BENSALEM, Pa. – Miami (Fla.) Country Day is the No. 1 team for the second straight week in the Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings. All but one team will return to the Elite 25; it was a week where every body won, with the Florida and Indiana schools entering their postseason.
This week’s newcomer is No. 20 Mesquite (Gilbert, Ariz.), replacing Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.), which dropped a game in the final weekend of region play. The Wildcats are Arizona’s top-ranked squad regardless of conference. They are currently atop the 5A Conference heap, having won 21 straight games since losing to No. 25 Seton Catholic Prep (Chandler) in December.
Now it’s time to pass out kudos for the season’s first state championship winners from Honolulu, Hawaii.
On the island of Oahu, Konawaena (Kealakekua, Hawaii) three-peated in Division I, knocking off top-seeded Maryknoll (Honolulu), 53-48. Coach Bobbie Awa has guided the Wildcats to eight titles in 16 years. Mid-Pacific Institute (Honolulu) beat Kamehameha (Keaau), 63-38, to capture the Division II championship.
A big Second City shout out to Marshall (Chicago) coach Dorothy Gaters, who bagged the program’s first Chicago Public League championship since 2004 and 24th overall on Sunday after turning back North Lawndale, 65-56. Gaters is Illinois’ winningest basketball coach, boys included, and notched her 1,049th victory in the process. Juliunn Redmond had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, and Tekia Mack netted 23 points for Marshall (26-0), which hopes to claim a ninth state under the veteran coach when the Class 3A playoffs begin. Keep an eye on the Commandos.
The next flight of Elite 25 rankings comes out on February 15. Check back regularly at www.bluestarmedia.org for updates from around the basketball universe. Our contributors have the pulse of the girls’ basketball scene.
The good stories from the girls’ game will emerge when the games mean the most. Once the single-elimination state tournaments begin, it’s go home or advance to the next round. Don’t forget that Senior Night is a special time nationwide, where schools fete their players from the Class of 2017. It is one last chance to see them play on their home court. Consider it a good enough reason to get out and watch a game. So please support your local high schools. Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Girls’ Basketball rankings, Feb. 8, 2017
1. Miami (Fla.) Country Day (25-1)
Previous rank: 1.
Low-down: Won the District 6-4A tournament, defeating Sagemont (Weston), 76-26, in the final. The Lady Spartans open the Region 4 Tournament Thursday against Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale) in the semifinals.
2. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (20-1)
Low-down: Junior F Jaylin Carodine flipped in 12 points to help edge Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), 52-50. Aisha Sheppard nailed a late 3-pointer rallying the Cadets. Also topped St. Mary’s Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.) moving the win streak to 13 games and 12-0 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
3. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (21-1)
Low-down: The rematch with No. 2 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) is Sunday afternoon but first the Panthers play pesky Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) on Friday.
4. Centennial, Las Vegas (25-2)
Low-down: Arizona-bound Samantha Thomas scored 15 points to help turn back Legacy (Las Vegas), 61-16. The season finale is Thursday against Arbor View (Las Vegas).
5. Monacan, North Chesterfield, Va. (21-0)
Low-down: The Lady Chiefs cranked out two wins by more 33 points or better and Connecticut-bound Megan Walker will be the national player of year. First she went for 31 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a 93-60 triumph over Huguenot (Richmond). Coach Larry Starr’s team also doubled up Cosby (Midlothian), 82-41, as Walker threw in 22 points and nearly put one down (a.k.a. dunk!).
6. Riverdale, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (23-0)
Low-down: The district schedule wrapped up Tuesday at LaVergne and then Baylor School (Chattanooga) visits on Monday.
7. Grandview, Aurora, Colo. (15-1)
Low-down: UCLA-bound G Michaela Onyenwere contributed 22 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals during a 67-36 win over Arapahoe. The Wolves have three games in four days this week,
8. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif. (18-2)
Low-down: Defeated Presentation (San Jose), 70-35, and Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco), 82-62.
9. Butler, Louisville, Ky. (25-1)
Low-down: The Bearettes drubbed two more opponents. The finish line is in sight.
10. Clovis West, Fresno, Calif. (24-2)
Low-down: Coach Craig Campbell’s crew has three games left in the regular season, which ends on Feb. 15.
11. Poly, Long Beach, Calif. (18-3)
Low-down: After mopping up in the Moore League, the Lady Jackrabbits recorded an impressive 82-5645 win over Windward (Los Angeles).
