High-SchoolCalifornia: Steve Smith

New Cal-Hi Sports Girls BB Top 20

January, 31, 2012
Important announcement from Cal-Hi Sports | Archived Cal-Hi Sports content

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.

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Cal-Hi Sports Top 20 Girls Basketball

January, 18, 2012
Jordan Adams is back at Mater Dei and should be good to go when No. 2 Monarchs play No. 1 Windward on Feb. 3.

The bad news for future opponents is music to the ears of Mater Dei of Santa Ana coach Kevin Kiernan and the Monarchs’ faithful.

“She’s been back for four games and playing pretty well even though she’s not 100 percent, but even a 70 percent Jordan Adams is one of the best players in the state,” Kiernan told Cal-Hi Sports.

Adams, who has been out since the second half of a loss to Riverdale Baptist of Maryland at the Nike TOC in Arizona, missed eight-and-a-half games and almost three weeks, with the Monarchs suffering both their losses in her absence.

Had not Canadian-born transfer Nirra Fields been playing lights out in her absence, Mater Dei might have had more problems in its grueling schedule.

With both girls in the lineup on MLK Day at the Tony Matson Memorial Classic at Orange Lutheran, Mater Dei put a 63-27 shellacking on previously state-ranked Anaheim Canyon. Fields had 30 points (six steals) and Adams 11 points.

“Nirra is something else. You’ve got to see her,” Kiernan remarked. “She’s starting to rev it up.”

The Cal-Hi Sports caravan will get the chance to see Fields and Adams against Windward of Los Angeles in a probable No. 1 vs. No. 2 state showdown on Feb. 3 in Santa Ana at the Nike Extravaganza.

Despite Windward taking an out-of-state 62-48 loss to POWERADE FAB 50 top-ranked St. Mary’s of Phoenix last week, the girls remain as the No. 1 California team in this week’s national rankings and No. 1 in the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings.

Coach Steve Smith and the girls have shied away from no one this season. Before they meet Mater Dei, they’ll be coming off a Jan. 28 match-p at Long Beach City College with current state No. 3 Long Beach Poly.

(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(After games of Monday, Jan. 16)

1. (1) Windward (Los Angeles) 16-3
It’s pretty tough to come home from two major tournaments involving nationally-ranked teams, play a few running clock league games, then have to face the FAB 50 No. 1 team in the nation on its home turf, but that’s exactly what coach Steve Smith tried to do, and it didn’t work. The Wildcats fell behind 32-16 in the second quarter against St. Mary’s of Phoenix, and although sophomore power forward Kristen Simon scored seven unanswered points in the third quarter to get the girls to within five points of the lead, the D1-recruit laden local girls closed out a 62-48 win.

2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 17-2
The eight-day four-game stretch was a lot easier with Jordan Adams back in the line-up. In her first game back, a Trinity League 67-57 victory over Orange Lutheran at home, the 6-foot-1 USC-bound phenom had 11 points. Two nights later, she had her best outing in the four games with 18 points in a blowout of Fullerton Rosary. Meanwhile, Adams’ backcourt mate and UCLA-committed Nirra Fields continues to dominate. Besides the 30 points she had against Canyon, the 5-foot-9 flash had 27 in the Orange Lutheran win. The fourth win of the week was a running clock win over Pacifica of Oxnard.

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