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April 3, 2014

Final Girls BB Top 20

Teams moved up and down at the top of the rankings after various head-to-head matchups, but Salesian emerged as the top team and NorCal Open Division champions. Also, Modesto Christian and Enterprise made upward movements.

Preseason Rankings

1. St. Mary's-Berkeley
2. St. Mary's-Stockton
3. Miramonte
4. Salesian
5. Carondelet
6. Sacramento
7. Bishop O'Dowd
8. St. Ignatius
9. Mitty
10. Sacred Heart Cathedral
11. Oak Ridge
12. McNair
13. Pinewood
14. Vanden
15. Deer Valley
16. Eastside Prep
17. Berkeley
18. Modesto Christian
19. Enterprise
20. Wilcox

Final Rankings

1. Salesian
2. Miramonte
3. Bishop O'Dowd
4. Carondelet
5. St. Mary's-Stockton
6. St. Mary's-Berkeley
7. St. Ignatius
8. Sacred Heart Cathedral
9. Pinewood
10. Sacramento
11. Modesto Christian
12. Enterprise
13. Mitty
14. McNair
15. Brookside Christian
16. Oak Ridge
17. Pleasant Grove
18. Berkeley
19. Deer Valley
20. Monte Vista

On the Mark

St. Ignatius was No. 8 and Sacred Heart Cathedral was No. 10 in the preseason. Both San Francisco programs delivered as the best programs in the Central Coast Section and were moved up to the Open Division. After tying for the West Catholic Athletic League regular season title, Sacred Heart Cathedral won the playoff title and St. Ignatius earned section honors. The Wildcats finished No. 7 and the Fightin' Irish were No. 8.

Pinewood was the highest ranked Division V team in the preseason at No. 13 and held steady with losses to just St. Ignatius, Eastside Prep and Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Panthers finished 30-3 with the program's sixth Division V state title. Pinewood will return four of five starters and should be in similar territory to start 2014-2015.

Starting the season at No. 12, McNair was led by Oklahoma State bound forward Mandy Coleman. The Eagles added San Francisco signee guard Tiara Tucker in January en route to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II finals. After falling to Sacramento in the section finals, McNair reached the NorCal finals in losing to Mitty. McNair ended the year at No. 14.

Too High to Start

A drop from No. 6 to No. 10 isn't a big drop, but Sacramento struggled for the early part of the year before righting the ship. Expected to be an elite team with four Division I bound seniors on the court, Sacramento eventually finished 23-9 with a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title. The Dragons fell to St. Mary's-Berkeley in the first round of the Open Division for the second straight year.

Vanden started at No. 14 and were in the rankings throughout the year. However, the Vikings fell to Florin in the SJS Division III semi-finals. They couldn't get over the semi-final level in the NorCals with a loss to Modesto Christian. Vanden finished unranked.

No. 16 Eastside Prep struggled with depth, but made the CCS Open Division playoffs. The Panthers lost to St. Ignatius and Mitty before being eliminated by Brookside Christian in the Division V playoffs. They ended the season 20-11 and outside of the NCP Top 20.

Teams we missed one

While most of the teams we thought would be elite were, one team that surprised was Bishop O'Dowd. The back-to-back state champion Dragons graduated four Division I players, but hardly missed a beat in the region. They own wins over Salesian and St. Mary's-Berkeley. However, the Dragons were ruled ineligible from the NCS playoffs after playing more than the allotted 26 games.

Modesto Christian was dealt a blow over the summer when junior point guard Candice White went down with a knee injury. However, with a good blend of senior leaders and underclassman production, the Crusaders rebounded from a 0-5 start to win a SJS, NorCal and state title. It is the first state title in program history. They jumped from No. 18 to No. 11 in the rankings.

For the first time ever, a Northern Section team made the preseason NCP Top 20 with Enterprise coming in at No. 19. The Hornets made the finals of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament at Eastside Prep, including a win over Mitty, and didn't lose to a NorCal team until the regional finals against Modesto Christian. After rising to as high as No. 7, Enterprise ends the year at No. 12.

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