PRESEASON NO. 1 GIRLS HOOPS TEAMS ARE.....

Lynwood for top 20 overall, Division I and Southern California......St. Mary's of Stockton for Division IV and Northern California.......Brea-Olinda of Brea for Division II.....Bishop Montgomery of Torrance for Division III.....Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo for Division V......Stop here for the complete girls basketball state rankings.

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LYNWOOD NO. 1 EVERYWHERE

AS GIRLS HOOP SEASON BEGINS

You name the girls basketball ranking and odds are Lynwood High is in the No. 1 position. The Knights, after all, were No. 1 nationally a year ago and return a strong corps of players, led by CalHiSports Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood plus 6-3 posts Tiffany and Jazelle Burries. Coach Ellis Barfield also is welcoming two major transfers -- 5-9 Kameca Simmons from Long Beach Poly and 5-10 Brandi Kimble from Hart of Newhall.

Add all that is it's really a no-brainer that the Knights were No. 1 first in the Student Sports FAB 50 preseason national rankings and then later in USA Today. Lynwood therefore is an equally easy choice to be on top in the preseason state rankings for the overall top 20, Division I and in Southern California.

Even with the transfers, Wiley-Gatewood will remain the sparkplug of the team. With even more around her, Wiley-Gatewood's scoring average could drop from 21 points per game but her assists average of 10.1 could go up even more.

Narbonne of Harbor City lost a lot of top players to graduation, but all that means is that instead of the Gauchos being in the top 10 in the nation they'll be more like a top 20 or top 25 team. Point guard Camille Lenoir is expected to become more of a star in this her junior season. Narbonne also will feature Indi Johnson and Jamie Funn on the interior.

These ratings were originally compiled and sent via a press release on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Before it was posted on this site the next day, however, it was learned that St. Mary's of Stockton has decided to play at Div. IV this season instead of Div. I. The Rams therefore would be No. 1 for Div. IV instead of No. 3 in Div. I. La Jolla Country Day would be No. 2 for Div. IV instead of No. 1.

The complete state preseason girls basketball rankings follows:

OVERALL STATE TOP 20 GIRLS HOOP RANKS

(Compiled by CalHiSports.com; listed with 2001-02 season records)

1. Lynwood 33-0

Lynwood's schedule also remains as tough as any in the nation with games against nationally-ranked foes. The Knights will play once again in December at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix.

2. Narbonne (Harbor City) 27-4

It's safe to say that the Gaucho program has been the best in the nation over the last 10 years. The schedule this year also will give the team a chance to really climb the charts with many games against top opponents.

3. St. Mary's (Stockton) 33-3

Coach Tom Gonsalves will have four starters back off last year's Div. II state championship squad, but this year the Rams are going Div. IV instead of moving up to Div. 1. Dominique Banks, the team's top player, recently signed with the University of Washington.

5. Mitty (San Jose) 25-6

You name the girls sport and chances are the Monarchs are among the state's very best. This year, coach Sue Phillips-Chargin will have all five starters back. Jenna Green, a 6-4 center, and Khalilah Daniels, a 6-1 forward, are back to roam the paint. On the point, Mary-Eileen Gallagher runs things with passion and intelligence.

6. San Clemente 27-4

That regional playoff loss to El Camino of Oceanside to end last season prevented the Tritons from being in the top five. If they had lost instead in a close game to Lynwood or Narbonne they might have been as high as third. Key returnees include junior post Lindsey Pluimer (22.6 ppg) plus senior guard Sara Brown.

7. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 28-5

The Knights have a great chance to make it four state titles in the four-year career of standout forward Noelle Quinn. The UCLA-bound Quinn averaged 23 ppg last year in leading Bishop Montgomery to its third straight Div. III state crown. Also back is honors candidate point guard Nykia Peace.

8. Wilson (Long Beach) 26-6

The Moore League with the Bruins and Long Beach Poly will be an absolute dogfight this season. While Poly should come back closer to the pack due to the loss of Kamecka Simmons, the Bruins should be even better. Among a host of returnees is 5-7 guard Brandi Knight, 5-11 sophomore guard Neka Mixon and 6-3 center Fallon Smith.

8. La Jolla Country Day 27-5

The Torres will not win their third straight Div. V state title. You can take that to the bank. But that's not some bold prediction. An enrollment shift will put them in Div. IV for this season, which is bad news for the rest of the state's Div. IV title aspirants. Returning All-American Candice Wiggins won't miss a beat even though she just completed a highly-successful volleyball season. She had 47 kills in one playoff match. Chances are she'll get that many points in at least one and maybe more basketball games.

9. Poly (Long Beach) 33-2

Despite losing Kamecka Simmons to Lynwood (even more surprising when you realize her brother, Marlin, a top football player, is still at Poly), the Jackrabbits are still going to be one of the quickest teams anywhere. There was a lot of depth on last year's team and some of those players will just have to step up a little bit more than was thought.

10. Brea-Olinda (Brea) 21-7

The Ladycats weren't in the CIF Southern Section finals last year for the first time since 1988. They should return to normalcy this season and should be a Div. II state title contender. Topping the list of players are Lauren Pedersen (5-10 jr. G), Jennifer Katsuyama (5-5 sr. G), Carrie Noyes (6-1 jr. F) and Andrea Jacobson (6-3 sr. C).

11. El Camino (Oceanside) 21-10

Only one senior was on the roster last year, which is saying something since the Wildcats knocked off San Clemente in the SoCal playoffs. Nikki Oakland, a 5-11 junior, pumped in nearly 17 ppg last year and is the team's leading returnee.

12. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 25-5

It's a bit of a wide open scene in the S.F. Bay Area this season, but we'll start with Mitty as tops in the South Bay and Amador as tops in the East Bay. A strong inside game for the Dons will be keyed by 6-0 Ashley King-Bischof.

