BENSALEM, Pa. – It was a quiet week in the Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings. There were no additions, with the status quo holding form.
That’s not to say there wasn’t an movement in the ranks with two Elite 25 teams losing and another winning a slugfest between the nation’s elite. We’ll start in Washington, where No. 6 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) zooms up three slots to the crowded top of the Elite 25 after an impressive road 61-55 win at No. 7 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.).
SJC does not take a major hit but is currently nudged out by their Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rivals for now. That’s because Paul VI avenged a loss in January and the third meeting is all but ready once the WCAC playoffs begin later this month. If one of them slips up that’s clinches a top seed. Regardless SJC or Paul VI won’t see one another until the title game.
In Florida, a perfect season was squashed. No. 21 Winter Haven dips six spots after a two-point loss at Montverde (Fla.) Academy, an up-and-coming program that has sights on becoming the booming success their boys’ program (currently No.1 in the Elite 25 rankings) has built. Winter Haven is among the favorites to win the Class 8A state crown now have company when the DICK’s Sporting Goods High School Tournament bids go out. Florida is one of the states eligible for the four-team bracket that tips on March 30 in New York.
If you were wondering about a pool of team for the DICK’S Nationals, considered these as the postseason is played: Westlake (Atlanta), Collins Hill (Suwanee, Ga.), Holy Innocents’ Episcopal (Atlanta), Winter Haven (Fla.), Montverde (Fla.) Academy, St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), Central Valley (Veradale, Wash.), Hamilton Heights Christian (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Riverdale Baptist School (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and Mesquite (Gilbert, Ariz.).
And that’s for just four spots! There are other teams from Arizona, Washington, Utah, Florida, Georgia, Maryland (private schools) and North Carolina (independent schools) who will be considered. No. 5 Hamilton Heights Christian is the early favorite to earn the top seed but that’s just a hunch. The month of February will reveal the bracket.
We have two state champions, newly minted from the South Pacific.
A special shoutout to Konawaena (Kealakekua, Hawaii), which won its fourth straight Division I state title and finished 26-2. Also, Kamehameha School (Honolulu) won the Division II crown, its first since 2013.
Check back regularly at www.bluestarmedia.org for staff updates from major events and the state tournaments. We have the pulse of the girls’ basketball world. The Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings will return on Feb. 14.
We hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Girls’ Basketball rankings, Feb. 7, 2018
1. Archbishop Mitty, San Jose, Calif. (18-0)
Previous rank: 1.
Low-down: The Monarchs cruised to wins over Valley Christian (San Jose), 105-66, and Presentation (San Jose), 81-24. The schedule continues with two league games at St. Ignatius (San Francisco) Wednesday and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep (San Francisco) Saturday.
2. Christ the King, Middle Village, N.Y. (18-0)
Low-down: Another busy week has the Royals playing three times but the biggest test was Tuesday when New Jersey’s top-ranked team St. John Vianney (Holmdel) visited. Otherwise the next true challenge won’t arrive until the postseason.
3. Duncanville, Texas (34-1)
Low-down: Defeated South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie), 59-52, and Irving Nimitz, 67-30, to stay perfect in District 7-6A with one game left against DeSoto on Tuesday. Then it’s off to the Class 6A bi-district playoffs.
4. Riverdale, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (24-1)
Low-down: The Lady Warriors trounced rivals Oakland (Murfreesboro), 59-37, and Blackman (Murfreesboro), 83-42, moving to 9-0 in the district with three games left in the regular season.
5. Hamilton Heights Christian, Chattanooga, Tenn. (19-2)
6. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (21-2)
Low-down: In one of the most anticipated games of the season, Amira Collins (23 points) and Ashley Owusu (20) teamed for 43 points and Lizzie Thibodeau added 11 points and a trio of 3-pointers to help knock off then-No. 5 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.), 61-56, creating a tie atop the WCAC standings. This won’t be the last meeting between the national powers this season.
7. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (20-2)
Low-down: Freshman sensation Azzi Fudd’s 27 points weren’t enough as the Cadets lost to No. 6 Paul VI (Fairfax), 61-56. Both teams are tied for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference lead and barring any upsets should meet in the league title game later this month.
8. St. Mary’s, Stockton, Calif. (20-2)
Low-down: The win streak hit 11 games after an 80-70 win over Carondelet (Concord). Another big challenge is Wednesday with Salesian College Prep (Richmond).
9. Bradley Central, Cleveland, Tenn. (24-0)
Low-down: With the District 5-AAA regular season title in the bag, the Bearettes need a win in their final district game to post a perfect slate. The district tournament tips on Feb. 14 at Walker Valley (Cleveland).
