Prep2Prep CCS Rankings
THROUGH WEEK 14
The biggest shakeups in this week's CCS boys basketball rankings come from league championships and the beginning of the playoffs. Menlo-Atherton cracks the top four for the first time this year after beating Serra and Palma jumps up three positions after winning the PCAL Gabilan Division. Carmel makes the biggest drop this week, falling five spots, while St. Ignatius drops four places. Burlingame returns to the rankings for the first time since early January by taking the 25th spot, replacing Woodside Priory, while Mountain View returns at 24, supplanting Homestead after bouncing the Mustangs from the postseason.
Note: Last week's rankings in parentheses
In their last three games, the Monarchs have been deadly on offense. They had five players score at least 11 points in a win over Serra, five scored at least eight in a win over Valley Christian to secure a share of the WCAL title and five scored at least seven in Friday's comfortable win over Menlo. This is the eighth edition of the CCS Open Division, and Wednesday will be Mitty's seventh semifinal apperance.
Defense has been brilliant for the Bells as of late. In their last four games, they've had at least one quarter in which they allowed no more than five points. While their win at St. Francis to close the regular season was fueled by their three-headed monster of Quinn Denker, Ian Elam and Ryan Kiachian, it was Anthony Piro who hit five 3-pointers in Friday's 59-43 Open Division quarterfinal victory over Sacred Heart Prep.
The Bears shot just 4-of-17 from 3-point range on Friday night, but they forced 23 turnovers to beat Serra in the CCS Open Division Quarterfinals for the second year in a row. They'll face Mitty on Wednesday with hopes of putting up a far better showing than the first meeting, an 85-49 blowout on Dec. 20 that was their low point of the season. Since then, they've lost just one game and held 16 of 20 opponents under 50.
It was a week of tremendous highs and excruciating lows for the Crusaders. Je'Lani Clark scored a career-high 36 points on Senior night, an evening capped off by manager Dominic Stevens knocking down two 3-pointers, but they fell victim to one of the biggest upsets of the year on Friday against St. Francis. They've fallen short of two of their major goals this year, having to share the WCAL title and falling short in the Open Division, but the state tournament will provide a chance for Riordan to finally deliver on the hype that's surrounded the team all season. In order to do so, they'll need to figure out how to solve zone defenses. The Lancers were the latest to give them problems with a 2-3.
Four times this season, the Padres have had a shot to win a game in the final seconds of regulation or overtime, and all four have missed. They've lost in the quarterfinals of the CCS Open Division for a fourth year in a row, but they're far from done. Opponents without experience facing Serra's defensive pressure will be ripe for the picking in the state tournament.
If the Lancers were unhappy with their performance in Tuesday's loss to Bellarmine, where they shot 3-of-23 from beyond the arc and couldn't hit a single 3-pointer after the first quarter, they'll have another chance on Wednesday at neutral-site Independence after a stunning win over Riordan in which Harlan Banks scored 23 points and Vince Barringer knocked down five threes.
Bellarmine's defense held the Gators to 43 points on Friday, their second-lowest point total of the season, shooting just 3-for-20 on 3-pointers and committing 14 turnovers. Sacred Heart Prep will have a consolation game against Riordan on Thursday before entering the state tournament, where they'll likely be in Division II, though a low seed in Division I remains a possibility.
The final score of Friday's loss to Mitty was unflattering, but the Knights trailed by just 13 after three quarters, even with the Monarchs doing an excellent job defending Cole Kastner.
Palo Alto desperately wanted to play in the Open Division, but an early-season loss to Leland and lack of marquee victories overshadowed a 12-0 run through SCVAL De Anza play. The Vikings have the top seed in Division I, where they'll pursue their third title in four years.
In Sean MacKay's first two years at Sacred Heart Cathedral, the Fightin' Irish were bounced in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the CCS Division III Tournament. Last year, they won the Open Division. Back in Division III this year as the top seed, can they finally take care of business as a presumptive favorite?
Tuesday's Division IV quarterfinal against Pacific Grove will be the Cougars' first game in 11 days and second in 18. While they'll certainly be prepared for a Breakers team they defeated back on Dec. 6, they'll have to make sure rust isn't a factor.
