New Cal-Hi Sports Girls BB Top 20

Imani Stafford and her teammates from top-ranked Windward face tough task Saturday with game in Long Beach against No. 3 Long Beach Poly. Mark Tennis/ESPNHS

Important announcement from Cal-Hi Sports | Archived Cal-Hi Sports content

Karlie Samuelson returns for No. 7 Edison of Huntington Beach. This week’s newcomers are Carondelet and Chaminade with huge matchup coming Saturday between No. 1 Windward and No. 3 Long Beach Poly.

Junior guard Karlie Samuelson from Edison of Huntington Beach, a who gets a 90 scout’s grade from ESPNHS Girls Basketball, returned from injury last week with a 15-point performance in a 59-37 win over Los Alamitos. Two nights later, she had a season-high 28 points (five 3-pointers) in a 75-59 victory over Bishop’s of La Jolla.

The 6-foot-1 Samuelson had been hobbled for a month by a bad ankle.

“She’s taped up and wearing a brace but the swelling is down and she came back really strong against Bishop’s – and that’s good because we’re going to need her,” Chargers’ coach Dan Wiley told Cal-Hi Sports.

This week, St. Mary’s of Berkeley will welcome back sophomore phenom Gabby Green, which could help that team make a push for a spot in the top 20. The No. 5 player and No. 2 guard from the Class of 2014 according to ESPNHS Girls Basketball is scheduled to make her return in a game against Richmond Kennedy.

The 6-foot-1 Green has been out since July when she broke her ankle early on in her first game with California Storm’s Team Taurasi.

The Berkeley girls were the only top 10 team to take a loss last week, and while it looks bad on the surface coming to a St. Mary’s (Berkeley) team with six losses, the loss actually shows how good St. Mary’s is even severely short-handed.

Despite playing without Green, and another promising sophomore, 5-foot-11 forward Taylor Berry, the Panthers have played very well, learning how to play without Green in a super tough early schedule, and improving all along.

Now, with Green back, together with fellow sophomore standout Mikayla Cowling and senior Shannon Mauldin, they’ll be gearing up for the Division IV playoffs and a return trip to Power Balance Arena in Sacramento in March.

(Previous ranking in parentheses)

(After games of Saturday, Jan. 21)

(Contributing: Mark Tennis, Paul Muyskens)

1. (1) Windward (Los Angeles) 16-3

The Wildcats had a week to rest up after the long stretch of travel that concluded last Monday with the loss to FAB 50 No. 1 St. Mary’s of Phoenix. After playing Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) on Tuesday, Windward then gets a matchup Saturday against No. 3 Long Beach Poly at Long Beach City College. In that one, coach Steve Smith and the girls will certainly have their top state ranking challenged.

2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 18-2

Besides the blowout win on MLK Day over Canyon of Anaheim in the Tony Matson Classic at Orange Lutheran, the Monarchs posted a 70-46 win last week over visiting JSerra of San Juan Capistrano. Although Nirra Fields had 20 of her 24 points before halftime of the JSerra win, Mater Dei only led 33-30 at the break. The visitors cut it to two points early in the third quarter before the Monarchs went on a 15-2 run and clamped down on defense. Jordan Adams, who has been back a week after missing over eight games, is getting closer to full strength with each game. Coach Kevin Kiernan’s team hosts No. 16 Oaks Christian on Saturday in a nonleague contest.

3. (3) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 17-1

The Jackrabbits notched Moore League victories last week over Wilson and Millikan, 44-31 and 67-54, respectively. Destiny King (15 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) and Breeyon Alexander (15 points, seven steals, six rebounds) led the way in the Millikan victory. Coach Carl Buggs’ girls already own a running-clock victory over Long Beach Jordan on Monday. They’ll have two more games before playing No. 1 Windward on Saturday, but neither should be close and won’t tire out this deep unit one bit.

4. (4) La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla) 20-1

The Torreys are firing on all cylinders right now. San Diego’s Serra and Horizon were no match for coach Terri Bamford’s girls in 72-40 and 77-37 respective blowouts. Then, they took a 100-mile ride up the coast where they roasted a pretty good St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) team 78-49 on Saturday at the Santa Monica Extravaganza. Kelsey Plum led four girls in double-figure scoring with 22 points and had five assists. She finished with 71 points for the three games, 92 for the week if you include her 22 in the MLK Day win over Mission Bay. Maya Hood had 19 points against St. Bernard, twin Malina had 13 and sprouting sophomore guard Tia Kanoa, who missed all last season with a knee injury, added 11 points.

