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No. 19 Grandview (CO), No. 22 Paul VI (VA) debut in Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ rankings; No. 9 Winston Salem Christian (NC), No. 11 Montverde Academy (VA) vie for Independent School Nationals title

BENSALEM, Pa. – Deep in the heart of February there are several narratives spinning involving teams from the Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings. The key topics include snow, state championships, two newcomers and a national tournament.

In Texas, it’s a winter wonderland that is rarely seen especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. And with snow falling and ice forming on the roads it affected the University Interscholastic League opening round playoffs or the bi-district playoff game. Those were supposed to be played late last week but then the snow and cold choked Texas and the games were put on hold.

As of Tuesday evening, state officials do not know when the statewide power outages will be resolved. Essentially, the Lone State and other southern states have been brought to their knees.

No. 6 DeSoto did not play its first Class 6A playoff game and school was canceled Tuesday and Wednesday so when the game is played is likely later this week or ASAP. The weather also postponed regionally-ranked Duncanville, a team attempting to defend a Class 6A title, but also did not have classes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

No. 13 Converse Judson and No. 4 Cypress Creek (Houston) managed to play their bi-district game and both moved into the Area round this week. The four Region tournaments, consisting of three games, are scheduled to start next week, with the four winners advancing to the Class 6A state tournament taking place March 4-6. That means the opening two rounds must be played by early next week in order to have quick turnaround for the Region quarterfinals slated for Feb. 22-23. Perhaps things will get back to normal by this weekend.

We’ll monitor the postponed games and provide updates.

This weekend there will be state championships played in Virginia. The only team involved is regionally-ranked Princess Anne (Virginia beach) that plays in the Class 5 semifinals Wednesday and if the Lady Cavaliers advance, it’s title game on the road. Indiana is down to the Semistates in four classes while Florida will have it state tournament brackets booked by Saturday.

GEICO NATIONALS UPDATE

Additionally, No. 9 Winston Salem Christian (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and No. 11 Montverde (Fla.) Academy will be vying for the Insider Exposure Independent School Nationals championship this weekend in Mooresville, N.C. This event could play a significant role in the selection of teams that will head to the GEICO High School Nationals on April 2-3 at venue to be announced.

The field will likely include No. 1 Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), No. 3 Westlake (Ga.) and perhaps the winner of the Independent Nationals. Others in consideration are No. 25 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.), a powerhouse program from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, and regionally-ranked Fremont (Utah). Paragon Marketing might consider state champions from Arizona, Baltimore Catholic League and North Carolina and South Carolina independent school associations. Lake Highland Prep, Westlake and Fremont would need to avoid upsets to get invited; there are no guarantees. We’re thinking Lake Highlands, Westlake and St. John’s are near locks but the fourth team could come from Utah or a champion from the Independent Nationals.

Good news out of Chicago is the Chicago Public Schools will start playing next week, including No. 14 Simeon.

Two newcomers populate the Elite 25 girls’ rankings, replacing two Midwest teams. Joining are No. 19 Grandview (Aurora, Colo.) and No. 22 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.). PVI went 10-0 this season and shut it down last weekend. The Panthers recorded impressive wins during a corona-wracked, abbreviated campaign. Colorado will have a 32-team bracket for the Class 5A championships, which start in March. The Colorado 5A bracket is always tough to navigate. A No. 18 Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)-Grandview final would be great theater.

Well, that wraps up the second week of February and we’re more than halfway through the second month on the calendar.

The Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ rankings will return on Feb. 24.

Check back regularly at www.bluestarmedia.org for our staff updates. We’ll keep you abreast of anything breaking on the girls’ hoop universe. For now, keep safe.

Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor

 Blue Star Media Elite 25 Girls’ Basketball rankings, Feb. 17, 2021

1. Lake Highland Prep, Orlando, Fla. (15-0)

Previous rank: 1.

The Low-down: The Highlanders trounced Anclote (Holiday), 88-17, in the Class 4A, Region 2 quarterfinals. They faced Eustis Tuesday in the region semifinals. That winner gets Crystal River or The Villages Charter in Friday’s region final.

2. Mount Notre Dame, Cincinnati (21-0)

Previous: 2.

