BENSALEM, Pa. – For the opening two months, you can divide the season into three parts. It starts with tipoff events in November before seguing into the choked holiday tournament event season and finally January.
That means more opportunities for Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ basketball teams to showcase their talents before diving into the postseason that tips in February.
Though a bulk of the major national events take place before the third weekend in January, the Dr. Martin Luther King Weekend is a bonanza for hoop heads. There are oodles of events this weekend. Five events that I recommend are the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. (Friday only), Classic in the Country in Berlin, Ohio (Saturday-Monday), Music City Classic in Nashville, Tenn. (Friday-Monday), Rose Classic Super Jam at two high schools in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the MLK-St. Mary’s Showcase in Stockton, Calif.
This week’s lone newcomer is No. 16 Hoover (Ala.). The Bucs are No. 1 in Alabama largest classification (Class 6A) and are poised to run the table. They’ll have plenty of competition along the way starting this weekend in Georgia.
Several Elite 25 teams bounced around but ultimately one team dropped. Whenever teams play a rigorous nonleague schedule, especially seeking national type competition, it’s hard to punish them if they lose. However, don’t make it habit. There are a few Elite 25 teams teetering on the brink. Could this weekend be the final straw?
Check back regularly at www.bluestarmedia.org for staff updates from Nike Tournament of Champions and other holiday events. We will keep you abreast of anything breaking in the girls’ basketball world.
The Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings will return on Jan. 17.
Get out to a game this weekend, there are plenty to go around and celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King is true American and so is this game.
We hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Girls’ Basketball rankings, Jan. 10, 2018
1. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif. (13-0)
Low-down: It was a busy holiday tournament season for the Monarchs so excuse them for a short week, making quick work of St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda), 70-48. The slate picks up this week with three games, including Carondelet (Concord) on Monday.
2. Christ the King, Middle Village, N.Y. (9-0)
Low-down: The Royals dominated South Shore (Brooklyn), 51-37, at the Apparel Challenge in Middle Village. The two may meet again at the New York State Federation Class AA tournament in March. The schedule picks up with three games this week, including Enfield (Conn.) Friday at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
3. Winter Haven, Fla. (14-0)
Low-down: There’s a target on the backs of the Blue Devils’ after their meteoric rise in the national rankings. They needed overtime to subdue Nease (Ponta Vedra), 60-56, but outlasted Rickards (Tallahassee), 61-51, both at the Rob Moramarco Girls Basketball Challenge in Gainesville.
4. Duncanville, Texas (26-1)
Low-down: The Pantherettes were challenged by Cedar Park, 71-67, but trounced Irving Nimitz, 79-26, improving to 5-0 in District 7-6A. That means Friday’s district showdown at DeSoto (also unbeaten in the district) is for first place. This is must-see hoops event in the Metroplex.
5. Riverdale, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (16-1)
Low-down: It’s an interesting week in central Tennessee. The Lady Warriors have three games, two in the district, and a regional matchup with Winder-Barrow (Ga.) Monday at the Music City Classic.
6. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (14-1)
Low-down: The Cadets won Round I for supremacy in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, beating No. 10 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 51-45. This week they won’t be challenged against Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) and Bishop Ireton (Alexandria, Va.).
7. Centennial, Las Vegas (14-2)
Low-down: The Lady Bulldogs have a full plate this weekend with games against three California powerhouses, including two at the MLK-St. Mary’s Showcase in Stockton Calif. Coach Karen Weitz’s crew plays No. 14 St. Mary’s (Stockton) Saturday and Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) Monday.
8. Riverdale Baptist School, Upper Marlboro, Md. (11-3)
Low-down: The Lady Crusaders can look forward to games with New York powerhouses No. 21 Long Island Lutheran (Brookville) and No. 2 Christ the King (Middle Village) later this month.
9. Mercer County, Harrodsburg, Ky. (15-1)
Low-down: It was a 2-0 week as the Titans whipped an in-state opponent and Jeffersonville (Ind.), 60-53, at the Kentucky/Indiana Hall of Fame Challenge in New Castle, Ind. Northern Kentucky-bound G Emma Souder posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Coach Chris Souder’s team heads this weekend to the Music City Classic in Nashville, Tenn.
10. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (12-2)
Low-down: It was a nice bounce back for the Panthers, who won twice including a 75-55 blowout of New Jersey’s No. 1 team Manasquan at the 2018 Blue Star Showcase in Philadelphia. Ashley Owusu put on a show with 39 points and the Panthers used a 30-13 third-quarter spurt to pull away from a 30-30 tie at the break. That 51-45 loss to No. 6 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) is a momentary blip and could be rectified on Feb. 2 in the reverse fixture.
11. Edison Public School Academy, Detroit (6-0)
Low-down: Idle. The action resumes Thursday with Arbor Prep (Ypsilanti).
12. Princess Anne, Virginia Beach, Va. (11-1)
Low-down: Idle. The Cavaliers are amid a 15-day layoff. Next up is Bayside (Virginia Beach) on Jan. 16. Mississippi State-bound Xaria Wiggins is a serious candidate for the McDonald’s All American Game in Atlanta. The announcement is Jan. 18.
