1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 22-2
So how much better might the Monarchs be over anybody else they might face in the Div. II sectional, regional or state playoffs? Last week's 85-51 win over St. John Bosco, which despite the 34-point loss still might be one of the best Div. II teams in the state, could be the answer. Wesley Washington had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists vs. the Braves. Mater Dei stayed in high gear later in the week with a 120-62 triumph vs. Antelope Valley as Travante Nelson scored 22 points and had five assists.
2. (3) Westchester (Los Angeles) 21-2
Following the Comets' big 88-72 win over Fairfax that flipped them back into the No. 2 spot, they ended the week with an 86-46 romp past Los Angeles. Marcus Johnson, who is looking more and more like one of the top sophs in the state, joined Scott Cutley for top scoring honors with 16 points. This week's schedule includes a trip to New Jersey for a matchup vs. national No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary of Ohio, which will be monitored by media types throughout the country. If LeBron James wins his eligibility case on appeal and plays, Westchester may take the brunt of any frustration that James may feel. If LeBron can't play, the Comets certainly have the firepower to fly past St. Vincent-St. Mary and ruin any chance that team has of being this year's mythical national champion.
3. (2) Fairfax (Los Angeles) 19-2
If you're a Fairfax fan, you should be rooting for Westchester to beat St. Vincent-St. Mary. Then if the Lions are able to win round 3 -- or perhaps even round 4 -- of this year's matchups vs. the Comets, that would aid them in their own rise upward in the national rankings. In last week's other game, Kevin Bell scored 23 points and Joshua Shipp had 20 in a 79-55 victory over Palisades.
4. (4) Horizon (San Diego) 18-1
Jared Dudley tossed in 27 and 20 points in leading the Panthers to another pair of easy league wins. Scores were 97-54 vs. Tri-City Christian and 68-27 vs. Francis Parker. A major matchup awaits this week when Horizon goes up against state No. 7 San Diego Lincoln.
5. (5) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 22-1
Usually, the Knights have a Del Rey League loss by now. But this season the Del Rey has been child's play so far. Last week's wins were 61-43 vs. Redondo in a non-leaguer and 69-53 vs. St. Bernard of Playa del Rey and 65-51 vs. Bishop Amat. Fred Washington had 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists against St. Bernard.
6. (6) El Camino (Oceanside) 20-3
The Wildcats are going to be around for awhile. In last week's games, sophomore Justin Armstrong led the way with 23 points in a 70-58 win over La Costa Canyon, while junior Gyno Pomare had 25 in a 71-60 victory over Mt. Carmel.
7. (7) Lincoln (San Diego) 22-1
The Hornets, who are representing a school that will be closed for several years while a new campus is built, prepped for their big game this week against Horizon by beating Mission Bay, 87-71, and University City, 85-40. Dominic McGuire sizzled for 34 points in the first game.
8. (8) Technical (Oakland) 14-4
It was an absolute dunkfest when the Bulldogs played McClymonds of Oakland last week and won by 85-73. Leon Powe had his share of throwdowns, as did Quentin Thomas of Tech and Ike Count of Mack. Roy Williams of Kansas and Ben Braun of Cal were spotted in the crowd, probably not so much to watch Powe (who is committed to Cal) but probably for Thomas, a junior on the rise on many scouting lists we've seen recently. Powe ended the game with 33 points and 20 rebounds.
9. (10) Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 17-1
Mt. Eden of Hayward came into last Friday's matchup with the Dragons at 15-1, but was absolutely no match. O'Dowd showed great depth and execution in posting an 80-36 rout. Head coach Mike Phelps still hadn't returned to the bench but he's now credited with 831 all-time wins.
10. (12) Carson 13-3
The Colts aren't having much trouble in the L.A. City Section's Marine League. In last week's games, they won by 63-50 over San Pedro and 89-55 over Banning of Wilmington. Bryan Harvey, the super soph, had 19 against San Pedro and picked up the slack when 6-9 senior Ekene Ibekwe got into early foul trouble. That phrase "early foul trouble" seems to be popping up too often lately for Ibekwe, who will be needed full-time if the Colts hope to make a deep run into the L.A. City Section playoffs.
11. (13) Fontana 21-1
The only thing that really stands in the way of the Steelers completing a 25-1 regular season and likely being the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA playoffs is a game at home on Feb. 11 against Eisenhower. Last week's wins were over A.B. Miller and Redlands.
12. (14) Garces (Bakersfield) 25-1
Robert Swift just missed the big man triple-double for the second straight week, but still wound up with 24 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks in a 93-62 triumph over Shafter. He also scored 16 as the Rams topped Wasco, 72-33.
13. (15) Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 18-5
The Warriors are one of those teams that drive you crazy, going up and down each week. Their 94-85 win last week over previous No. 9 Loyola in which Bryce Taylor was unstoppable and racked up 53 points is just another example of how good they can be. This week, they've already lost to Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks (a result that won't be reflected in the rankings until next week).
14. (9) Loyola (Los Angeles) 18-4
After they were knocked off by Harvard-Westlake, the Cubs routed Crespi of Encino, 96-68, and won against Chaminade of West Hills (a Div. III state-ranked team), 85-71. Omar Wilkes had 33 points, 10 rebounds and six steals to lead the way vs. Chaminade. Chris Rucker had 16 points and five blocks against Crespi.
15. (16) Sacramento 22-1
Hey CIF, this is the sentimental local squad you should be hoping makes it all the way to the Div. II state final at ARCO Arena. Who cares if Mater Dei would be favored by a gazillion points, the story of the Dragons would bring out a strong crowd. And just look at this week's Div. II state rankings to see that this scenario isn't that far-fetched.
16. (17) Vallejo 19-3
Being No. 2 in the state in scoring and not No. 1 may have spurred DeMarcus Nelson to a 47-point eruption in the Apaches' 94-54 romp over Davis. The All-American junior nailed seven from beyond the three-point line.
17. (18) San Gorgonio (San Bernardino) 22-2
The Spartans have a great chance to be the top seed in the CIF Southern Section Div. II-AA playoffs (Mater Dei is Div. II-A). They stayed on a roll with wins of 80-62 vs. Pacific of San Bernardino and 69-56 vs. Arroyo Valley. Kevin Houston netted 21 points and handed out seven assists in the first game and came back with 23 points in the second.
18. (19) Foothill (Sacramento) 19-2
In the Mustangs' lone game of the week, Chris Walker pumped in 22 points as they defeated Vanden of Travis AFB, 66-59. An earlier win of 56-42 over Lincoln of Stockton is looking better and better, too, as Lincoln is now No. 1 in the Stockton Record's FAB Five.
19. (20) Artesia (Lakewood) 19-2
Since the Pioneers have already won this week over Mayfair, they should complete the rest of the regular season without losing again and should be the No. 1 seed in the CIFSS Div. III-AA playoffs. Artesia posted wins last week over Glenn of Norwalk (62-36) and Montclair Prep of Van Nuys (61-47).
20. (nr) Amador Valley (Pleasanton) 19-2
A 48-42 loss by previously unbeaten Brea-Olinda to El Dorado of Placentia opened up a spot for the Dons. They won a big game last week, 77-66, over Foothill of Pleasanton before a packed house. Foothill came into that game at 17-3. Brandon Allen, with 20 points, and Andy Bocian, with 19, led Amador. Brea only dropped three positions in the Div. II state rankings, but that was enough for the Dons.