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Top 25 California high school girls basketball rankings (3/1/2024): St. Mary's rises following CIF-SJS championship

St. Mary's upset Folsom to win its first Sac-Joaquin Section title in three years

Here are SBLive's California girls basketball rankings for the week of Feb. 26 - Mar. 3. After each team's name is its record and previous ranking. This will be the last edition of the season until the season-end rankings are released following the CIF State Championships.

ALL STATE GIRLS BASKETBALL BRACKETS: Open Division | Division I | Division II | Division III | Division IV | Division V


1. Archbishop Mitty (28-0 – 1st last week)

Archbishop Mitty vs St Ignatius CIF CCS Open Division Final February 23, 2024 Photo-Greg Jungferman37

If Mitty is going to get tested by a Northern California opponent at all this season, it's going to happen in its next two games. And that's a big if. The Monarchs were without 5-star UConn commit Morgan Cheli and Lehigh pledge Belle Bramer in the CIF-CCS Open Division Championship, and they still beat St. Ignatius by 40 led by McKenna Woliczko's 30 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks. However, it'll only get more competitive – particularly if the injury issues persist – with Folsom up next, and Clovis West or St. Mary's (Stockton) in a potential regional title game afterwards.

2. Etiwanda (20-3 – 2nd)

Etiwanda vs. Sierra Canyon in the CIF Southern Section Open Division girls basketball final at Cal Baptist University on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

Etiwanda vs. Sierra Canyon in the CIF Southern Section Open Division girls basketball final at Cal Baptist University on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

Etiwanda's CIF-SS Open Division championship run was the most dominant in several years or more. Its 75-56 pool play win over Ontario Christian – which it led 33-5 at one point – ended up being the closest finish so far. Up next, Etiwanda plays Mater Dei for the third straight postseason.

3. Sierra Canyon (30-2 – 3rd)

Etiwanda vs. Sierra Canyon in the CIF Southern Section Open Division girls basketball final at Cal Baptist University on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

Etiwanda vs. Sierra Canyon in the CIF Southern Section Open Division girls basketball final at Cal Baptist University on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

With red-hot Ontario Christian coming to town, Sierra Canyon has to bounce back quickly from the finals loss. A win would secure a spot in what could be another finals rematch with Etiwanda, which takes on Mater Dei.

4. Ontario Christian (28-4 – 6th)

The highest ranking in program history. After a high-profile five-game losing streak in the matchup, Ontario Christian finally broke through against Sage Hill (71-67) to advance to the State Open Division quarterfinals.

5. Mater Dei (24-7 – 7th)

After legendary head coach Kevin Kiernan announced his retirement, his team had the chance to send him off with his 900th career win in his final home game – and the Monarchs did it convincingly. Kaeli Wynn dropped 29 points and Duke commit Jenessa Cotton went for 23 points and 11 rebounds as Mater Dei blew out Mission Hills for the right to play Etiwanda in the State Open Division quarterfinals.

6. Sage Hill (25-5 – 8th)

It's an end of an era for the Lightning, whose senior class leaves a legacy like few that California has had in recent years. Sage Hill's last game was a 71-67 loss to Ontario Christian in the first round of CIF Southern Region Open Division play.

7. St. Mary's-Stockton (26-5 – 10th)

St. Mary's 57, Folsom 51 girls basketball sjs D1 championship from Golden 1 Center 2-21-2024 by Ralph Thompson022120247 (2)

After a great start to the season and some highly unexpected losses in the middle, St. Mary's fulfilled the promise it showed and got back on top of the Sac-Joaquin Section. in a 57-51 win over Folsom, the Rams got 20 points and four assists from McDonald's All-American Jordan Lee, and freshman Kori Rogers came up clutch with a team-high 21 points. St. Mary's backed it up with a 67-61 win over San Ramon Valley to open the state playoffs.

8. Folsom (26-5 – 5th)

No CIF-SJS championship this season for the Bulldogs, but the past week hasn't been all bad for them. They bounced back from the St. Mary's loss to beat Cardinal Newman 54-49, avenging a loss on Jan. 13 and punching their ticket to the Open Division State quarterfinals.

9. Cardinal Newman (28-3 – 4th)

As far as rankings go, it was a brutal week for the Cardinals, and their season is over after a loss to Folsom in regionals. Doesn't sound on great paper. Except for the fact that they broke through for their first CIF-NCS Open Division title. Cardinal Newman held off San Ramon Valley in a nail-biter to not only make program history but cement itself locally as of one of its area's very best teams ever.

10. Bishop Montgomery (20-5 – 9th)

As soon as state playoff brackets came out, it was impossible not to tab Bishop Montgomery as arguably the team to beat in Division I. After a first round bye, it opened with a bang, beating Santiago 72-55 to go on to face La Jolla Country Day in the regional semifinals.

11. Clovis West (30-2 – 12th)

Still moving up, and perhaps not done. The Golden Eagles added to their incredible reign atop the Central Section with their 12th straight Division 1 title – in closer fashion than usual – when they beat St. Joseph (Santa Maria) 45-41. Up next is a must-see state quarterfinal showdown against St. Mary's (Stockton).

