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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
ESPNLA top 20 boys' basketball rankings

By Sean Ceglinsky

If there is one thing to be learned from last week it is this: Expect the unexpected from the Southland's top boys' basketball teams.

More than a few programs ranked among the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 lost recently, most notably top-ranked Long Beach Poly. The Jackrabbits, however, maintain the top spot in the poll based upon their body of work.

Four other teams in the top 10 suffered setbacks, so do not be surprised to see some new faces in some new places this time around.

1. (1) Long Beach Poly (22-1): A surprising five-point upset at the hands of Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman on Saturday hurt. It is not the end of the world. Far from it, in fact.

2. (2) Mater Dei (22-2): Victories over JSerra on Tuesday night and Santa Margarita on Thursday are the only obstacles left in the way of a Trinity League title.

3. (3) Corona Centennial (21-3): The Huskies have been without senior point guard Michael Caffey for a while now, yet the wins continue to mount at an alarming rate.

4. (4) Taft (21-2): Concord De La Salle posed as somewhat of threat over the weekend. And while the showdown went into overtime, the Toreadors found a way to prevail.

5. (8) Loyola (19-5): Everyone has been talking about how the Cubs have played one of the more difficult schedules around. And apparently, that is proving to be true.

6. (6) Etiwanda (23-2): Not sure to how to explain last week's Baseline League loss against Upland. Nevertheless, few programs possess as much upside as the Eagles.

7. (10) Orange Lutheran (19-6): Big test Tuesday night against Cezar Guerrero and St. John Bosco followed by a Trinity League finale with Servite on Thursday evening.

8. (5) Westchester (20-6): Can't knock the Comets for taking on Orange Lutheran and losing at the Nike Extravaganza. They will be better for the experience down the road.

9. (7) Harvard-Westlake (22-3): Lost to Loyola on Friday night. The Wolverines bounced back with a victory over Crespi on Monday though to clinch the Mission League title.

10. (9) Mission Viejo (23-1): Fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a two-point setback to Tesoro. Up next is El Toro on Tuesday and Capistrano Valley on Thursday.

11. (11) Peninsula (23-1): Reese Morgan has been a scoring machine lately. The senior finished with 54 points last week against a traditionally tough Leuzinger team.

12. (12) Edison (23-1): Dylan Garrity gets most of the ink. And rightfully so. He does, however, have a capable cohort, Dreon Barlett, who is averaging 14 points per game.

13. (13) Price (16-6): Heard of Chance Murray yet? If not, remember his name. It appears as if the 6-foot-3 sophomore could be the next big thing around these parts.

14. (14) Anaheim Canyon (22-3): JoJo Ballestero is going about his business quietly. But there is no denying the impact he has made by averaging 16 points per game this season.

15. (15) Crespi (20-6): There are no easy games in the Mission League and no one understands that better than the Celts. Come playoff time, this group will be ready.

16. (20) Ventura (22-2): Don't look now, but the Cougars are the the top-ranked team in the most recent CIF Southern Section Division 2AA poll. Good for them.

17. (17) La Verne Lutheran (16-4): Heading into the final week in the Arrowhead League, the Trojans are still without peer. At this point, things are not funny anymore.

18. (16) Windward (17-7): Perhaps the most controversial program in our rankings. Nevertheless, the Wildcats are a formidable opponent and deserve some recognition.

19. (NR) Pasadena (18-6): The Bulldogs make their debut, finally. They have, after all, played more than a few teams in the top 20 and defeated Price earlier this season.

20. (NR) Washington (18-6): Five the six losses have come to Loyola, Peninsula, Price and Taft, on two different occasions. The Generals aren't as bad as some think.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

NOTE: The ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 is independent of the regional rankings, which are compiled by the bloggers who cover each of those regions. Records are through Feb. 7.