SanFranPreps.com Girls Basketball Top 10: International moves into top 5

International fans came out in droves for the Jaguars' NCS playoff run and will be rewarded with a home playoff game in their first state tournament appearance on Wednesday. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Every week, we will be publishing our take on the top ten boys and girls basketball teams in San Francisco. Feel free to make your own rankings and discuss ours in the comment section.

1. St. Ignatius (25-5, last ranking: 1)

The Wildcats may have lost to Mitty (24-5) for the third time this season in the Central Coast Section Division II championship game, but got to the title game with double-digit wins over Westmont (16-11) and St. Francis (18-10).

2. Lowell (25-4, last ranking: 3)

The Cardinals rolled through the Academic Athletic Association playoffs just as they did through the regular season. Lowell dominated Mission (6-18) and Balboa (10-11) in the first two rounds, then took down No. 8 Washington by double digits in the championship game.

3. Sacred Heart Cathedral (15-14, last ranking: 4)

The Irish may be playing their best basketball at the most important stage of the season. Sacred Heart routed Saratoga (21-5) in its first game of the CCS Division III playoffs, took down Santa Cruz (24-4) in the semifinals and upset top-seeded Terra Nova (23-6) in the championship game on Saturday.

4. Mercy (26-3, last ranking: 2)

The Skippers take two steps back after falling to Soquel (25-4) in the CCS Division IV championship game, but took down Notre Dame-Salinas (15-10) and Notre Dame-Belmont (12-15) in prior rounds to get into the title matchup.

5. International (21-10, last ranking: 7)

The Jaguars were on a roll through the North Coast Section Division V playoffs with wins over Head-Royce (18-11), St. Vincent de Paul (24-6) and San Domenico (23-7), then nearly shocked top-seeded St. Joseph Notre Dame (20-10) in a two-point loss to the Pilots in the championship game.

6. University (26-5, last ranking: 6)

The Red Devils took down two solid teams to start off the NCS Division V playoffs with wins over Valley Christian-Dublin (25-4) and Sonoma Academy (25-3), before falling to eventual champion St. Joseph Notre Dame in the semifinals.

7. Convent (17-9, last ranking: 5)

The second-seeded Cubs exited the NCS playoffs with a loss to San Domenico in the second round, but were without starting point guard Isabella Borges due to a season-ending knee injury. Convent took down Roseland Prep (16-12) in the first round of the NCS playoffs.

8. Washington (14-15, last ranking: 9)

The Eagles returned to the AAA championship game, but were ousted for the second-consecutive year by No. 2 Lowell. Washington got to the championship game with wins over Wallenberg (2-22) and No. 9 Galileo, avenging a regular-season loss to the Lions.

9. Galileo (19-9, last ranking: 8)

The Lions were knocked out in the AAA semifinals by No. 8 Washington, but dominated Lincoln (11-17) in a first-round victory.

10. Balboa (10-11, last ranking: 10)

The Bucs surged at the end of the season, but could not take down eventual-champion Lowell in the AAA semifinals after advancing past the first round easily with a win over Burton (5-18).

On the brink: Lick-Wilmerding (10-13), Urban (13-13), Drew (12-11), Bay (12-14)

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51 Comments

  1. jbalan says:

    Before anyone asks, the boys Top 10 will be up later tonight, after I get done with the softball game today.

  2. Ari Gold says:

    25-5 and no hardware to show for it? No, the Sand Dune title isnt quite the same. Feels like 1996 SH boys. who lost to SI in CCS semis to end their season with only 3 losses (The SI team beat Balboa in Nor Cals)…

    You’ll look back at this year and brag about how great this team was, but all you have to do is look at the record book and it will say SHC girls: CCS Div 3 Champs. SI girls: no WCAL title, no CCS title.

    • SI Cat says:

      If SI had been in Div III, SH wouldn’t have won. I think coming within one point of Mitty in the Div II championship game is a greater accomplishment than SH’s Div III win.

      • Scott says:

        Really SI Cat??? Is this what you are saying about the SI boys’ team too…Because SH lost close games to Mitty?? Why can’t you just be happy for a fellow SF school, the fact is SI isn’t in Div 3.

        • SI Cat says:

          If you read the post I replied to, then I think you’d see that I was simply defending SI’s achievements this year. (the user I was replying to had commented that SI had nothing to show for the season. I disagreed with his statement.)

