We have reached the final two weeks of the regular season and every conference/division title remains up for grabs. A number of titles should be decided this week, but others appear headed down to the wire. Several teams will be trying to improve their playoff chances, needing a key victory or perhaps needing a signature win to sway the seeding committee.
San Francisco City, the defending state champions, continue to hold the top spot in this week’s CCCMBCA state poll.
1. San Francisco City (23-1) — Under head coach Justin Labagh, San Francisco City has won 13 Coast-North championships and the Rams are poised to add another banner. The Rams, winners of nine straight, open the week holding a one-game lead over Las Positas with four games to play. Wins by the Rams over 9-14 Foothill on Wednesday would give them a 1 ½ game lead when Las Positas pull into town on Friday.
2. Fullerton (23-2) — Fullerton clings to a ½-game lead on Saddleback and a 1 ½ on Santiago Canyon with three games remaining, including a season-concluding game at Saddleback, the teams only meeting this season. All-time, Saddleback is 66-17 against the Hornets. But before we get there, the Hornets travel to fourth-place Cypress (16-9) Thursday in its only game this week. Next week, Fullerton hosts Copper Mountain, the team that stopped the Hornets’ 17-game win streak and brought a lot of the Orange Empire Conference competition back into the race, and then travel to Saddleback.
3. Fresno City (21-3) — Fresno City has won 19 straight games. All that winning has the Rams on the doorstep of extending its all-time conference record to 18 straight conference championships. Fresno City begins the week with a two-game lead on Columbia (19-5) and 2 ½ on Sequoias (17-8) with four games remaining. The Rams can wrap up the conference title with a win at Columbia on Wednesday and a win at Porterville (13-10) on Saturday. Fresno City last lost a Central Valley Conference game on January 31, 2018 (80-79 at Sequoias). The last time, Fresno City went undefeated in conference play was 2015.
4. East Los Angeles (20-4) — East Los Angeles had its 13-game win streak stopped by Chaffey, 69-65. The loss allowed Chaffey to climb within a game of the Huskies in the race for their division crown. Both teams have four games remaining. With six teams in the division, neither team has an advantage as they both finish against LA Trade Tech, Pasadena, Mt. San Antonio and Rio Hondo. This week, East Los Angeles hosts Pasadena, a team that took the Huskies to overtime, losing 69-68, and travel to Mt. San Antonio on Friday. At this point, the question for the Huskies is how quick can they forget the Chaffey loss in order to refocus on the goal at hand.
5. Southwestern (20-4) – Winners of 11 straight, Southwestern continues to cling to a one-game lead over San Diego City with four games to play. The Jaguars can clinch a share of the division crown with two wins this week — at Imperial Valley on Wednesday and at San Diego City on Friday. A loss to San Diego City on Friday and the Jaguars will probably have to settle for a co-championship. For the last three years, this division crown has run through San Diego City — and in some way, it appears it just might again this year. Southwestern is 2-0 against San Diego City this season, but the average margin of victory is just three points. And the Knights are pretty good at defending its castle where they have gone 5-1 against invading opposition. Southwestern last won a division crown in 2015.
6. Gavilan (22-2) — Gavilan is riding an eight-game conference win streak. With four game remaining, Gavilan holds a 1 ½-game lead over Cabrillo. Having beaten Cabrillo twice, including last Friday, ensures Gavilan the tiebreaker should Rams fall apart down the stretch. Gavilan visits 9-15 DeAnza on Wednesday and hosts 11-14 Monterey as the Rams move closer to the conference title — a title they shared last year with Cabrillo.
7. San Bernardino Valley (19-5) — With four games remaining, San Bernardino Valley holds a two-game lead on the competition for its division conference title. The Wolverines have had just two division games decided by 10 points or less. Two victories this week and San Bernardino Valley will assure itself of at least a share of the division crown. Although, any Mt. San Jacinto loss would clinch the title for the Wolverines. The last time the Wolverines failed to win or capture at least a share of the division title was in 2013 when San Bernardino Valley was runner-up to Chaffey in the Foothill Conference race.
8. San Joaquin Delta (20-5) — SJ Delta, winners of 12 straight, is a win away from wrapping up its first conference title in 10 years. The Mustangs, who has three games remaining, hold a 2 ½-game lead on Santa Rosa with three games remaining. Delta can secure the Big 8 Conference title on Tuesday when the Mustangs square off against American River. All three of Delta’s remaining games take place on the road where the Mustangs are 8-4 this season — Tuesday at American River (14-8), Diablo Valley (8-14, Thursday) and at Sacramento (13-12) on February 22.
