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. Sacred Heart Cathedral (9-3, last week’s ranking: 2)
The Irish have arguably played the toughest overall schedule in the City, although No. 2 University could be a close second, and it paid off in the first week of West Catholic Athletic League play. Their win on the road in a hostile environment at Serra (10-2) is probably the best win by any City team this season and a tough home win against a Bellarmine (10-2) team that gave two-time defending state champ Mitty all it could ask for was icing on the cake.
2. University (11-4, last week’s ranking: 3)
It’s hard to gauge exactly how the Red Devils would stack up to the City’s WCAL representatives, but what we can quantify is the strength of their non-league schedule. University is battle tested and their four losses are against teams with a combined 42-15 record. With the toughest part of its schedule in the rear-view mirror, University faces a different challenge as the favorite in the Bay Counties League West – a balanced league that relishes any opportunity to upset the Red Devils. Last week, University went 1-1 with a double-digit win over No. 7 Marshall and a close loss to Oakland (9-6).
3. St. Ignatius (10-2, last week’s ranking: 4)
The Wildcats took one big step forward when they defeated last week’s No. 1 team Riordan in their WCAL opener, but took a big step back with a blowout loss to Mitty (8-3), which appeared to be vulnerable after a close win over Bellarmine earlier in the week. That being said, if St. Ignatius beats another No. 1 team in Sacred Heart Cathedral on Tuesday, there’s no doubt where the Wildcats will be in our rankings next week.
4. Riordan (10-2, last week’s ranking: 1)
Even with the sudden drop in our rankings, the Crusaders could very well be back at the top pretty soon if they can solve some chemistry issues with their abundance of talented transfers and the group that got them off to such a solid start. Both games last week – a close road loss to No. 3 St. Ignatius and a absolute rout of Valley Christian (5-7) – could turn out to be inconsequential in the grand scheme of Riordan’s WCAL prospects if the Crusaders live up to their potential this season. We’ll learn a lot more about the new-look Crusaders in their games against Serra and Mitty this week.
5. Stuart Hall (12-3, last week’s ranking: 5)
The Knights haven’t exactly played world-beaters in their seven-game win streak (the teams they’ve beaten during the stretch have a combined record of 25-53), but appear to lead the pack of very competent BCL West teams looking to knock off No. 2 University. Stuart Hall won its only game last week against Oakland Military (5-8).
6. Urban (11-2, last week’s ranking: 6)
The Blues were humbled a bit in a blowout loss to Division V power St. Joseph Notre Dame (9-5) last week, but got back on track with a win over Athenian (10-4) to wrap up their non-league schedule. Urban’s best win is still over No. 9 Lick-Wilmerding in the Head-Royce Holiday Classic two weeks ago.
7. Marshall (4-5, last week’s ranking: 7)
The Phoenix are the top public-school team in our rankings essentially by a process of elimination. No Academic Athletic Association team will enter league play with a .500 record or better and Marshall still seems to be the most talented group. AAA teams went 35-87 in non-league play and it may be Marshall’s year to win its first San Francisco Section boys basketball title in school history.
8. Lincoln (4-11, last week’s ranking: 9)
Lincoln’s performance last week may be an indication the Mustangs have turned things around after a dreadful start to the season. Lincoln’s only game last week was a six-point win over Rodriguez (4-10), which avenged a 13-point loss to the same team in early December.
9. Lick-Wilmerding (10-5, last week’s ranking: 8)
The Tigers’ drop to No. 9 had more to do with their win over Berean Christian (2-14) than their three-point loss to undefeated Bentley (14-0) last week. It may have just been an off night for Lick, but the Eagles largely stayed with the Tigers throughout, just a week after being blown out by No. 8 Lincoln.
10. Mission (3-11, last week’s rakning: 10)
Like Lincoln, the Bears have showed improvement of late, most notably a win over Capuchino (3-6) last week, the same team that beat them in an early-December tournament. Senior point guard Antoine Porter continues to fill up the scoresheet, averaging 21.1 points per game and nearly 40 percent of the Bears’ scoring, but no other Mission player is averaging double digits.
Best of the rest: Balboa (6-10), Lowell (6-9), Gateway (6-2), Galileo (5-7)