Sacramento Foothill gets a bump into the top 10 after taking the Div. III state title. Say hello in the top 20 to Price, too. The Knights may be Div. V, but they do have a win over Canyon Springs and they also have that four-peat. Note: Keep clicking down through the top 20. We went a wee bit deeper for this week's final rankings. We just can't help it. We like the number 50.

(After games of March 22; previous rank in parentheses)

1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 35-2

Next year's team will have some holes to fill with Wesley Washington, Harrison Schaen and D.J. Strawberry departing. But the Monarchs' second-string this year probably was the second-best Div. II team in the state, so look for a lot of those guys to step up.

2. (2) Westchester (Los Angeles) 33-3

Remember that ruling way back in November by the L.A. City Section? The ineligibilities to incoming transfers Gabriel Pruitt and Ray Reed didn't have as much of an impact as thought at the time. But with Pruitt and Reed, Westchester might have been 4-0 against Fairfax instead of 3-1 and it might have won the Nike Academy tourney in Houston instead of losing one game by one point.

3. (3) Horizon (San Diego) 32-1

Like Mater Dei vs. Westchester, the Panthers would have had to play a really poor game in the Div. IV state final for them to be dropped behind Fairfax in the final rankings. They took care of that predicament in the first quarter.

4. (4) Fairfax (Los Angeles) 28-4

The Lions not only got a win over Westchester in four tries, but they posted the best tourney title win of the year by a California squad with their first-place finish at the Iolani Prep Invitational in Hawaii. Fairfax knocked off three nationally-ranked teams to win it, including top 10 Montrose Christian of Rockville, Md.

5. (5) El Camino (Oceanside) 31-3

Horizon's drive for the Div. IV state title made all San Diego Section teams look good. So did the Wildcats in two games against Fairfax. One was a win, the other was a one-point loss.

6. (6) Technical (Oakland) 23-6

With Leon Powe departing for nearby Berkeley, the spotlight for coach Hodari McGavock's team next year will be on guard Quintin Thomas. Quintin's going to be one of the top prospects in Northern California, but others will have to step up if Oakland Tech is able to win another Oakland Athletic League crown.

7. (7) Carson 23-4

If the Colts hadn't beaten Garces in a January matchup, they'd be about 10 spots lower in the rankings. Westchester's state title win also was good for all L.A. City Section schools.

8. (8) Garces (Bakersfield) 35-2

We wrote last week that 7-foot junior Robert Swift would be even more a center of attention next season. Unfortunately for Garces, it will be at another school. In a strange twist, Swift, who has already verbally committed to USC, has checked into Highland of Bakersfield. Senior Kyle Shiloh also left school and is now at public West of Bakersfield, a school where his mother teaches.

9. (11) Foothill (Sacramento) 34-2

The manner in which the Mustangs raced past Harvard-Westlake in the Div. III state final also was enough for us to push them past Loyola and Eisenhower in the final rankings. It was the second straight year a NorCal team has broken through in Div. III following Riordan of San Francisco in 2002.

10. (9) Eisenhower (Rialto) 25-8

One of the losses for the CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA champs was in overtime to Dillard of Fort Lauderdale, the top-ranked team in Florida.

11. (10) Loyola (Los Angeles) 26-5

The Cubs won the CIFSS Div. I-A crown for the second straight season and then lost in the SoCal regional playoffs on the road to No. 5 El Camino.

12. (12) Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 29-7

It was a disappointing day in the Div. III state final, to be sure, but there probably won't be as many of them next year when Bryce Taylor, Ed White and Evan Harris all return. A few more reliable ball handlers joining the squad would help.

13. (13) Valley (Sacramento) 28-7

In addition to making it to the NorCal Div. I title game and getting two wins over Bishop O'Dowd, the Vikings avenged two of their losses by beating Jesuit in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I final.

14. (14) Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 29-2

Dragons earned the North Coast Section Div. I title with close triumphs over San Leandro, Newark Memorial and Berkeley.

15. (15) Artesia (Lakewood) 30-3

Loyola wasn't the only team that would have been higher in the final rankings had Harvard-Westlake won in the Div. III state title game instead of losing. It looks like Artesia would have been No. 13, ahead of both Valley and Bishop O'Dowd.

16. (16) Silverado (Victorville) 29-3

Was this a one-shot wonder or will the Silverhawks be a program to watch in the CIF Southern Section for many more years to come?

17. (nr) Price (Los Angeles) 34-2

This is the best team Price has had in its current four-year run of Div. V state titles. For the final rankings, we chose to give even more credit to the Knights for wins over Div. I foes Canyon Springs, Long Beach Poly and others. We admit we gave them a break for losing one to Kilpatrick.

18. (19) McClymonds (Oakland) 20-10*

The Warriors had a quality late-season win over Oakland Tech. They'll be good next year, too, with junior guard Antonio Kellogg returning.

19. (20) Centennial (Compton) 19-11

Speaking of teams that will be good next year, Centennial definitely fits that mold. The Apaches had a win over Eisenhower, went double-overtime in a loss to Carson and won a very competitive league championship over the likes of Inglewood and Redondo.

