The nonleague showdowns for boys basketball are to be treasured. Top teams, top talents squaring off well before any playoff rumblings.
None of the heavies duck other power programs, and with the introduction of the CIF State Open playoffs this March — the best against the best — we could see some rematches.
Over the weekend, Salesian (Richmond) got an expected down-to-the-wire tussle with De La Salle, and held on. Sheldon (Sacramento) beat Deer Valley (Antioch). Though Mitty (San Jose) lost, it must be factored in that the Monarchs lost to a national program, hence the staying position in this week's rankings.
And there will be more. Salesian and Sheldon face off on Feb. 2 at Albany High. Also consider that No. 3 Mitty fell to Salesian and beat Sheldon.MaxPreps Northern California Top 25 Boys Basketball Rankings1. (Last week 1) Salesian (Richmond) 16-3, 5-0
The Pride trailed De La Salle (Concord) by nine in the Martin Luther King Classic at Haas Pavilion at Cal, then promptly went on a 13-0 run fueled by Mario Dunn
for a 47-43 victory. A 6-foot blur guard headed to Montana, Dunn had 12 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. Cal-bound star Jabari Bird
hit a three-pointer for a 44-41 lead, his team's first lead of the second half. Salesian earlier in the week beat St. Mary's (Berkeley) for the eighth consecutive time, 61-45, with Bird scoring 13 and freshman Nakota Shepard-Creer
contributing 12.Read Mitch Stephens' story on Salesian's comeback victory over De La Salle2. (2) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 13-4, 7-0
In the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., Mitty on Monday fell to national power 15-1 Lone Peak (Utah) 81-46. National recruit Aaron Gordon
had 27 points and 12 rebounds but his team allowed 13 three-pointers. Earlier in the week, the Monarchs beat Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 69-57 for the program's 20th consecutive victory over a West Catholic Athletic League opponent with Brandon Farrell
going for 15.3. (3) Sheldon (Sacramento) 15-4, 4-0
The Huskies, with just one state loss coming to Mitty in an early game (without two starters), beat Deer Valley 97-92 in a nonleague thriller. If there's a playoff rematch, buckle up. It'll be some ride. Washington-bound guard
scored 42 points on 25 shots on myriad jumpers and drives, and San Diego State-bound floor leader D'Erryl Williams
scored nine of his 17 in the fourth, mostly on power post moves. Sheldon prevailed despite not having San Diego State-bound wing Dakarai Allen
(eye injury and flu) and coach Joey Rollings (ejected the night before in a win over Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills). Antonio Lewis
had another big game for Sheldon with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Deer Valley. A big game for first place in the Delta River League looms Friday against rival and Sacramento Bee No. 2-ranked Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove).4. (4) Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) 14-3, 5-0
The Dragons are led by one of the top sophomores in the country in 6-9 post Ivan Rabb
, who went for 24 points through three quarters, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots to beat Sacramento 80-71 in a Martin Luther King contest at Cal. Other key cogs to the machine include Russell Davis
(15 against Sac), Paris Austin
(13), Juwan Anderson
(10) and Michael Perri
(10).Read Mitch Stephens' story on Bishop O'Dowd's victory over Sacramento5. (5) Deer Valley (Antioch) 15-4, 3-0
After falling at Sheldon 97-92 in a classic despite 30 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots from Marcus Lee
and 34 points from Kendall Smith
, the Wolverines beat Newark Memorial 55-54 at the Martin Luther King event at Cal. Lee went for 20 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots, but it was Wahied Emran
who was the hoops hero here with a short game-winning jumper with 2.5 seconds to go after a steal — his only bucket of the game. Early season wins include De La Salle (Concord) (55-38) and Sacramento (97-96).6. (6) Modesto Christian 16-2, 5-0
The Crusaders earned a hard-fought 67-60 win over El Cerrito for the program's sixth consecutive victory. The losses are to El Camino Real (Woodland Hills), 90-65, and Redondo Unuon (60-58). Early wins are over St. Joseph (Alameda) (61-48) and Campolindo (68-58).7. (8) De La Salle (Concord) 14-3, 5-1
The Spartans put the defensive squeeze on one of the nation's top talents in Salesian's Jabari Bird, holding the Cal-bound star to 10 points despite falling, 47-43, in the Martin Luther King showcase at Haas Pavilion. Elliott Pitts
, headed to Arizona, powered De La Salle to a 41-32 lead with 4:30 to go and had 21 points. It's now back to East Bay League action.8. (9) Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 17-3, 4-0
The Eagles are riding an eight-game winning streak, have a bye on Wednesday and then take on rival and Sacramento Bee-ranked No. 1 Sheldon on Friday in a showdown for neighborhood bragging rights and top honors in the Delta River League. The Eagles have three three-year varsity starters in guards Matt Hayes
and Malik Thames
and shooting forward Cole Nordquist
. Wins include Newark Memorial and the losses are close, including 71-65 to 19-1 state power Centennial (Corona) and 67-60 to Sacramento.9. (12) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 12-5, 5-2
The Fightin' Irish beat Archbishop Riordon (San Francisco) 55-54 and fell to Mitty and remain in a second-place tie in the brutal West Catholic Athletic League with Serra (San Mateo) behind Mitty. Sacred Heart beat Serra 58-52 earlier and play the Padres this week.
10. (14) Serra (San Mateo) 14-3, 5-2
The Padres kept pace with Sacred Heart Cathedral in the WCAL behind Mitty with wins over St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 66-59 behind Henry Caruso's
23 points and Valley Christian (San Jose) 68-31. Next is a rematch with Sacred Heart, a team that prevailed 58-52 earlier in WCAL play.