13. Hart (Newhall) 26-6

Losing Brandi Kimble to Lynwood probably cost the Indians a top 10 ranking. They still have one of the nation's top sophomores in Ashley Trabilcock. Another standout returnee is forward Amanda Patton.

14. Clovis West (Fresno) 24-6

The Golden Eagles get the nod as the preseason No. 1 in the Central Section, but that could change very quickly. What we like about CW is the combination of guards Ashley Allen and Brittany Nichols. Allen has signed a letter of intent with Oregon.

15. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 28-3

This perennially-strong program loses point guard Sarah Feely to UOP, but back are 5-11 Katy Digovich (more than 22 ppg) plus 5-6 Yasemin Kimyaciouglu. Pinewood also doesn't have St. Mary's around anymore in Div. II, so it's main NorCal competition should be against Amador Valley.

16. Eisenhower (Rialto) 26-4

The Eagles made major strides last season with a young team. Jasmine Clarendon, a 6-2 center, was the San Bernardino County Player of the Year as a junior, and another key returnee is Laura Dinkins.

17. Saugus 24-5

The top seven scorers from last year's team are back, so watch for the Centurions to battle Hart in what shapes up as a terrific Foothill League race. Sheridan Arredondo (6-3) and Jessica Loring (6-2) will provide a very strong 1-2 punch on the inside.

18. Technical (Oakland) 20-9

Alexis Gray-Lawson emerged last season as one of the state's top freshmen and will return this season for a Tech squad that could go deep in the NorCal Div. I playoffs. This ranking was based, in part, on 6-3 center Davanie Hampton (who played last year at Berkeley) being eligible.

19. Ursuline (Santa Rosa) 32-2

A coaching change is the major questionmark for the Bears. Last year's team was good enough to beat eventual Div. IV state champ Marin Catholic in the NCS playoffs and most of it is back. Redwood Empire Player of the Year Monica Mertle and 6-1 jr. Christy Titchenal top the cast of veterans.

20. Artesia (Lakewood) 26-6

No, Lauren Ervan is not back and Brittany Thomas has graduated. We still see that three other All-CIF players from last year's team are back: Cacie Pope, Brittany Imaku and Christian Jackson.

PRESSEASON STATE RANKINGS

BY DIVISION & REGION

(All according to CIF state enrollment-based divisions; going by same divisions in which teams played last season unless a change has been reported; some teams in some sections can still declare to play in a higher division and may do so before the first regular season state rankings are compiled)

DIVISION I

1. Lynwood 33-0

2. Narbonne (Harbor City) 27-4

3. Mitty (San Jose) 26-7

4. San Clemente 27-4

5. Wilson (Long Beach) 26-6

6. Poly (Long Beach) 33-2

7. El Camino (Oceanside) 21-10

8. Hart (Newhall) 26-6

9. Clovis West (Fresno) 24-6

10. Eisenhower (Rialto) 26-4

DIVISION II

1. Brea-Olinda (Brea) 21-7

2. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 25-5

3. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 28-3

4. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 24-5

5. Santa Barbara 22-5

6. West (Tracy) 30-2

7. Woodbridge (Irvine) 26-4

8. Redondo (Redondo Bch) 26-8

9. Santana (Santee) 28-3

10. Norco 22-8

DIVISION III

1. Bishop Montgomery (Torr.) 28-5

2. Artesia (Lakewood) 26-6

3. Mission Bay (San Diego) 24-4

4. Harvard-Westlake (N. Hollywood) 21-8

5. North (Bakersfield) 22-8

6. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 23-8

7. Kearny (San Diego) 22-5

8. University City (San Diego) 27-5

9. Miramonte (Orinda) 29-4

10. Muir (Pasadena) 25-6

DIVISION IV

1. St. Mary's (Stockton) 33-3

2. La Jolla Country Day 27-5

3. Ursuline (Santa Rosa) 32-2

4. St. Paul (Santa Fe Springs) 25-9

5. St. Mary's (Berkeley) 21-9

6. St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 24-8

7. Piedmont 13-13

8. Valley Christian (San Jose) 21-7

9. Bishop's (La Jolla) 28-4

10. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 29-5

DIVISION V

1. Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo) 25-3

2. Eastside Prep (Palo Alto) 16-11

3. Etna 22-6

4. Ripon Christian 29-4

5. Rolling Hills Prep (Palos Verdes Est.) 22-7

6. Redwood Chr. (Castro Valley) 22-7

7. Forest Lake Chr. (Auburn) 28-2

8. Immanuel (Reedley) 19-10

9. Cloverdale 20-12

10. Pilgim (Los Angeles) 28-4

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

OVERALL TOP 10

1. St. Mary's (Stockton) 33-3

2. Mitty (San Jose) 25-6

3. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 25-5

4. Clovis West (Fresno) 24-6

5. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 28-3

6. Technical (Oakland) 20-9

7. Ursuline (Santa Rosa) 32-2

8. Laguna Creek (Elk Grove) 24-9

9. West (Tracy) 30-2

10. Berkeley 22-9

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

OVERALL TOP 10

1. Lynwood 33-0

2. Narbonne (Harbor City) 27-4

3. San Clemente 27-4

4. Bishop Montgomery (Torr.) 28-5

5. Wilson (Long Beach) 26-6

6. La Jolla Country Day 27-5

7. Poly (Long Beach) 33-2

8. Brea-Olinda (Brea) 21-7

9. El Camino (Oceanside) 21-10

10. Hart (Newhall) 26-6

To report a team placed in an incorrect enrollment division or to make a case why a team should have been ranked (so we can consider fixing it when the next rankings are compiled), feel free to e-mail us at mark@studentsports.com. You can also call (209) 463-9050.


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