13. Hamilton Heights Christian, Chattanooga, Tenn. (14-2)
Low-down: It was a light week on the docket but the Lady Hawks did demolish Arlington (Tenn.), 75-54. They also received on of 16 invites to the Independent School National Championship from Feb. 25-28 in Charlotte, N.C.
14. St. Mary’s, Stockton, Calif. (13-2)
Low-down: The Rams peeled off two wins, including a 76-55 thrashing of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). This weekend they host the MLK-St. Mary’s Showcase with games against No. 7 Centennial (Las Vegas) Saturday and Ribet Academy (Los Angeles) Monday.
15. Bradley Central, Cleveland, Tenn. (17-0)
Low-down: In a slow week, the Bearettes topped local rivals Cleveland, 83-34.
16. Hoover, Ala. (18-0)
Previous: Not ranked
Low-down: Alabama’s top-ranked team is on a roll but have a super matchup with Holy Innocents’ Episcopal (Atlanta) Saturday in Lawrenceville, Ga. During the holidays, the Bucs captured two tournaments at the Rock Holiday Classic in Florida and their own Big Orange Classic.
17. Collins Hill, Suwanee, Ga. (13-2)
Low-down: The Region 6-AAAAAAA schedule intensifies this with fixtures against North Gwinnett (Suwanee), Discovery (Lawrenceville) and Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee). Following that three-game stretch, the regular season is down to five games.
18. Edwardsville, Ill. (16-0)
Low-down: Illinois’ top-ranked team in Class 4A is rolling but has a challenge with Whitney Young (Chicago) Monday in St. Louis.
19. Montini Catholic, Lombard, Ill. (20-1)
Low-down: Aaliyah Patty, an Ohio State recruit, pumped in a game-high 27 points and cleared 11 rebounds, and senior Illysee Pitts (18 points) canned the go-ahead 3-pointer late in overtime to seal a 64-63 nail-biter over previously undefeated Rufus King (Milwaukee) at the Chicagoland Classic in Lisle, Ill. Rufus King was Wisconsin’s top-ranked Division I team.
20. Southeast Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C. (13-0)
Low-down: Inclement weather postponed a showdown with Leesville Road (Raleigh).
21. Long Island Lutheran, Brookville, N.Y. (7-3)
Low-down: The Lady Crusaders have a knack for playing big in big-time game, the latest additions to dossier are wins over then-No. 20 Roland Park Day (Baltimore), 50-46, and defender New Jersey State Tournament of Champions title holder Franklin, 48-36. The caravan rolls onto games against Springfield (Mass.) Central Friday at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., and St. Joseph Central (Huntington, W.Va.) Monday at the Rose Classic Super Jam in Brooklyn.
22. Salesian Prep, Richmond, Calif. (9-2)
Low-down: The Pride hit the road for two games at the MLK-St. Mary’s Showcase this weekend in Stockton, squaring off with Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) Saturday and Alemany (Mission Hills) Monday.
23. Baldwin, N.Y. (5-1)
Low-down: Aziah Hudson scored 20 points and Jenna Annecchiarico added 17 when the Bruins trounced Mary Louis Academy (Jamaica), 73-49, at the NJ Sparks New Year’s Resolution in Paterson, N.J. Both were named MVPs at the event. This week’s scheduled is stacked with games on Long Island.
24. Incarnate Word Academy, Bel-Nor, Mo. (8-3)
Low-down: The Red Knights rebounded nicely after falling in a holiday tournament to beat Webster Groves. 69-38. Two local games this week are the prelude for a trip to Louisville, Ky. (Jan. 19-20) for games with No. 9 Mercer County (Harrodsburg, Ky.) and Sacred Heart Academy (Louisville)—both considered state title contenders in the Blue Grass State.
25. Roland Park Day, Baltimore (13-2)
Low-down: The Baltimore private school hangs in the Elite 25 despite losing to then-No. 22 Long Island Lutheran (Brookville), 50-46, at the 2018 Blue Star Showcase in Philadelphia. RP has played a quality schedule and won the Nike TOC John Anderson Bracket. The next big challenge is St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) on Jan. 17.
Dropped: No. 9 North Central, Indianapolis.
High-Fives by Region
- North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (10-0)
- Bishop McNamara, Forestville, Md. (10-1)
- St. John Vianney, Holmdel, N.J. (8-0)
- Manasquan, N.J. (6-1)
- St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (7-3)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Eastview, Apple Valley, Minn. (11-0)
- Carmel, Ind. (18-1)
- Hopkins, Minnetonka, Minn. (14-1)
- East Kentwood, Kentwood, Mich. (9-0)
- Rufus King, Milwaukee (11-1)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Westlake, Atlanta (13-1)
- Mansfield (Texas) Timberview (21-2)
- John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La. (15-1)
- Choctaw Central, Philadelphia, Miss. (17-0)
- Holy Innocents’ Episcopal, Atlanta (13-1)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Central Valley, Veradale, Wash. (10-0)
- Mesquite, Gilbert, Ariz. (14-3)
- Windward School, Los Angeles (10-3)
- Southridge, Beaverton. Ore. (11-1)
- Folsom, Calif. (13-2)
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.