20. (nr) Mayfair (Lakewood) 24-9

The other odd-team out in this week's final rankings other than Hercules is Canyon Springs. We picked Mayfair for this spot instead since the Monsoons had a win over Loyola and four of their losses were to Mater Dei (two) and Artesia (two). Mayfair's 70-59 loss to Mater Dei also was the closest game the Monarchs had in the postseason. Canyon Springs did not have a comparable win as the one Mayfair had vs. Loyola.



(All the way to 50)

21. Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) 26-6

Guard Tron Smith and forward Richard Cobbs will be missed next season.

22. Verbum Dei (Los Angeles) 24-7

Eagles will have a new head coach next season as it was announced last week that Ronnie Gipson won't be returning.

23. Hercules 25-8

Titans started 3-7 and then made it all the way to ARCO in second full season.

24. Berkeley 25-6

A half-second more on the clock and the Yellowjackets would have upset Oakland Tech in the NorCal Div. I playoffs.

25. Woodcreek (Roseville) 27-6

Foothill's backcourt got tons of pub in Sacramento, but the Timberwolves' Jeff Flores and Juston Willis were almost as good.

26. Fontana 25-3

Early playoff exit dampens season, but wins over Silverado and Eisenhower earned our attention.

27. Mission Viejo 26-4

Diablos won Mt. Carmel tourney, won their league over El Toro and Capo Valley and lost in the playoffs by just two points to Canyon Springs.

28. Inglewood 25-9

Sentinels might have been higher had they not lost so badly to Mater Dei. Best win was over Artesia.

29. Lincoln (San Diego) 29-4

Great effort from Shaun Davis, Dominic McGuire and company considering there was hardly anyone around soon-to-be-demolished campus to root them on.

30. St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 27-7

Braves split with Inglewood in the playoffs and Eric Lane proved he was one of the top point guards in SoCal.

31. Montgomery (Santa Rosa) 29-4

In the Redwood Empire, they're still talking about the two technical fouls against Tyler Tiedeman in the Vikings' NorCal Div. II title game loss to Woodcreek.

32. Villa Park 24-6

Spartans started slow, but bounced back to win their league title over Brea-Olinda (which started fast).

33. San Gorgonio (San Bernardino) 27-3

It wasn't that much of an upset that the Spartans went down to Inglewood in the CIFSS Div. II-AA playoffs as the Sentinels went on to the SoCal Div. II final.

34. Taft (Woodland Hills) 23-5

Once Steve Smith got his basketball legs going, he combined with junior Jordan Farmar to form one of the state's most dynamic duos.

35. Crenshaw (Los Angeles) 19-6

Add 19 more wins to the ledger of head coach Willie West. Cougars fell in the L.A. City playoffs 91-90 to Taft.

36. Oxnard 26-4

Yellowjackets set a school record for wins and reached the CIFSS Div. I-AA semifinals.

37. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 25-5

Dons played well in close Div. II playoff losses to Montgomery in the North Coast Section and to Woodcreek in NorCals.

38. Sacramento 31-3

Playoff losses for the Dragons were to higher-ranked Montgomery and Woodcreek and they had a win over Div. III state champ Foothill.

39. Santa Barbara 25-5

Advanced to the semifinals in strong CIF Southern Section Div. II-AA playoffs.

40. Brea-Olinda (Brea) 25-4

Wildcats were unbeaten until late in January and had climbed up among the top 15 until they lost.

41. Mitty (San Jose) 29-6

Monarchs didn't look good in December, but caught their stride in winning the West Catholic Athletic League crown.

42. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 26-2

In retrospect, it looks like the Knights' great regular season record was inflated by a much weaker than usual lineup of foes in the Del Rey League.

43. Bakersfield 24-5

Drillers may be in line for two more Central Section championships with Titus Shelton returning for two more seasons.

44. San Diego 24-5

A 37-34 win in the San Diego Section Div. I semis over Torrey Pines puts the Cavers on this list.

45. Torrey Pines (San Diego) 24-6

Guards Avi Fogel and Josh Kramer were the standouts and had the Falcons usually mentioned as the fourth best team in the section until they lost to San Diego.

46. Newark Memorial (Newark) 25-5

Cougars were young, but lost by just 50-49 in NCS Div. I playoffs to Bishop O'Dowd.

47. Vallejo 25-6

DeMarcus Nelson will need more help next season if the Apaches are to get over the hump in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I playoffs.

48. De La Salle (Concord) 21-6

Spartans should be much improved next season with due to the return of standouts Kyle Roemer, Justin Argenal and Theo Robertson.

49. Oakland 19-8

Despite considerable talents of guard Ayinde Ubaka, Wildcats could only muster a third-place finish in rugged Oakland Athletic League.

50. Clovis West (Fresno) 22-8

First-year head coach Tom Orlich was hoping for better results as the Golden Eagles' run of consecutive section titles (on the court) was snapped at six thanks to finals' loss to Bakersfield.

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