There were no McDonald's All-Americans on the roster and there wasn't anyone who stands more than 6-feet tall, but for pure desire, execution, defense and just about any other way you want to look at it, the Sacred Heart Cathedral High girls basketball team of San Francisco had a team for the record books in 2008.
|Kamilah Jackson was Sacred Heart Cathedral's top scorer and rebounder in CIF Div. III state final.|
The Irish cemented their status as the No. 1 team for the final Rivals.com FAB 50 national rankings on March 7 with a 48-33 victory over Magnolia of Anaheim in the California Interscholastic Federation Division III state championship. Those final rankings, however, couldn't be done until this week due to the length of the state playoffs in New York.
Sacred Heart Cathedral's mythical national title was earned as much on the court than just about any final No. 1 ranking we've ever compiled. The Irish played and beat four other teams that ended up in the top 10, including No. 3 Long Beach Poly of California, No. 8 St. Mary's of California, No. 9 Southridge of Oregon and No. 10 Highlands Ranch of Colorado.
After beating Poly in the finals of the Nike Northwest tourney early in the season, head coach Brian Harrigan's team then became Jackrabbit fans and benefited greatly as far as the rankings are concerned when Poly bounced back from its loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral by winning the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona.
It wasn't an easy path to its state title, either. In the Northern California Division III title game, the Irish escaped with a 46-45 win over St. Mary's of Stockton in a matchup of unbeaten teams. The lead changed hands three times in the final minute of that game and a potential game-winning shot by St. Mary's came up short at the buzzer.
The state championship game win over Magnolia also pushed Sacred Heart Cathedral's current win streak to 57 games, which is seventh-longest in California history. Many, in fact, are now calling the Irish the most outstanding girls team in Northern California history.
The Irish also accomplished all they did in the midst of a horrific tragedy when Terrell Rogers, the father of standout junior Tierra Rogers, was murdered in a parking lot near the school during halftime of a game in early January.
Rogers scored the winning basket against St. Mary's and was one of the team's leading players. Senior Jazmine Jackson, headed to Pepperdine University, was the squad's top scorer at 13.3 points per game.
The end of the New York playoffs last Sunday offered little suspense. Defending champ Murry Bergtraum of New York, which has been No. 2 behind Sacred Heart Cathedral in FAB 50 for the entire regular season, completed its undefeated season with a second straight New York Federation Class AA title at Glen Falls, N.Y.
The Lady Blazers took apart Rush-Henrietta, 67-34, in the semifinals and then beat St. John the Baptist of Islip in the final, 61-47. Coach Ed Grezinsky's team will thus take a 53-game win streak into next season.
The only team to drop out from the previous version of the Rivals.com FAB 50 was former No. 49 Trenton Central of New Jersey. Going in for that team in this week's final rankings is unbeaten Jefferson of Portland, Ore.
Read on for the final 2008 Rivals.com FAB 50 Girls Basketball National Rankings:
1. Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco, Calif.) 33-0 (1)
Kamilah Jackson, sophomore sister of senior standout Jazmine Jackson, led the Irish with 17 points and 14 rebounds in their CIF Division III state title game win over Magnolia of Anaheim. Along with Kamilah, junior forward Tierra Rogers and junior point guard Ki-Ki Moore are top players who will be back next season.
|Josette Campbell was one of the top players from Virginia powerhouse Notre Dame Academy.|
Shakeya Leary, a 6-2 center headed to Syracuse, was the top player for the Lady Blazers. In the final two New York Federation wins over Rush-Henrietta and St. John the Baptist, head coach Ed Grezinsky received balanced scoring. Defensive whiz Shanee Williams also was outstanding against Rush-Henrietta McDonald's All-American Shenise Johnson and 6-4 post player Christine Huber of St. John the Baptist.
3. Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 31-2 (3)
Led by California Ms. Basketball honoree Jasmine Dixon, the Jackrabbits won their third straight CIF Division I state title. Their only losses were to No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral and to league rival Millikan, a team they later beat twice, including by 66-33 in the CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA championship.
4. Notre Dame Academy (Fitchburg, Va.) 28-2 (4)
The Dragons were four points away from possibly challenging for the title of FAB 50 No. 1 early in the season as they lost 58-54 to No. 3 Long Beach Poly. Notre Dame ended the season on a 16-game winning streak and defeated FAB 50 teams Bishop McNamara (Md.) and H.D. Woodson in addition to defeating Eleanor Roosevelt (Md.) and Seton Keough (Md.), which also spent time in the FAB 50 this year.