10. Centennial, Las Vegas (23-3)
Low-down: Defeated Palo Verde (Las Vegas), 70-23. Taylor Bigby and Justice Ethridge each scored 10 points in a easy win. The regular season concludes Wednesday with Arbor View (Las Vegas).
11. Princess Anne, Virginia Beach, Va. (17-1)
Low-down: Aziaha James scored 17 points and Jasha Clinton added 14 in an 84-27 win over Osbourn Park (Manassas). Three games remain before the playoffs.
12. Edwardsville, Ill. (23-0)
Low-down: It’s been at least a month since the Tigers have had a serious challenge. That won’t happen until the Class 4A playoffs start later this month.
13. Riverdale Baptist School, Upper Marlboro, Md. (16-4)
Low-down: Needed overtime to hold off National Christian Academy (Fort Washington), 80-71, but then downed Largo (Upper Marlboro), 71-49.
14. Westlake, Atlanta (23-1)
Low-down: The regular closed with a 62-44 win at Campbell (Smyrna). Next up is the Region 2-AAAAAAA tournament.
15. Southeast Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C. (22-0)
Low-down: The final week of the regular season is a mere formality for the North Carolina’s top-ranked 4A team.
16. Holy Innocents’ Episcopal, Atlanta (23-1)
Low-down: The Golden Bears carry a 21-game win streak into the postseason.
17. Collins Hill, Suwanee, Ga. (22-2)
Low-down: The Region 6-AAAAAAA tournament opens this week.
18. Baldwin, N.Y. (16-1)
Low-down: Two games remain in the regular season for the Bruins, who are coasting against Long Island competition.
19. Montini Catholic, Lombard, Ill. (28-2)
Low-down: The Lady Broncos edged Normal (Ill.) Community, 64-63, and finish the regular season on Senior Night at home against De La Salle (Chicago) on Wednesday. The Class 4A Reavis Regional begins Tuesday.
20. Hoover, Ala. (26-1)
Low-down: The Class 7A, Area 5 playoffs start Wednesday against Vestavia Hills (Birmingham). The final is Friday.
21. Winter Haven, Fla. (25-1)
Low-down: Upended by Montverde (Fla.) Academy, 58-56 but rebounded to beat Fort Pierce Central, 70-31. Zakiyah Franklin had 17 points in the loss. Next is the District 7-8A tournament, which tips Tuesday through Friday in Bartow.
22. Eastview, Apple Valley, Minn. (19-0)
Low-down: Defeated Prior Lake (Savage), 64-35, to cap a 3-0 week and moving to 10-0 in the South Suburban Conference. The Lightning plays Park (Cottage Grove) on Wednesday and at Farmington on Friday.
23. North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (20-0)
Low-down: Defeated North Hills (Pittsburgh), 66-27. Piper Morningstar, a Radford signee, scored 17 points. The Tigers captured their sixth straight Section 1 crown, defeating Seneca Valley (Harmony), 35-24, and went 10-0 sectional play. They close out the regular season on Monday hosting West Allegheny (Imperial).
24. Edison Public School Academy, Detroit (12-1)
Low-down: Defeated Kalamazoo Central, 74-61. The Pioneers face Wayne Memorial on Thursday.
25. Mercer County, Harrodsburg, Ky. (22-3)
Low-down: Idle. The countdown to the playoffs is five games.
Dropped out: None.
High-Fives by Region
- St. John Vianney, Holmdel, N.J. (19-0)
- St. Rose, Belmar, N.J. (18-1)
- Manasquan, N.J. (17-2)
- Newtown South, Newtown Centre, Mass. (14-0)
- Trinity Episcopal School, Richmond, Va. (18-1)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- East Kentwood, Kentwood, Mich. (15-0)
- Pike, Indianapolis (24-1)
- Newark, Ohio (20-0)
- Iowa City, Iowa (19-0)
- Boylan Catholic, Rockford, Ill. (26-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Mansfield (Texas) Timberview (33-2)
- Montverde (Fla.) Academy (18-3)
- John Curtis Christian, River Ridge, La. (26-1)
- Barbers Hill, Mount Belvieu, Texas (34-2)
- Converse (Texas) Judson (27-4)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Central Valley, Veradale, Wash. (20-0)
- Mesquite, Gilbert, Ariz. (23-3)
- Windward School, Los Angeles (17-3)
- Southridge, Beaverton. Ore. (19-1)
- Konawaena, Kealakekua, Hawaii (26-2)*
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
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. Teams with fifth-year or reclassified players won’t be considered. 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 @clawlor.