Monday, February 20, 2012
Prep basketball: Top 20 rankings
By Sean Ceglinsky
Postseason play is well underway and the action has been fast and furious. That said, it's about time for the premier programs from the Southland to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the Southern Section and Los Angeles City Section playoffs.
Over the next couple of days, the semifinal showdowns will begin to materialize as teams move toward division championships. So let's take a look at the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings.
1. (1) Mater Dei (25-2): Katin Reinhardt or Xavier Johnson, pick your poison. Limiting the effectiveness of one of the two is possible. Stopping them both isn't.
2. (2) Long Beach Poly (23-1): Highly-touted junior Roschon Prince does a little bit of everything, and does it well, for the Jackrabbits.
3. (3) Etiwanda (27-1): Here's where things get interesting in Division 1-AA for the Eagles. Santa Monica and Long Beach Poly loom large en route to finals.
4. (4) Loyola (22-4): With a collision course seemingly set with Mater Dei in the all-important Division 1-AA semifinals, the Cubs can't afford to look too far ahead.
5. (5) Taft (25-3): On deck, Lake Balboa Birmingham in the Los Angeles City Section playoffs Wednesday. The Toreadors will not have any troubles in this one.
6. (6) Alemany (25-4): La Puente Bishop Amat stands between the Warriors and a berth in the Division 3-A semifinals. Chances are, they will not be denied.
7. (7) Gardena Serra (26-2): Cavaliers will have their hands full with North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan in a Division 4-AA game Tuesday.
8. (8) La Verne Lutheran (21-6): Road trip to Westlake Village Oaks Christian on Tuesday night figures to be a speed bump along the way in Division 4-AA play.
9. (9) Bishop Montgomery (23-4): It is not easy to win at Encino Crespi. It will be interesting to see if the Knights are up to the challenge in Division 4-AA on Tuesday.
10. (10) Pacific Hills (25-4): Freshman phenom Aaron Holiday and North Hollywood Campbell Hall could play the role of spoiler. The Bruins are well aware of that fact.
11. (11) Price (21-7): Showdown against Los Angeles Windward on Tuesday is worthy of Division 4-AA title-game billing. This one is a quarterfinal game, though.
12. (12) St. John Bosco (21-6): Coach Derrick Taylor was a rather high-profile preseason addition to the Braves. Now let's see what happens in Division 3-A play.
13. (13) Westchester (21-6): It appears to be a matter of time before the Comets and Woodland Hills Taft meet for all the marbles in the City Section race.
14. (14) Orange Lutheran (17-10): The Division 1-A bracket is wide open. Would not be the least bit surprised to see the Lancers make a run toward the title.
15. (15) Mayfair (22-5): The Monsoons will not be truly tested until the Division 2-A finals. Until then, this group will simply be going through the motions.
16. (16) Windward (20-8): Senior Nick Stover figures to be the difference between winning and losing in the Wildcats Division 4-AA game against Los Angeles Price.
17. (17) Capistrano Valley (23-4): Losing out on the top-seed Division 1-A did not sit well with the Cougars. They have played with a chip on their shoulders as a result.
18. (18) Damien (26-2): As Chris Reyes goes, so do the Spartans. Good news is, the senior post and St. Mary's commit is playing about as well as anyone around.
19. (19) Crespi (22-6): Coach Russell White has an uncanny knack for getting his team to peak at the right time and that makes the Celts dangerous in Division 4-AA.
20. (20) Calabasas (24-3): Emerged as the front-runner in the Marmonte League during the regular season. Little has changed in the Division 3-AA postseason play.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.