5. Cy-Fair (Houston, Texas) 39-2 (5)
All-American Nneka Ogwumike went for 17 points and 17 rebounds when Cy-Fair routed DeSoto, 50-33, in the Class 5A state title game. After losing in the final game a year ago, this time Cy-Fair lost its only games when Ogwunmike had not yet joined the team due to volleyball commitments. On the way to the title, Cy-Fair beat previous No. 43 Dulles and also avenged an earlier loss to Cinco Ranch, 49-41.
6. Gentry (Indianola, Miss.) 40-0 (7)
The Lady Rams repeated as state Class 4A champion and overall Grand Slam titlist while extending their win streak to 80 games. For the second straight year, Gentry defeated Class 5A champion, and FAB 50 ranked, Murrah of Jackson in the Grand Slam finals, this time, 80-75, in two overtimes. Sophomore Brizannia Washington led the way with 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Veronica Walker had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
7. Lewis & Clark (Spokane, Wash.) 29-0 (6)
Other teams in Washington have had the big-time recruits in the last two years, but that hasn't slowed down the Tigers. They set a state record as they won their third straight Class 4A state championship and went unbeaten for a second straight year as well. Lewis & Clark's defense was stingy with just 38 points allowed per game.
|Nneka Ogwumike has national player of the year credentials from top team in Texas.|
8. St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) 32-1 (8)
Head coach Tom Gonsalves' young team didn't get a win over another top 50 opponent during the season, but losing its only game by one point to No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral shows that perhaps an even higher ranking was justified. Super sophomores Chelsea Gray and Afure Jemerigbe should keep the Rams on the national scene for at least two more years.
9. Southridge (Beaverton, Ore.) 25-4 (9)
Don't let the four losses fool you as one was to No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral and another was to No. 4 Notre Dame Academy. The Skyhawks defeated Oregon City for the second straight year in the OSAA Class 6A state championship game by a 49-43 score after jumping out to an early 18-6 lead. With the win, Southridge also became the only other team besides Oregon City to win four consecutive big-school state championships. Seniors Alex Earl and Michelle Jenkins were key members of all four title teams.
10. Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 25-3 (10)
Trailing late in the state championship game against Regis Jesuit, the Falcons took the lead for good in the final minute to get the 59-54 state title win. Highlands Ranch won its third straight state title and has won six of the last nine. The three losses on the year all came to higher-ranked foes: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Long Beach Poly and Southridge.
11. Lower Richland (Hopkins, S.C.) 26-0 (11)
The Diamond Hornets hiked their win streak to 44 games and won their third straight state Class 4A title with a 47-45 finals' victory over Dorman. It was the fifth state crown for coach Debbie Stroman. Daughter Morgan Stroman led the scoring with 13 points.
12. Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.) 35-2 (13)
Alabama's Class 6A champs get a high ranking because Alabama teams did well against out-of-state foes, because they handed Midfield its only loss in an avenging situation and because their other loss to Sparkman was not only avenged once but twice later on. The Lady Patriots won their state title with 48-42 finals win over Clay-Chalkville. Kylie Cook, who was one of five junior starters, led the way with 22 points.
13. DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas) 37-2 (12)
Before the rout against Cy-Fair, DeSoto lost only to Duncanville in the regular season, 53-49. The team later avenged that loss with a 41-35 win and also beat the Panthers in the regional finals, 43-40. Despite Cy-Fair's margin of victory, it was still a great season and probably more of a case of Cy-Fair being one of the nation's very best teams.
14. Murrah (Jackson, Miss.) 32-2 (14)
The Lady Mustangs repeated as state Class 5A champion, the eighth state title for coach Anna Jackson. For the second straight year, Murrah then finished as runnerup in the Grand Slam event to Class 4A champion Indianola Gentry, 80-75, in two overtimes. LSU recruit LaSondra Barrett had 28 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Brandi Simmons scored 18 and Tanecka Carey had 14 points and eight assists.
15. Union (Tulsa, Okla.) 27-0 (16)
This school known for its prowess in football defeated the defending state champions from Sapulpa, 49-48, to capture the Class 6A state championship and finish the season with a perfect record. Leading the way for head coach Jim Stacy's team was junior Destinee Frierson, who averaged 21 points and made it seem it like it was destiny to not suffer a loss this season.