    • WCAL Alum says:

      Ari. Why do you feel the need to rub it in (rise above), when in fact SI was the better team this year. Apples and orange comparing this SI squat and SHC 96 team. The 96 SHC team was one of their best ever, but because they got upset by SI in semis, they didnt even get to go to NorCals. At least these Cats are getting that opportunity. CCS III was way watered down this year and I would have been surprised if TN had won the game. The WCAL is that good.

      • WCal Fan says:

        Agree. Be happy for that group of kids.

        • Josh Weinstein says:

          I agree with you WCALAlum, rise above Ari Gold and praise the SCHP teams on their CCS titles and leave it at that. You don’t have to bring SI in the story to make you feel better. And if you actually do check the record books, the SI girls basketball team is the WCAL Co Champion with Mitty for the regular season. Come see the trophy for yourself. And remember SI went 2-0 against SHCP this year in girls hoops and would in almost all predictions beat SHCP in the CCS championship if they weren’t bumped up to the more competitive D2. Not to take anything away from SHCP for beating Terra Nova, that just showed the WCAL dominance over other leagues.

          Good knowledge of the 1996 SHCP boys though.

          • IC Stars says:

            In that 1996 CCS game, the refs refused to call a tackle on a breakaway by Albert Johnson, Jr. a breakaway foul. So instead of SHC getting the ball back, it went to SI instead and that was the ball game.

            • Ari Gold says:

              They play that game 10 times, I dont have any doubt SH 8 out of 10. Lippi coached a helluva game for the upset.

    • M Air J says:

      Per Mr. Balan, record books will show them as WCAL Co-champs and they swept the season series with SHC. A much more prestigious championsip. So you are wrong about no title!

    • Go Cats! says:

      I just wanted to mention that they have the first women’s basketball WCAL regular season title. Even though they are co-champions it shows how great they played.

  3. Bill says:

    Si is a better team than SH in every aspect of the game. no question about it. If SI had been in division III they would have had the title easy, and at least they made it to the WCAL championships and gave a really good run at Mitty. Anyone who was at the CCS game would say that it was SI’s game all the way, excluding the last four minutes of the fourth quarter, it was a very good game. Congrats SI!!!

    • Concerned Parent 2 says:

      @ Bill

      Yes that is what SI thought last year as well and look what happened! SH beat them. They lost last year, they lost this year! Yes they are a good team but don’t get beside yourself. In the end, the only thing that people will remember is that SH was the CCS Championship last year beating SI and the reigning CCS champs beating Terra Nova.

      • Go Cats! says:

        Don’t you think people will remember oh wait SI beat that team 3 times.

        • Ari Gold says:

          Dont make me break out the SHC womens hoops record vs SI between 2000-2009.

          • Go Cats! says:

            Yes but are we talking about the past? Well maybe you want to but I am talking about this season which is after all what the article is about.

            • Aggies! says:

              Yes SI girls have owned SHC girls the last 2-3 years but they will never top the SHC girls records. I am not sure but 15 CCS titles? Maybe 10 WCAL titles? 4 state titles and a NATIONAL championship.
              On the boys side Riordan is king in terms of history when it comes to basketball! Don’t forget history repeats itself. SHC boys and SI girls rule the city this year and maybe even next but in 10 years there could be a major shift! So be humble in victory or be humbled in defeat.

  4. Just Because says:

    @ Bill

    Keep in mind that Mitty and SI beat SH last year. However it was n’t an easy game for either team. The CCS Championship last year was SI and SH with SH winning that game. Dont think that SH cant beat SI cuz they can. Its about balancing your talent and having a balance coaching staff to bring out the best in each kid

  5. ARHS Stats says:

    I was at all 10 CCS Championship Games.

    The Saint Ignatius Girls Team played a really good team against Mitty, who was behind for much of the second half, but came thru and beat SI in the last 3 minutes. Both Mitty and St. Ignatius played good games. It was one of the best championship games of the weekend.

    In the Terra Nova vs. SHC Game. Sacred Heart Cathedral came out with a good game plan and got ahead early in the game. Terra Nova has 3 girls getting Division 1 Scholarships, these girls did not play like it.