12. San Ramon Valley (28-3 – 11th)

Life can be difficult for teams like San Ramon Valley that continually earn Open Division spots for both their playoff brackets. The Wolves gave both Cardinal Newman and St. Mary's everything they could handle before falling to them in season-ending playoff losses. San Ramon Valley does, however, get to raise a banner for another undefeated EBAL championship run.

13. Bishop O'Dowd (22-6 – 13th)

The Dragons struggled to push San Ramon Valley in a 72-53 loss in the CIF-NCS Open Division semifinals, but things are sure looking up for them now. They made the most of an opportunity to play Carondelet for third place, winning 51-37, and blew out Saint Francis and St. Ignatius of the WCAL to advance to the CIF Division I Northern Region semifinals. There, they'll be a fairly heavy favorite over Oak Ridge.

14. Mission Hills (23-9 – 14th)

Mission Hills is your CIF-SDS Open Division champion once again. The Grizzlies played the alpha dog role impeccably all season, going unbeaten and nearly untested by in-section foes, and ultimately taking down reigning champion La Jolla Country for the second time to win it all. Their season has since ended in a 71-47 loss at Mater Dei, but the mission is complete – no pun intended.

15. Brentwood School (26-8 – 18th)

Speaking of the champions club, Brentwood didn't rejoin it in 2023-24, but instead made sure it never left in the first place. The Eagles stormed their way to a CIF-SS Division 1 title after a dominant 2A title run a season ago, thrashing Santiago (Corona) 70-53 in the finals. They've since outdueled both St. Anthony and St. Joseph (Santa Maria) by the same score of 66-59 to reach the State Division I quarterfinals, where they'll host Moreno Valley.

16. La Jolla Country Day (26-7 – 20th)

Despite losing to Mission Hills again in the section finals, LJCD has risen its stock considerably this postseason, and it might not be done. The Torreys' lopsided playoff wins over Rancho Bernardo, Westview, and Orange Lutheran all helped the cause, but their most recent 42-39 win over Orangewood Academy was especially key in jumping four spots. Also helping the Torreys' case over time is the fact that all in-state foes they lost to during the regular season continued their impressive play down the stretch, such as Moreno Valley, McClatchy, and Brentwood.

17. Carondelet (28-6 – 21st)

Carondelet took a pair of tough losses since the last rankings, coming by double-figures against Cardinal Newman in the semifinals and Bishop O'Dowd in the bronze medal game of the CIF-NCS Open Division. But it still managed to rise four spots by responding with a 77-39 rout of Los Gatos and a 62-58 victory against Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep.

18. McClatchy (26-6 – 22nd)

Injuries played a large part in some of CKM's early-season losses – particularly the head-scratchers – so it's no surprise to see the team winning as a No. 16 seed in the Division I State playoffs. McClatchy edged out top-seeded Pinewood and Sac-Joaquin Section D2 champion Whitney (Rocklin) to start off, but it'll be an underdog in the regional semifinals at Carondelet.

19. Orangewood Academy (22-10 – 17th)

The Spartans' tremendously-successful season came to a close with a narrow loss to La Jolla Country Day in the second round of regionals. Whoever inherits longtime head coach Leslie Aragon's squad will have some significant talent coming back as seniors in 2024-25.

20. St. Anthony (25-8 – Bubble)

While its season ended since our last rankings post, St. Anthony is one of the week's top risers and overall winners. It came back from down more than 16 points to Moreno Valley and prevailed 64-58 for a CIF-SS 2AA title. St. Anthony drew Brentwood School in the first round of regionals and put up a strong fight before losing 66-59.

21. Moreno Valley (30-5 – 19th)

Blowing a big lead to St. Anthony in the Southern Section championship was heartbreaking for the Vikings, but sometimes young teams on the rise endure painful temporary setbacks. MoVal immediately got back on the horse for two great wins, upsetting Corona Centennial and rolling against Birmingham to make the Division I State quarterfinals, where it's an underdog to Brentwood.

22. Corona Centennial (19-14 – 16th)

You see it fairly frequently – after getting knocked around in CIF-SS Open Division pool play as a low seed, a team gets upset in its regional opener. That was Centennial's fate this season, but not before an outstanding midseason turnaround and a tremendous showing down the stretch of the regular season.

23. Santiago-Corona (22-13 – 23rd)

Santiago ran into top-seeded Bishop Montgomery in the second round of state, and it went about how one would expect. But the Sharks still played in yet another title this season, and bounced back from their CIF-SS D1 finals loss to Brentwood to notch a nice win against Westchester.

24. Acalanes (26-6 – 15th)

For what seemed like a long time, the Dons managed to hang tough with guards Sophie China and Lexi Le out with season-ending injuries. It finally caught up to them against an excellent unranked team, as Archbishop Riordan beat them 64-55 in the second round of regionals. However, that wasn't before Acalanes registered a first round win that was tremendous under the circumstances, 66-40 over Piedmont.

25. St. Joseph-Santa Maria (24-7 – Unranked)

While St. Joseph didn't rack up a lot of high-profile wins, it got better throughout the season and really came on strong down the stretch. It rolled to the Central Section Division 1 finals game having won 13 of 14, and nearly upset Clovis West in a 45-41 thriller. St. Joseph then beat Buena Park 67-59 in its regional opener before losing a heartbreaker to Brentwood.


Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, Buena Park, St. Ignatius, Archbishop Riordan