Fullerton emerges as state's top-ranked team in first coaches poll

Fullerton emerges as state's top-ranked team in first coaches poll

RIVERSIDE - Fullerton, second to East Los Angeles in the preseason Southern California Regional Poll, has emerged as the state’s top team in the first statewide CCCMBCA poll conducted by the coaches.

The Hornets, led by Ronnie Stapp, Kobe Newton, Sean Newman Jr., and a deep bench, edged West Valley for the top spot. Fullerton winners of its first four games, face a challenging schedule the next few weeks. Tonight (Nov. 23), Fullerton hosts No. 21 Santa Monica, the only team in the rankings with a losing record. But when you figure the Corsairs have lost to No. 1 Fullerton (by 15 points); to No. 8 West LA (by 14); to No. 6 East Los Angeles (by 8 and by 13) you can understand why the coaches still think Santa Monica is a top 30 team.

After Santa Monica, Fullerton is looking at road games at No. 16 San Diego City and No. 29 Mt. San Jacinto and home contests against a hard-nosed Irvine Valley team followed by No. 4 Ventura. In between the Hornets will host their 27th Classic, featuring No. 12 Citrus, No. 9 West Los Angeles, No. 10 Sequoias, and No. 20 Los Angeles Southwest. Fullerton’s side of the bracket features West Los Angeles, Sequoias and Los Angeles Southwest. Will someone be able to swat the Hornets?

Fullerton received nearly all of the first-place votes. Preseason No.1’s — City College of San Francisco and East Los Angeles — find themselves at No. 3 and No. 6, respectively.

West Valley, a distant second to Fullerton (by 42 points) for the top spot, edged San Francisco by 14 points for the No. 2 ranking thanks to its nail-biting 73-70 victory over the Rams on Nov. 19. West Valley, which has two games remaining in November, hosts No. 14 College of San Mateo on the 27th in a key game. Meanwhile, San Francisco, who won’t play again this month, hosts No. 10 Sequoias on December 4 as part of its Golden Gate Classic.

Ventura and San Bernardino round out the top 5. Ventura is a perfect 6-0, one of seven remaining unbeatens. Wins over Canyons and Riverside, both ranked teams ensure the Pirates had a place in the top 5. Ventura, which will compete in the Antelope Valley and Santa Barbara tournaments, has key games coming up against No. 10 Sequoias and No. 1 Fullerton, December 18-19, at the Wyndham/Mannon Classic in Visalia.

No. 5 San Bernardino faces a test tonight when the Wolverines cross the county line to take on No. 12 Riverside in what will be both teams’ only game this week.

East Los Angeles lands at No. 6 after two losses, one by 29 points to San Francisco. The Huskies close out the month with a road contest with No. 29 Cerritos, and then over the course of eight days in December face — Saddlebacdk, Mt. San Jacinto, Riverside, and Citrus — all on the road. Make your plans to be in Riverside for AHF Tournament.

West LA lands at No. 7 after splitting games with No. 5 San Bernardino. This week, West LA travels to LA Trade Tech.

Columbia is eighth, but the Claim Jumpers’ opponents are a combined 9-22. Columbia will see its first real test in Butte (4-2), which narrowly missed moving into this week’s poll on Saturday (Nov. 27). Santiago Canyon lands at No. 9, followed by Sequoias to round out the top 10. Santiago Canyon squares off against No. 27 Mt. San Antonio on Wednesday (Nov. 24) in its only game this week. Meanwhile, Sequoias, which was shocked by Palo Verde to open the season, has won three straight headed into a road contest tonight (Nov. 23).

This week also features a first-round match-up between No. 17 SD Miramar and an interesting undefeated No. 22 LA Harbor squad in the first round of the Palomar Thanksgiving Tournament. LA Harbor opened the season as the south's No. 22 ranked team, but an impressive overtime win over No. 11 Citrus last week caught the eye of pollsters. 

Next state poll is December 7.

(Robert Schmidt, CCCMBCA)

CCCMBCA POLL (Nov. 23)
Rk. School Record
1. Fullerton  4-0
2. West Valley  5-0
3. City College of San Francisco  4-1
4. Ventura  6-0
5. San Bernardino Valley 4-2
6. East Los Angeles  5-2
7. West Los Angeles 4-1
8. Columbia  6-0
9. Santiago Canyon  4-1
10. College of the Sequoias 3-1
11. Citrus  4-1
12. Riverside City 4-2
13. College of San Mateo 6-0
14. San Diego City  4-1
15. San Jose City  7-1
16. Los Medanos  5-0
17. San Diego Miramar  4-1
18. College of the Canyons 5-1
19. Las Positas  5-1
20. L.A. Southwest 6-1
21. Santa Monica  3-4
22. L.A. Harbor 4-0
23. College of the Redwoods 5-1
24. Contra Costa  5-1
25. Cerro Coso  4-1
26. Porterville  5-1
27. Mt. San Antonio 5-1
28. Chabot  4-3
29. Cerritos  3-2
T30. Mt. San Jacinto 3-2
T30. Santa Rosa 3-3
T30. Monterey Peninsula 5-1