It might be even more of an upset this year if Mater Dei and standout Wesley Washington (shown at left) don't make it to the Div. II state finals. What girls team looks like an equally sure bet for a trip to ARCO? Plus, which school rules this year if you combine both boys and girls teams? Click here for those answers and more from the best prep notes column in the state.

•As the playoff season is now underway throughout the state, there are a few teams that seem to almost have a clear path all the way to the state finals on March 22-23 in Sacramento.
On the boys side, it will be even more shocking this year if Mater Dei of Santa Ana doesn't get there in Div. II than it was last year. Untested San Gorgonio, Mayfair (which didn't win its league) and St. John Bosco (which the Monarchs have already defeated twice easily) might be the next three best Div. II teams in the south this year.
On the girls side, Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo fits that description in Div. V. With two-time defending state champ La Jolla Country Day moving up to Div. IV, the San Diego Section lacks any team that can match up with Mission Prep. The Southern Section's Div. V teams this year also don't appear to be comparable to previous seasons, either. In fact, the second-best Div. V girls team in the Southern Regionals just might be Central Valley Christian, which like Mission Prep also is from the Central Section.

•We've always had a lot of fun with boys and girls combo records in basketball, and this year it's a runaway so far as to which school will have the best boys-girls combo record in the state for this season.
Brea-Olinda of Brea was off to a great start in that category, but the boys team has lost three games recently. No, that school is Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland. The Dragon boys began this week at 23-1 while the Dragon girls were 22-2 for a state-best combo record of 45-3.

•It's not often that a team finishes the regular season with a losing record and wins its league but that's what happened when the 13-15 Nevada Union Miners of Grass Valley won their last five league games to tie Yuba City for the Metro League title in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Both Nevada Union and Yuba City finished with 9-3 league marks.
In the last two games, 6-0 Miner guard Jon Sheets was "only" 22-30 from the free throw line, dropping his season accuracy to 85.9% (152-177, 24 gms). Sheets also was the starting quarterback for NU's 10-0 regular season football team. Nevada Union's next game is Friday, Feb. 28 at Lincoln of Stockton in a Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I playoff game. Lincoln might not want to foul Sheets too much.

•The uniforms for the boys and girls basketball teams at La Jolla Country Day will say "Torres" for the time being, but the school let it be known last week that its official nickname is "Torreys." The mascot for the school has always been the Torrey Pine tree, but somewhere along the way the "y" got lost. Maybe BYU stole it.

•Former San Francisco 49er linebacker Ken Norton Jr. will be an assistant coach this fall at Hamilton High of Los Angeles. Norton Jr. is going to help out his former high school coach from L.A. Westchester, Larry Wein, who is going to become Hamilton's new head coach. Wein coached for 27 years at Westchester. Reminder to Coach Norton: Goal-post punching would now be considered an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

•Dominant softball pitcher Danika Dukes from Brookside Christian of Stockton has been ruled ineligible by the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, but the immediate impact at the school was in basketball, not softball.
Dukes' ineligibility cost Brookside Christian 14 wins on the court since she also plays center in that sport. Those forfeits then dropped the team's official record to 1-16 overall. Dukes starred at East Nicolaus last year and was planning to pitch this year at Brookside Christian. According to the Stockton Record, the section office discovered that Dukes' parents still live in Nicolaus and the section office also did not receive a hardship waiver.

•After scoring zero points in the first three quarters of Playa del Rey St. Bernard's CIFSS Div. IV playoff game vs. Rosamond, Winsor Williams must have morphed into Kobe Bryant as he racked up 15 in the fourth quarter alone. Williams' outburst helped the Vikings post a 73-64 triumph.

•In one of the best mano-a-mano matchups we've seen in a while, Shawn Allen from Delphi Academy of La Canada had 37 of his team's 58 points and Kevin Duckworth of Shandon had 37 of his team's 57 in the CIF Southern Section Div. V-A playoff game.

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