NEW GIRLS HOOPS STATE TOP 20

Lynwood may have dropped a game at the Nike Invitational in Phoenix, but the Knights remain a clear-cut No. 1 in the Golden State. Determining who's No. 2 is a bit more difficult, but we found a way to go to San Jose.

(Records after games of Jan. 4; first regular season list of the season)

(Our full girls rankings, including all five divisions, will normally be posted and compiled by Tuesday night)

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1. Lynwood 10-1

The Knights have a big game on Saturday, Jan. 11, against Narbonne. Their only loss was to Canyon, Texas, in the semifinals of the top division at the Nike Invitational in Arizona. Lynwood bounced back to beat Oregon City, Oregon, for third-place and then ventured to Gillette, Wyo., where they clobbered the field at the Energy Classic.

2. Mitty (San Jose) 9-2

One of the most impressive teams in the nation right now is Murry Bergtraum of New York and the Monarchs only lost to that team by four points. Mitty also has a win over St. Mary's of Stockton, won its own tournament and lost its only other game to Collins Hill of Suwanee, Ga., one of the highest ranked teams in the South. All this and the Monarchs have been without starting point guard Mary Eileen Gallagher (injured shoulder).

3. Piedmont 11-2

Last week's 46-44 loss on the road to Ursuline of Santa Rosa, in our thinking, dropped the Highlanders from No. 2 to No. 3 but should not necessarily drop them all the way behind Ursuline. Piedmont did win the Marin Catholic tourney (of which Ursuline was entered), beat Redondo at the Nike tourney in Arizona and lost its only other game to Mt. de Chantal of West Virginia, a non-state association team that has transfers literally from around the world. Courtney and Ashley Paris are averaging more than 48 points per game, so you could say their arrival from Modesto Christian has completely changed the pecking order of teams in Northern California.

4. St. Mary's (Stockton) 10-3

Two of the Rams' losses have been to Mitty and Piedmont and they are the only team to pin a loss on Ursuline. Coach Tom Gonsalves' club also had a strong showing at the Nike tourney in Arizona, losing by just 63-62 to one of the top teams in Tennessee and beating one of the best from Pennsylvania and the very best from Wyoming. St. Mary's also was the champion of the West Coast Jamboree.

5. Narbonne (Harbor City) 6-5

Some of the losses at the Lone Star Invitational in Texas and at the Nike tourney in Phoenix were pretty ugly, but outside of Lynwood no one else in the state has played a schedule quilte like the Gauchos. Best win probably was 57-55 over Highlands Ranch, the defending Class 5A state champ from Colorado.

6. Poly (Long Beach) 11-2

The Jackrabbits wouldn't have been in the top 10 heading into the Ayala Best of the West tourney, but they came out of that event smelling like a rose. In the final, Poly rolled past Redondo, 55-42, and then in last Friday's California Challenge it was the Jackrabbits eeking out a 65-63 win over La Jolla Country Day on Judith Smith's two free throws with three seconds left.

7. Ursuline (Santa Rosa) 9-1

Melissa Azevedo had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and Monica Mertle scored 15 points as the Bears came out on top last Saturday in their big game against Piedmont. The team's only loss so far has been to St. Mary's of Stockton.

8. Redondo (Redondo Beach) 9-4

The Seahawks started slowly, which was understandable as top guard Allison Bretana hasn't played while rehabbing a knee injury from the summer. But then they won by 55-32 over San Clemente at the Nike tourney in Arizona and made it all the way to the finals of the Best of the West tourney. Oh, and Bretana should be back very soon.

9. San Clemente 10-2

Other than Redondo, the Tritons' only other loss was to that foreign-laden team from West Virginia. They won last week's Edison-Marina tourney with a 56-42 win in the final over Mater Dei as Lindsey Pluimer had 22 points and blocked four shots.

10. La Jolla Country Day 9-4

Candice Wiggins has been tremendous, as expected, and the highlight of the season so far was winning the Sue Bird Division of the Nike tourney with a title game triumph over defending Div. III state champ Bishop Montgomery. The Torres lost a close one to Long Beach Poly at the California Challenge last weekend, 65-63, and lost by 72-64 to Highland of Gilbert, Ariz., the No. 1 team in that state.

11. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 16-2

The Lancers were third in the top division at the Best of the West tourney. Guard Erin Myrick made 11-of-11 shots from the field in one of the team's games.

12. Madera 13-0

Could be the Coyotes or North of Bakersfield for No. 1 in the Central Section. We like Madera since it won the Amador Valley tourney in the Bay Area over a strong field. Heather Bates has been the team's unstoppable force and is averaging nearly 25 ppg.

13. Troy (Fullerton) 12-1

The Warriors just got an eye-opening win of 59-44 over Mater Dei in which Meghan McGuire had 21 points and 14 rebounds. Troy's only loss was to Brea, but that was in early December and in a Brea tourney game at Brea. Troy also has won the Gold Division of the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions and took top honors at a tourney in Juneau, Alaska.

(We interrupt these rankings for police activity right in this office. A man has just come through my front door. I thought he was a customer of the typing service, which is located in the same building. Turns out he was a wanted carjacker. I directed this guy to the other office. The cops saw him enter the building, though, and they grab the suspect after an all-out, guns-drawn pursuit and scuffle. Once I heard the cops yelling at this guy, I jumped back into my office and shut the door. The suspect ran into another office where he was wrestled to the ground. Now that the police have finished interviewing me, I can resume writing up these rankings where I left off).

14. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 9-5

Two of the Knights' losses have been to La Jolla Country Day. The rest of Division III, though, probably went uh-oh when they saw this score from last week: Bishop Montgomery 72, Long Beach Wilson 39. Noelle Quinn must be getting back into full basketball mode after her long volleyball season.

15. North (Bakersfield) 13-0

The Stars have one of the best one-two combos in the state as Ana Onainda (23.5) and Laura Thomas (20.6) are both averaging more than 20 points per game.

16. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 10-3

Winning the Brea tourney in early December would still be the highlight of the season so far for the Monarchs and should still keep them in the state top 20 despite the 15-point loss last week to Troy. A few more tough battles loom ahead in the Serra League against Rosary and Santa Margarita.

17. Mark Keppel (Alhambra) 11-3

Wins over Brea and Long Beach Wilson last week make the Aztecs a team to watch for the rest of the season. Jessica Lainge has been the squad's leading lady.

18. Wilson (Long Beach) 11-4

If these rankings were done two weeks ago, the Bruins might have been in the top five. They have the means to reverse the current slide, though, since they're in the same league as Long Beach Poly.

19. Brea-Olinda (Brea) 10-3

The Ladycats have a win over La Jolla Country Day and also defeated Pinewood. One of the losses was by 60-51 to ThunderRidge of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, the No. 1 team in that state.

20. Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 5-4

Don't be fooled by the record. The Panthers have played at the Nike tourney in Arizona as well as in Mitty's tourney. They're ranked No. 2 in the Central Coast Section by the San Jose Mercury-News.


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