1. (1) Lynwood 28-1
That closer-than-expected win last week over Palmdale seemed to jolt the Knights into the urgency of being fired up and focused for each and every playoff game. They could play Long Beach Poly again on Thursday.
2. (2) Mitty (San Jose) 28-2
The Monarchs seem primed to play their best ball of the season in this week's NorCal regionals. Then if they can keep it up another week, the best from SoCal could fall, even if it's Lynwood.
3. (3) St. Mary's (Stockton) 28-3
Coach Tom Gonsalves was correct in being unconcerned about the Rams' being seeded second behind Piedmont in this week's NorCal Div. IV playoffs. After all, St. Mary's would get to play Piedmont in the finals right down the street at Delta College anyway. It's Piedmont who should be more upset. The finals are supposed to be on a neutral court.
4. (4) Narbonne (Harbor City) 22-6
We were tempted to drop down the Gauchos behind Long Beach Poly and maybe even one or two spots further after their one-point win over Sylmar. But since they can certainly bounce back this week in the regionals, we just left it the way it was.
5. (5) Poly (Long Beach) 28-3
The Jackrabbits had a 25-game winning streak stopped in the CIFSS Div. I-AA finals by Lynwood. Last year's team went up to Fresno and won in the first round of the regionals. This year's team will have to go 30 more miles northward to face Madera.
6. (7) La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 24-4
One of the teams the Torreys lost to, Highland High of Gilbert, Ariz., just wrapped up a 35-0 season by winning that state's Class 5A championship. That team's coach called beating LJCD the most important win of the season. That was after he raved about Candice Wiggins.
7. (8) Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) 23-4
Redondo's loss to Mater Dei in the CIFSS Div. II-A playoffs lifts Pinewood to No. 1 in the state for Div. II schools. For the Panthers to go on and win the state title, they better hope they don't have one of those off-nights in the next two weeks that sometimes just kills teams who shoot the three so much.
8. (9) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 23-7
If the Knights lose in this week's SoCal playoffs, it will be the biggest upset.......since the Knight boys lost to Banning in the CIFSS playoffs. Maybe the misfortune of the boys will help the girls keep focused on what they have to do.
9. (10) San Clemente 27-3
While the Tritons were impressive indeed in their section finals win over Hart, it wasn't that far removed from a three-point win just the week before over Saugus. Losing again to El Camino of Oceanside would be an especially crushing blow to a program that has had such high hopes for the last two seasons.
10. (12) Piedmont 28-3
Because the NorCal seeding committee favors head-to-head matchups so much, the NCS final between the Highlanders and Ursuline also was for the top seed since Piedmont has a win and Ursuline has a loss in head-to-head games vs. St. Mary's of Stockton.
11. (11) Ursuline (Santa Rosa) 28-3
Last year, the Bears sent Marin Catholic all the way to Yreka for its first-round NorCal playoff game. This year, they only have to go as far as Sutter (although because of gas prices the trip may cost the same).
12. (13) Troy (Fullerton) 27-2
The Warriors really deserved to move up higher with the way they played in last week's CIFSS Div. II-AA playoffs. But Ursuline barely lost to Piedmont and Long Beach Poly didn't lose that badly to Lynwood, so a one-spot bump will have to do.
13. (17) Madera 26-1
It'll be interesting to see how the Coyotes respond to the uncharted waters of the SoCal playoffs. Will they be one of those teams that doesn't have the edge after winning a section title or will they look at the section title only as a small step in the quest for something bigger?
14. (nr) Berkeley 25-5
Boy, this sure seems familiar. Yellowjackets play tough preseason schedule and those losses cause them to be ranked low for almost the entire regular season. Then the postseason comes around and coach Gene Nakamura has put all the pieces together for another run at the NorCal and state crowns. A few people thought we were nuts just for sticking in Berkeley at the No. 10 spot in the preseason NorCal top 10.
15. (nr) El Camino (Oceanside) 26-4
The Wildcats have been in the shadow of high-scoring Charde Houston and her team at San Diego High on the San Diego Section Div. I scene. But they rolled last week to their second straight section crown. Charde has turned in her uniform.
16. (nr) Carondelet (Concord) 27-2
The sister school of De La Salle (it's located right next door) came up with one of the biggest wins in school history with last week's NCS Div. II title game triumph over Amador Valley. The 51-33 final score also shows that the Cougars have a real chance at knocking off Pinewood in this week's NorCal playoffs.
17. (nr) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 21-6
If Jen Rogers keeps on getting better and better, it won't matter if the Monarchs have to travel to North of Bakersfield for this week's SoCal Div. II semifinals. That seeding by the way -- North at No. 2 and MD at No. 3 -- gets our award this year for the worst in the state. North's two losses to Southern Section teams just must not have counted. One of those was to Ventura, a team the Monarchs beat in their drive toward their section crown.
18. (6) Redondo (Redondo Beach) 25-5
We hate to drop the Seahawks this far, but they did lose to Mater Dei so they have to go down at least behind the Monarchs. Redondo will probably have to get past No. 13 Troy for a shot at a second straight regional crown.
19. (nr) Brea-Olinda (Brea) 25-4
Season over. The Ladycats went out in the CIFSS Div. II-A semis, but since that was to Mater Dei and Mater Dei then won vs. Redondo, we're going to go back to Brea for a top 20 ranking. The Ladycats had climbed to No. 8 before they lost.
20. (nr) Artesia (Lakewood) 23-8
Wonder how good the Pioneers would be if Lauren Ervin was still around? Two years ago, Artesia had one of the top teams in the nation and there's still a few girls around who were a part of that squad.