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 (26-6)
The Wildcats went wire-to-wire as the City’s top team for the second season in a row and although they ended their season with a loss to St. Mary’s of Stockton in the second round of the Division II state championship tournament, a share of the West Catholic Athletic League regular-season title should not be undervalued. St. Ignatius took down eventual state champion Mitty at home, but lost both meetings with the Monarchs in the San Jose area. The Wildcats collected solid wins all season, including a victory over D-V NorCal finalist Eastside Prep, eight against teams with 20 or more wins and 18 over teams with winning records.
2. Lowell (25-5)
The Cardinals rolled through the Academic Athletic Association with nearly no opposition to collect their third straight league title behind AAA Player of the Year Katarina Lum. Lowell received the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Division I state tournament, but got knocked out by Gunn in its first game. We would have loved to see non-league, westside matchups between Lowell, Mercy and St. Ignatius, schools that are less than 3 miles away from each other, but we can only hope for next season.
3. Mercy (26-4)
The Skippers started the season off with 19 consecutive wins and were legitimately in the conversation as the top team in San Francisco, but the losses came late in the season and in the most important games. Mercy won the West Bay Athletic League’s Foothill Division behind league Player of the Year Mariah Masoli, but fell to Menlo in the WBAL tournament championship game, went down to Soquel in the Central Coast Section Division IV championship game and lost to Marin Catholic in the first round of the state tournament.
4. Sacred Heart Cathedral (15-15)
Some have said the Irish overachieved this season and others have said they underachieved, but the answer is likely somewhere in the middle. They started the season with a loss to No. 2 Lowell, went 6-6 in WCAL play, then beat top-seeded Terra Nova to win their second straight Division III CCS title, before falling in their first state playoff game to a 30-win Miramonte squad.
5. International (22-11)
The strides that the Jaguars took this season cannot be overlooked and the program had its best year in school history. Led by league MVP Denia Ebersole, International first won the Bay Counties League Central title in its final season in the league. Next came an unlikely run to the North Coast Section Division V championship game as the sixth seed, where the Jaguars came a basket short of shocking top-seeded St. Joseph Notre Dame. As the eighth seed in the Division V state tournament, International routed Portola in the first round and only saw its run end at the hands of eventual state champion Brookside Christian in the second round. Now, the Jaguars will move up to the Bay Counties League West without Ebersole, but with standout freshman guard Shayna Mehta, who played a crucial part in the postseason run.
6. University (26-5)
The Red Devils didn’t play the most challenging non-league schedule and dropped their first two games to Convent in the regular season, but took down the Cubs in the BCL West championship game. BCL West MVP Amelia King will be lost to graduation, but the Red Devils will return nine underclassmen next season and will be a contender in the league and in Division V again next season.
7. Convent (17-9)
The Cubs appeared to be primed for their third straight BCL West championship, but the loss to University in the league title game began what was a sour end to the season. As the second seed in the NCS Division V tournament, Convent won its first-round game over Roseland Prep, but suffered a disappointing upset to San Domenico in the second round with a state tournament berth on the line. The Cubs had their lowest win total since the 2006-2007 season, but only lose one senior to graduation and will have every stater back next season.
8. Washington (14-16)
The Eagles were the second-best team in the AAA this season, but just couldn’t get past Lowell. Washington fell to Cardinals in the regular season and in the league championship game. The Eagles also played Sacred Heart Cathedral tough in a single-digit loss to the Irish in non-league play and exited the state playoffs in the first round to Oak Ridge.
9. Galileo (19-9)
The Lions took a huge step this season when they took down No. 8 Washington in the regular season, but in the AAA semifinals, the Eagles prevailed 45-39. With Washington’s top players lost to graduation, Galileo will likely be the main contender to take down Lowell next season. The Lions didn’t have a senior on their roster this season and their core of players was largely sophomores.
10. Lick-Wilmerding (10-13)
The Tigers may not have been the most consistent group in the City, but when they played at their best they were competitive with the better teams in San Francisco. They had a six-point loss to International, a three-point loss to University and beat Convent in the final game of the regular season.
The best of the rest: Balboa (10-11), Urban (13-13), Drew (12-11), Bay (12-14)