Oakland Tech has to go back after losing to Mack, but not as far down as that team from Sac. And after losing to Bethel in what was not a rout, there is no doubt the Vallejo Apaches must go out. All this rhyming, of course, means that the new team we like can only be those boys from IKE.

(After games of Feb. 22; previous rank in parentheses)

1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 27-2

Harrison Schaen gobbled up 13 rebounds to go with 20 points as the Monarchs won their first CIF Southern Section Div. II-A playoff game by 96-50 over Gahr of Cerritos. Wesley Washington and D.J. Strawberry both contributed 18 points. There's a chance Mater Dei could play Dominguez of Compton in the semis, which would have been a great matchup three or four years ago.

2. (2) Westchester (Los Angeles) 26-3

The opening playoff game for the Comets in the CIF L.A. City Section was just about like Mater Dei's as Westchester crushed Franklin, 86-48. Trevor Ariza popped in 20 points to lead coach Ed Azzam's club, which moved on to a second-round game vs. 18-8 South Gate.

3. (3) Fairfax (Los Angeles) 24-2

All systems are still go for that Westchester-Fairfax L.A. City final, although Carson looks like it's at least capable of screwing things up. The Lions advanced with an easy 100-66 triumph over Sylmar. Alex Bausley pumped in 24 points and snared 14 rebounds while Joshua Shipp flipped in 20 more points to lead Fairfax.

4. (4) Horizon (San Diego) 26-1

The Panthers capped their regular season by defeating Bishop's of La Jolla, 79-46. Jared Dudley had 23 points to lead the scoring. Horizon won't play this week as it gained the top seed in the CIF San Diego Section Div. IV playoffs and received a first-round bye.

5. (5) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 26-1

The Knights are in the CIFSS playoff division that gets into tough games quicker than any other. The Div. III-A bracket already has seen Chaminade of West Hills and Centennial of Compton duke it out in a second-round game. Bishop Montgomery could face Centennial in the semis this Friday, but the Knights needed to get past Banning and the Apaches needed to beat La Canada earlier this week for that to happen. With Arron Afflalo leading the way, Centennial is certainly a good enough team to knock off the Knights.

6. (6) El Camino (Oceanside) 25-2

Coach Ray Johnson's squad actually has to play its first round CIF San Diego Section playoff game (since it's in Div. I), while the section's other top-ranked teams have byes. But the Wildcats should have no problem with 13-13 Bonita Vista of Chula Vista. El Camino wrapped up its regular season with a 83-37 rout of Fallbrook.

7. (8) Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 23-1

The last time these guys lost it was to Valley of Sacramento in early December in a tourney. Well, you could say a lot has happened off the court since then. But none of it has bothered the players that much on the court. O'Dowd's wins last week were 87-48 vs. Castro Valley and 61-57 vs. Moreau Catholic of Hayward.

8. (9) Carson 22-3

Coach Richard Masson's team didn't have a pushover in its first round CIF L.A. City Section playoff game. The Colts faced Dorsey of Los Angeles and held on for a 63-55 win. Sophomore standout Bryan Harvey made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal it. He finished with 17 points. Center Ekene Ibekwe had 16 points while battling a double-team and also had 11 rebounds and three blocks.

9. (10) Garces (Bakersfield) 30-1

It's unknown whether the lack of a close game for two months will have an impact on the Rams in the upcoming Southern California Div. IV playoffs, but that's not stopping the routs from continuing. The latest was 98-65 last week over Shafter. Robert Swift led Garces with 23 points and Kyle Shiloh added 21.

10. (7) Technical (Oakland) 18-5

The Bulldogs had their Oakland Athletic League win streak snapped at 17 games with a 73-71 loss to McClymonds. They came back to rip Castlemont, 81-52, so the drop in this week's rankings was minimal. Besides, how many other teams in the state would be able to go unbeaten in the OAL in any given year?

