RIVERSIDE - Nineteen days is all that remains in the 2018-19 regular season. Over the course of these 19 days conference/division titles will be determined as well as teams jockeying for those final at-large playoff berths. San Francisco remains as the state's top-ranked team in this week's CCCMBCA Poll. With previous No. 2 Mt. San Jacinto lossing twice last week, it opened the door for teams to slide and at the top of the poll and others to make significant jumps, such as Citrus which climbed seven spots this week to No. 12
1. San Francisco City (22-1, Massey Ranking 1) — Winners of eight straight, San Francisco begins the week with a one-game lead over Las Positas with six games to play. This week, the Rams host Canada in its only game. Canada, a previous 13-point loser to San Francisco, opens the week in third place in the division, some 3 ½ games behind San Francisco.
2. Fullerton (21-2, Massey Ranking 2) — Fullerton appears to have found the gas pedal. Since losing to Copper Mountain, the Hornets, who climb a slot this week, have rolled off 40- and 23-point victories, led by Lance Coleman, a sharpshooting guard. Coleman has scored 70 points in the Hornets’ last two games and has yet to be held under 10 points this season. Behind Coleman and Fullerton begins the week in a deadlock with Saddleback. These two teams will meet on the final day of Orange Empire Conference play. To get there, Fullerton will need to beat Irvine Valley and Santa Ana this week.
3. East Los Angeles (19-3, Massey Ranking 3) — The Huskies’ win streak has reached 12 games, second best in the state. East LA, which climbs this week two spots, will begin the week with a one-game lead over LA Trade Tech which suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Pasadena City. The Huskies can — for all intents and purposes – can wrap up the division crown with two wins this week. The Huskies have road games looming this week at LA Trade Tech and then at Chaffey on Friday. LA Trade Tech and Chaffey are the lone programs realistically within striking distance of the Huskies. A sweep this week would give the Huskies a two-game lead with four remaining games.
4. Fresno City (19-2, Massey Ranking 4) — Fresno City, which climbs a spot this week, made headlines last week with its 151-point effort against West Hills Lemoore. But its best game was holding off Sequoias, 61-59, in Visalia. The victory gives Fresno City a three-game lead on Sequoias and two on Columbia with six games to play. This week, the Rams host West Hills Coalinga on Monday and then travels to Cerro Coso on Wednesday, giving Fresno City a week to prepare for a road game at Columbia next Wednesday. Currently, Fresno has the state’s longest win streak at 17 games.
5. Southwestern (19-4, Massey Ranking 10) — Southwestern, winners of 10 straight, climbs two spaces in this week’s poll. Southwestern continues to lead San Diego City by a game in the race for the division title. The Jaguars host Cuyamaca on Friday in their only game this week. After Friday, Southwestern plays three of its final four games on the road — including at San Diego City on February 15 for a chance to claim the title outright.
6. Gavilan (21-2, Massey Ranking 8) — Gavilan has won its first seven division games, resulting in a one-game led on Cabrillo for the Coast-South title with five games to play. One of those games is Friday’s showdown Gilroy when Cabrillo takes its final shot at Gavilan. It will be Gavilan’s lone game of the week.
7. San Bernardino Valley (18-5, Massey Ranking 9) — San Bernardino Valley began last week in a deadlock with Mt. San Jacinto for the conference title. The week, as the Wolverines emerge from their den to find themselves holding a two-game lead on the Eagles with five games to play. In its only game this week, San Bernardino hosts 13-10 San Diego Miramar on Friday which sits a game behind Mt. San Jacinto in the race for second place. The Wolverines’ win over Mt. San Jacinto was good for a two-spot climb in this week’s poll.
8. San Joaquin Delta (18-5, Massey Ranking 24) — SJ Delta holds a two-game lead on Santa Rosa and a two-and-a-half game lead on Cosumnes River with five games remaining. Delta, however, appears to playing its best basketball while riding a 10-game win streak. SJ Delta last won the Big 8 Conference title in 2009. The Mustangs have completed play against Santa Rosa and Cosumnes River, so the only thing that stands between the conference title and the Mustangs is the lower-echelon of the conference.
