Berkeley to face nation’s top-ranked girls hoops team

St. Mary’s of Stockton, the No. 1-ranked girls basketball team in the country will be in the East Bay tonight, taking on Berkeley at the Campolindo Shootout in Moraga. Tip off is set for 6:30 p.m.

The Rams have quite possibly the most talented backcourt in the nation with Duke-bound Chelsea Gray and Cal-bound Afure Jemerigbe. Gray is rated as the nation’s No. 4 prospect (and No. 2 guard) for the class of 2010, while Jemerigbe is No. 15 overall, according to Hoopgurlz.

But Berkeley comes into the game with some good momentum following a 56-49 victory over Carondelet at the MLK Classic on Monday. Brittany Boyd had a big day for the Yellowjackets in that one, and the junior point guard will be relied upon again tonight if Berkeley has any hope of breaking the Rams’ famed full-court press.

St. Mary’s (18-1) began the season as the nation’s top-ranked team by ESPN Rise and USA Today, but dropped a few spots after falling to Mater Dei 66-60 in the title game of the Nike Tournament of Champions back in mid-December. Mater Dei became the new No. 1 team in those polls, but just lost to Brea Olinda on MLK Day. Brea probably would have been the new No. 1 team, but they have a loss to St. Mary’s from the Nike TOC, complicating the polls greatly. So, St. Mary’s is once again the top-ranked team, and it’s hard to argue with that looking at what they’ve done lately. Part of the Rams’ 11-game winning streak includes a 42-point victory over Sacramento (which owns some very impressive wins itself) and a 24-point win over Archbishop Mitty. Last Saturday St. Mary’s put up 104 points on Capital Christian.

Here’s the rest of the Campolindo Shootout schedule:

10:30 a.m.: Pinole Valley vs. Livermore
Noon: Castlemont vs. El Camino
1:30 p.m.: Northgate vs. Fairfield
3:30 p.m.: Campolindo vs. Lincoln-SF
5 p.m.: St. Mary’s (Berkeley) vs. Deer Valley
8 p.m.: Alameda vs. Dublin

Another girls game of interest tonight: Carondelet travels to Mitty at 7 p.m. for a rematch of last year’s NorCal semifinal, which the Cougars won 76-73.

Stephanie Hammon

  • E_CULB

    WOW the Jackets went toe to toe with SMS and gave them all they wanted. But alas too many 2nd chance points and key three pointer by the Rams and Brekeley goes down. Great game to be at though. Evern in defeat I think the Jackets are the #1 team in the Bay!

  • Stephanie Hammon

    I was super impressed with Berkeley tonight. Brittany Boyd plays HARD, but the whole team I thought played really well and the Jackets are hands down the most athletic East Bay girls team I’ve seen this year. E_Culb I agree with your assessment on the second chance points. The rebounding was what helped Berkeley take the double digit lead in the first half, but then they struggled with it more in the second. The Rams also finally starting hitting their 3’s after being ice cold much of the first half.

    As for St. Mary’s, Chelsea Gray is worth the hype. What a player. I think that ankle injury looked worse than it ended up being, but she said afterward she was definitely playing in pain and you could see her hobbling on it sporadically. Jemerigbe only had an ok game, but I’m looking forward to seeing her play at Cal next year.

  • e_culb

    Hearing her say that she was playing in pain almost makes it feel worse for me. Now I know she should have had a player make Gray work up and down the court, and not just let her freely dribble the ball up the court.

  • Stephanie Hammon

    I think it was more of a strong discomfort than excruciating pain, but I see what you’re saying.

    It seems like Berkeley has improved a lot since the Jamboree. Another reporter told me St. Marys’ press forces about 40 turnovers a game and Berkeley probably had half that. I’m surprised Berkeley struggled so much with the Potter’s House press considering they did a really good job with the Rams’ press, at least compared to other teams. Can’t believe the vast majority of Berkeley’s team is juniors or younger.

  • Prep Fan

    You called it again E_Culb. Berkeley gave the Rams all they could handle. I wish there was a way for Berkeley to play BOD this year, so we could answer the question as to who is the top team in the East Bay. We’ll see how the Times’ rankings come out tomorrow, but the Jackets sure made a strong statement for #1 last night.

    Berkeley beat Carondelet, who split 2 games with BOD, losing one in OT and winning the other in another close game at the WCJ. Berkeley played very well and beat Carondelet in a close game earlir this week at Haas. I think all 3 of those teams are very close, and are definitely the top 3 teams, with St. Mary’s probably #4.

    Unfortunately, they each play in a different division, so we won’t get to see them play against each other in the playoffs. On the other hand, that is better because we get to see all 4 advance and represent the East Bay and NorCal in the playoffs. Each of those teams should be the favorites to win NCS in their respective divisions.

  • Prep Fan

    I meant to say BOD lost in OT to Carondelet, and then beat them last month at the West Coast Jamboree, not the other way around. No way to make corrections once it is posted. Either way, they split 2 games and Berkeley beat Carondelet, so Berkeley has as much of an argument to #1 as BOD (IMHO). But both are great teams and should go far in the postseason.

  • I attend most of St. Mary’s games and Berkeley played us very tough. They are well coached and have talent.

    Chelsea Gray proved again why she is one of the best players in the USA. It is a thrill to watch her. She gutted out a bad sprain.

    The winner last night was Women’s HS Basketball. It was great to see all the ladies play hard and thanks to the Campolindo organizers.

  • E_CULB

    True that just a great WBB game!

  • I haven’t seen Berk play yet, but right now, just what I see on paper, it could go either way between Berk and BOD. BOD lost to Carondolet the 1st time in OT by four, the second time around they beat them by the same 7 points Berk beat them by. Anyhow, it would be great if they could play each other, but the East bay should be proud to boast two women’s basketball powerhouses that will hopefully rep us well 🙂