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Top 25 California high school girls basketball rankings (2/20/2024): McClatchy debuts at No. 22

Despite losing to Folsom in the semifinals, McClatchy is one of the hottest teams in Northern California

Here are SBLive's California girls basketball rankings for the week of Feb. 19-25. After each team's name is its record and previous ranking. The rankings will be released every week for the remainder of the season.



1. Archbishop Mitty (26-0 – 1st last week)

Mitty University girls basketball plus Sabrina Ionescu at Ionescu Showcase at De La Salle by Sam Stringer 1-20-2024012020246

Unsurprisingly, Archbishop Mitty's dominance of WCAL foes didn't end just because WCAL play. The Monarchs started 2-0 in CIF-CCS Open Division pool play after beating Saint Francis 77-36 and Archbishop Riordan 86-28.

2. Etiwanda (28-3 – 2nd)

Grace Knox (Etiwanda)

Grace Knox (Etiwanda)

The Eagles rode a 33-10 first quarter to a 75-56 win against Ontario Christian, punching their ticket to the Southern Section championship for the third season in a row. 5-star Centennial (NV) transfer Grace Knox is playing her best ball of the season at the right time. She opened pool play with 25 points and 16 rebounds against Corona Centennial, and went off for 34 points and 13 boards in the Ontario Christian win.

3. Sierra Canyon (30-1 – 3rd)

Sierra Canyon enters the Southern Section championship on a 22-game winning streak. It hasn't played in a particularly close game its lone loss of the season, 49-48 against Sidwell Friends (DC) on Dec. 9, and that will likely change on Friday.

4. Cardinal Newman (26-2 – 4th)

On one hand, Cardinal Newman will be extremely well-rested heading into the North Coast Section Open Division semifinals against Carondelet. However, its upcoming foe just got a major boost with a 30-point quarterfinal victory over Piedmont, and played a league title game against San Ramon Valley since Cardinal Newman's last game.

5. Folsom (25-4 – 5th)

Folsom girls basketball

Folsom seemed to get better throughout the regular season, and its semifinals victory over McClatchy all but confirms it. No. 22 McClatchy has been another one of the state's most improved teams in recent months, but Folsom rolled McClatchy 66-38 on Monday after winning by just seven points in a December meeting.

6. Ontario Christian (27-4 – 6th)

Top-ranked freshman Kaleena Smith had no trouble translating her regular season dominance to the Southern Section Open Division. She powered Ontario Christian to convincing wins against Bishop Montgomery (31 points) and Corona Centennial (35 points, 10 assists), and managed 34 points in a 75-56 loss to defensive juggernaut Etiwanda.

7. Mater Dei (24-7 – 7th)

After beating Sage Hill and Orangewood Academy, Mater Dei even pushed Sierra Canyon hard for most of the first half before succumbing in an 81-61 loss.

8. Sage Hill (25-4 – 8th)

Like five other Southern Section Open Division teams, Sage Hill will rest and await its state playoff pairing this week.

9. Bishop Montgomery (19-5 – 9th)

The last two years, Bishop Montgomery got the last seed in the Southern Section Open Division and went 0-3 in pool play. Not this time though, as it made the most of its home game as the sixth seed and beat Corona Centennial 76-55. Depending how the state playoff seedings shake out, Bishop Montgomery could plausibly wind up as the favorite in Southern Region Division I.

10. St. Mary's-Stockton (24-5 – 10th)

As usual, St. Mary's took care of business down the stretch and made the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 championship. It'll enter as an underdog to Folsom in a rematch of last year's title game, but not many people would be overly shocked if McDonald's All-American Jordan Lee and company pulled off the upset. St. Mary's comes in on a season-best 13-game winning streak.

11. San Ramon Valley (27-1 – 11th)

San Ramon Valley got a week of rest and an automatic semifinals birth as a top seed in the CIF-NCS Open Division playoffs. Like No. 4 Cardinal Newman, the bracket's other top seed, the Wolves now have to jump back into action against a worthy challenger (Bishop O'Dowd) coming off a momentous quarterfinals win (63-46 over Acalanes).

