in that one. Oaks Christian’s regular season will come to an end Thursday at Fillmore.
18. (13) J.W. North (Riverside) 21-4
After a pair of Big VIII League wins to start the week, the Huskies were unable to avenge an earlier close loss against No. 7 Santiago as they suffered a 63-48 road loss after leading 38-37 to start the fourth quarter. Kamille Diaz scored a game-high 19 points while Pricilla Brooks added 18 points in a 74-58 win over Poly of Riverside to open the week. In between, J.W. North hosted Roosevelt of Corona and picked up a 75-52 win.
19. (14) Etiwanda (Etiwanda) 19-3
The Eagles have to drop this week because J.W. North has to drop and they have to stay behind them due to a head-to-head loss. Ashtyn Anderson was the team’s star of the week. She had 23 points with 18 rebounds and eight steals in a 80-55 trumph over Upland. Anderson later hit for 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 60-43 win against Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga.
20. (NR) Huntington Beach 19-4
Despite flying under the radar most of the season, the Oilers have greased their way into the rankings after a 73-70 win on the road at crosstown Edison, which avenged a 60-58 home loss three weeks ago to their arch-rival. The only bad loss is to an El Toro team that was hot at the beginning of the season. The other two losses are to Eastlake (Washington) and Chaminade. Kelsey Minato had 31 points and Paola Roa added 21 points this time to pull out the win against Edison. This week, “The Beach” has Sunset League games at Newport Harbor and at home against crosstown Marina.
Previous No. 11 Troy (Fullerton). Note: The Warriors wouldn’t normally drop out after losing to Long Beach Poly, but they have to be behind Huntington Beach since the Oilers just beat Edison and the week before Edison beat Troy.
On the Bubble:
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 17-5; Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills) 24-2; Canyon (Anaheim) 17-7; Centennial (Corona) 20-5; El Toro (Lake Forest) 22-2; Foothill (Tustin) 19-4; Lincoln (Stockton) 18-3; Miramonte (Orinda) 22-0; Narbonne (Harbor City) 20-6; Rialto 21-1*; River City (West Sacramento) 23-1; Sacramento 17-6; San Diego 19-5; Serra (Gardena) 20-3, St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 21-6; St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 17-6*, Stockdale (Bakersfield) 20-3.
Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.