L.A. Daily News boys basketball Top 10 rankings, Feb. 5

This week’s Daily News boys basketball Top 10 rankings.


(Records through Sunday, Feb. 4)

1. Harvard-Westlake (26-3): The Wolverines took their lumps during the regular season and rebounded by going 6-0 to close the season and winning the Mission League title — their sixth in a row. Harvard-Westlake earned the No. 1 seed in the Open Division playoffs and will start pool play on Friday at home against last year’s winner, Centennial. Despite winning the Mission League and State Open Division last year, the Wolverines missed out on the CIF Southern Section. They’ll look to make it three for three on this go around.

2. Sierra Canyon (24-2): After beating Harvard-Westlake and Notre Dame, Sierra Canyon was on its way to a Mission League title but got upset by Crespi in the semifinals of the tournament. If anything, the loss could motivate Sierra Canyon as it heads into Pool A of the Open Division along with its leaguemate Harvard-Westlake. The Trailblazers will open up against St. John Bosco on the road Friday.

3. Notre Dame (24-3): The Knights belonged in the Open Division playoffs and were snubbed, no question about it. Instead, they’ll open the Division 1 playoffs at home against Crean Lutheran as the top seed. Mercy Miller is as even-keeled as they come, but he has to be fuming along with his teammates over the omission. He’s been banged up lately but should be ready to go for Wednesday’s game.

4. Heritage Christian (20-8): The Warriors are such a talented and well-coached team and yet seem to go under the radar compared to some of their counterparts in the area. That should change in the postseason, as Heritage Christian is skilled enough to make noise in the Division 2AA playoffs. Tae Simmons and Dillan Shaw have played great all season and will look to carry that momentum into the postseason. The Warriors earned a bye in the first round and will play the winner between Shalhevet and Calabasas on Friday.

5. Crespi (23-7): With sharpshooter Joe Sterling on the perimeter and bruising big man Peyton White in the middle, the Celts can compete with any team, as they proved in their upset overtime win against Sierra Canyon in the Mission League Tournament. Crespi earned the No. 1 seed in Division 2AA and will open at home against Maranatha, a team they beat handily earlier in the season. Aside from the big two of Sterling and White, the Celts will need contributions from senior Drew Fisher and freshmen brothers Isaiah and Carter Barnes to make a long postseason run.

6. West Ranch (14-13): The Wildcats dealt with more adversity this season than most teams ever have to deal with. From losing a handful of key players from last year’s Open Division team, to ongoing discrepancies with the CIF that led to forfeits, West Ranch went through a gauntlet both on and off the court. But coach Jeff Bryant and the Wildcats are experienced, talented and can shoot with the best teams in the area. This is a squad that can make noise in the Division 1 playoffs, starting with a home game against Edison on Wednesday.

7. Saugus (21-7): No matter the competition, an Alfredo Manzano-coached Saugus team is always prepared, and that showed this year with Saugus winning the Foothill League title. The Centurions are scrappy, gritty and never seem to run out of stamina. Seniors Justin Perez, Matthew Corea and Peter Burton will look to lead the team against opening-round opponent Valley Christian on Wednesday at home in the Division 2AA bracket.

8. Thousand Oaks (22-6): Thousand Oaks split the Marmonte League title with Westlake and Oaks Christian but earned a spot in the loaded 2AA Division. The Lancers will be at home against King on Wednesday to start the postseason. Elias Chin has been the standout player in the Marmonte League all year and is the engine that makes this team go. Trent MacLean and Noah Cotton will be X-factors.

9. Grant (22-6): The Lancers quietly and methodically ran through the East Valley League on their way to a 12-0 league record and a spot in the City Section Open Division playoffs. Furthermore, Grant tested itself this season with Southern Section opponents like Saugus, Maranatha, Heritage Christian and Valencia to prepare itself for a playoff run. The Lancers will open the postseason on the road against Birmingham on Friday.

10. Cleveland (17-9): The Cavaliers needed to win their last two games of the regular season to get a share of the West Valley League title and they did just that, defeating Birmingham and then Chatsworth in overtime. Cleveland’s reward was the No. 1 seed in the City Section Open Division and a home matchup against Los Angeles CES on Friday.

Also considered: Birmingham (16-12), Campbell Hall (11-16), Oaks Christian (18-10) Westlake (22-6), Village Christian (19-9)

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