1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 31-2
We can't see the Monarchs faltering this year in the Div. II playoffs since the players will be constantly reminded of how last year's team blew it in that upset loss to Riverside King (the eventual state champion).
2. (2) Westchester (Los Angeles) 29-3
It still doesn't look like the Comets are as good as last year, but that's mainly due to depth. Star player Trevor Ariza is therefore simply having to do more than last year's star player, Hassan Adams (now at Arizona).
3. (4) Horizon (San Diego) 28-1
Future Div. IV foes may have to start worrying as much about Ryan Read as they already are about Jared Dudley and Alan Wiggins. Horizon gets to move up one spot this week due to being ranked higher than El Camino. We never can seem to escape the ramifications of Horizon's "win" over El Camino earlier this season in a game that was later officially deemed to have been an exhibition.
4. (5) El Camino (Oceanside) 30-2
Coach Ray Johnson's team now can be placed ahead of Fairfax in the rankings. The Lions just lost to Westchester for the second time and also have a loss on their ledger to El Camino. The Wildcats also just blew through the field in the San Diego Section Div. I playoffs.
5. (3) Fairfax (Los Angeles) 26-3
For the Lions to get to play Westchester again, they're going to have to pile up a major gas bill. First would come a trip to Bakersfield and then two days later they'd have to trek all the way back down to Oceanside to play a team on its home floor that they've already lost to once earlier this season. A tall order, to be sure, but hopefully they won't have a key player cut his hand on some glass to make it even more difficult.
6. (6) Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 28-1
How many NCS teams have been in the Div. I state finals? Twelve. How many from the Sac-Joaquin? Three. NCS strength is just one more reason why the Dragons should have been seeded ahead of Sacramento Valley in this week's NorCal regionals. Head-to-head results are important, but they shouldn't override everything else in a ranking or a seeding.
7. (7) Technical (Oakland) 20-5
If Leon Powe avoids foul trouble and someone else other than Quentin Thomas can step up, the Bulldogs will win the NorCal Div. I championship for the second straight year.
8. (8) Garces (Bakersfield) 33-1
If things all go well for the Rams this week, they'll be making a jump up to the No. 3 or No. 4 spot in the overall state rankings next week. Then we can talk about the national rankings, despite what USA Today thinks. Oh yeah, USA Today, the same ones who had LeBron James' team only at No. 22 to start the season.
9. (9) Loyola (Los Angeles) 26-4
With the football team laying another egg in the Southern Section playoffs last season and now that the basketball team has won a second straight section title, can we call this a basketball school yet? Nope. Pat Jacobs' spring football prospectus was faxed in several days ago. Only a football school sends us a spring football prospectus.
10. (12) Eisenhower (Rialto) 24-7
Speaking of football schools now getting it done on the hardwood, the Eagles fall into that category now as well. Congrats to head coach Steve Johnson and his staff for winning the school's first section hoops title. By the way, how long has it been since Fontana has turned in uniforms?
11. (11) Carson 23-4
Season over. That win way back in January over Garces is going to guarantee a pretty high final ranking for the Colts.
12. (14) Artesia (Lakewood) 28-2
We'd be a little worried if we were Pioneer fans that the Southern Section Div. III-A playoffs might have been a lot better than Div. III-AA, which is the one Artesia won. On the other hand, Artesia has terrific senior leadership and should be toughened from playing Mayfair in its league.
13. (10) Lincoln (San Diego) 28-3
We wonder how the Hornets will handle the travel of going up to Westlake Village for their first-round SoCal Div. IV regional game vs. Oaks Christian when their likely second-round foe two nights later is even further north at Garces. Going back and forth to San Diego for each trip would be very taxing.
14. (15) Foothill (Sacramento) 30-2
The Mustangs look like the best bet of any local team from the Sacramento area that will be able to play close to home in the state finals. Foothill's toughest NorCal Div. III foe could be Mitty of San Jose.
15. (17) Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 26-6
So why was the Wolverines' game vs. Centennial of Compton the best one for us to have sent a photographer? Scott Kurtz took shots of both Bryce Taylor and Arron Afflalo and because both standouts are juniors, Scott's shots will have plenty of shelf life (both for our web sites and for Student Sports Magazine).
16. (16) Silverado (Victorville) 29-2
The Silverhawks get to hang around in the rankings for coming close to Eisenhower in the CIFSS Div. I-AA final and for winning in their semifinal matchup vs. Leuzinger of Lawndale.
17. (nr) Montgomery (Santa Rosa) 27-3
Two wins over Amador Valley and an impressive win in their most recent meeting against league rival Casa Grande (a team they lost to twice earlier in the season) has us thinking that the Vikings are the most likely opponent for Mater Dei in the Div. II state finals.
18. (nr) Valley (Sacramento) 24-6
While we've been critical of the Vikings getting a higher seed than O'Dowd in the NorCal playoffs, you still have to admire them for beating Vallejo and Jesuit of Carmichael in their last two Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I playoff games. In Wayne Hunter, the Vikings have a 6-4 junior guard who could turn some heads this summer on the camp circuit.
19. (18) Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley) 26-5
The Cougars will have to do something positive in this week's regionals if they hope to gain a spot in the final rankings.
20. (nr) St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 26-6
The Braves won a strong CIFSS division title that included the likes of Inglewood, San Gorgonio, Villa Park, Santa Barbara and defending Div. II state champ King of Riverside.