    Terra Nova came out and played nervous and then without hustle. I could not even tell you during the game which was the third TN girl that was getting a Division 1 Scholarship.

    I think SHC’s defensive pressure helped TN have a bad offensive night. But there was a consistent lack of hustle on Terra Nova’s part. I am sure Terra Nova could have played a lot better.

    If Terra Nova had played to the best of their ability, which I don’t think they did, it might have been a different game.

    SHC would have a chance to beat SI, if they played the way they did against TN, against SI, but SI did not lose to SHC this season and they won’t play each other the rest of the season.

    Note: SI beat TN by 8 in the middle of December, SHC beat TN by 5 on Saturday

    • WCAL Alum says:

      In all honesty and objectively, SI is the better team this year. SHC had their opportunities twice. Look it would have been a good game, but in order for SHC to have competed, they would have had to play like they did against TN. Bottom line, although both solid teams SHC did not match up well against SI this year. It’s not that SHC wasnt good, it is just SI was better, this year.

  6. Aggies! says:

    Not really trying to stir things up but in 5 years when we look back titles stand out. It’ll show SHC with a D3 title and SI with no title, which is no knock on SI who is definitely the best team in the City. I am not sure if they tied for regular season WCAL title though? Also we can not say for sure what would have happened if both teams played in the CCS title game this year, remember what happened last year.

    • jbalan says:

      I do believe they will go down in the record books as WCAL regular-season co-champions.

      • M Air J says:

        Which is more impressive and harder to come by than a CCS title.

        • Aggies! says:

          It is more impressive! Well lets just hope that both teams represent well in NorCals. Its been a couple years since we have had a State Champion from the city. The last four state titles for women have all been for SH right? What are the chances SI makes it to state?

          • jbalan says:

            I believe Convent won one in the early 2000s.

            • WCAL Alum says:

              WCAL title is harder to obtain than a CCS title. Look at all the CCS titles by WCAL schools in different divisions. The only true gauge is league itself.

              It’s never more apparent than in basketball.

              CCS title are a dime a dozen for WCAL teams.

              Case in point, SHC boys have won 4 straight CCS but have not won one outright WCAL title (2009 was co-title).

              SH/SI can play in a football CCS title but cant even stiff a WCAL title.

              CCS means a whole lot more to the peninsula public schools than the WCAL teams, because it is the one time they get to gauge themselves.

              • IC Stars says:

                Here’s your dime…. Go Irish!

              • Chris says:

                WCAL Alum, Ill admit that WCAL is way harder than CCS. All this talk about the CCS is watered down, etc etc…However, wouldn’t your school want one in the last 5-8 years?? I would have to say you would!!

  7. Josh Weinstein says:

    WCAL Alum, you are bringing the knowledge in the Comments section today!

    Last year in the D3 CCS Championship game, SI was favored to beat SHCP. The Irish pulled the upset.

    This year Mitty was the big favorite to beat SI in the D2 CCS Championship game after beating SI in the WCAL Championship 63-47. Also note that this was Mitty’s impressive 28th straight CCS Championship appearance. SI coming out with a new defense, only ended up losing by 1 point on the last possession on Saturday.

    Let’s see how the girls do in the Nor Cal playoffs and how the two freshmen starters Raggio and Little do in the tourney and beyond in their next three years at SI. Not to mention the other frosh off the bench Beckman. And also the eight frosh on the 21-1 WCAL Champion SI JV team. One to watch is Addy Walters, the frosh guard and the daughter of USF basketball coach and former Kansas player Rex Walters. You could have 4 sophs starting for the SI varsity next year.

    • BBallFan says:

      There is a big jump between JV and Varsity level basketball, especially when the competition at the JV level is week at best.

      • Josh Weinstein says:

        @BBallFan “Week” or “weak?” Check your spelling. The JV level of play for girls basketball was strong this year especially with SI, SHCP, St.Francis, and Mitty. I saw all these teams play multiple times this year and the talent level is pretty high and the majority of these players will make the jump to varsity and make an impact.

        • mama123 says:

          Time will tell…..

