BENSALEM, Pa. – Miami (Fla.) Country Day, Centennial (Las Vegas) and St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) maintained their lock on the top three spot in the Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings.
All three teams have completed their seasons, but the top-ranked Spartans are expected to be handed an invitation to the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Tournament as the No. 1 seed and play in the prestigious four-team bracket that tips off on March 31 in New York.
The main movement in the top 10 saw Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Monacan (North Chesterfield, Va.) exchanged fourth and fifth, Both teams look to defend state championships this weekend. No. 16 Canyon (Texas) won the Texas Class 5A state championship and moved up seven positions.
No. 25 Geneva (Ill.), an unheralded Class 4A team from the western Chicago suburbs in Kane County, annexed a state championship in dramatic fashion, scoring two one-point wins at the state tournament in Normal, Ill. Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.), an upset victim in the semifinals, is bounced from the Elite 25 but did win the third-place game.
All told 12 teams from the Elite 25 have won state or national postseason tournament championships and two schools, St. John’s College and St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) have won two. This week at least six Elite 25 teams can clinch state championships in Arkansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia, Regional teams in New Jersey and Delaware are also targeting state hardware.
The next round of Elite 25 rankings will be released March 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.
With less than a month remaining in some states, it’s time to head over to the gym. You’ll be glad you did. Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Girls’ Basketball rankings, March 8, 2017
1. Miami (Fla.) Country Day (29-1)*
Previous rank: 1.
Low-down: Idle. The Spartans will take a break before regrouping for the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Tournament tipping on March 31 in New York.
2. Centennial, Las Vegas (31-2)*
Low-down: Won a third straight Nevada Class 4A state championship. Season complete.
3. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (30-2)* *
Low-down: For the second weekend in a row, the Cadets nabbed a major postseason tournament title. This time they captured the District of Columbia State Athletic Association championship, besting Georgetown Visitation, 63-51. Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo (she is the niece of Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo) scored 17 points. In the semifinals, the Cadets popped Sidwell Friends, 65-30, as Aisha Sheppard, a Virginia Tech signee, scored 9 points to lead a balanced attack. Season complete.
4. Riverdale, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (31-0)
Low-down: Won the Class AAA regional, defeating Stewarts Creek (Smyrna), 76-54, and then crushed Cumberland County (Crossville), 79-58, in the sectional final. Tennessee-bound G Anastasia Hayes scored 17 points but injured her ankle with her status unknown for the states. The AAA state tournament opens Wednesday vs. Morristown West. The semifinals are Friday and the title game is Saturday, all games will be played at Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.
5. Monacan, North Chesterfield, Va. (29-0)
Low-down: The Lady Chiefs are back in the Group 4A state championship game for the third consecutive year game after knocking off Lake Taylor (Norfolk), 66-50, with Megan Walker scoring 23 points. Walker, who cracked the career 2,000-point barrier last week, was named the WBCA Player of the Year. This will be the first of many national honors for Walker, who will play in the McDonald’s All-American Game later this month. Up next is the 4A final Friday vs. King’s Fork (Suffolk) at VCU’s Siegel Center in Richmond.
6. Grandview, Aurora, Colo. (22-1)
Low-down: Junior G Jaiden Galloway flipped in 29 points to help defeat Doherty (Colorado Springs), 88-46, in the Class 5A Great 8 (quarterfinals). Also beat Arapahoe (Centennial), 82-44, in the Sweet 16. Up next is the Final 4, with the Wolves playing Regis Jesuit (Aurora) in the semifinals on Thursday. The final is Saturday at the Denver Coliseum.
7. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif. (24-2)
Low-down: Madeline Holland scored 23 points and Haley Jones added 17 points and 9 rebounds to capture the CIF-Central Coast Section Open Division title, topping Pinewood School (Los Altos Hills), 65-57. In the semifinals, the Monarchs thumped Valley Christian (San Jose), 79-41. Up next is the CIF-Northern Region Open Division first round on Friday against Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep (San Francisco). The semifinals are March 14.
