Welcome to The Standard’s first top 10 high school basketball rankings. This will be a weekly fixture from now until the end of the season, highlighting some of the city’s best prep basketball teams.
Before we get into the rankings, please note that only schools within San Francisco are eligible. Other members of leagues that include San Francisco teams, such as the southern members of the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) and the Marin County members of the Bay Counties League (BCL), are not eligible.
The Crusaders sit at 6-1, with their only loss thus far coming against Campolindo. As good as they look, they could get even better soon when freshman Alexandre Kuminga and transfer Kaia Berridge become available.
The gap between teams 2 through 4 is microscopic, but through the transitive property, the 5-1 Mustangs get the edge. They beat University by a point in overtime on Saturday thanks to Justin Aquino’s incredible 3-point performance, and University owns a one-point overtime win against Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Currently sitting at 8-2, the Red Devils have a chance to prove themselves next week at Marin Catholic’s Bambauer Classic. They’ll open the tournament against Central Catholic on Dec. 26, and a possible second-round matchup with Serra awaits.
At 4-2, the Fightin’ Irish have already matched their win total from the prior season. They’ve made a habit out of playing big third quarters, a trend that resurfaced again on Saturday when they outscored Menlo 20-8 out of halftime en route to a 70-52 win.
“They’ve been in a situation where they’ve won five games in the last two years,” head coach Caesar Smith said. “They’re locked in to giving 110% effort every game and letting the winning and losing take care of itself.”
A young and inexperienced Wildcats team has been up and down through six games, with a 21-point loss to Sacred Heart Prep as a low point. With that in mind, St. Ignatius (4-2) does have solid wins over Santa Cruz and Northgate. That season-opening win over the Cardinals, a 77-72 overtime triumph, came with center John Squire out sick.
A 51-38 win over Lowell on Dec. 6 is the biggest reason the 8-2 Blues are currently ranked sixth. Their loss to Athenian two nights later came with three starters out sick, and they finished second at the Brett Callan Memorial Tournament in Petaluma, though they were on the receiving end of an ugly 37-point beatdown by Windsor in the championship game.
The Cardinals held Menlo-Atherton to 27 points through three quarters on Saturday before the dam finally broke in the final period of a 51-43 loss. Three of Lowell’s four losses have now come to teams from the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL), which covers San Mateo County’s public schools.
An 8-2 Tigers squad has a shiny record but has yet to play a particularly tough schedule. Should Lick-Wilmerding advance to the finals of Head-Royce’s Tom Welsh Holiday Classic, the Jayhawks would provide a great test before opening BCL West play.
Through 11 games, the Knights remain an enigma. One one hand, they have solid wins against the likes of Burlingame and only lost to Lincoln by eight on Friday night, yet they lost to a previously winless Mission team less than 24 hours later.
The Wolverines look like the team to beat in the BCL Central. They own a two-point win over defending North Coast Section (NCS) Division 5 runners-up Athenian, and lost by just seven to both San Domenico and Lick-Wilmerding, who are a combined 19-2.
The Fightin’ Irish are officially back in business. They’ve won nine of their first 10 games, with the one loss coming to reigning state champ Salesian. Reza Po isn’t just incredibly talented; she’s a dynamic weapon who can score from anywhere on the floor.
SI isn’t shying away from any competition in Maya Fok’s third season as head coach. They may have a losing record, but their losses are to the likes of Carondelet, Central, San Ramon Valley and Cardinal Newman, and they won the consolation bracket at Piedmont’s Paris Twins Classic. St. Ignatius rosters four freshmen, including Mary Ennis.
The Red Devils earned an eye-opening victory over Pinewood on Saturday, and they’re still waiting for star Gabriella Kelley to return from an ankle injury. They had just six healthy players for their landmark win over the perennial Central Coast Section (CCS) power.
Sisters Ashanti and Aaliyah Dias showed that the Crusaders are ready to join their boys programs in the WCAL with a 50-39 win over Valley Christian.
Even after graduating superstar Annabel Schneiberg, the Tigers are 5-4 and lost to a strong Hillsdale outfit by just six at Notre Dame Belmont’s Steve Geramoni Invitational.
The Cardinals are strong favorites to repeat as Academic Athletic Association (AAA) champions. They’re 5-3 so far, and the defeats are all against strong outfits in Mills, Sacred Heart Cathedral and San Leandro.
The Mustangs will be battle-tested heading into the new year, as they finish 2022 by playing a pair of strong tournaments at Justin-Siena and St. Francis.
The Eagles have already beaten two PAL teams, scoring a 25-point win over Burlingame and a 15-point triumph over South San Francisco.
Yes, the Breakers have lost three straight after opening the season with five straight wins, but they look like the top dogs in the BCL Central. They’re 3-0 against crosstown competition, beating Convent, Urban and Balboa.
Friday’s one-point win over Marin Academy suggests the Jaguars are going to be a threat among small schools this year.
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