11. (16) Capital Christian (Sacramento) 17-2, 4-0
Up to No. 3 in The Sacramento Bee rankings behind Sheldon and Pleasant Grove, the Cougars are running away with the Golden Empire League with balanced scoring and defense. Capital will not be in the Open playoff division as it has just one Sac-Joaquin Section title — last season — and criteria calls for multiple titles in a short period if not consecutively.
12. (18) Newark Memorial (Newark) 10-7, 5-0
The Cougars trailed Deer Valley 19-6 after a 17-0 run at the Martin Luther King showing at Cal but took a lead with 11.5 seconds remaining before falling 55-54 in an otherwise gritty showing. Jo Jo Zamora
had 22 points. Newark Memorial remains the favorite in the Mission Valley League. Newark has two wins over Dublin with a 55-54 loss to Salesian and a 64-57 setback to Pleasant Grove.13. (21) Dublin 14-4, 4-0
The Gaels are alone in first place in the Diablo Valley League after beating Monte Vista (Danville) 68-58 and Campolindo 86-72. It was Dublin's first victory over Campolindo in eight attempts as Jamir Andrews
scored 31 points, including six three-pointers. Joe McGlaston
had 25. On Martin Luther King Day, Dublin beat Monte Vista (Danville) 68-58. It also owns a 74-61 win earlier against Sacramento.14. (15) Monte Vista (Danville) 14-4, 5-1
The Mustangs beat Granada (Livermore) 69-59 and Foothill (Pleasanton) 75-28 to keep pace with De La Salle (Concord) in the East Bay League standings. Monte Vista beat De La Salle 49-40 earlier in league play.15. (7) Sacramento 13-6, 5-1
The Dragons were stung at Kennedy (Sacramento) 66-59 in a Metropolitan Conference showdown of rivals for first place and then fell to Bishop O'Dowd 80-71 in a meeting of two of the youngest power teams in the state. It was the efforts of senior guard
(24 points) and Joe Barnes
(14) who made O'Dowd earn it. Early losses include Deer Valley and Dublin and wins over Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove), West Ranch (Valencia) and Chaminade (West Hills).16. (11) San Leandro 14-4, 3-2
The Pirates fell to Bishop O'Dowd 57-46 in West Alameda County League action and bounced back with a strong 43-41 nonleague win over McClymonds (Oakland) in a Martin Luther King event at Merritt College.17. (17) Antelope 14-6, 3-0
The Titans beat Bella Vista (Fair Oaks) 60-50 in a Common Good Classic showcase and remain the heavy favorite to win the Capital Athletic League, though Sacramento Bee-ranked Cordova (Rancho Cordova) looms this week. Close losses include Sacramento (59-48) and Bullard (Fresno) 65-60.18. (24) Palo Alto 16-1, 6-0
The Vikings have now won 14 in a row, capped by a 79-60 victory over De Anza (Richmond) in the Martin Luther King showcase at Cal as Aubrey Dawkins
had 23 points and Keller Chryst
had nine rebounds and six blocked shots. Also beat Cupertino 56-25 and posted a 57-32 rout of Los Gatos, a club they have beaten six consecutive times. Aldis Petriceks
scored 20 points for the Vikings, who stretched their De Anza League winning streak to 10 over two seasons.19. (25) Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 17-2, 7-0
Defense continues to be the key for the Cardinals, alone on top of the North Bay League after beating Windsor 70-35 and Santa Rosa 53-43. Nonleague wins include 50-46 over Campolindo (Moraga) with a 57-51 loss to Monte Vista (Danville).20. (10) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 13-4, 4-3
The brutal living in the West Catholic Athletic League means you can be in fourth place and still have a fighting chance to finish in second, if logic dictates that Mitty is the clear favorite to repeat. SI fell to Serra (San Mateo) 66-59 and beat Bellarmine 60-52.21. (13) Bellarmine (San Jose) 13-3, 3-3
Holding steady in the competitive WCAL, the Bells beat Riordon (San Francisco) 56-55 and St. Francis (Mountain View) 64-58. Lost to Mitty in early WCAL action 65-63.
22. (22) McClymonds (Oakland) 12-7, 3-0
Mack Beat Oakland 73-68 and Skyline (Oakland), 59-52, before falling to San Leandro, 43-42, in a Martin Luther King game at Merrit College. Mack has competitive losses to Antelope, Bellarmine, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Monte Vista and Deer Valley with nice wins over Berkeley (62-45), Jesuit (Sacramento) (64-61) and El Cerrito (72-54).23. (23) El Cerrito 14-7, 4-1
The Gauchos opened the week with a 61-50 loss to Salesian in a Tri-County League showdown (it was a one-point game early in the fourth period). Wins over St. Mary's (Albany) (57-44) and Pinole Valley (65-43) kept EC within distance of the Pride. Saturday's 67-60 loss to Modesto Christian could be a playoff preview.
24. (25) Campolindo (Moraga) 12-5, 2-1
The Cougars fell to Dublin of the Diablo Valley League and beat Dougherty Valley (San Ramon) 59-37 and Miramonte (Orinda) 66-54 in winning five in a row. Losses include Cardinal Newman (50-46) and Modesto Christian (68-58). Play Dublin again this week.25. (NR) El Camino (South San Francisco) 13-4, 5-0
The surging Colts lead the Peninsula North standings after wins over Westmoor (Daly City) 71-51, Half Moon Bay 68-53 and South San Francisco 79-40. Close early losses include San Leandro (66-60), Bellarmine (San Jose) (81-73) and St. Ignatius (San Francisco (50-46).