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SBLive’s California Girls Basketball Top 25: Sierra Canyon finishes the season at No. 1

The Trailblazers knocked off Etiwanda in the Southern Region Open Division championship.

(Lead photo by Ralph Thompson)

The California high school girls basketball season is over following the return of the CIF State championships. And our season-end rankings have a new No. 1 for the first time all year.

1. Sierra Canyon (30-2 – 3rd)

CIF State Open Division Girls Championship March 12, 2022. Sierra Canyon vs Archbishop Mitty. Photo-Ralph Thompson35

It's hard to an envision the CIF State Open Division champion not finishing the season atop the statewide rankings. What makes the Trailblazers' playoff run and ascent to No. 1 particularly impressive is that they had to beat Etiwanda and La Jolla Country Day – the only teams to beat them – in last two rounds of the Regional playoffs. And they prevailed. Then they beat Archbishop Mitty in a borderline-blowout to cement themselves as the best.


2. Etiwanda (29-1 – 1st)

CIF Southern Section Open Division Girls Championship February 26, 2022. Sierra Canyon vs Etiwanda. Photo-Nick Koza88

While Etiwanda finally fell off the top spot since the regular season-end rankings, it first broke through to win its first CIFSS Open Division championship. Additionally, while we don't currently have a weekly girls basketball national power rankings, the Eagles still finish the season top-five in the country in our book.

3. La Jolla Country Day (25-3 – 2nd)

CIF San Diego Section Girls Open Division Championship February 26, 2022. Mission Hills vs La Jolla Country Day. Photo-Justin Fine00

Like Etiwanda, La Jolla Country Day finishes the season having been inside our top-three every week from start to finish. While the Torreys couldn't outlast Sierra Canyon a second time to advance to the Regional finals, they still lived up to the tremendous hype this season, and stormed their way to a San Diego Section Open Division championship.

4. Archbishop Mitty (30-2 – 4th)

archbishop mitty carondelet norcal basketball playoffs00074

What a season it was for Archbishop Mitty, retaking the crown of not just the Central Coast Section but NorCal as a whole. Even though nobody counted the perennial powerhouse out, who considered the Monarchs the team to beat north of Los Angeles County? In going 30-1 through the Regional finals, they avenged an 11-point loss in the NorCal championship against Carondelet, the only team that had beat them, and avenged last season's playoff loss to Pinewood. Mitty's playoff run also ran through Central Section titan Clovis West.

5. Carondelet (26-3 – 7th)

CIF North Coast Section Girls Open Division Championship February 25, 2022. San Ramon Valley vs Carondelet. Photo-Doug Stringer61

After falling short against San Ramon Valley in league play, the Cougars rebounded to fulfill their promise. Two weeks later they defeated SRV by double-digits in the EBAL postseason tournament before defeating them again to win a North Coast Section Open Division championship. They also defeated Sac-Joaquin Section champ Oak Ridge before falling to Mitty in the Northern Region title game.

6. Clovis West (28-4 – 5th)

Photo by Bobby Medellin

Photo by Bobby Medellin

Do you see what the Golden Eagles are holding up in that photo? 10s. Not for 10 all-time Central Section titles, but 10 straight, all in the section's top division. And all under head coach Craig Campbell.

That represents one of the most underrated and all-around best streaks in high school girls basketball – not to mention an Open Division state title in 2016-17 that preceded some national title votes.

7. Corona Centennial (26-7 – 8th)

Centennial is the first team on the season-end rankings not to win any CIF hardware, but it was another great season for the Huskies. They managed to lose a California Ms. Basketball and still remain top-10 in the state and top-three in the Southern Section.

8. Oak Ridge (25-6 – 17th)

CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 Girls Championship February 26, 2022. Folsom vs Oak Ridge. Photo-Ralph Thompson20

After spending nearly the whole regular season in the 25-30 range, Oak Ridge reached its potential in February and March. The Trojans lost 42-37 at Folsom on Jan. 21 and didn't have many signature wins up to that point, but finished SFL play winning five straight, finishing with a 44-37 breakthrough win against Folsom. They had to go through the Bulldogs one more time and won by one point for a Sac-Joaquin Section title, their first Open Division title ever. The Trojans even upset Pinewood in the Open Division State playoffs before falling to Carondelet. 

9. Pinewood (22-3 – 9th)

The Panthers ran out of wins after reaching the CIFCS title game, but notched yet another tremendous season. 

10. Folsom (26-4 – 18th)

While they didn't take home any CIF titles, the Bulldogs actually leapt in the rankings since the regular season ended. They blew out quality foes in Inderkum and Cosumnes Oaks to start the playoffs before dramatically upsetting reigning CIFSJS behemoth St. Mary's (Stockton) and falling to Oak Ridge by just one point in the title game. Folsom also nearly knocked off Clovis West in the first round of the Northern Region Open Division playoffs.