12. Clovis West (28-2 – 12th)

In the Central Section D1 semifinals, Clovis West faces league foe and reigning Division II State champion Central (Fresno), the only in-section foe it didn't totally dismantle this year. The Golden Eagles won 62-48 on Jan. 9 and 61-46 Jan. 26, with the first meeting coming down to the fourth quarter and the latter one getting decided fairly early. Don't be surprised if Clovis West makes a statement in this one.

13. Bishop O'Dowd (19-5 – 13th)

Bishop O'Dowd's 63-46 victory over Acalanes is one of its best and most significant of the last few years. Now it's on to the CIF-NCS Open Division quarterfinals against San Ramon Valley.

14. Mission Hills (21-8 – 14th)

One win away from returning to the San Diego Section finals. Mission Hills looked the part of a No. 1 seed in its playoff opener, beating Scripps Ranch 96-34 in the Open Division quarterfinals. Next up is Del Norte.

15. Acalanes (25-5 – 16th)

While the Dons' postseason-opening 17-point loss against Bishop O'Dowd was both a gut punch and a stock-dropper, there still aren't many teams in California with nearly as clean a resume as Acalanes.

16. Corona Centennial (19-13 – 17th)

It would've been great if the Huskies at least pushed one of their pool play foes, but their lopsided 0-3 finish is not a stock-dropper given they played top-10 teams. Just making the CIF-SS Open Division was an outstanding accomplishment, and they could make some noise as a projected Division I team in regionals.

17. Orangewood Academy (21-9 – 18th)

Like Centennial, Orangewood gets kudos for making the Open Division despite an 0-3 finish. And the Spartans even played nationally-ranked Sage Hill down to single digits in the finale.

In other news, Dan Albano of OC Register reported that longtime head coach Leslie Aragon, who picked up his 500th win earlier this year, announced that he's stepping down after the season.

18. Brentwood School (23-8 – 19th)

The Eagles are one win away from following up a Southern Section 2AA title with a Division 1 title. Coincidentally, that's what Orange Lutheran did in 2022 and 2023, and that's who Brentwood just beat in the semifinals.

19. Moreno Valley (28-4 – 20th)

It's been one heck of a playoff run already for MoVal, which rolled past Woodbridge (83-49), Bonita (49-36), and Rancho Christian (76-53) to make the Southern Section 2AA finals. There it will be just a slight favorite against bubble team St. Anthony.

20. La Jolla Country Day (23-6 – 21st)

Can the Torreys rewrite the script in a hypothetical title game against Mission Hills after losing by 15 to the Grizzlies earlier this season? Before that potentially gets answered, La Jolla Country Day must deal with a strong semifinals foe in Westview.

21. Carondelet (26-4 – 22nd)

Carondelet made a tremendous statement to open the playoffs, routing Piedmont 83-53 in the CIF-NCS Open Division quarterfinals. That win should give the team confidence heading into its semifinal against Cardinal Newman as an underdog.

22. McClatchy (24-6 – Bubble)

22 (McClatchy) Nina Cain

22 (McClatchy) Nina Cain

Despite failing to push Folsom in a CIF-SJS semifinals loss after a close regular season loss to the Bulldogs, McClatchy enters our statewide top 25 for the first time. McClatchy hadn't lost since the turn of the year up until that, with wins during that stretch including La Jolla Country Day, Grant, Priory, Monterey Trail, and Oakland Tech. McClatchy also beat Antelope earlier in the season.

23. Santiago-Corona (21-11 – 24th)

Few teams in California have proven able to flip the proverbial switch like Santiago over the last three years. After an underdog CIF-SS 2A title run in 2021-22, the Sharks won a Division I Regional title a year ago. And now, they have a chance to win a Southern Section D1 title on Saturday against Brentwood School after defeating Cypress, San Juan Hills, North (Torrance), and most recently, Harvard-Westlake.

24. Windward (20-7 – 25th)

Assuming Windward's season is over after a quarterfinals loss to Harvard-Westlake, the team is more likely to drop than rise in the final weeks of the season. Still ranked for now though.

25. Rancho Christian (18-8 – 24th)

Running into top-ranked Moreno Valley in the semifinals was tough luck, but Rancho Christian is expected to be in the regional playoffs after making the CIF-SS 2AA semifinals.


Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, Buena Park, St. Anthony, St. Ignatius