8. Clovis West, Fresno, Calif. (30-2)
Low-down: Won the CIF-Central Section Division 1 final, thumping Clovis, 54-22, for a 15th-straight victory. In the semifinals, the Golden Eagles stopped Central (Fresno), 57-38. Up next is Troy (Fullerton) in the CIF-Southern Regional first round on Friday. The winner faces The Bishop’s School (La Jolla) or Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) in the semifinals on March 14.
9. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (32-2)*
Low-down: Won an 11th straight Virginia Independent Schools Division I state tournament, St. Anne’s-Belfield (Charlottesville), 70-49, in the final. Notre Dame-bound Mikayla Vaughn netted 17 points and Amira Collins had 16 for pace four double-digits scorers. Also defeated Bishop O’Connell (Arlington), 66-39, in the semifinals and Potomac School (McLean), 81-33, in the quarterfinals. Season complete.
10. Poly, Long Beach, Calif. (25-3)
Low-down: Won the CIF-Southern Section Open Division championship, taking down Harvard-Westlake (Studio City), 68-52, for the school’s 120th CIF championship. USC-bound Ayanna Clark, a McDonald’s All-American, pumped in a game-high 20 points. Time for another trophy case! Up next is Fairfax (Los Angeles) in the CIF-Southern Regional first round, with the winner playing Etiwanda or Mission Hills (San Marcos) in the semifinals on March 14. The final is March 18.
11. Butler, Louisville, Ky. (32-2)
Low-down: Won the Sixth Region, edging Bullitt East (Mount Washington), 50-42. Junior C Molly Lockhart netted 14 points. In the semifinals, the Bearettes clobbered Mercy (Louisville), 59-39, as Lockhart contributed 18 points, 11 rebounds and blocked 4 shots. Up next is the Sweet 16 State Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Center in Highland Heights against crosstown rival Sacred Heart Academy.
12. Fayetteville, Ark. (29-2)
Low-down: Coach Vic Rimmer’s club defeated Central (Little Rock), 49-40, in the Class 7A semifinals and Conway, 63-45, in the quarterfinals as freshman Sasha Goforth netted 16 points. The 7A final is this weekend at the Hot Springs Convention Center against North Little Rock, where the Lady Purple ‘Dogs aim for a second title in three years.
13. Duncanville, Texas (39-2)*
Low-down: Won a second consecutive Class 6A state championship and the program’s 10th overall in a 76-65 win over Cypress Ranch (Houston) in the final at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Coach Cathy Self-Morgan bagged her 1,100th victory in the process. Zarielle Green scored 25 points and Aniya Thomas added 19, including five 3-pointers. In the semifinals, the Pantherettes beat Converse Judson, 53-41, on the strength of defense and rebounding. Season complete.
14. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (30-0)* *
Low-down: Won the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Tournament, stopping league rival McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), 61-46, in the final at Cumberland, Md. Also stopped Elizabeth Seton (Bladensburg, Md.), 56-51, in the semifinals and Bishop Walsh, 103-29, in the first round. Season complete.
15. Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (28-1)*
Low-down: For a second straight week, the Lady Hawks won a national tournament, this time they annexed the USA Prep National Championship, toppling National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, Md.), 61-50, in the final in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. They also won the National Association of Christian Athletes Division I National Tournament in Tennessee. The Lady Hawks are under consideration for an invite to the DICK’S Nationals and deserve it! Season complete.
16. Canyon, Texas (31-3)*
Low-down: Won a fourth consecutive Class 5A state championship, edging then-No. 16 Timberview (Mansfield), 47-45, for the program’s 19th overall crown. Game MVP Angel Hayden had 16 points, making 12 of 14 free throws, hauled down 6 rebounds and dished off 4 assists. The Eagles trailed 37-32 after three but railed late when Hayden’s layup with 67 seconds left gave the winners a 46-45 lead. In the semifinals, they defeated Barbers Hill (Mont Belvieu), 66-39, as Hayden flipped in 29. Season complete.
17. Mesquite, Gilbert, Ariz. (31-1)*
Low-down: Won the 5A Conference state championship. Season complete.
18. Norcross, Ga. (29-2)
Low-down: Vanessa Blagmon scored 13 points and Taylor Mason added 11 to hold off Collins Hill (Suwanee), 37-30, in the Class AAAAAAA semifinals. The Lady Blue Devils are in the title game for the fifth time in eight years. They face powerhouse McEachern (Powder Springs) in the AAAAAAA final on Saturday in Atlanta.
