Adams and Bright were basically replaced by transfers Kameca Simmons of Long Beach Poly and Brandi Kimble of Newhall Hart. The team played another monster schedule and capped it off once again with a victory in the CIF Div. I state championship game.
Last year's team, though, didn't drop a game to anybody along the way. This year's team did, a 56-39 setback to Canyon, Texas at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. With Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood again at the point running the show, the Knights eventually proved that the Canyon game was essentially an aberration. The main impact of that loss was to deny Lynwood from being No. 1 in the nation again. It obviously does not prevent the Knights from being the Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year, which now can be declared official.
"The difference is that we got that No. 1 ranking (in the nation) this year right away and last year we didn't start out No. 1," said head coach Ellis Barfield. "This year, there were a lot of teams we played that had heard a lot about us and were really looking forward to playing us in the national tournaments."
Despite losing to Canyon, Lynwood ended the season with victories over five state champions from around the nation. The list of those vanquished included Oregon City (Oregon); Mountain View (Orem, Utah); Campbell County (Gillette, Wyo.); Duncanville (Texas) and Ribault (Jacksonville, Fla.). In California, Lynwood beat No. 2 Mitty once, No. 4 Long Beach Poly twice and No. 5 Narbonne twice.
In addition to Wiley-Gatewood, Simmons and Kimble, other standouts for the team included forward Lori Rayford, guard La Joyce King and guard Sa'de Cunningham. Simmons and King will be the two leading players who are graduating, but the rest of the first seven will be back.
Repeating as State Team of the Year has been done six times previously since the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings for girls basketball began in 1979. One was for teams at Riverside Poly led by the legendary Cheryl Miller. Another was for teams at Morningside of Inglewood led by current WNBA superstar Lisa Leslie.
No team has even been honored for three straight years, although Riverside Poly was unbeaten during Miller's sophomore season in 1980. The problem was that Berkeley also was unbeaten that year and may have had the best team in Northern California history. The Southern Section was not yet involved in the state playoffs at the time, so a decision had to be made and it went to Berkeley.
STATE TEAMS OF THE YEAR
2003 -- Lynwood (32-1)
2002 -- Lynwood (33-0)
2001 -- Harbor City Narbonne (28-3)
2000 -- Harbor City Narbonne (34-0)
1999 -- San Jose Mitty (31-0)
1998 -- Harbor City Narbonne (32-1)*
1997 -- Laguna Hills (31-3)
1996 -- Irvine Woodbridge (32-2)
1995 -- Irvine Woodbridge (33-1)
1994 -- Brea Brea-Olinda (33-0)
1993 -- Lynwood (31-0)
1992 -- Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula (33-0)
1991 -- Berkeley (30-2)
1990 -- Inglewood Morningside (32-3)
1989 -- Inglewood Morningside (33-1)
1988 -- Oakland Fremont (28-0)**
1987 -- San Diego Point Loma (34-0)
1986 -- San Diego Point Loma (31-1)
1985 -- Compton (26-0)
1984 -- Ventura Buena (31-0)
1983 -- Ventura Buena (28-4)
1982 -- Riverside Poly (34-0)
1981 -- Riverside Poly (29-0)
1980 -- Berkeley (29-0)
1979 -- Woodland Hills El Camino Real (19-0)
1978 -- Huntington Beach (25-2)
1977 -- Los Angeles (16-0)
1976 -- Ventura (23-0)
1975 -- Chula Vista Hilltop (18-0)
1974 -- Berkeley (19-1)
1973 -- Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (12-0)
1972 -- Ventura Buena (8-0)
*Forfeit losses not included. CIF Div. I state title vacated.
**Eleven wins forfeited due to use of ineligible player.