The Low-down: The Cougars opened the postseason, defeating Middletown, 78-8, in the Division I Cincinnati 5 sectional. Next is Western Hills (Cincinnati) Thursday in the semifinals. The final is Monday.

3. Westlake, Atlanta (15-0)

Previous: 3.

The Low-down: Idle. The Class AAAAAAA region playoffs are this week.

4. Cypress Creek, Houston (27-0)

Previous: 4.

The Low-down: The Cougars hit for triple figures for the first time this season in a 109-38 drubbing of Lamar (Houston) in the Class 6A bi-district playoff game. The Cougars were up 59-19 at halftime. Next is Cinco Ranch (Katy) Wednesday in the Area playoffs.

5. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Minn. (8-0)

Previous: 6.

The Low-down: Amaya Battle’s 19 points led four players in double figures in a 71-54 victory over rival Wayzata (Plymouth). In a 70-65 win at Eden Prairie, Taylor Woodson threw in 20 points and Nu Nu Agara added 19. The Lady Royals have two games this week, including a rematch at Minnetonka Thursday. Last time the crosstown rivals played on Jan. 26, Hopkins won, 63-62.

6. DeSoto, Texas (20-2) #

Previous: 6.

The Low-down: Idle. Winter weather in the Dallas-Fort Worth area postponed the Class 6A bi-district game with Shoemaker (Killeen). The game will be played later this week weather permissible. The winner gets Legacy (Tyler) in the Area playoffs with a date to be announced.

7. St. John Vianney, Holmdel, N.J. (6-0)

Previous: 7.

The Low-down: Junior G Madison St. Rose scored 12 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter of a 63-53 win over Saddle River Day. The game was tied at 40 through three quarters before the Lancers rallied with a 23-13 run. St. Rose picked up where she left off two days earlier, manufacturing 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists and Katie Hill delivered a 22-point, 10-rebound double delight performance when the Lancers beat Paul VI (Haddonfield), 63-53. Vianney led 38-36 after three quarters and closed on a 25-17 surge.

8. Incarnate Word Academy, Bel Nor, Mo. (21-0)

Previous: 8.

The Low-down: The Red Knights remained unbeaten, toppling Visitation (Frontenac), 92-25, and Whitfield (St. Louis), 72-53. Saniah Tyler dropped in a game-high 25 points and added 5 rebounds and 6 steals against Whitfield. Sophomore C Natalie Potts averaged 20.5 points and 6 boards in two games.

9. Winston Salem Christian, Winston-Salem, N.C. (23-0)

Previous: 9.

The Low-down: Idle but not by choice. Inclement weather claimed three games last week. Coach Delaney Rudd takes his team to the Independent School National Tournament in Mooresville, N.C.

10. Hazel Green, Ala. (31-1)

Previous: 10.

The Low-down: The Class 6A Sub-regional game with Scottsboro will now be played Wednesday afternoon. The Lady Trojans captured the Class 6A Area 16 championship, beating Madison Academy, 54-22.

11. Montverde (Fla.) Academy (20-1)

Previous: 11.

The Low-down: This weekend the Eagles will compete at the Independent School National Tournament in Mooresville, N.C.

12. Hoover, Ala. (28-1)

Previous: 12.

The Low-down: Won Class 7A, Area 6 championship, beating Oak Mountain (Birmingham), 72-26. Jada Knight scored 16 points. The Lady Bucs host the Regional semifinals Thursday vs. Clemens (Austin).

13. Converse (Texas) Judson (22-1)

Previous: 17.

The Low-down: The Rockets were scheduled to play Lake Travis (Austin) Tuesday in the Class 6A Area playoff game but that one was postponed to later this week. Also topped San Antonio Johnson, 71-43, in the bi-district playoffs.

14. Simeon, Chicago (0-0)

Previous: 14.

The Low-down: Chicago Public Schools will start the season next week.

15. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (0-0)

Previous: 15.

The Low-down: The CIF-Southern Section Open Division champions won’t play until the spring.

16. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif. (0-0)

Previous: 17.

The Low-down: California Interscholastic Federation teams won’t start until the spring.

17. Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa. (4-0)

Previous: 23.

The Low-down: The Vikings won a pair of Philadelphia Catholic League games against rival Cardinal O’Hara (Springfield), 43-40, and Bonner & Prendergast (Drexel Hill), 62-29. The week started with a rematch Tuesday vs. Cardinal O’Hara.

