For the first time this season, the California Community Colleges Men’s Basketball Coaches Association has a deadlock at the top of its poll as San Francisco and Saddleback share this week’s top ranking. Saddleback managed to reclaim all 15 Southern California votes thanks to the Gauchos’ surprising rout of previous #11 Riverside. The Top 10 remained the same, but the bottom half of the state poll saw shake up. Here is look at this week’s poll as well as what fans can expect this week as conferences/divisions move either further into their conference schedule and others open division play.
1. (tie) San Francisco (18-1) — Head coach Justin Labagh, who looking for his 12 Coast Conference championship, and the rest of the Rams can thank freshman point guard Adrian Rico for keeping San Francisco at No. 1 this week. Averaging 8.1 points per game, Rico hit a game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds to hold off Canada, 82-79. The win extended the Rams’ win streak to 11 games. This week, San Francisco hosts #20 Las Positas before beginning a four-game road trip, with stops at Foothill (11-7) and Ohlone (14-6, #14 in Northern California) this week before returning home to square off with Canada (Feb. 8) once again. But before we get ahead of ourselves, Las Positas, at 2-2, needs a win to climb back into the conference race. After being announced as a threat to San Francisco’s title hopes, the 16-4 Hawks went out and lost two of its’ first conference games and began a decent in the polls that find them at #20 this week.
Saddleback (17-2) — Saddleback, winners of 12 straight games, defended home court with a resounding beating of Riverside, 67-51. And, honestly, it wasn’t even than close as the Gauchos led from start to finish, including 39-20 at halftime Saddleback’s defense held Riverside to just 28 percent shooting in the first half and under 30 percent for the game. T.J. Shorts led Saddleback with 19 points and six assists. This week, Saddleback hosts 10-8 Cypress and then travels to Santa Ana to square off with the Dons (6-14).
3. Yuba — (17-2) Like San Francisco, Yuba had its own scare last week as Merritt, behind 32 points from Tyrell Alcorn, nearly overcame a 10-point deficit to knock off the 49’ers. In the end, Yuba prevailed, 88-82, in Oakland. The win extended Yuba’s win streak to eight games. The 49’ers open a four-game home stand, beginning with Mendocino (3-12) on Wednesday and then Alameda (3-13) on Friday.
4. San Bernardino (16-5) — San Bernardino snapped a two-game losing streak as the Wolverines opened division play with a 15-point victory over Mt. San Antonio and then a 11-point win at Palomar. Brandon Jolley had 24 points in San Bernardino’s surprising easy win over the Mounties. This week, San Bernardino host MiraCosta (11-9) and Desert (3-14) on Wednesday and Friday, respectively before facing its biggest divisional test in #12 San Diego Miramar.
6. Fresno (15-4) — Winners of seven straight, Fresno appears to have picked it up offensively. For the second time in its last four games the Rams have managed to break the 100-mark. ON Saturday, Fresno scored a 114 points in a rout of Reedley. The Rams scored 119 points in a conference opening win over Merced on January 4. Look for more of that this week as the Rams visit 1-12 Cerro Coso on Wednesday and 5-12 Porterville on Saturday in Fresno.
8. East Los Angeles (13-4) — East Los Angeles begins divisional play riding a four-game win streak. The Huskies host 10-7 Mt. San Antonio, which along with Chaffey, pose the greatest threat to East Los Angeles’ championship hopes and probably a top four seed in the regionals. Be interesting to see which Mountie team shows up — the one who beat #11 Fullerton on December 19, or the team which lost by 16 to #4 San Bernardino on January 6. The Huskies also travel to Whittier to take on Rio Hondo (8-10).
12. San Diego Miramar (15-5) — San Diego Miramar climbs five spaces this week after beating Mt. San Jacinto, 72-67, at home. The loss also knocked Mt. San Jacinto out of the state poll – we can’t remember the last time the Eagles haven’t been in the state poll. This week, the Jets visit 3-14 Desert before returning home to take on 8-10 Palomar. #4 San Bernardino looms next week, will the Jets be able to remain focused on the games at hand?
14. Chaffey (14-6) — Chaffey moves back into the state’s Top 20. The Panthers closed out its preseason with a victory in the Reggie Morris Showcase, a 79-59 victory over Santa Monica. Chaffey opens divisional play on the road against 8-10 Rio Hondo, losers of six of its last seven, and 9-8 Los Angeles Trade Tech, which has lost four straight headed into divisional play.
16. Cabrillo (11-6) — The state poll also welcomed Cabrillo this week. The Seahawks are off to a 3-0 start in the Coast-South and hold a one-game lead over Hartnell and DeAnza. This week Cabrillo will take to the road for games against 3-15 West Valley and then a showdown with 8-7 Hartnell on Friday.
17. Sequoias (9-9) —Sequoias decided to join the party this week as the Giants have three of its last four and start the week a game behind front-running Fresno in the Central Valley Conference. This week, Sequoias visits previously-ranked West Hills in a key conference game on Wednesday. West Hills begins the week 2-2 in conference after a one-point loss to Fresno and then a surprising six-point setback to Merced. This is a key game for both Sequoias and West Hills. The Giants will also Reedley on Saturday.
18. Riverside (15-5) — Riverside, which was ranked 11th last week, falls to No. 18 this week after its horrible showing against Saddleback. The 51 points was a season-low for the Tigers. Riverside, which had just one player score in double figures (Brae Ivey, 13 points) went into the game having scored 90 or more points in seven of its last 12 games, and five times had scored 100 points or more. Against the Gauchos, Riverside shot just 29.6 percent from the floor and was 4 of 19 from the three-point line. This week, Riverside faces a key game against #11 Fullerton at home. The Tigers will also venture to Cypress, which faces No. 1 Saddleback on Wednesday, to take on the Chargers on Friday, which could turn into another key game — for third place — and possibly the last playoff spot from the conference.
19. Diablo Valley (14-5) — Diablo Valley seems to do just enough to keep a spot in the state’s Top 20. The Vikings entered conference play as a favorite, but loses in two of their first four games have the Vikings two games behind Santa Rosa in the conference race and in a four-way tie for third. This week, Diablo Valley faces key games at Sacramento City (Tuesday) and Cosumnes River (Friday). We say key because the Vikings are a loss away from falling into sixth place.
20. Las Positas (16-4) — Hard to imagine a 16-win team bring up the rear in the state rankings, but that is exactly where the Hawks find themselves this week after two losses in their first four conference games. Las Positas, who will host the state championship tournament again this year, has a lot of work to do if the Hawks home to play in the tournament. Las Positas scored a a season-high 113 points last Friday vs. Chabot. Nick Evans came off the bench to score a game-high 30 points. A lot is at stale this week when the Hawks travel to San Francisco to meet up with #1 Rams — most of all its title hopes. A loss and the Hawks will be 3 1/2 games behind San Francisco.
1. San Francisco (15)
4. Santa Rosa
5. Feather River
9. Diablo Valley
10. Las Positas
12. West Hills
Others receiving votes: Foothill, San Joaquin Delta, Skyline, Columbia, Los Medanos, American River, Sacramento City, Lassen
1. Saddleback (15)
2. San Bernardino
3. El Camino-Compton Center
4. East Los Angeles
5. San Diego City
7. San Diego Miramar
9. Antelope Valley
12. Mt. San Jacinto
15. (tie) Mt. San Antonio and Glendale
Others receiving votes: MiraCosta, LA Valley, Cypress, Ventura, West LA, Canyons, El Camino