12. Amarillo, Texas (32-1)
Low-down: The Lady Sandies beat Palo Duro (Amarillo), 56-32, on Senior Night.
13. Montini Catholic, Lombard, Ill. (25-1)
Low-down: Won the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Tournament title, defeating Trinity (River Forest), 60-50, in the final. The Lady Broncos are top seed in the Summit Sectional and open play on Feb. 15.
14. Fayetteville, Ark. (21-2)
Low-down: Defeated Bentonville, 66-52. This week the slate includes Bentonville West (on Tuesday) and Rogers (Friday).
15. North Central, Indianapolis (26-0)
Low-down: Won the Class 4A Warren Central Sectional, beating Cathedral (Indianapolis), 56-41. Up next are the Decatur Regional semifinals Saturday vs. New Castle.
16. Timberview, Mansfield, Texas (30-2)
Low-down: The Wolves are cruising into the bi-district playoff game after pummeling Lancaster, 74-48. Chennedy Carter fired in 31 points in a 69-63 comeback win over rivals Mansfield Legacy.
17. Duncanville, Texas (31-2)
Low-down: Hannah Gusters scored 16 points to lead a balanced attack in a 73-48 win over South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie). The regular season finale is Tuesday at DeSoto.
18. Detroit Country Day School, Beverly Hills, Mich. (13-0)
Low-down: Kaela Webb (24 points) and Destiny Pitts (17) totaled 41 points during a
67-55 win over Edison (Detroit). The Yellowjackets host Grosse Point South on Thursday.
19. Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (18-1)
Low-down: Idle. The Lady Hawks are back at it Friday.
20. Mesquite, Gilbert, Ariz. (26-1)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Arizona’s top-ranked team is the favorite to win the Conference 5A Conference state championship and concluded the regular season on Tuesday with crosstown rival Williams Field.
21. Norcross, Ga. (23-2)
Low-down: Two lopsided wins capped the regular season, earning the No. 1 seed in the Region 7- AAAAAAA tournament that tipped this week.
22. Destrehan, La. (26-0)
Low-down: Louisiana’s top-ranked team ran the win streak to 26 games, thrashing East St. John (Reserve), 60-43.
23. Olive Branch, Miss. (26-1)
Low-down: The season concludes Tuesday at Byhalia. G Myah Taylor, a Mississippi State recruit, pumped in a game-high 29 points in an 85-22 trouncing of Fayette-Ware (Somerville, Tenn.).
24. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Minn. (21-0)
Low-down: Paige Bueckers bucketed 26 points to help defeat Washington (Sioux Falls, S.D.), 72-58. The Royals can’t look ahead to the Class 4A playoffs.
25. Seton Catholic Prep, Chandler, Ariz. (25-3)
Low-down: The Sentinels closed out the regular season, defeating Bradshaw Mountain (Prescott Valley), 69-22. The 4A Conference state tournament tips on Feb. 14. The defending champions will have stiff competition this time.
Dropped: No. 20 Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.).
High-Fives by Region
- St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (23-0)
- National Christian Academy, Fort Washington, Md. (16-3)
- Ursuline Academy, Wilmington, Del. (14-1)
- Rutgers Prep, Somerset, N.J. (20-1)
- North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (20-1)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Edwardsville, Ill. (24-0)
- Rock Island, Ill. (27-1)
- Homestead, Fort Wayne, Ind. (24-2)
- Appleton (Wis.) North (19-0)
- Newark, Ohio (20-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Ribault, Jacksonville, Fla. (21-3)
- St. Francis, Alpharetta, Ga. (21-4)
- Clear Springs, League City, Texas (27-3)
- Deshler, Tuscumbia, Ala. (28-0)
- Fort Gibson, Okla. (19-0)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Central Valley, Spokane Valley, Wash. (20-0)
- Mission Hills, San Marcos, Calif. (22-2)
- La Salle Catholic College Prep, Milwaukie, Ore. (17-2)
- Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland, Calif. (18-3)
- Carondelet, Concord, Calif. (18-4)
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
About: The Blue Star Media Elite 25 High School Girls Basketball Rankings are released weekly from November until the conclusion of the high school season. Criteria considered are the quality of the team and its players, strength of schedule, tradition, and quality of the team’s league, conference, region or district. The rankings are compiled by Blue Star Media’s Christopher Lawlor, who consults with a national network of coaches, talent evaluators and prep sports writers. The final rankings will be released in April. Follow him on Twitter at #clawlor.