9. Mt. San Jacinto (19-4) – Mt. San Jacinto remains mathematically eligible for the division crown, but realistically the Eagles face long odds after losing two of their last three games. Mt. San Jacinto trails San Bernardino Valley by two games. This week, the Eagles hit the road, visiting fourth-place San Diego Miramar on Wednesday and then traveling to Palomar on Friday. Mt. San Jacinto finishes the season at home, hosting San Bernardino Valley and Desert, the two teams who handed the Eagles their lone division losses.
10. Long Beach City (2-4) — The South Coast-South division appears headed down to the wire with the Vikings and Cerritos beginning the week deadlocked. Long Beach has run off five straight wins, including a 90-85 victory over Cerritos last Friday behind 29 points from Jace Bass. The victory gave the Vikings a split of their division series with Cerritos and a share of the division lead with two weeks remaining. This week, Long Beach hosts Compton on Wednesday and then travels to LA Harbor on Friday. Long Beach City is just 5-3 at home this season. Just saying.
11. Yuba (21-4) — Yuba has clinched at least a tie for the Bay Valley Conference title. The 49’ers have a 3 1/2 -game lead with three games remaining. Either a loss by Los Medanos or a win at Mendocino on Wednesday will wrap up the championship for Yuba, its third consecutive conference title. The 49’ers, winners of 10 straight, conclude the season at 15-9 Mendocino (Wednesday), home to Napa Valley (5-19, Friday) and then at Contra Costa (11-14) next Wednesday.
12. Cerritos (18-6) — Cerritos missed out on taking control of the South Coast-South division after the Falcons couldn’t maintain their halftime on Long Beach City, eventually falling 90-85 and into a to-way tie for first place. It will take an upset for this title to be won outright. This week, the Falcons hit the road for back-to-back road contests — at El Camino on Wednesday and at Compton on Friday. Cerritos is a better road team, winning 14 of 17 games on the road this season.
13. Citrus (18-6) — Citrus is riding a seven-game win streak and with each win the Owls move closer to wrapping up the Western State-East division title. Citrus has opened a two-game lead on Glendale and three on LA Valley. Citrus can guarantee itself a share of the crown on Wednesday when the Owls fly to Glendale and then wrap up the division on Saturday at home when the Vikings of Barstow row into Glendora. The title would be the Owls’ third straight.
14. Las Positas (20-4) — Currently, only six teams in the north have managed to win 20 games. Las Positas is one of those programs. Unfortunately, Las Positas plays in the same division as San Francisco City. The Hawks, who have three games remaining, begins the week a game behind San Francisco. In order to keep its conference title hopes alive, Las Positas has to take down San Francisco on Friday. If they don’t, San Francisco leaves knowing its needs only a win in its final two games for the conference crown.
15. Saddleback (16-8) — The Gauchos continue to hunt Fullerton. Saddleback begins the week just a ½-game behind the Hornets. Saddleback has four games remaining, while Fullerton has three. Before Saddleback can think about Fullerton and a possible share of the Orange Empire Conference title, the Gauchos have to get past third-place Santiago Canyon (on the road), Orange Coast (at home) and Riverside (on the road). Saddleback has only a ½-game lead on third-place Santiago Canyon, the Gauchos’ opponent Tuesday night. The Hawks’ remaining schedule is a bit easier than Saddleback’s final stretch. The Fullerton game on February 22 may not matter if Saddleback doesn’t take care of business this week and next Wednesday. Also, keep this in mind — the Gauchos are 8-0 at home, but just 8-8 on the road, including 1-2 in Riverside’s Wheelock Gym.
16. Chaffey (17-7) — Chaffey kept it division title hopes alive with an impressive 69-65 victory over East Los Angeles last Friday. The Panthers had four of their five players score in double figures, led by Isaiah McCullough with 15 points. While the victory keeps Chaffey in the division race, it hardly positions the Panthers for the title. With six teams in the division, neither team has an advantage as they both finish against LA Trade Tech, Pasadena, Mt. San Antonio and Rio Hondo. This week, Chaffey travels to Mt. San Antonio and hosts Rio Hondo — two teams the Panthers easily beat the first time through. Next week, however, Chaffey faces a road game against LA Trade Tech, a team who beat Chaffey and needs another signature win to improve its post-season seeding.
17. Santa Rosa (18-6) — With four games remaining, Santa Rosa holds a 1 ½-game lead on Cosumnes River (13-12) for second place. The Cubs have won three straight games, but will need wins down the stretch to hold off Cosumnes River. Santa Rosa plays three of its remaining four games on the road, beginning Tuesday at 10-14 Sierra and Thursday at American River (14-8).
18. West Los Angeles (18-7) — With three games remaining, West Los Angeles is clinging to a one-game lead for the Western State-South title. The Wildcats can win the division crown this week with victories over Santa Monica on Wednesday and then with a road win at second-place Bakersfield on Saturday. The last Bakersfield-West LA game was a nail bitter as the Wildcats blew an 11-point lead, but hung on to win, 81-78, as West LA’s bench outscored Bakersfield’s bench, 55-15. Oh, and Santa Monica handed West Los Angeles’ lone loss this season, 89-75. This race may not be over until the dust settles next week.