18. Valor Christian, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (8-0)

Previous: 21.

The Low-down: It was perfect week in Jeffco League action with wins over Columbine (Littleton), 69-35, Arvada West (Arvada), 64-25, and Pomona, 75-26. Only six scheduled games remain in the regular season that ends on March 3. The CHSAA playoffs tip on March 9 with the first of five rounds.

19. Grandview, Aurora, Colo. (6-0)

Previous: Not ranked.

The Low-down: The Wolves have blasted through six opponents with relative ease and play three more games this week, including Mullen (Denver) on Friday. If the Wolves snag a third Class 5A state title in five years, 6-7 junior C Lauren Betts will spearhead the effort. Betts is considered the nation’s top recruit from the Class of 2022 and already committed to Stanford.

20. Newark, Ohio (20-1)

Previous: 22.

The Low-down: Game with Groveport Madison was canceled. Played Mifflin (Columbus) Tuesday in the Division I Central 4 Sectional first round.

21. Rutgers Prep, Somerset, N.J. (5-0)

Previous: 20.

The Low-down: Villanova-bound Christina Dalce was a double-double machine last week, posting two. In a 73-33 win over Ridge (Basking Ridge), she had 23 points and 10 rebounds. The Argonauts also stopped Stuart Country Day (Princeton), 72-36, as Dalce hit for the daily double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Argos have three games this week capped by Franklin (Somerset) Saturday.

22. Paul VI, Chantilly, Va. (10-0)

Previous: Not ranked.

The Low-down: The Panthers enter the Elite 25 after completing an abbreviated but unbeaten season that saw them beat ranked teams New Hope Academy (Landover Hills, Md.) and WCAC rival St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.). A very good core returns for the 2021-22 campaign. Season complete.

23. Cardinal Newman, Columbia, S.C (15-1)

Previous: 24.

The Low-down: Swept two games with Heathwood Hall (Columbia), 69-33, and 90-33.

24. Ensworth School, Nashville, Tenn. (16-1)

Previous: 25.

The Low-down: Defeated Harpeth Hall (Nashville), 52-34. The regular season concludes this week with two games.

25. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (1-1)

Previous: 18.

The Low-down: The Cadets split two games. Six-two sophomore F Delaney Thomas’s 33 points and 10 rebounds were good for the daily double in a 66-57 win over St. Frances Academy (Baltimore). Connecticut-bound G Azzi Fudd added 11 points and 4 assists. Also lost to No. 22 Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.), 68-66.

Dropped: No. 16 Renaissance (Detroit) and No. 19 North Central (Indianapolis).

High-Fives by Region

East

  1. Princess Anne, Virginia Beach, Va. (8-0)
  2. Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton, N.J. (6-0)
  3. North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (15-0)
  4. Bridgewater (Mass.)-Raynham, Mass. (12-0)
  5. Notre Dame, Fairfield, Conn. (3-0)

Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

 Midwest

  1. Edison Public Academy, Detroit (2-0)
  2. Crown Point, Ind. (23-1)
  3. Pius X, Lincoln, Neb. (18-0)
  4. Millard South, Omaha, Neb. (19-1)
  5. Mason, Ohio (17-0)

Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

 Southland

  1. Duncanville, Texas (24-2)
  2. Ponchatoula, La. (28-0)
  3. Bearden, Knoxville, Tenn. (24-1)
  4. Norman, Okla. (13-0)
  5. Anderson County, Lawrenceburg, Ky. (15-0)…TU

Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Far West

  1. Fremont, Plain City, Utah (20-0)
  2. Highland, Gilbert, Ariz. (11-0)
  3. Herriman, Utah (18-1)
  4. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (18-1)
  5. Seton Catholic Prep, Chandler, Ariz. (11-0)

Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

# Includes forfeit loss

Records are through Monday

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 nationwide. 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. Follow him on Twitter at @clawlor.

Senior Writer and national analyst for Blue Media and compiles the Blue Star Elite 25 national boys and girls high school basketball and football rankings during the season. Lawlor, an award-winning writer, is a voting committee member and advisor for several national high school events, including the McDonald’s All-American Games. He previously wrote for USA TODAY and ESPN.com, where he was the national preps writer, while compiling the national rankings in four sports.

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