9. Mt. San Jacinto (18-4, Massey Ranking 5) — For the first time this season, Mt. San Jacinto suffered consecutive losses, and lost traction in the poll, falling seven slots this week. Losing by four at San Bernardino is understandable, but losing by 18 at Desert is well — unbelievable. Nothing against Desert (2-3, 11-12), but . . . Mt. San Jacinto had no answer for Desert’s Riley Welch who torched the Eagles for 29 points, while Sam Skipper chipped in 21. This week, Mt. San Jacinto hosts 11-12 MiraCosta in its only game. The Eagles currently hold a one-game lead on San Diego Miramar in the race for second place.
10. Cerritos (17-5, Massey Ranking 6) — Since losing three of four, Cerritos has run off four straight wins to take a one-game lead in the race for the South Coast-South title. The Falcons begin the week with a one-game lead on Long Beach City and two on LA Southwest with six games to play. Cerritos will have an opportunity to extend its conference lead on Friday when the Falcons host Long Beach City in a 5 pm game The Falcons also host LA Harbor this week. After this week, Cerritos plays three of its four remaining games on the road.
11. Long Beach City (18-4, Massey Ranking 7) — The Vikings will begin the week trailing Cerritos by one game in the race for the division crown. Long Beach will have an opportunity to erase its previous 19-point loss to the Falcons on Friday when the Vikings travel to Cerritos. Long Beach will also have a chance to put some space between them and LA Southwest, which begins the week a game behind the Vikings in the race for second. Long Beach will play four of its final six games on the road.
12. Citrus (16-6, Massey Ranking 11) — Citrus managed to climb seven slots this week. With five games remaining, Citrus holds a two-game lead over LA Valley and Glendale. The Owls can clinch the division crown with a victory over LA Valley on Saturday and a win over Glendale February 13. Citrus has won five straight and 10 of its last 11 games.
13. Yuba (19-4, Massey Ranking 27) — With five games remaining, the 49’ers hold a two-game lead on Merritt, a team Yuba split with this season. Of Yuba’s five remaining games only two will come against teams who begin this week .500 or better. Also, the 49’ers will play three of their final five games at home where Yuba is 7-1. Yuba is riding an eight-game win streak.
14. Saddleback (15-8, Massey Ranking 14) — Saddleback is 8-2 in its last 10 games, and the Gauchos appear to be playing its best basketball since losing to Irvine Valley on January 16. Winners of four straight, the Gauchos are tied with Fullerton for the conference lead. Fullerton and Saddleback will square off on the final day of the season, but there is still work to be done before the Gauchos can think about its only shot at Fullerton. First, comes a rematch with Irvine Valley on Friday. After that there is road games at Santiago Canyon (February 12) and Riverside (February 20) before the Gauchos can think about swatting the Hornets.
15. Santa Rosa (16-6, Massey Ranking 31) — Begins the week trailing first-place SJ Delta by two games and leading third-place Cosumnes River by a half game. The Cubs, the two-time defending conference champs, has six games remaining. While it is doubtful Santa Rosa can catch SJ Delta, the Cubs may face a battle for second place. This week, Santa Rosa plays Modesto and Cosumnes River at home. Of their final six games, the Cubs have lost to Cosumnes River and Diablo Valley, and American River, which hosts Santa Rosa on February 14, lost by just nine points to the Cubs.
16. LA Trade Tech (17-4, Massey Ranking 13) — LA Trade Tech has six games remaining — two against front-running East LA. If the Beavers are to win or even capture a share of the division crown they face a near must-win situation on Wednesday when they host East LA. LA Trade Tech suffered a shocking loss to Pasadena last week. The Beavers shot 20 percent from the floor, 23 percent from the three-point line and a shocking 41 percent from the free throw line (9 of 22). The loss to Pasadena costs the Beavers four spots in this week’s poll. LA Trade Tech recovered in time to turn back Chaffey, 87-80, preserving the Beavers’ hold on second place over the Panthers. After East LA, LA Trade Tech hits the road for a contest at Mt. San Antonio which beat Pasadena 66-48 last Friday.
17. West Los Angeles (17-7, Massey Ranking 17) — Previously, unranked West LA begins the week with a half-game lead over Bakersfield and Santa Monica in the race for division crown. West LA has four games remaining. This week, West LA travels to LA Pierce on Saturday followed by a home game with Santa Monica (February 13) and then a road game at Bakersfield (February 16).
