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 (2-1, preseason ranking: 1)
The Wildcats were humbled a bit in a 20-point loss to St. Mary’s (3-0) – a Division IV NorCal finalist last season – in the LadyCat Classic championship game last week, but got to the tournament title game with a blowout win over Rodriguez (1-4) and a solid victory over Eastside Prep (2-1), last season’s Central Coast Section Division V champion and also a NorCal D-V finalist.
2. Sacred Heart Cathedral (4-0, preseason ranking: 3)
The Irish are off to their best start since the 2008-2009 season, when they were a NorCal finalist. Their week started with a 34-point drubbing of No. 3 Lowell and ended with a tournament championship in the Dougherty Valley Winter Classic. The Irish won all three games in the tournament by double digits, including victories over host Dougherty Valley (2-2), Foothill of Pleasanton (2-1) and Deer Valley (2-1), a North Coast Section Division I finalist last season.
3. Lowell (3-1, preseason ranking: 2)
The Cardinals were without standout senior point guard Katarina Lum in their lopsided, season-opening loss to No. 2 Sacred Heart Cathedral, but bounced back well by winning the Mills Classic tournament. Lowell’s average margin of victory in wins over Mountain View (3-1), Notre Dame of Belmont (1-2) and host Mills (2-1) was 23.3 points.
4. International (5-0, preseason ranking: 4)
The Jaguars had a close call against No. 5 Galileo to start the week, then were dominant in the Jay Cowitz Invitational tournament in San Luis Obispo. International’s wins over San Luis Obispo (1-4), Arroyo Grande (2-2) and host Mission Prep (1-3) were by an average of 21.7 points. The Jaguars kicked off their season on Nov. 16 with a 41-point victory over Bay (2-2).
5. Galileo (2-1, preseason ranking: 8)
The Lions jump up into the top five based on a two-point loss to No. 4 International that they were in a position to win, along with solid wins over No. 7 Convent and Marin Academy (3-3). Galileo may be the only team capable of preventing Lowell’s second straight undefeated AAA season.
6. Mercy (2-1, preseason ranking: 5)
The Skippers got a good measuring stick against common opponents with Lowell in the Mills Classic tournament. Mercy won the tournament opener handily against San Leandro (1-2), then lost to host Mills by double digits and earned a 12-point win over Notre Dame of Belmont in the third-place game.
7. Convent (3-1, preseason ranking: 6)
The Cubs drop a spot mostly due to a disappointing loss to No. 5 Galileo in their season opener, but went on to win the Marin Academy Invitational tournament later in the week. Convent didn’t blow any team out, but had some breathing room in victories over Athenian (1-3), Branson (2-1) and Head-Royce (3-1).
8. Lick-Wilmerding (4-1, preseason ranking: NR)
The Tigers lost to eventual-tournament-champion Westmoor (3-0) in the first round of the Lady Mustangs Holiday Classic, but went on to win the consolation bracket with victories over Mission (1-3) and preseason No. 7 team University (2-2), knocking the Red Devils out of the Top 10. Lick started the week off with a 12-point win over College Prep (2-2) and also has a blowout win over Leadership (0-3) on its résumé.
9. Lincoln (2-2, preseason ranking: NR)
The Mustangs began the season unranked, but made a significant impression with two wins over preseason Top 10 teams University and Urban last week. Lincoln also had disappointing losses to Rocky Mountain (2-1) and Davis (2-1), but the inter-City wins put them into our rankings.
10. Urban (1-1, preseason ranking: 9)
The Blues cling to the final spot after a one-point loss to No. 9 Lincoln in their season opener and a blowout win over Leadership last week. Urban has the toughest portion of its non-league schedule upcoming, with matchups against small-school powerhouse St. Joseph Notre Dame, No. 5 Galileo and undefeated ICA this week.
Best of the rest: University (2-2), Balboa (2-3), Washington (1-1), ICA (3-0)