5. (5) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 15-2

Coach Malik McCord had his girls scrimmage against boys last year to keep them sharp. Frankly, he might have to do the same thing this year. Last week it was two more easy wins over San Lorenzo Arroyo and San Leandro. Both went to running clocks. Arroyo, a team that was 7-8 coming into the game and won its next game two nights later against San Lorenzo, went down 58-4 to the Dragons. Next up is Hayward and Moreau Catholic of Hayward.

6. (6) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 14-3

This week has already started well for the Rams as they blitzed local rival Lincoln 89-46. Although Lincoln was missing and will be missing all-state candidate guard Nyre Harris the rest of the season with an ACL injury, St. Mary’s still bolted out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back. The team won games last week against McNair of Stockton (82-45), Stagg of Stockton (90-32) and St. Francis of Sacramento (94-59). If all goes as planned, the St. Mary’s vs. Bishop O’Dowd game on Feb. 11 at Delta College will be for the top ranking in Northern California and possibly for the season too since the two teams will be in different divisions for the regional playoffs.

7. (7) Edison (Huntington Beach) 16-2

The reason coach Dan Wiley is so glad to have Karlie Samuelson back is the Chargers have a date with visiting Troy of Fullerton on Saturday. They already have a 67-31 win this week over Newport Beach Newport Harbor to go with their three wins last week, 63-31 over crosstown Marina, 59-37 over Los Alamitos, and 75-59 against Bishop’s of La Jolla in the OC/SD Shootout. While Karlie had 28 points against Bishop’s, little sis Katie Lou, who’s making a strong statement for State Freshman of the Year, continued to lead the team overall in scoring. She had 26, 22 and 26 points in the three wins last week.

8. (8) Brea Olinda (Brea) 15-4

After nipping Troy on MLK Day, the Ladycats beat coach Kim Cram-Torres’ old school pretty well, in a 69-41 victory over Villa Park. Next, they pinned a 68-48 loss on visiting Santa Ana Foothill. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo-bound Taylor Spears led the Ladycats with 17 points, Anna Kim had 16 points and Pepperdine-bound Keitra Wallace added 12 points. Brea-Olinda had a 14-13 advantage after one quarter, but the Ladycats outscored the Knights 23-7 in the second quarter to take a 37-20 lead at the half and pretty much seal the deal. Next up is Placentia El Dorado and Anaheim Canyon.

9. (9) Santiago (Corona) 21-0

Moving to 8-0 in Big VIII League play, the Sharks kept their undefeated season intact with wins on the road last week. Chrishae Rowe first scored 16 points while Monique Billings scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 68-43 win over King of Riverside. Billings and Rowe then each scored 14 points but it was Shiana Carrington who led the offense in a 74-28 win over Roosevelt of Corona with a game-high 22. State-ranked Centennial of Corona is on the schedule next Monday.

10. (13) Summit (Fontana) 15-3

We’ll go ahead and put the Skyhawks back in front of Troy since they have a head-to-head win over the Warriors and since there’s now a few more games removed from their upset loss to Etiwanda. Keep in mind the team’s only other two losses are to higher-ranked Windward and Corona Santiago. Two other ranked teams that Summit has beaten are Corona Centennial and J.W. North. On the court, it was a perfect 3-0 week for the Skyhawks. Wins were 70-8 against Norte Vista of Riverside, 53-27 over Kaiser of Fontana and 42-34 in a nonleague matchup with Pacifica of Oxnard.

11. (12) Troy (Fullerton) 12-5

Since the Warriors have played one of the tougher schedules in the state, they get to move up in this week’s rankings despite five losses. Two of the five were to out-of-state powers while the other three are all to higher-ranked squads. Plus, the recent loss to Brea Olinda was by just two points. The Warriors, who breezed past Fullerton, Sunny Hills of Fullerton and Mayfair of Lakewood in games last week after the MLK Day loss to Brea, have another test Saturday against No. 7 Edison of Huntington Beach.

12. (10) Berkeley 15-2

There was strong consideration to dropping Berkeley even further than this after the loss to St. Mary’s of Berkeley, but St. Mary’s is legitimate and it’s only the Yellowjackets’ second loss. The first came against Windward in the semifinals of the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree. Prior to the loss, the girls had Alameda Contra Costa League wins over Hercules and Richmond. El Cerrito and Alameda are this week’s opponents.

13. (14) J.W. North (Riverside) 18-3

Another winning streak is underway for the Huskies after a pair of wins last week to go with their win from the week before. Brittany Crain scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as they jumped out to a 23-5 lead on the way to a 69-46 win over Corona. Crain then had 21 points while Kamille Diaz had 16 in a 70-51 road triumph over Norco. J-Dub has a big matchup later this week against state-ranked Centennial of Corona.