19. Cabrillo (18-6) — Cabrillo has just three games remaining in the regular season, two this week — at 11-14 Monterey and home Friday to DeAnza (9-15). Cabrillo continues to chase Gavilan in the race for the conference title while also trying to hold off third-place West Valley, a team the Seahawks face on the final day of the regular season.
20. Butte (14-11) — Butte has opened a two-game lead over Feather River in race for the Golden Valley Conference title. The Roadrunners have won four straight games. Its biggest win was the 71-60 victory over Feather River on Wednesday. The victory assures Butte of at least a share of the conference crown. A victory at Lassen Wednesday or next Wednesday against Redwoods would give Butte its first conference title since 2015.
21. Ventura (15-9) — A seven-game win streak has allowed the Pirates to open a two-game lead for the Western State-North crown. Ventura has a chance to eliminate Allan Hancock from the conference race on Wednesday when the Bulldogs travel to Ventura and then clinch the title outright on Saturday when Oxnard (5-16) rolls into town.
22. Santiago Canyon (17-7) — As much as Santiago Canyon would love to win its first-ever Orange Empire Conference championship, the Hawks might need to be satisfied with its highest finish. In just its second season of men’s basketball, Santiago Canyon begins the week a game behind second-place Saddleback and 1 ½ behind conference-leading Fullerton with four games to play. The Hawks’ hopes rest with their Tuesday showdown at Saddleback at 6 pm. A victory would pull the Hawks into a tie with Saddleback, and their schedule is much more favorable than the Gauchos done the stretch.
23. LA Trade Tech (17-6) – LA Trade Tech falls in this week pole after losing its last two games and three of its last four. Even with the losses, the Beavers aren’t out of the talk for the division crown. With four games remaining, LA Trade Tech trails East LA by two games. Also, the Beavers, who handed Chaffey one of its two losses, trails second-place Chaffey by just one game. This week, LA Trade Tech travels to Rio Hondo and hosts Pasadena, a team which beat the Beavers previously. The Beavers close the season with games against Chaffey and East LA. Who knows what a season-ending four-game win streak by La Trade Tech would mean in this division.
24. Columbia (19-5) — Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt and the Claim Jumpers are two games behind Fresno and a half-game ahead of Sequoias in the race for the conference runner-up slot. Columbia gets one final shot at Fresno City on Wednesday. Losing to the Rams will move Fresno City closer to its 18th consecutive conference title. It will also probably drop the Claim Jumpers into third place, a half-game behind Sequoias who doesn’t play until meeting 8-16 West Hills-Coalinga on Saturday. Columbia closes out the week at Reedley and then concludes the season with home games against 13-10 Porterville and 17-8 Sequoias, which could decide second place.
25. Sequoias (17-8) – Mathematically, Sequoias is still in it. Realistically the Giants are in a battle with Columbia for second place. And, it could very well go down to the final game (February 23 at Columbia at 6 pm). Until then, Sequoias has a home game Saturday against 8-16 West Hills-Coalinga and a road game at 10-14 Cerro Coso (February 20).
25. Los Medanos (15-9) — Mathematically, Los Medanos is still in the race for the Bay Valley Conference. Realistically, the Mustangs are playing for second place down stretch. Los Medanos holds a half-game lead on Merritt and Marin, a game on Contra Costa and two games on Mendocino. Second place is definitely the best race remaining in this conference. The Mustangs have games remaining against two of the above programs and concludes the season with three of their remaining four games at home where they Mustangs are just 3-4. This week, Los Medanos hosts 6-18 Alameda (Wednesday) and Mendocino (15-9, Friday) before traveling to Napa Valley (5-19) and then hosting Contra Costa (11-14) in the season finale.
25. Canada (16-8) — Despite 16 overall victories, Canada has only been able to muster a third-place showing within the Coast-South division. The Colts will begin the week deadlocked with 10-14 Skyline. Canada has lost four of its last eight games and needed overtime to turn back Foothill last Friday. Same two teams will square off again tonight in a make-up of its January 16 game which was rained out when the roof leaked at Foothill. So, Canada has four games remaining to distance itself from Skyline, a team they will meet on Friday. Canada also gets 4-20 Ohlone at home on Wednesday.
1. San Francisco
2. Fresno City
4. San Joaquin Delta
6. Las Positas
7. Santa Rosa
12. Los Medanos
14. Cosumnes River
15. (tie) American River
2. East Los Angeles
4. San Bernardino Valley
5. Mt. San Jacinto
6. Long Beach City
11. West Los Angeles
13. Santiago Canyon
14. LA Trade Tech
15. (tie) Allan Hancock, Cypress