Prep2Prep NCS Rankings
THROUGH WEEK 4
The first NCS rankings are always the hardest because some teams have played as many as 8-9 games and other just very few. With the smaller tournaments just about concluded and the Nike TOC and West Coast Jamboree on the horizon things will become clearer. However, other than Piedmont jumping to the head of the class the top teams are still the usual suspects.Note: Last week's rankings in parentheses
Granted the Highlanders beat an Archbishop Mitty team that was without Northern California’s top player, Morgan Cheli, but the 60-56 victory in the title game of their own Paris Twins Classic is still impressive as Mitty is far from a one-girl team. Junior standout Natalia Martinez led the way with 20 points, five rebounds and four steals and cracked the 1,000 points mark for her career. Piedmont got a solid defensive effort from San Diego State-committed senior wing Trinity Zamora. As impressive was a 66-34 semifinal victory over Cardinal Newman. It’s been a while since Piedmont has been atop the NCS, and ironically it was during the days of the Paris twins, Ashley and Courtney.
The Cougars’ lone loss was 59-49 to South Medford in the semifinals of the Iolani Classic in Hawaii. South Medford is one of the top teams in Oregon and went on the lose by 20 points to the nation’s No. 1 team, Incarnate Word Academy of St. Louis, Missouri. The Cougars then beat one of the top teams in Hawaii in the third place game with a 53-49 victory over Iolani.
An argument could be made for the defending state CIF Division I champions to be ahead of Carondelet but they have only played four games. Two of the three teams they beat - Oakland Tech and Vanden - are ranked in the Cal-Hi Sports preseason rankings. Balance looks like it will be key for Salesian. In the 56-48 victory over Oakland Tech, senior Eryn Gardner had 11 points and three players added 10 points - seniors Nyana Asiasi and Makiah Asidanya, and junior Madalyn Kanazawa. They also just posted a 60-55 victory over a Sacred Heart Cathedral team that has a win over San Ramon Valley.
Lone loss is to a Sacred Heart Cathedral team that just lost by five to Salesian. The Wolves’ big win is over Pinewood and they also have wins over St. Ignatius, Palo Alto and San Marin. The word among top coaches in the NCS is San Ramon Valley has a lot of scrappy girls that can play, led by flashy junior guard Sierra Chambers, and they’re showing well so far.
The two losses are to an Archbishop Mitty team at full strength at their own Cardinal Newman Classic and to Piedmont at the Paris Twins Classic. The Cardinals elevated their status with a an impressive 81-65 victory over a Bishop O’Dowd team pinned a heartbreaking four-point loss on Newman in the NCS Open Division playoffs last season. A name to look for this season is sophomore Kate Schat.
The young Dragons fall in behind the Cardinal Newman team that dealt them their loss to go along with a 63-58 victory over Marin Catholic. Not much to go in with only two games played.
The Dons are another NCS team that has a loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral, 74-64, but that’s the lone blemish on a record that includes a 73-64 overtime victory over Marin Catholic. It’s not surprising head coach Margaret Gartner is building a winner at Acalanes. After a very successful career coaching from 1992-2014 at Carondelet and then retiring, she came out of retirement in 2021 to lead Acalanes to a 25-4 record and the proven winner now has 567 career coaching victories according to the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book. Had she not taken a hiatus, Gartner would likely be on the road to 700 career wins.
The Patriots were blown out by Archbishop Mitty to open the season but have won four straight including twice over James Logan. In the most recent win over Logan UCLA-committed 6-4 post Amanda Muse, who was shut down by Mitty, had 15 points and 19 rebounds in a 55-41 victory.
Moreau has only played three games with the best win coming against James Logan. On Saturday they will get a real test when they host San Ramon Valley in a battle of top 10 NCS teams.
Marin Catholic head coach Ashley Saia has not shied away from tough opponents with all their losses coming to either teams ranked above them, Salesian, O’Dowd and in overtime to Acalanes, and to a very good Central-Fresno, and they have kept it close in all four defeats.
The defending state CIF Division V state champions haven’t played the toughest schedule, but they’re a D5 school. The Panthers’ biggest win was a season-opening 46-37 victory over defending Division IV state champion Branson.
All four of the Bull losses - Archbishop Mitty, Cardinal Newman, Marin Catholic and San Domenico - are to teams ranked ahead of them and the defending state CIF Division IV champions are the only team to pin a loss on a San Leandro team that is D1 for the NCS playoffs
Lone loss for the Mustangs is to Heritage for another team that still does not have enough games played to qualify for the computer rankings. They have a tough one coming up on Friday against Vanden at the Liberty tournament.
The competitive equity of the teams San Marin has beaten isn’t the greatest, and although they lost big to Acalanes they bounced back the next day and only lost by five to San Ramon Valley.
Head coach Shawn Hipol is a proven winner and although the competitive equity resumes of the teams the Hornets have beaten isn’t spectacular, they are mostly large schools that they have beaten and that counts for something.
The teams Miramonte has beaten have a higher competitive resume equity than teams ranked below the Mats have played. The two losses are to Branson by eight points and by four to the Monte Vista team they are two spots behind.
No one ranked below them has played a tougher schedule than Logan who just pinned a loss on San Leandro. Two losses are to Heritage and a close loss to the Miramonte team right above them.
The Pirates haven’t played the toughest schedule so far but at this stage of the rankings no one really has that has a winning record. Losses are to Branson and Logan, so going down the pecking order they fall in behind Logan but also behind San Marin.
The Eagles’ lone loss is to Carondelet but the competitive equity resume of the teams they’ve defeated is better than any team ranked below them. Look out for 6-3 junior post Gabrielle Abigor, who is averaging 26.0 points and 15.7 rebounds per game.
The Spartans haven’t shied away from top teams so despite losses to Carondelet and St. Mary’s-Stockton, and based on how they played in the Carondelet loss compared to Berean Christian, and who they’ve defeated, they slot in behind Berean Christian.
The Bruins’ strength of schedule is pretty decent and based on a loss to Pinole Valley in a Tri-County-Rock League opener to Pinole Valley they get to come in behind that team for the first rankings.
The computer has the Jayhawks as a top five team but despite being undefeated they can’t be higher in these rankings than this based on who they have played, and it’s all against NCS teams in low playoff brackets. The Jayhawks can come up if they keep winning and teams above them lose.
The Wildcats have a close loss on the road to a McKinleyville team they beat by double digits in tournament action. The other loss is to San Domenico in a rout and Washington-San Francisco to open the season on the road.
The lone loss is to Ukiah and they avenged that loss but it was only by two points at home after they lost by 11 in tournament play. That gets the top team from behind the Redwood Curtain the spot right behind Ukiah.
Like a lot of teams above them and on the Others Considered list the Broncos haven’t played any tough teams but their unblemished record gets them the final spot in these first NCS rankings where they edge out California.