18. Las Positas (18-4, Massey Ranking 30) — Begins the week trailing San Francisco by one game in the race for the division. The Hawks visit Ohlone and host Chabot this week before taking its final shot at San Francisco ion February 15. Las Positas holds a solid lead over Canada for second.
19. Cabrillo (17-5, Massey Ranking 22) — With six games remaining, Cabrillo trails Gavilan by a game. The Seahawks hosts Hartnell on Wednesday before traveling to Gilroy on Friday for a showdown with Gavilan. There is a lot of moving parts here as Cabrillo could end the week with a half-game lead over Gavilan (by winning both games this week) or fall two-half games behind Gavilan (losing both contests this week) or . . . we will figure it out Saturday morning when the dust settles!
20. Chaffey (15-7, Massey Ranking 12) — Chaffey begins the week two games out of first place, a game back in the race for second place in the South Coast-South Division and tied with Pasadena City for third place. The Panthers have lost two of their last four games. Chaffey has six games remaining, including two with Pasadena. At times, the Lancers have shown their ability to play with the best — beating Cerritos and LA Trade Tech, but they have also shown their inabilities, losing to Mt. San Antonio. Chaffey still has its eyes on the division crown, but the Panthers need to secure third before they worry about first – which they can do on Friday when the Panthers host division-leading East LA.
21. Ventura (14-9, Massey Ranking 18) — Ventura has emerged from the pack, taking a two-game lead in the race for the Western State-North crown. Winners of six straight, Ventura travels to 3-18 Santa Barbara in its only game this week. Overall, Ventura has five remaining contests, including games against Allan Hancock and Cuesta, the only two programs with a possibility of raiding the Pirates’ title hopes.
22. Santiago Canyon (15-7, Massey Ranking 15) — Santiago Canyon will need to bury last week’s blowout loss to Fullerton because the road only gets tougher. The Hawks sit in third place but three teams — Cypress (half of a game), Riverside (half of a game) and Copper Mountain (a game) are breathing down their neck. Three of the Hawks’ final six games include the above three teams — all on the road where Santiago Canyon is 9-6 this season. This week, Copper Mountain (Wednesday) and Riverside (Friday) will take their shots at Santiago Canyon. If, the Hawks aren’t careful they could wake up Saturday morning in fifth place. Oh, when the Hawks played Copper Mountain and Riverside at home in January — the Hawks margin of victory was
23. Columbia (17-5, Massey Ranking 28) — Columbia has managed to stay within striking distance of Fresno City in the race for the Central Valley Conference title. However, the Claim Jumpers would need a lot of help, including beating the Rams next week. Columbia also has to look over its shoulders as the Claim Jumpers are just a game ahead of third-place Sequoias — whom they will host on the final day of the regular season.
24. Merritt (14-9, Massey Ranking 50) — Merritt begins the week trailing Yuba by three games after losing to Yuba, 79-53, and then announcing in Monday it would forfeit it win over Marin, which now moves into second place, a game ahead of the Thunderbirds . Merritt plays three of its five remaining games on the road. Two of those games — Los Medanos (Wednesday) and Marin (February 15) — come against teams within striking distance of Merritt for second place. On the road, Merritt is 9-6.
25. Sequoias (14-8, Massey Ranking 23) — Fresno City snapped Sequoias’ seven-game win streak last week. The loss also cost the Giants in the standings, falling to third place. With six games remaining, Sequoias has probably turned its focus to running down No. 23 Columbia for second place. The Giants face a three-game week this week — at Reedley on Monday and then hosts Porterville (Wednesday) and then West Hills Lemoore (Saturday).
Allan Hancock (18-5, Massey Ranking 25) — Allan Hancock, losers of three of its last six games, has been falling in the weekly poll and, more importantly, in the division standings. The Bulldogs being the week trailing Ventura by two games with five games to play. Allan Hancock is currently tied with Cuesta, which beat Allan Hancock last week, for second place. Allan Hancock has a remaining date with Ventura (February 13) as well as with Cuesta on the final day of the regular season.
1. San Francisco
2. Fresno City
4. San Joaquin Delta
6. Santa Rosa
7. Las Positas
15. American River
2. East Los Angeles
4. San Bernardino Valley
5. Mt. San Jacinto
7. Long Beach City
10. LA Trade Tech
11. West Los Angeles
14. Santiago Canyon
15. Allan Hancock
(Robert Schmidt, CCCMBCA)