11. (11) Loyola (Los Angeles) 22-4

Playing Thousand Oaks in the CIFSS Div. I-A playoffs last year came in the championship. This year, that matchup was a first-rounder for the Cubs and the outcome was the same. Loyola won this time, 79-47, as Davis Cantor scored 18 points and Chris Rucker had 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.

12. (12) Lincoln (San Diego) 27-2

The Hornets almost took their third loss last week, but made enough plays to pull out a 72-67 win in overtime over Scripps Ranch. Shaun Davis netted 24 points in that game and had 24 again as Lincoln ended the regular season by beating Mission Bay, 95-69. Dominic McGuire led Lincoln vs. Mission Bay with 26 points.

13. (13) Fontana 25-2

It may be league champs the rest of the playoffs for the Steelers, who won their first CIFSS Div. I-AA playoff game, 89-50, over Santa Ana. They advanced to this week's game vs. Temecula Valley and would then probably play Long Beach Poly in the quarterfinals. Sean Green scored 20, Daryl Diggins scored 20 and Trayvon Williams hauled in 17 rebounds vs. Santa Ana.

14. (14) Sacramento 27-1

The Dragons are not unlike their Dragon namesakes from Bishop O'Dowd this season in that they've been very good at staying focused on what they're doing on the court. Sac High's off-the-court situation (the school is closing in June) is very different than O'Dowd's, but potentially even more impactful as it involves every student at the school not just the basketball players. And last week, while school board members considered the first charter request to run the "new" high school this fall, Sac High kept on rolling with a 67-40 triumph over Del Campo of Fair Oaks. David Young led the Dragons with 25 points.

15. (15) San Gorgonio (San Bernardino) 26-2

Khorry Lewis was the story with 18 points as the Spartans opened their quest for the CIFSS Div. II-AA title with a 71-51 victory over Rubidoux of Riverside. Although Mater Dei is in the CIFSS's other Div. II playoff bracket, the one San G is in might be better overall with such teams as defending Div. II state champ M.L. King of Riverside, No. 2 seed Villa Park, state-ranked St. John Bosco and Santa Barbara plus perennial power Inglewood.

16. (16) Artesia (Lakewood) 25-2

The Pioneers only need two more wins this week and they'll be assured of a spot in the upcoming SoCal Div. III regional playoffs. Coach Scott Pera's squad won its first-round game, 55-36, over Apple Valley behind Kejuan Johnson's 25 points.

17. (17) Foothill (Sacramento) 26-2

Don't give the Mustangs the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III title just yet. They open those playoffs this week as the top seed, but No. 2 seed Bethel of Vallejo just knocked off previous state No. 19 Vallejo and won the Monticello Empire League title. Foothill's last two regular season games were wins of 71-56 vs. River City of West Sacramento and 77-38 vs. Vanden of Travis AFB.

18. (18) Silverado (Victorville) 26-1

Kyle Lewis led the Silver Hawks in scoring with 13 points in a 91-42 romp past Alhambra. Although it was a CIFSS Div. I-AA playoff game, Alhambra came in at only 11-15 so Silverado fans shouldn't get too excited.

19. (19) Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 23-6

The Warriors were the only top 20 team from the Southern Section who played twice last week. They first crushed Duarte, 81-46, behind Bryce Taylor's 25 points. Next was an even greater 84-42 mashing of Lompoc Cabrillo. Taylor was again H-W's leading scorer and finished with 22 points.

20. (nr) Eisenhower (Rialto) 20-7

The Eagles were a top 10 team for the preseason, then didn't fare that well in a rugged preseason schedule. As often happens, though, all those early losses has toughened up Ike. The recent win over Fontana created a co-title in the Citrus Belt League and the strength of schedule helped give the Eagles the top seed (over Silverado) in the CIFSS Div. I-AA playoffs. Last week's 65-48 win over Montclair featured 22 points, eight rebounds and four steals from standout senior Sean Marshall.

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