        • Bball fan says:

          Check your facts while I check my spelling……SI JV girls beat most (not all) teams by well over 20 points. I saw almost all their games any many were a joke. The girls would have better competition scrimmaging each other! You can’t improve your game or really gauge how good players unless and until you go up against players thar are of the same caliber or better. To say there are impact players ready to make the jump when they’ve spent the season beating up weak ( not week) teams is a huge leap of faith. SH and Mitty gave them one good game a piece. Who else? I hope you’re right, but this remains to be seen.

    • JJ says:

      The Fab 4 sophs of SI in girl’s basketball won’t be able to compete with Mitty’s senior-laden team next year, along with Mitty’s future McDonald’s All-American Willie Mayes Hayes

    • WCAL Alum says:

      Josh. Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

  8. Ari Gold says:

    @ WCAL Alum… Ok, You said it.. CCS is water down… SI’s football title this year.. WATERED DOWN… You said it.. Im just repeating what you said.

    SH ’96 mens team and SI ’12 womens team are pretty much the same apples. I dont know why you dont see the similarities. Both teams are top 4 in the bayarea. Both teams were co-champs in WCAL those respective years (ok, I omitted that SI co-champ fact because I did not know), both did not achieve (no CCS title, no Nor Cal title, no State title) as much as they hoped for. No SI is not going to win Nor Cals.

    @ Josh… you get a trophy for co-champions? I thought its just an engraved plate on the wall? How do you feel about LSU-Alabama? Do you think LSU should be co-national champions? Who do you think are the real champions? Dont think too hard… Heres a hint: Mitty 3, SI 1.

    Lastly JB, the rankings still staying to predictable form… No matter what SI womens and SH mens do, its already set. The BCS (Balan Computer Score) rankings have nothing to do with wins or losses or league/section titles. Its ok. I agree with your poll.

    • Josh Weinstein says:

      The BCS (Balan Computer Score), good one, Ari.

      But head to head, SI beats SHCP this year in a championship game in girls hoops because unlike last year, SI has a presence in the post with Little and Raggio. That was the lacking element in last year’s CCS championship game and SHCP exploited SI’s weakness. And SI finished the season 2-0 vs. SHCP and played a tougher schedule and finished with a much better record.

      Of course if I had to rank the teams it would be #1 Mitty and #2 SI because of the 3-1 head to head record by Mitty but that still does not take away the regular season co champion title that SI earned. I don’t make the rules but you don’t get stripped of the regular season co champions title just because you lost the WCAL tourney title and CCS championship game.

      And I bet you wouldn’t agree with WCAL Alum that the CCS in D3 football was “watered down” if SHCP beat SI for the CCS Championship, now would you? That the Irish won with a weak team in a weak section? Don’t think so. Just remember when it counted, in the first high school football game ever at AT&T Park, in front of 12,000 fans, in front of the students, parents, and alumni of both schools, SI came out and kicked the Irish butts up and down the field for all to see. Did you see the highlights?

      http://vimeo.com/33803767

      And that’s one trophy that will never leave the SI campus.

      • IC Stars says:

        A backfired, rogue fake-punt and tossing the ball over the quarterback’s head doesn’t qualify as “kicking butts up and down the field”. Tell me who did what to whom in the first game.

      • Ari Gold says:

        @Josh, that SI/SH CCS football game must be your Al Bundy Polk High moment? Do you watch that vimeo video every hour on the hour? You like watching, Dom run right, Dom run middle, Dom run left, 35 times in a row? It was more entertaining watching pigeons take a crap on the SH fans.

        You can thank bonehead John Lee for giving you that CCS title.

        Lets just calm down here about SI womens hoops… Win 12 of 13 CCS titles and 4 state titles and we’ll have a discussion.

        • ARHS Stats says:

          I guess we we can do the same with SHC’s boy’s hoop team, since SHC does not have as many WCAL and CCS Championships as either Riordan or St. Ignatius and Riordan has more WCAL and CCS Championships than SHC has. SHC is not even close to Riordan.

          Riordan has 14 WCAL Championships and 13 CCS championships, and 3 NorCal Championships and 1 State Championship.

          Saint Ignatius has 13 WCAL Championships and 5 CCS championships, and 1 NorCal Championships.

          Sacred Heart Cathedral has 4 WCAL Championships and 9 CCS championships, and 2 NorCal Championships and 1 State Championship.

          • Ari Gold says:

            You really need to stop living in the 70s and 80s Pat.

