The inside scoop on Mater Dei's preseason basketball ranking, a tragedy that strikes one of the state's top small school football teams, and more from the best prep notes column in the state.

•If you're wondering why Mater Dei of Santa Ana was listed No. 1 in preseason national rankings compiled by Doug Huff for Street & Smith's and will not be in the same spot in rankings compiled by Huff and ourselves for Student Sports, here's the reason.
If you don't know, Huff works for Student Sports yet still supplies content for Street & Smith's as part of an arrangement between the two companies. Street & Smith's was supposed to only get a listing of 25 Teams to Watch, not one with actual rankings attached. Through some miscommunication, that 25 Teams to Watch list became a ranking.
The Street & Smith's project also was completed last May, before we knew who was going to famed Oak Hill Academy of Virginia. It also was before it was known that heralded incoming freshman Derek Caracter was going to St. Patrick of Elizabeth, N.J. So when it came time to do the Student Sports preseason rankings, St. Patrick was placed at the top with Oak Hill right behind.

•All of the preseason rankings this year in boys basketball, however, don't mean much. St. Patrick, Mater Dei and several other national contenders will all be at the City of Palms tourney this year in Florida. Whoever wins in that event will be No. 1 nationally anyway. The miscommunication involving Huff and Street & Smith's also led to Price of Los Angeles being No. 25 in Street & Smith's. Price possibly should belong in the top 20 for California, but we're well aware it shouldn't be top 25 for the nation.

•The De La Salle-Poly football matchup won't be the only one this year involving a No. 1 vs. No. 2. If all goes as expected this week, the following week it will be Div. IV No. 1 Oaks Christian of Westlake Village playing Div. IV No. 2 Carpinteria.
Oaks Christian kept up its winning ways with a 28-0 win over Fillmore. Adam Richter, still filling in for speedy soph Aaron Ware at running back, ripped off 184 yards rushing on 19 carries for Oaks Christian. Carpinteria, which is higher than Oaks Christian in the CIF Southern Section rankings, stayed on pace with a 24-7 victory over Oak Park of Agoura Hills.

•Justin Moye scored three times on runs and added a pair of TD passes as Div. V top-ranked Central Catholic of Modesto rolled to a 61-6 win over Denair. Div. III top-ranked Kaiser also won easily, by 41-6 over Jurupa Valley.

•The smallest NorCal football schools really should switch to eight-man football. They'd have more fun some would now get more statewide recognition as we've made more of a commitment this season to compile at least a top five ranking for eight-man schools. Some of the very small NorCal 11-man teams have only the smallest chance to ever appear in the Div. V state rankings.

•This year's Dream Classic boys basketball event will not be held on Martin Luther King Day. The event began eight years ago as a clever way of celebrating the holiday. Some past participants have included Baron Davis, Paul Pierce and Tyson Chandler.
This year, though, to get Akron, Ohio superstar LeBron James into the mix the date obviously had to change. The Dream Classic instead will be Saturday, January 4 (once again at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion).
In addition to James and his team from St. Vincent-St. Mary taking on California preseason No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana, the event also will match Lincoln of Brooklyn, N.Y., against Vallejo. Lincoln features 5-11 junior point guard sensation Sebastian Telfair while Vallejo has 6-3 junior guard DeMarcus Nelson. Also on the card will be Loyola of Los Angeles vs. Mayfair of Lakewood and Centennial of Compton vs. Carson.

•Dos Palos lost to Chowchilla last Friday for the first time in 21 years, but not all of the 2,000 in attendance cared that much. That the Broncos played at all was a tribute to them since they were on the field several days after junior Michael Gonzales was killed in a auto accident.
Chowchilla won, 12-7, and improved its record to 5-1. The best move of the night for the winners may have come in the first half when a group of students walked up and down the grandstands with buckets, collecting donations for a scholarship in Gonzales' memory. The Dos Palos junior was a passenger in a car driven by his father when it was struck by another vehicle, allegedly being driven by a drunk driver.

•Is Davis the De La Salle of girls water polo? We'll never know because the Southern and San Diego sections have girls water polo in the winter.
The Blue Devils dominated in last weekend's Western States Tournament in Modesto, beating Rio Americano of Sacramento in the final, 12-3, and upping their season record to 24-0. The Western States tourney features teams from Clovis to Oregon and the A Division had 24 entrants. Davis won its second straight Western States title and upped its current win streak to 65 matches.
But the Blue Devils have a long way to go to set a state win streak record in their sport. Johansen of Modesto won a "De La Salle-esque" 128 straight matches from 1996-2000. Yeah, but they didn't play anybody from Southern California (where have we heard that before?).

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