11. Mater Dei (23-6 – 15th)

This wasn't the Monarchs year, but it shouldn't come to anyone's surprise that the two-time reigning Southern Section Open Division champ still reached a very formidable peak form by playoff time. The Monarchs defeated Rosary Academy and Windward in pool play to enter the unofficial Open Division semifinal 2-0. Then they gave unbeaten (at the time) Etiwanda one of its most competitive games of the season, and did the same against San Diego Section champion La Jolla Country Day in the Regional playoffs.

12. San Ramon Valley (26-5 – 6th)

San Ramon Valley fell from sixth to 12th since the playoffs started, but fully remained as fully a part of the state's upper echelon of teams as before.

13. Salesian College Prep (21-5 – 10th)

CIF State Division I Girls Basketball Championship March 11, 2022. Salesian vs Windward. Photo-Ralph Thompson72

After falling to SRV in the CIFNCS Open Division semifinals, Salesian never lost again. It defeated Bishop O'Dowd in the third place game and then stomped its way to a Division I State title. The path consisted of blowout wins against Acalanes, Laguna Creek, and Bishop O'Dowd, a narrow one against St. Ignatius, and a comfortable 11-point victory against Windward in the State finals.

14. Mission Hills (24-8 – 12th)

Mission Hills knocked off reigning CIFSDS top dog Cathedral Catholic for the second time this season to make the Open Division finals.

15. Cathedral Catholic (22-6 – 13th)

It's the end of an era for senior-heavy Cathedral, but the Dons' seniors finish with two Open Division titles during their time there.

16. Windward (23-11 – 16th)

The Wildcats' Division I Southern Region title run is one of the better stories of the season. They lost star players to the transfer wire over the summer and lost one of the best coaches in the state (Vanessa Nygaard) to the WNBA shortly before the playoffs. After being slept on before the season by nearly everyone – including us – Windward still made the CIFSS Open Division, and knocked off Open Division teams in the State playoffs to win the Regional championship under head coach Ronald Cass. They were a bit overmatched against Salesian in the title game, but still had one of the most successful seasons of any program in the state. 

17. Rosary Academy (17-10 – 14th)

After fully hitting their stride late in the regular season, the Royals dealt with some untimely injuries in the playoffs. They didn't outright lose any players, but had to play with a little more wear and tear than the average playoff team does in February and March. Rosary was still able to defeat Windward in CIFSS Open Division pool play and CIFSS Division 1 winner Viewpoint in the Division I SoCal playoffs before falling to eventual champion Windward in overtime.

18. Orangewood Academy (24-10 – 21st)

Orangewood had one of its best seasons in school history for the second season in the row. OA made the CIFSS Open Division for the second season straight, notched a pool play win against Bishop Montgomery, and then went on to make the Southern Region Division I finals.

19. St. Ignatius (21-9 – 19th)

SI defeated Marin Catholic, Vanden, and St. Mary's (Stockton) to make the CIF Northern Region Division I finals. There, it was the only team to nearly knock off eventual state champ Salesian.

20. St. Mary's (21-8 – 11th)

The Rams' long reign atop the Sac-Joaquin Section ended, but they'll be the heavy favorite to get back on top next season with their top players coming back.

21. Vanden (26-4 – 20th)

Whereas every team above was in the Open Division or Division 1 in their own sections, Vanden was a top-25 team in the state coming out of Division 3 of the Sac-Joaquin Section. After their extremely dominant run to a section title, the Vikings got moved up to Division I in the Northern Region playoffs, and defeated Heritage (Brentwood) by double-digits before falling to St. Ignatius in overtime.

22. Bishop Montgomery (19-7 – Unranked)

In its best season in numerous years, Bishop Montgomery made the Southern Section Open Division and notched two CIF Southern Region Division I playoff wins.

23. Viewpoint (20-8 – Unranked)

Some were surprised when Viewpoint was in our top 25 to start the season. And it took some time for the Patriots to click, as they fell out of the top 25 for most of the season. But here they stand as the CIFSS Division 1 champions.

24. Camarillo (30-3 – 24th)

While they came up short of a CIF title, it was still a season for the books for the Southern Section D1 finalist.

25. Bakersfield (26-3 – Unranked)

Bakersfield was the only team in the state to start the season completely off our radar of elite teams and finish anywhere near the top 25. The Drillers upset St. Joseph (Santa Maria) in the CIFCS Open Division semifinals, played Clovis West to within 10 points in the title game, and also knocked off Southern Section & Mission League powerhouse Chaminade in the Southern Region Division I playoffs before falling by 10 to Windward.