16. Barron Collier (Naples, Fla.) 31-3 (17)
Kelsey Assarian, a 6-foot-1 Texas A&M recruit, led the Cougars to the Class 5A state title with a 33-30 finals' win over defending champion Winter Haven. Assarian scored 16 points and collected seven rebounds. Together with senior teammates Erin Zambell and Dani Johnson, the team's combined record over four years was 116-11 with two state crowns.
17. Winter Haven (Winter Haven, Fla.) 30-3 (18)
UConn recruit Tiffany Hayes led the Blue Devils with nearly 20 ppg, but she and her teammates couldn't get untracked in Class 5A state title game loss to Barron Collier. Despite the loss, Hayes paced state title teams in 2005 and 2007 and the program also has now played in a state final for five straight years.
18. Mt. Notre Dame (Cincinnati, Ohio) 26-2 (28)
The Cougars won their third straight Division I state title by avenging an early-season loss to Lakota West with a 69-67 victory. The game ended in controversy, though, as in the finals seconds, after a steal, freshman Kathryn Reynolds drove for a basket and layup. Official ruled the shot good, but replays later showed she clearly had the ball in her hands as the buzzer sounded. Tia McBride led Mt. Notre Dame with 24 points as the team won its 24th straight game.
19. Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) 29-3 (19)
After last year's team got to the Class AAAAA semifinals, this year's team went all the way, downing city rival Redan, 58-43, in the title game after beating Mill Creek, 66-51, in the semis. Stephenson didn't have to deal with Collins Hill and Maya Moore in the same division, but the final surge was impressive enough to warrant a final top 20 ranking.
20. Prairie (Brush Prairie, Wash.) 21-4 (15)
After a 1-2 start in which the losses were to Long Beach Poly and Southridge, the Falcons bounced back to beat the Oregon team and then ended up losing in the Class 4A state semifinals to unbeaten Lewis & Clark. All-American Ashley Corral led the way for the Falcons all season long and just recently won the three-point shootout at the Powerade Jam Fest.
21. Sapulpa (Sapulpa, Okla.) 27-2 (20)
The defending state champions suffered just two losses on the season with a loss to Highlands Ranch at the Nike Tournament of Champions and then in the state championship game to undefeated Union by just one point, 49-48. A 23-game win streak after the loss to Highlands Ranch included wins over Christ the King of New York, Punahou of Hawaii and Shelbyville Central of Tennessee at the Nike Tournament of Champions. Six-foot-three Tennessee-bound senior Alyssia Brewer topped the Chieftains with 21.6 points per game and 15.5 rebounds per game.
|Elena Delle Donne can do at lot of things at 6-4 that top point guards do.|
22. Ursuline (Wilmington, Del.) 19-6 (30)
There was a point early in the year when Ursuline did not appear headed for another state championship. Two games into the season the Raiders' best player, Elena Delle Donne, was injuried and the team lost six of eight games to fall to 2-6. Delle Donne then returned and the team never lost again, including three wins over rival St. Elizabeth.
23. Midfield (Midfield, Ala.) 32-1 (21)
Head coach Reggie Ware's team won its second straight state Class 4A title with 84-52 finals romp of Deshler. Erica Bailey scored 25 and Meredith Mitchell netted 18. The team's only loss was to Bob Jones, but we rank Bob Jones higher because its margin of victory was greater, its win wasn't as early in the season and since it won a state title in the state's highest classification.
24. Shabazz (Newark, N.J.) 30-2 (22)
Head coach Vanessa Watson won her 500th career game in December and then led the Bulldogs to victory in the New Jersey Tournament of Champions, defeating Trenton Central 48-37 in the finals. Shabazz has now won four of the last six state titles with Jynae Judson leading the way on offense for this year's squad.
25. Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 30-3 (24)
The Dolphins went on a sweet ride in the Class 4A state playoffs, culminating in wins of 38-32 over Buffalo Grove and 54-45 over Bolingbrook in the semifinals and finals. Two of the team's losses were to city rival Marshall, but at least the Dolphins were able to beat the Commandos once as well.
26. Heritage Christian (Indianapolis, Ind.) 28-2 (23)
It's easy to rank the Eagles as the top team overall in Indiana since they own a head-to-head win over largest class state champ Carmel. Their only loss also was to out-of-state Paul Dunbar of Lexington, Ky. Heritage Christian won the Class 2A state final, 53-31, over Oak Hill of Converse.