14. (16) Etiwanda 15-3

Getting back to their winning ways, the Eagles soared to a pair of Baseline League wins after a loss the week before to Alemany of Mission Hills. Brianna Johnson had 16 points while Ashtyn Anderson scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for a double-double in a 66-30 home win over Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga. Etiwanda then ended the week with a 68-11 win over Alta Loma. Already this week, coach Anders Anderson’s team has gone on the road and defeated Rancho Cucamonga 55-37. The lone remaining game this week is on Friday against Glendora.

15. (17) Mission Bay (San Diego) 13-5

After the loss to La Jolla Country Day on MLK Day, the Buccaneers only had one additional game last week, and posted 68-38 shellacking of crosstown Scripps Ranch. Briteesha Solomon led the way against Scripps Ranch with 27 points, 15 rebounds, nine steals, five blocks and four assists. Arizona-bound Keyahndra Cannon had a triple-double 17 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists with seven steals. On tap this week are two crosstown Western League opponents, Lincoln and University City.

16. (18) Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 15-3

Taking the court just once last week, the Lions made sure it was a victory as they defeated Oak Park of Agoura Hills 70-39 to remain undefeated in Tri-Valley League play. Meghan McIntyre scored a team-high 21 points. Brianna Barrett and Kailee Severt each had a double-double as Barrett scored 14 points and had 11 assists while Severt scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Already this week, Oaks Christian has defeated Fillmore and on Thursday heads to Oxnard to face Santa Clara before ending the week with a non-league game at national powerhouse Mater Dei of Santa Ana.

17. (19) Centennial (Corona) 18-3

Jasmine Flanagan knocked down 16 points as the Huskies rallied from an early 16-7 hole to beat Riverside Poly 78-53 in their first game of last week. They later beat M.L. King in another high-scoring affair 74-64. Flanagan had 21 points in that one while Ashley Merrill had 10 points and 11 assists. Coach Martin Woods’ team has a chance to avenge one of the losses later this week with a game against No. 13 J.W. North of Riverside.

18. (20) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 12-4

Veteran coach Sue Phillips and her Monarchs get a two-spot bump after West Catholic Athletic League victories over crosstown Valley Christian and San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral, 74-18 and 56-47, respectively. Sophomore Kelli Hayes had 21 points and senior Amada Lovely had 19 points in the Irish win. Those victories for the CIF Central Coast Section’s top team came on the heels of an MLK Day win over St. Mary’s of Berkeley. That team then later knocked off Berkeley, which Mitty almost beat in a 52-50 loss just before Christmas.

19. (NR) Carondelet (Concord) 14-3

The Cougars have paid for their loss to Oaks Christian long enough, especially the way that team has played since then. They also looked good in comparison to other ranked teams, despite a loss to St. Mary’s (Stockton) on MLK Day. As a result, coach Margaret Gartner and the girls return to the rankings and slip into the spot right behind their Division II Bay Area rivals. Last week, the Cougars beat Granada of Livermore and Pleasanton Foothill, 56-42 and 67-50, respectively. Notre Dame-bound Hannah Huffman led the way against Foothill with 24 points.

20. (NR) Chaminade (West Hills) 17-3

An eye-opening 65-42 victory by the Eagles over previous No. 15 Alemany of Mission Hills was more than enough to gain a new top 20 ranking. The win avenged an earlier loss with the only other losses coming to Oaks Christian (ranked higher) and to Chandler (Arizona). Chaminade also has a win over the same St. Bernard of Playa del Rey team that just knocked off previous state-ranked Serra of Gardena. Senior Annie Tarakchian is the team’s leading scorer with 16.5 points per game and also rebounds at nearly 14 per game.

Dropped Out:

Previous No. 11 Serra (Gardena), No. 15 Alemany (Mission Hills) 20-2.

On the Bubble

Alemany (Mission Hills) 20-2; Canyon (Anaheim) 14-6; El Toro (Lake Forest) 20-2; Lincoln (Stockton) 14-2; Lynwood 13-4; Miramonte (Orinda) 18-0; Narbonne (Harbor City) 16-6; Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 12-6; Poly (Riverside) 15-5; Rialto 15-1; Sacramento 13-6; San Diego 15-5; St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 16-6; St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 15-3; St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 11-6*; Stockdale (Bakersfield) 16-3; Terra Nova (Pacifica) 12-5.

Comments or corrections? Email Mark.Tennis@espn.com.