Prep2Prep CCS Rankings
THROUGH WEEK 15
The final CCS boys basketball rankings were as difficult to figure out as a Sunday crossword in the New York Times, with postseason results that stunned fans after a regular season that had seemed to create a sense of normalcy. With so many upsets, it was difficult to rank the mix of teams that found glory at different times during the season.Note: Last week's rankings in parentheses
The Fightin' Irish proved that their incredible CCS run wasn't a fluke, traveling down to Fresno to beat Bullard in the first round of the CIF Division I Tournament before bowing out against Branson, pushing the Bulls to the brink. SHC was markedly better than the team that played in mid-January, and considering the way they won rematches against both Mitty and Bellarmine, plus hung with Branson after getting blown out in December, the Irish are deserving of the top rank.
Ranking the Monarchs was especially challenging considering the contrast between their postseason performance and the rest of the year. Their placement in the second slot is a testament to their ability to win tight games and match up with teams that boasted a tremendous size advantage. The three-game losing streak that they closed the season on doesn't negate the tremendous show they put on for much of the year.
The Bells lost in the CCS Open Division Championship for the third time in four years, but they beat a Riordan team that had taken them down twice in the regular season to get there and took Moreau Catholic to double overtime in the state tournament. They found a new ability to play out of their element, dealing with a ridiculous array of injuries to finish the season on a strong note.
An unforgiving draw in the first round of the state tournament won't diminish just how good the Bears were. They became the second public school to ever win a CCS Open Division game, comfortably dispatching Serra after a year of absolutely manhandling the PAL. Their smooth fundamentals and balanced team play earned them the respect of observers all around the area.
With just two major offensive producers over the course of the season, the Padres still managed to reach a Northern California championship game, going deeper in the state tournament than any other WCAL team. Throughout that run, Serra got impressive performances from secondary scorers like Antonio Abeyta and Dominic Bartlewski. Their loss to Campolindo was a lopsided one, but it turned out to be a defeat at the hands of the only NorCal team to win a state title.
For a CCS Open Division semifinal loss to be a disappointment shows the type of expectations the Crusaders had. It's important to remember that this is a team that's just two years removed from a 1-13 season in WCAL play and went just 4-10 in the league in 2018. Riordan is still on the rise, and with a roster full of seniors next year, the ceiling will be incredibly high.
A disappointing regular season was quickly wiped away as the Toreadores once again won the CCS Division III title, then went all the way to a Northern California championship game, beating Palo Alto on an epic 3-pointer by Mohammed Adam in the final seconds.
When the football players got into the flow and the team adapted to Rodney Tention's system, the Vikings were unstoppable, winning the CCS Division I crown and even beating Stuart Hall in the second round of the CIF Division III Tournament. With Tention joining the staff at Cal Poly, there'll be more transitions to come, but Matt Marzano and Jamir Shepard will be back for their senior year as part of a much more experienced team than this year's unit.
A CCS Division II Championship, 19-point comeback in the first round of the state tournament and a thriller in which the Spartans took eventual NorCal champion University to double overtime means Sam Tobin and his fellow seniors went out on a high note.
Yes, the Wildcats had a sub-.500 overall record, but they played a ridiculous nonleague schedule and won at least one game against every WCAL opponent except Bellarmine, an opponent that simply caused tons of matchup problems. They had the misfortune of meeting the Bells in the CCS Open Division and after losing, got pushed into a tough state tournament matchup with St. Joseph Notre Dame that spelled the end of the road for Neal Begovich and Wrenn Robinson.
If it wasn't for Sacred Heart Cathedral's remarkable run, there certainly would've been questions about just how far the Padres could have gone in the CCS Open Division. The eventual Division IV champs brought home their first section title in school history and gave St. Mary's-Stockton a game despite a brutal draw in the state tournament.
Unfortunately for the Lancers, their season was one full of hypothetical scenarios. What if they had better health? Unfortunately, they rarely got to play at full strength, though their wins over Riordan and St. Ignatius during the regular season showed that they did have a high ceiling.
Running into suffocating defenses in the CCS Division II Championship and first round of the state tournament snuffed out what was nonetheless a very strong year for the Chargers, who won the BVAL Mt. Hamilton behind the combination of Sohan Kshirsagar, Shane McKnight and Preston Weber, who was quietly effective in the post.
A home game in the state tournament was a deserving sendoff for a senior class that put together Carlmont's best season since the 2009-10 campaign. The true testament to this senior class will be how they've set the stage for the coming years. If their successes convince a few kids to stay at Carlmont instead of go off to private schools, their legacy will last far longer than any single win or loss could. Ron Ozorio certainly has the program looking up.
The Panthers may have been the best Division V team the CCS has seen in decades, winning the WBAL and taking eventual NorCal champion Mt. Shasta to overtime after a four-hour trip. They'll have a new head coach next year as Donovan Blythe is heading to China, and they have to replace Isaiah Saams-Hoy, but their seven-man roster had four sophomores, including point guard Million Jackson and Raymond Reece, a very active rebounder.
The transition from head coach Pete Simos to Tim Ewers was a clean one as the Pirates won 22 games. Can they keep it going next year after graduating four starters?
After an underwhelming regular season, Aragon shocked the world with a CCS Division II Quarterfinal win over Valley Christian and even took Mountain View to double overtime in the semis, with Sam Manu scoring 31 in his final high school game.
A CCS Quarterfinal loss to Aragon meant an abrupt end to the Warriors' season, but if he can establish some consistency, Jay Allen-Tovar might have the best career out of any player in the section.
The Longhorns' grueling nonleague schedule paid off as they dominated from January on, save for a two-week span in the latter half of BVAL play. They fell in the first round of the CIF Division IV Tournament to eventual NorCal champ Immanuel, losing by just 10.
Losing in the CCS Division IV Championship once again was a disappointment, but the Cardinals managed to return to the title game despite an injury to Jeremiah Elmore. The development of sophomore Scotty Pramuk and junior Zavier Hill-Kemp gives Santa Cruz plenty of reason for optimism moving forward.
Cupertino was truly a team where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. Rotating in just seven men and averaging just 47 points per game, the Pioneers managed to get all the way into the CCS Division I Semifinals and even won a game in the state tournament, getting a late 3-pointer from John Duan for a win at Oakland Tech.
The Knights knew Malachi Mitchell would be good, but Noah Short's breakout sophomore year is reason to expect there won't be much of a drop-off after this year. Under first-year head coach Nate Carroll, TKA reached the CCS Division IV Semifinals, with Short scoring 34 in a quarterfinal win at Jefferson.
Something always seems to click when the Gators travel to San Diego for winter break, and it did once again as they overcame a 1-5 start, sweeping rival Menlo and reaching the CCS Division IV Semifinals. Jai Deshpande had a strong junior year, showing off his 3-point stroke as he averaged 12 points a game and demonstrating surprising athleticism, throwing down a few monster dunks along the way.
A CCS championship appearance in just the Mavericks' fourth year as a program caps off a remarkable career for Kyle McGraw,, who will ccontinue his basketball and academic endeavors at Caltech. As impressive as Nueva's run was, it's even more remarkable when considering that it's a school that doesn't attract kids just looking to play basketball.
An SCCAL Tournament title and appearance in the CCS Division III Championship caps off a solid year for the Mariners, especially considering the heavy presence of football players that had been on the gridiron until December.