27. Hoover (Hoover, Ala.) 30-2 (25)
Coach Don Quinn's team lost to Clay-Chalkville in the Class 6A state playoffs, but it can be ranked much higher due to two earlier wins over the same team. Hoover also notched several quality wins vs. out-of-state foes from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri.
28. Paint Branch (Paint Branch, Md.) 25-0 (35)
The Panthers are one loss away from a 41-game winning streak, but that loss in last year's championship game spurred the team on to an undefeated season and a Maryland Class 3A title. Paint Branch was led by stars Tarik Hislop, who averaged 21 points and seven rebounds per game, and Khalilah Quigley, who averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Panthers' average margin of victory this season was a whopping 30 points as they won every game by no less than eight.
29. Woodson (Washington, D.C.) 27-5 (26)
The Lady Warriors put the exclamation point on their season as they defeated FAB 50 Bishop McNamara, 61-55, to win the D.C. City title. Woodson was undefeated against D.C and Maryland opponents. Led by junior Bernisha Pinkett, who scored her 1,000th point earlier this season, the Warriors played a challenging schedule against the likes of Long Beach Poly, Christ the King (NY), Notre Dame Academy (Va.) and Bergtraum (NY).
30. Cardinal O'Hara (Springfield, Pa.) 25-2 (31)
Head coach Linus McGinty's squad would be the best from Pennsylvania this year as it didn't lose to another in-state team all season. The only losses were to Lexington Catholic of Kentucky and to Ursuline of Delaware (with a healthy Elena Delle Donne) while another key win was one against Bishop McNamara of Maryland.
31. Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) 32-5 (27)
First-year head coach Victoria Sanders and a trio of senior standouts – point guard Reiko Thomas, guard Danielle Lenoir and center Gabrielle Clark – lifted the Gauchos back to prominence in Southern California. They nearly upset Long Beach Poly in the SoCal Div. I regional final, forcing overtime before finally losing.
32. Lakota West (West Chester, Ohio) 26-2 (29)
The Firebirds bowed, 69-67, to two-time defending Division I state champ Mt. Notre Dame of Cincinnati in the state finals. Ohio Miss Basketball Amber Gray, a 6-1 University of Tennessee recruit and daughter of NFL player Carlton Gray, was the team's top player.
33. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 32-4 (36)
A 23-0 run in the second-half helped the Gaels defeat Reno, 65-48, as they won their third straight state title. Ashley Gayle, a 6-4 post and McDonald's All-American, had her third straight triple-double in the title game with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks. All four of the losses were to out-of-state teams, but it's the one to La Jolla Country Day of California that prevented us from ranking the Gaels higher.
34. Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 23-4 (39)
Chrissy Steffen scored a Class 4A record-tying 31 points and Danielle Havel added 16 points and 14 rebounds as the Greyhounds rolled to an 84-72 victory over defending Class 4A champ Washington of South Bend in the highest-scoring game in Indiana state finals history.
35. Washington (South Bend, Ind.) 23-3 (40)
Led by All-American Skylar Diggins, Washington was lethal once again and for the third straight year made it all the way to the Class 4A state final. This time, though, they were denied by Carmel, 84-72.
|Skylar Diggins is one of the nation's top juniors and already is nearly a legend in Indiana.|
36. Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) 24-9 (32)
The Mustangs won 25 games for the second straight year and once again played a tough schedule - with three games against No. 4 Notre Dame Academy (Va.). The Mustangs were led by Tiana Myer, who scored 19 points and was a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line as they defeated Good Counsel 55-48 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) championship game.
37. St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) 25-5 (33)
Led by sophomore Shatyra Hawkes, the Panthers defeated top-ranked Seton Keough to win the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship, 43-39. Hawkes averaged 17 points, three assists and three steals per game on her way to being named to the Baltimore Sun 1st Team.
38. Buffalo Grove (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) 33-4 (37)
Head coach Tom Dineen capped a 29-year career with a third straight trip to the Class 4A Final Four and while a loss to Whitney Young was another disappointment, a group of mostly senior standouts will be remembered for a long time at the suburban Chicago school.
39. Lake Gibson (Lakeland, Fla.) 26-4 (38)
Three of the four losses were to FAB 50-ranked Winter Haven, including the final one by just one point in the Class 5A state playoffs. The Braves also posted a win over Class 5A winner Barron Collier and beat Class 4A state champ Bishop Moore of Orlando twice.