Even as the sixth seed in Division I, the Ravens are a popular pick to win the tournament. They've never even appeared in a section title game, and the road there won't be easy, with Evergreen Valley looming on Tuesday, but they certainly have the talent to do it.
With a core including two sophomores and two juniors, it's likely that Palma's PCAL Gabilan title won't be a flash in the pan. Next week might be their only shot at the Division IV title, though. With how promising the coming years look, it would make sense for the Chieftains to be in the Open Division in the following seasons.
The highs of a win over Mitty were quickly washed away by three straight losses, including two in which they scored a combined 63 points. A seventh-place WCAL finish is disheartening, but the Wildcats have a chance to redeem themselves if they can win their first section title since 2014. With a double bye, they're just two wins away from earning a fourth straight state tournament appearance.
A year removed from a shocking upset quarterfinal loss, Tuesday's showdown with Gunn will be a chance at redemption for the Warriors and could launch them on a strong state tournament run. In 2018, they finished in the cellar of the WCAL but still managed to make it all the way to the Northern California semifinals. A similar fate this year could be well within reach, but they'll need to avoid an upset like the one they suffered last year against Aragon.
Co-champions of the BVAL Mt. Hamilton Division and the third seed in Division I by virtue of their tiebreaker over Piedmont Hills, Evergreen Valley has a shot to make the section semifinals for the first time since 2013 and potentially do much more. The Cougars have never made the state tournament, but they're two wins away from a berth. Even if they were to lose in the semifinals, they'll be in the running for an at-large bid.
Last year, Carmel knocked off presumptive favorite Monterey to win the PCAL Gabilan Division. This year, the Padres saw what it looked like on the other side after losing to Palma. They could get a third crack at the Chieftains if they were to reach the Division IV Championship.
Slowed by injuries, Alijah Washington still scored 17 on Tuesday night as the Pirates fought off Independence to secure their share of the BVAL Mt. Hamilton title, taking the lead for good on a Kameron Navalta 3-pointer. Jordan Martinez hit another six threes and scored a team-high 23 in the win.
Even in a loss to Evergreen Valley to close the regular season, Mahmoud Fofana had another 26 points and 16 rebounds while Jared Johnson scored 20. Any time Fofana gets offensive help, the Saints are a tough out. They'll see a familiar opponent on Tuesday as they visit Piedmont Hills in the CCS Division I Quarterfinals.
Champions of the SCCAL regular season and tournament, the Mariners will have a chance to show how far they've come since the start of the year on Tuesday with a chance to avenge an early loss to Sobrato. That defeat is the only reason Aptos is seeded behind the Bulldogs.
A rivalry loss to Mountain View to close the regular season didn't knock Los Altos from the second seed in Division I. The Eagles are two wins away from their second section championship game and state tournament appearance, having won the Division II crown in 2015.
Hillsdale's last section championship came in 1997. This year marks the best chance the Fighting Knights have had to hang a banner since the days in which Bill Wilkin guided the program to glory, and it would be an amazing culmination to Junior Cotton's career. The point guard had more than his share of struggles as a freshman and sophomore, but has continued to develop and is now one of the best players at his position in the entire section.
Losers of the CCS Division IV Championship each of the last two years, the next week will present a new opportunity to the Cardinals, though they'll have to deal with a King's Academy team that's finally healthy. Should they win, a date with top-seeded Palma is likely.
After losing four straight games and going more than two weeks without a win, fortunes changed quickly for the Spartans. They won at rival Los Altos on Tuesday to close the regular season, crushed Silver Creek on Friday and settled a regular-season split with Homestead by topping the Mustangs in overtime on Saturday. Next up in the Division I quartefinals is another league foe, a Palo Alto team that swept them in the regular season.
With three different sophomores scoring 12 points apiece on Saturday night, the Panthers held off El Camino to advance to the CCS Division III Quarterfinals, where they'll play their fourth playoff game against Monterey in the last nine seasons. They've won the prior three.