L.A. Daily News boys basketball Top 10 rankings, Jan. 15

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

DAILY NEWS BOYS BASKETBALL TOP 10

(Records through Sunday, Jan. 21)

1. Notre Dame (23-0): The Knights remain the only unbeaten team in the CIF Southern Section after a monumental 59-54 win against Mission League rival Harvard-Westlake. Mercy Miller continues to prove why he should be a McDonald’s All-American, putting up 29 points and 11 rebounds in the win. What’s more, his “will to win” as Notre Dame coach Matt Sargeant put it, is unmatched. Notre Dame will square off against Sierra Canyon Friday for the Mission League title before heading to the league tournament and an Open Division playoff berth.

2. Sierra Canyon (22-1): The Trailblazers haven’t lost a game in nearly two months and beat Harvard-Westlake 74-68 on Friday in a critical league contest. Justin Pippen runs the offense like a well-oiled machine with the help of Bryce Cofield, Noah Williams, Isaiah Elohim and Jayden Alexander, all of whom can lead the team in scoring on any given night. Sierra Canyon is athletic, versatile and plays with speed, a difficult combination for opposing teams to defend. Sierra Canyon hosts Notre Dame in the Mission League finale with the league title on the line, and will head to the Open Division playoffs yet again.

Justin Pippen hard to the paint for 2 pic.twitter.com/pwgeluNjwh

— Dan Lovi (@LoviSports) January 20, 2024

3. Harvard-Westlake (20-3): It was well-documented since the schedule release that this past week was going to be the toughest one of the season for the Wolverines. They started Monday in Massachusetts at the Hoophall Classic, then traveled nearly 3,000 miles back home that night to prepare for Mission League juggernauts Notre Dame and Sierra Canyon on Wednesday and Friday. The Wolverines began the week with an overtime win at the Hoophall Classic but fell in both league games, the first time they’ve lost consecutive games since the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs in June of 2021. Harvard-Westlake closes the league season against Chaminade and St. Francis this week and will be hungry for another shot at Notre Dame or Sierra Canyon in the Mission League Tournament and potentially the Open Division playoffs.

4. Heritage Christian (17-8): One of the most impressive aspects of the Warriors’ recent winning streak is they’ve been doing it without key player Tae Simmons, who missed a handful of games due to illness, in the lineup. Dillan Shaw helped carry the torch in his stead, scoring 28 points in the team’s win over West Ranch and 19 points in an important Olympic League win over Maranatha. Roman Fisher, Deacon Perry and freshman Josiah Nance have also stepped up as of late. Heritage Christian is one step away from securing sole possession of the league title with a rematch against Maranatha on Friday being the main deciding factor.

5. West Ranch (14-10): The Wildcats are one of the most well-rounded teams in the Southern Section. James Evans steers the ship, but Darrell Morris, Bishop Brooks, Jaeden Robley and Zach Bauman are all key to the team’s success. BJ Evans and Tracy Bryden have also gotten involved now that they’ve cleared transfer eligibility. West Ranch defeated Saugus by 26 points on Friday, bringing another Foothill League title closer.

6. Crespi (20-5): The Celts got back on track with two Mission League wins against Chaminade and Loyola last week. Sophomore Joe Sterling passed the 1,000-point mark, the fastest player to do so in Crespi history. Peyton White continues to anchor the middle while Drew Fisher, and brothers Isaiah and Carter Barnes provide additional support. Crespi will try to make a statement against Notre Dame on Wednesday before closing out the regular season against Alemany.

7. Thousand Oaks (18-5): Since the loss to Oaks Christian, the Lancers have been on a tear, beating Westlake, Agoura and Newbury Park by an average of 21 points. Elias Chin continues to stand out as the best player in the Marmonte League and can put up a triple-double on any given night. This week is the most instrumental one so far this season for Thousand Oaks, with rematches against Oaks Christian on Wednesday and Westlake on Friday. If the Lancers can win both games, plus a Monday night tilt against Calabasas, the league title will be all but theirs.

8. Village Christian (16-7): The Crusaders handled business against Bishop Montgomery and Fairfax last week and have a pivotal game against Maranatha Tuesday night. A win would give Village Christian a chance to climb the ladder in the Olympic League, with another big game against Heritage Christian coming down the pike. Senior captain Jaden Karuletwa has been the constant for Village Christian all season, with freshman Deion Lewis making a name for himself and juniors Andy Porcayo and Sydney Natche playing well.

9. Westlake (18-5): After a tough loss to Thousand Oaks, Westlake responded with big wins over Newbury Park and Oaks Christian. The Warriors are in a three-way tie with Thousand Oaks and Oaks Christian in the Marmonte League with all three teams having a 4-1 league record. Westlake has the same opportunity as Thousand Oaks to snatch the league crown with the matchup on Friday being the most pivotal game of the season. Junior Austin Maziasz has had a terrific season leading the charge for Westlake.

10. Birmingham (12-10): The Patriots solidified themselves atop the West Valley League after defeating Cleveland 61-44, the only other unbeaten team in league at the time. Alex Dupre had 28 points and Deshawn Banks recorded 11 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks in the win. A matchup with Chatsworth on Wednesday will have league title implications, with Birmingham holding the advantage after defeating Chatsworth in overtime earlier this season.

Also considered: Campbell Hall (8-14), Chatsworth (11-11), St. Francis (17-8)

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