            Those WCAL titles were a different era. People were so amazed that you can actually dribble with your other hand! Its ok, in the next decade SH will have surpassed Riordan in CCS titles, Nor Cal titles, and state titles. Forget about WCAL, thats not going to happen.

            • ARHS Stats says:

              Riordan has won 2 CCS Championships every decade, since 1970.

              After 1980, it is 3 CCS Chamionships every decade.

              Mitty will probably catch up to Riordan before SHC does. Mitty has only 8 CCS championships, right now.

              Bellarmine also has a better chance, than SHC, Bellarmine has 10 CCS Championships, right now. And Bellarmine only usually has to worry about Serra, each year that Serra is in Division 1.

              Mitty is the only WCAL school to play in more CCS Championship Games in one decade than Riordan has. Mitty played in 8 CCS Championship Games from 2000 to 2009. Mitty played in championship games in 2000 and 2010, so however you want to label the decade Mitty still played in 8 championship games.

              And Mitty has won CCS Championships in 5 of the last 6 years (missed in 2009). Mitty has played in CCS Championship Games the last 9 years.

          • WCAL Alum says:

            Stats. You have to excuse our boy Ari (and Drama for that matter), he is not well versed on the entirity of WCAL history, or maybe he is not as old as we are. Sometimes, you just got to let the kids learn a lesson on their own.

            Look SHC is having a phenominal run of CCS championships in the past 10 years, but has a scattering of WCAL championships (more so on the girls side). All one has to do is look at the WCAL record book to see that SHC has the fewest WCAL championships in the league in all major sports (and Im not even including the minor sports). Again, not a knock, but the kids need to know this before they start bragging about dominance.

            SHCP athletics the flavor of the month. And honestly pretty good considering their lack of facilities. No coincidence that their indoor sports have taken off since the opening of their new gymnasium.

            • Johnny Drama says:

              I’m definitely not as old as you are, thank you very much! And I’m definitely no historian. Been following WCAL since mid 90’s. Ironically, I said the same thing you said about the history of the WCAL and pointed out that as far as history goes, Riordan has the most titles in it’s history. I’ve also said numerous times that WCAL titles are much more difficult to come by than CCS titles. Granted, I am only referring to boy’s titles since I don’t count girl’s athletics (light entertainment).

              I disagree with my brother Ari about the left handed comment. Even though I did not witness any games of the 80’s I am quite sure those Riordan and SI teams would still dominate today. Players like Fortier, Mullins, Newman and Munks are better than anyone in the WCAL currently except for Gordon. As I like to point out, the SHC teams that have won all the CCS titles would be a cellar dweller in the WCAL of old. Hoops in SF is not what it used to be.

              So WCAL ALUM, while I may not be as well versed (old) as some of you, I usually speak on what I know. I do not believe I am delusional ,like some, in my posts. And I usually only point out to SHC folks how delusional they are because other than Ari Gold and Kevin Greene, I can’t stand them.

          • IC Stars says:

            You should count SI’s 1926 State championship. Also, I think 9 is pretty close to 14 in CCS titles. Two of those Riordan CCS titles were by teams each with a losing record.

            • ARHS Stats says:

              8 of Riordan’s CCS Championships are in Division 1 or the only Division played at that time.

              The first lower division Championship did not come until 1998.

              Sacred Heart’s first lower division CCS Championship was their second and in 1990 in Division IV. SHC beat Oceana, Palma, and Stevenson to win that championship, while Riordan was beating Serra for the Division 1 Championship. Riordan beat Serra 4 times that year, and also beat Bellarmine (CCS Semi’s) 3 times, and Santa Teresa in the CCS. Mitty was the team that beat Riordan in League and Riordan beat Mitty in the first WCAL Playoff Game as Serra was beating SHC.

              Riordan played in the Division 1 State Championship game in 1990.

              Only 2 WCAL teams played in their enrollment division, 6 of the 7 WCAL teams played in the CCS playoffs in 1990. SHC and Mitty, who came in third and fourth in the WCAL, did not opt up to play in Division 1, like Riordan, St. Francis, and Serra.

              Riordan has to catch up to SHC in Division IV Championships, since Riordan has no Division IV Championships yet.

  9. Johnny Drama says:

    Stats, are those titles you mentioned for boys’ only so we are comparing apples to apples?

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