19. Destrehan, La. (35-0)*
Low-down: Won the Class 5A state championship, Barbe (Lake Charles), 62-57, in the final and Natchitoches Central, 77-46, in the semifinals. PB Cara Ursin, a Baylor recruit, totaled 49 points, 22 rebounds and 14 assists in the two games, including a 27-point, 11-r3bound performance in the 5A championship, which the first in school history. Season complete.
20. Timberview, Mansfield, Texas (37-3)
Low-down: Lost in Class 5A final to then-No. 23 Canyon, 47-45. Texas A&M-bound Chennedy Carter scored 18 points before fouling out. In the semifinals, the Wolves beat Flour Hill (Corpus Christi), 66-41, as Carter tossed in 22. Season complete.
21. Olive Branch, Miss. (31-1)
Low-down: Myah Taylor provided 22 points and En’dya Buford added 15 to crush Jim Hill (Jackson), 86-58, in the Class 6A quarterfinals. The 6A semifinals are Wednesday vs. Murrah (Jackson. The final is Saturday.
22. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Minn. (27-0)
Low-down: Freshman Paige Bueckers fired in 23 points and Dlayla Chakolis added 20 in an 85-42 waxing of South (Minneapolis) in the Class 4A, Section 6 semifinals. The Royals hammered Washburn (Minneapolis), 75-21, in the quarterfinals. The final is Thursday against Wayzata (Plymouth) back in Minneapolis.
23. Seton Catholic Prep, Chandler, Ariz. (29-3)*
Low-down: Won the Conference 4A state championship. The regular season is complete, however the Sentinels could get a second straight invite to the DICK’S Nationals.
24. Detroit Country Day School, Beverly Hills, Mich. (21-1)
Low-down: Kaela Webb totaled 42 points in two games as the Yellowjackets capture the Class B 45th district tournament, defeating Clawson, 78-23. Destiny Pitts, a Minnesota signee, had 22 points in a 76-55 semifinal-win over Lutheran North (Macomb), 76-55. Up next were the sectional semifinals Tuesday against Croswell-Lexington. The final is Thursday. The B state tournament runs 14, 17 and 18. The latter two rounds will be played at Michigan State’s Breslin Center in East Lansing.
25. Geneva, Ill. (29-4)*
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Won the Class 4A state championship, defeating previously unbeaten and regionally ranked Edwardsville, 41-40, in the final. It was the program’s first title in three trips to the state tournament. In dramatic fashion, junior Stephanie Hart’s putback with 4.4 seconds left proved to be the winning basket. Hart finished with 11 points. In the semifinals, the unheralded Vikings nipped Fremd (Palatine), 34-33, as Grace Loberg, a Wisconsin volleyball recruit, scored 12 points and produced 17 points and 9 boards in the final. Season complete.
Dropped: No. 12 Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.).
High-Fives by Region
- Ursuline Academy, Wilmington, Del. (21-1)
- Rutgers Prep, Somerset, N.J. (28-1)
- Manasquan, N.J. (28-2)
- North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (24-1)
- Cardinal O’Hara, Springfield, Pa. (22-5)*
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Homestead, Fort Wayne, Ind. (28-2)*
- Appleton (Wis.) North (26-0)
- Newark, Ohio (27-0)
- South, Wichita, Kan. (22-0)
- Rufus King, Milwaukee (25-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Ribault, Jacksonville, Fla. (26-3)*
- Holy Innocents’ Episcopal, Atlanta (29-2)
- Argyle, Texas (37-2)*
- Starkville, Miss. (30-0)
- McEachern, Powder Springs, Ga. (25-6)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Mission Hills, San Marcos, Calif. (29-2)
- La Salle Catholic College Prep, Milwaukie, Ore. (23-2)
- Carondelet, Concord, Calif. (28-4)
- Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa, Calif. (28-3)
- Konawaena, Kealakekua, Hawaii (27-3)*
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
* Won state, national or conference/league postseason tournament championship (Note some schools have won multiple tournament titles]
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.