40. Heritage (Virginia Beach, Va.) 24-1 (41)
The Hurricanes carved a path through the 3A division state playoffs this year - routinely winning games by more than 20 points. The largest margin of the season was a 85-6 thumping of Glouster on Jan. 11. Heritage defeated Forest Park 50-29 to win its first state title. The team also knocked off preseason FAB 50-ranked Hampton three times.
41. Auburn Riverside (Auburn, Wash.) 25-3 (43)
A 48-40 win over Kennedy of Seattle gave the Ravens their second straight Class 3A state title. With the win, they capped off an unheard of display of dominance that saw them open the state tournament with the largest margin of victory ever as they defeated Bainbridge by a 78-21 score. The other two state tourney wins were by 64-39 and 62-25 and the team's final record against teams from Washington was 25-0.
42. Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.) 26-2 (42)
It was an especially tough loss for the Giants to take in the Class 5A state semifinals as they fell to a Carmel team that they beat earlier in the season. Ben Davis then avenged an earlier loss to North Central by winning the third-place game and posted an impressive win against top Michigan team Detroit Country Day.
43. St. John the Baptist (West Islip, N.Y.) 24-5 (34)
A victory over Holy Trinity gave St. John the Baptist its fifth straight Nassau/Suffolk parochial school crown and then the team topped FAB 50-ranked St. Michael Academy to win the Catholic school state crown. The run ended with a loss to Murry Bergtraum last Sunday in the New York Federation state final. Six-foot-four junior Christine Huber was the team's top player.
44. Cinco Ranch (Katy, Texas) 30-8 (44)
The Cougars have more losses than the other nationally-ranked squads, but they defeated Bellaire when it counted most in the Region 3 quarterfinals, 50-48, to avenge an earlier loss. They also beat Fort Bend Marshall in the semifinals, 63-50, before losing to Cy-Fair. Three of the losses are to Cy-Fair.
45. Bellaire (Houston, Texas) 36-2 (45)
This team was soaring along in the rankings right up there with fellow Texas teams Cy-Fair and DeSoto, but has to go behind Cinco Ranch for the final rankings due to a 50-48 loss to the Cougars. Bellaire's only loss during the regular season was by 48-43 to Houston Madison.
46. Detroit Country Day (Birmingham, Mich.) 26-1 (46)
Sharena Taylor and Amber Moore both scored 10 points when Detroit Country Day topped Detroit Community, 46-40, to win its state-record ninth state title in the Class B final. The team's only loss was to No. 42-ranked Ben Davis of Indianapolis.
47. St. Michael's Academy (New York, N.Y.) 24-2 (47)
The loss to St. John the Baptist in the Catholic schools final prevented St. Michael's from getting a crack at Murry Bergtraum in the Federation state event, but the team did post several quality wins, including one against eventual New Jersey champ Shabazz.
48. Central (Andover, Kan.) 26-0 (48)
After winning their first 25 games of the season by double digits, the Jaguars had to rally from a 10-point deficit with under eight minutes to go to force overtime where they came away with a 41-39 win over Holton to win the Class 4A state championship. Senior Bailey Gee, headed to Missouri, led the Jaguars with 22 points and nine rebounds per game while sophomore Tiffany Bias averaged 18 points per game.
49. Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 27-0 (nr)
The Lady Demos captured their first state championship in school history, wrapping up an undefeated season with a 67-58 win over Hermiston in the Oregon Class 5A state championship.
50. Lincoln (Dallas, Texas) 29-4 (nr)
The Class 4A state champs lost their first three games of the season, including a 43-36 setback to DeSoto in the opener, but then won 27 of 28, including a three-point win over Dickinson in title game.
Previous No. 49 Trenton Central (Trenton, N.J.).
About Student Sports
We provide national high school content for SPARQ, Rivals.com and previously published Student Sports Magazine for 11 years. We produce the NIKE Football Training Camps, Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, the EA SPORTS All-American teams, the Area Code Games for baseball, the NIKE Premier 50 for girls soccer and numerous television projects. The FAB 50 football rankings are the official continuation of the original national rankings (National Sports News Service) begun in 1927. FAB 50 national rankings also are compiled in boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys soccer and girls soccer. The Student Sports High School Network on Rivals.com also is the largest high school sports network in the world.