BENSALEM, Pa. – Shhhh, quiet please!
As the regular season segues into the postseason nationwide, and in some states the championship is quickly approaching, the Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings remain intact. No one joins and there are no subtractions. It was a quiet week but that won’t last for long as March is nearly here.
For the second straight week, Miami (Fla.) Country Day, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) and Centennial (Las Vegas) are 1-2-3 in the rankings.
No. 25 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) slips eight spots after a buzzer-beating, road loss at Saginaw Heritage, a Class A school. The Yellowjackets are still the favorite in Class B but have no margin for error the rest of the way.
No. 17 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) becomes the first Elite 25 team to capture a postseason tournament after winning the second consecutive Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title. This weekend at least five teams are looking to be crowed state or tournament champions, most notably No. 3 Centennial in Nevada Class 4A in their hometown of Las Vegas.
The next flight of Elite 25 rankings comes out March 1. Check back regularly at www.bluestarmedia.org for updates from around the basketball universe. Our contributors have the pulse of the girls’ basketball scene. I’ll be in the United Kingdom this week, spending business time in London and will report on anything that pops overseas.
Until the next time, cheerio! Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Girls’ Basketball rankings, Feb. 22, 2017
1. Miami (Fla.) Country Day (27-1)
Previous rank: 1.
Low-down: The Lady Spartans booked their ticket to the Class 4A state tournament, eliminating The Benjamin School (Palm Beach Gardens), 73-27, in the Region 4 final. They’ll play Seffner Christian in the 4A semifinals in The Lakeland Center Wednesday afternoon. The winner gets SLAM Academy (Miami) or Providence School (Jacksonville) Friday in the final. The Lady Spartans for going for a fourth straight state crown.
2. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (27-1)
Low-down: Junior F Amira Collins led three double-digit scorers in an 83-23 win over Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.) for a 10th straight victory. The Panthers went 17-1 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference with the tournament to commence this week.
3. Centennial, Las Vegas (29-2)
Low-down: Won the Class 4A Sunset Region crown, defeating Spring Valley (Las Vegas), 66-20. Justice Ethridge tallied 16 points and Eboni Walker had 15. The Lady Bulldogs play Thursday in the 4A state semifinals against Bishop Manogue (Reno, Nev.) or Liberty (Henderson) at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion. The final is Friday.
4. Monacan, North Chesterfield, Va. (24-0)
Low-down: All-American G Megan Walker (25 points) and Jasmine Norman (20) teamed for 45 points in a 92-56 win over Midlothian in the Conference 20 championship. The Lady Chiefs moved onto the Group 4A East Region tournament, which started Tuesday. The semifinals are Thursday and the final is Friday.
5. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (25-2)
Low-down: The Cadets concluded the regular season with three WCAC wins last week, including a 63-51 victory over Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.). Niya Beverley, Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo and Sydney Wood scored 16 points apiece. Up next are the must-see WCAC playoffs.
6. Riverdale, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (27-0)
Low-down: Anastasia Hayes hit key free throws in the waning seconds to secure the District 7-AAA championship, rallying past Stewarts Creek (Smyrna), 57-55. A 10-2 spurt late in the third quarter gave the Lady Warriors the lead for good. They also stopped Smyrna, 81-46, in the semifinals as junior Brinae Alexander went over 1,000 career points. The regional quarterfinals are Friday and semifinals on Monday.
7. Grandview, Aurora, Colo. (19-1)
Low-down: The Wolves went 14-0 in the Centennial Conference and received a bye to the Class 5A state second round on Friday. The Sweet 16 is Feb. 28.
8. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif. (22-2)
Low-down: Coach Sue Phillips’ teams take a 16-game win streak into the CIF-Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs that get underway Friday. The top-seeded Monarchs face St. Francis (Mountain View) in the quarterfinals with winner getting Valley Christian (San Jose) or Atherton (Menlo) in the semifinals on Feb. 28. The championship game is March 3 at Santa Clara University’s Leavy Center.
9. Clovis West, Fresno, Calif. (27-2)
Low-down: The Golden Eagles clocked Clovis, 77-41, in the regular season and now have a matchup with Stockdale (Bakersfield) or Bullard (Fresno) in the CIF-Central Section Division 1 quarterfinals on Thursday. The semifinals are Feb. 28 and the final is March 4.
10. Poly, Long Beach, Calif. (22-3)
Low-down: The top-seeded Jackrabbits dumped Brea Olinda, 62-33, in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Open Division. USC-bound Ayanna Clark put up 15 points and 13 rebounds and coach Carl Buggs won his 500th game. Up next is Ventura in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
11. Amarillo, Texas (35-1)
Low-down: The Sandies faced Burge (El Paso) in the Class 5A, Region 1 quarterfinals on Tuesday in Artesia, N.M. If they advance expect two-time state champion Canyon waiting to avenge a regular season setback.
