Boys Basketball Top 10: Gateway in, Lincoln and Mission slipping away

Gateway has significant size in the frontcourt, including 6-foot-6 center Kenechi Anigbogu (center), and finds itself in the Top 10 for the first time this season. (Photo by Devin Chen)

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. Riordan (4-0, last week’s ranking: 1)

The Crusaders’ 64-48 win over previously-undefeated Westmoor (4-1) in their only game last week looks a whole lot better considering the Rams shocked No. 5 St. Ignatius in overtime earlier in the week. What may be most impressive is Riordan’s defensive effort early in the season. The Crusaders have limited opposing teams to just over 40 points per game.

2. University (6-1, last week’s ranking: 2)

The Red Devils may have been looking ahead to a matchup with host St. Joseph Notre Dame during a three-point loss to Encinal (2-2) in the first round of the Island Classic last week, but responded impressively in the final two games of the tournament. University closed out the week with a double-digit win over Rodriguez (3-5) then thrashed No. 6 Stuart Hall 74-47. The Red Devils also handled Galileo (3-3) earlier in the week.

3. Sacred Heart Cathedral (3-0, last week’s ranking: 3)

The Irish went undefeated in their first three games of the season last week, but their fans should not be overly encouraged with the wins. Hillsdale (3-2), Pittsburg (1-4) and San Ramon Valley (2-3) all had records well below .500 last season and none of the victories were routs. Sacred Heart will get tested this week, however, with tough Oakland squads Skyline and McClymonds on its schedule.

4. Marshall (1-1, last week’s ranking: 5)

The Phoenix didn’t play last week, but will get back to the court against Fremont of Oakland on Wednesday.

5. St. Ignatius (2-1, last week’s ranking: 4)

The Wildcats took a big step back with a loss to Westmoor (4-1) last week, the same squad that No. 1 Riordan beat by 16 points, but were missing three starters (one to injury, two to football). With the football players back, albeit in limited roles, St. Ignatius wrapped up its week with a 24-point win over over Mountain View (2-2).

6. Stuart Hall (5-3, last week’s ranking: 6)

The Knights hold on to the No. 6 spot after a 1-2 performance in the Island Classic. Stuart Hall dropped its second meeting of the season against Branson (5-2) in the first round, beat No. 10 Lincoln by 10 points in the consolation bracket, then lost handily to No. 2 University. The Knights’ success appears to be closely tied to the performance of standout sophomore forward Armani Collins, who has averaged 15.8 points per game in wins and 8.3 in losses this season.

7. Lick-Wilmerding (6-2, last week’s ranking: 9)

The Tigers’ only blemish in a four-game week was a 22-point loss to undefeated Half Moon Bay (6-0), sandwiched between wins over College Prep (3-3), Jefferson (1-5) and Lowell (3-5). Lick’s trio of senior forwards have been a strength, but freshman guard David Peletz has also been among its leading scorers multiple times this season.

8. Urban (5-1, last week’s ranking: 8)

The Blues just missed out on the winner’s bracket with a first-round loss to Carlmont (2-1) in the Cardinal Classic, then went on to beat Bay (4-3) and Balboa (3-3) convincingly in the consolation bracket. Urban also took down Lowell (3-5) today.

9. Gateway (4-0), last week’s ranking: NR)

The Gators have been a fringe Top 10 team since the start of last season and have worked their way back in with an early undefeated record. Gateway hasn’t played a tough schedule – its best win was a 64-56 win over Galileo last week – but it will be the runaway favorite to win the Bay Counties League Central this season.

10. Mission (0-6), last week’s ranking: 7)

The final spot was basically a coin flip between the winless Bears and Lincoln. Each team has played a tough schedule, but Lincoln hasn’t come close to victory, losing every one if its games by double digits. The Bears have been close, with an overtime loss to St. Mary’s in the Crusader Classic and a two-point loss to Cupertino (1-4) last week. Mission’s other two losses in the Fukushima Invitational last week, to Palo Alto (3-1) and Evergreen Valley (5-2), were not so tight. Senior guard Antoine Porter is leading the City in scoring with 20 points per game, but is doing so with a high quantity of shots. No other Mission player is averaging more than seven points.

Best of the rest: Lincoln (0-5), Galileo (3-3), Balboa (3-3), Lowell (3-5), Bay (4-3)

Be Sociable, Share!

16 Comments

  1. Messy says:

    Any reports about Washington?

  2. Don L. says:

    AAA teams aren’t looking too strong this season. Seems like every team is struggling during the preseason. I haven’t gotten a chance to see any games yet but is the talent lacking this season in the AAA or the teams haven’t quite gelled yet?

    An interesting side thing. I hadn’t checked the CIF-SF / AAA website in a while but the playoff format has been changed for both boys and girls. Instead of the “Divisions”, it’s now a single round robin with Top SEVEN teams making playoffs. #1 seed gets a first round bye.

    I can see why the divisional alignments got scrapped as some years, one division was just weaker than others and wins could come easier. Instead, it’s a one and done for teams this year.

  3. AFitzsimon says:

    Things aren’t getting any easier for the Mustangs either. St. Ignatius and De La Salle are their next two teams. They’re also in good tournaments during the holidays. They will truly be battle tested before AAA begins. I look forward to the De La Salle game, which is at Lincoln. DLS is my favorite team to watch play basketball, they’re like robots, but man do they play hard-nosed defense. They play the best defense of any hs team I’ve seen, it really is something to see.

  4. Nemo says:

    Bay does have Jason Nemerovski who is 6’4 who could match up to Kenechi Anigbogu.

  5. Nemo47 says:

    Bay also has sharp shooting guards Nik Inalsingh and Justice Skolnik

  6. Messy says:

    Is Washington looking better than Lowell this year?

  7. Just some facts says:

    Fabulous photo of the Gateway player – great look

  8. M Air J says:

    Jeremy, you have seen Riordand and University both play Mission. In your estimation, which is the better team right now? I believe Riordan won by a larger margin but both teams won rather easily it appears. I’m curious to hear what you have to say. Thanks!

    • jbalan says:

      Hard to say. Mission is playing much better than that first game, and actually pretty typical of their progression every season. They always seem to build up and peak at the end of the year.

      University looked very good and probably didn’t play its best game. I’m very impressed with their athleticism and depth. All those guys can shoot and nobody executes that system better.

      It would be interesting to see how they would defend Mabrey, which I think would be Riordan’s biggest advantage in a head-to-head matchup. Mah is very good and composed, but I don’t know if anyone else in the City really matches up with Mabrey’s quickness. I don’t think the press would be tremendously effective against Riordan either.

      That being said, I think University would present some matchup problems for Riordan as well (at least without the transfers). Riordan has very good defenders, but not a ton of length on the perimeter to close out on the Uni shooters. St. Joe’s has been the best at this in recent years, with their long and athletic perimeter guys to make those threes contested.

      I believe it would be a very close game. At Riordan, I would give the Crusaders a slight edge. At University, I would give the edge to Uni. They are tough to beat on that little court, maybe the toughest place to win in the City (Mission is a close second for the same reasons).

      Unfortunately, they aren’t playing each other this season.

      • M Air J says:

        Thanks for your input. It is a shame they are not playing each other this year. I know they have played each other the past few years.

Leave a Comment

Comments that advocate violence, racism, or libel, as well as comments featuring profanity will not be permitted. Repeat offenders will have their commenting privileges suspended. All comments must abide by our Commenting Code of Conduct.