12. Butler, Louisville, Ky. (27-2)
Low-down: The regular season closed with two wins last week and 22nd District tournament opens Thursday against Iroquois (Louisville).
13. Montini Catholic, Lombard, Ill. (30-1)
Low-down: Defeated Proviso East (Maywood), 77-47, in the Class 4A sectional semifinal. The Argo sectional final is Thursday. In the Oak Lawn regional final, the Lady Broncos edged Downers Grove North, 46-39.
14. Fayetteville, Ark. (25-2)
Low-down: It was an emotional night on Tuesday as the Lady Bulldogs held their Senior Night ceremonies and then the regular season closer at Van Buren is Friday. The Class 7A state tournament tips on March 1.
15. Timberview, Mansfield, Texas (34-2)
Low-down: The Wolves won their Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal matchup with Crowley, 65-49. They move into the Region 2 semifinals on Friday.
16. Duncanville, Texas (34-2)
Low-down: After peeling off two wins in the playoffs last week, the Pantherettes played in the Class 6A, Region 1 quarterfinals Tuesday against DeSoto in Grand Prairie.
17. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (27-0)*
Low-down: Won a second consecutive Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship and completed the first undefeated regular season in a 56-47 win over regionally ranked McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.). It marked the 10th IAAM title since 2001. Junior G Nia Clouden scored 12 of her 15 points in the pivotal second quarter and cracked the 1,000-point barrier. Freshman Angel Reese contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Panthers also topped Seton Keough (Baltimore), 62-45, in the semifinals and won’t play again until the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Tournament on March 2 in Cumberland, Md.
18. Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (19-1)
Low-down: Idle. The influential National Association of Christian Athletes National Tournament starts Wednesday in Dayton, Tenn. The tournament has a round-robin format with teams playing four games in three days. The Hawks are 9-1 in the their last 10 games and 17-1 in road games.
19. Mesquite, Gilbert, Ariz. (29-1)
Low-down: The Wildcats play Chaparral (Scottsdale) Thursday in the Conference 5A state semifinals. The winner meets Cienega (Vail) or Sierra Linda (Phoenix) in the championship game on Monday.
20. Norcross, Ga. (26-2)
Low-down: The Lady Blue Devils opened the Class AAAAAAA state tournament topping West Forsyth (Cumming), 65-38, in the first round. They’ll play Marietta in the second round Wednesday.
21. Destrehan, La. (32-0)
Low-down: Defeated New Iberia, 75-48, in the Class 5A second round and Airline (Bossier City), 79-27, in the first round. The quarterfinals vs. Ouachita Parish are Thursday.
22. Olive Branch, Miss. (29-1)
Low-down: Swept two games to win the Region 1-6A championship. Up next is a Friday date in the Class 6A state second round with Hernando or Warren Central (Vicksburg).
23. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Minn. (25-0)
Low-down: Defeated Woodbury, 73-27, and Wayzata (Plymouth), 89-52. The regular season closes Thursday with Eden Prairie.
24. Seton Catholic Prep, Chandler, Ariz. (27-3)
Low-down: The Sentinels beat Shadow Mountain (Phoenix), 61-41, in the quarterfinals and Rio Rico, 90-22, in the first round of the 4A Conference state tournament. The semifinals vs. Coconino are Wednesday and the championship is Friday.
25. Detroit Country Day School, Beverly Hills, Mich. (16-1)
Low-down: Upset by Heritage (Saginaw), 36-35. A busy week has the Yellowjackets playing three times, capped with the Class B district tournament tipping on Monday with Notre Dame Prep (Pontiac). They’ll need to win out to stay in the Elite 25.
High-Fives by Region
- Ursuline Academy, Wilmington, Del. (18-1)
- Rutgers Prep, Somerset, N.J. (23-1)
- North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (21-1)
- St. Rose, Belmar, N.J. (23-3)
- McDonogh, Owings Mills, Md. (24-3)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Edwardsville, Ill. (29-0)
- Rock Island, Ill. (31-1)
- Homestead, Fort Wayne, Ind. (27-2)
- Appleton (Wis.) North (22-0)
- Newark, Ohio (23-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Ribault, Jacksonville, Fla. (24-3)
- St. Francis, Alpharetta, Ga. (24-4)
- Clear Springs, League City, Texas (28-3)
- Deshler, Tuscumbia, Ala. (33-0)
- Fort Gibson, Okla. (24-0)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Central Valley, Spokane Valley, Wash. (23-0)
- Mission Hills, San Marcos, Calif. (26-2)
- La Salle Catholic College Prep, Milwaukie, Ore. (20-2)
- Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland, Calif. (25-3)
- Carondelet, Concord, Calif. (24-4)
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
* Won a state, national or conference/league postseason tournament championship
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.