Connect with us

Christopher Lawlor

RED KNIGHTS OF ROUNDBALL: No. 8 Incarnate Word Academy (MO), Natalie Potts exceling in Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ rankings; Indiana, Florida teams advance in postseason play

Girls Elite 25

BENSALEM, Pa. – The main theme of the week is stability for the Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ basketball rankings. There was a situation in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that might have impacted the rankings but we chose to leave it. After all the University Interscholastic League bi-districts open this week in Texas and the potential snafu did not affect the rankings.

There were no additions to the Elite 25 but with the playoffs into the second week in Florida and Indiana there’s bound to be change on the horizon. So, chalk one up for stability. Yet there are three topics that need to be clarified or addressed.

In Texas, there was a forfeit from an Elite 25 team. Last week, No. 6 DeSoto forfeited their game with District11-6A rival Cedar Hill. DeSoto had past altercations with Duncanville on Jan. 23, a team they swept in district play this season. Out of precaution for the postseason, DeSoto absorbed the loss and will move on to the bi-district playoffs this week. DeSoto and Duncanville could play in the Region 1 playoffs. We dropped DeSoto only one slot.

Finally, there’s that toddling basketball town called Chicago. The Windy City … City of Big Shoulders. While the rest of Illinois opened their abbreviated seasons (sans playoffs) in recent weeks, the Chicago Public Schools are in limbo. Earlier this week the Chicago mayor was unaware the rest of the state were playing sports and the CPS were waiting with bated breath for a green light. Apparently that could occur sometime this week.

The Illinois governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health gave the go ahead on Jan. 22 to play ball. On Jan. 27, the Illinois High School Association started the season and later said that CPS schools can play hoops until March 20 or one week longer than the rest of the state. No. 14 Simeon (Chicago), the defending Class 3A champions, are the lone Chicago girls’ team in the Elite 25. We’ll you updated when the Wolverines can finally hoop it up.

Finally, we’ve decided to drop teams that have not started their season from the Top-10 of the Elite 25 rankings. Since others have put in the work and achieved results there’s no reason holding those team back. Currently there are five teams that have not played a regular season game. That changes as No. 16 Renaissance (Detroit) and No. 18 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) open play this week. Simeon, No. 15 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) and No. 17 Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) have not. California will tip off in April. Simeon remains in limbo.

No. 25 Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.) had its win streak stopped at 60 games last week and plummeted 12 spots in the Elite 25. Hard to dump a team that dropped a game to Bearden (Knoxville), considered one of Tennessee’s top Class AAA teams. Ensworth is winding down the regular term.

In St. Louis, No. 8 Incarnate Word Academy is 19-0 and super sophomore Natalie Potts had a week to remember totaling 82 points in three games at the Webster Groves Winter Challenge while earning Most Valuable Player honors. Meanwhile the Red Knight pop up four positions in the Elite 25 with the Missouri playoffs a few weeks out.

Well, that wraps up the first week of February and we move forward.
The Blue Star Media Elite 25 girls’ rankings will return on Feb. 17.

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

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

Blue Star Media Elite 25 Girls’ Basketball rankings, Feb. 10, 2021

1. Lake Highland Prep, Orlando, Fla. (14-0)

Previous rank: 1.

The Low-down: The Highlanders won the District 7-4A championship, knocking off Eustis, 67-31, in the final. The score was 24-8 after one quarter and there was no looking back. Also beat Tavares, 76-6 in the semifinals. Next up is Anclote (Holiday) Thursday in the Class 4A, Region 2 quarterfinals. The semifinals are Feb. 16. Also, earlier this week, junior F Nyah Harris committed to Louisville.

2. Mount Notre Dame, Cincinnati (20-0)

Previous: 2.

The Low-down: Defeated Notre Dame Academy (Park Hills, Ky.), 67-39. The Cougars segue into the Ohio Division I playoffs, where they meet Middletown Saturday in the Cincinnati 5 sectional first round.

3. Westlake, Atlanta (15-0)

Previous: 3.

The Low-down: The Lions are just warming up after recording a flawless regular season and went 10-0 in region play. Next is the Class AAAAAAA region playoffs, where they go for a fourth consecutive state crown and berth in the GEICO Nationals.

4. Cypress Creek, Houston (26-0)

Previous: 4.

The Low-down: It was a second consecutive perfect regular season and another District 17-6A championship. That bodes well for the Lady Cougars, who open the UIL postseason this week with Lamar (Houston) in a Class 6A bi-district playoff game.

5. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Minn. (6-0)

Previous: 6.

The Low-down: It was a slow week with only game but the Lady Royals took care of business with a 72-42 win over Buffalo. Taylor Woodson bucketed 22 game and Amaya Battle added 16. The next competitive game appears to be a rematch with crosstown rival Minnetonka on Feb. 18. The Lady Royals won the first meeting, 63-62.

6. DeSoto, Texas (20-2) #

Previous: 5.

The Low-down: The Lady Eagles took a forfeit loss to Cedar Hill last Wednesday. The forfeit is tied to previous altercations in District 11-6A play. Regardless, the Lady Eagles bagged their second straight district title and are ready for their Class 6A bi-district playoff game on Thursday vs. Killeen Shoemaker in Corsicana.

7. St. John Vianney, Holmdel, N.J. (3-0)

Previous: 7.

The Low-down: New Jersey’s reigning player of the year, junior G Madison St. Rose, opened the season with 43 points, 12 steals, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in a pair of victories rival Rumson (N.J.)-Fair Haven, 75-43 and 69-52. St. Rose was it again with 26 points and Emma Bruen struck for 14 as the Lancers defeated previously unbeaten Holmdel, 73-42. The level of play will be ratcheted up when state power Saddle River Day pays a visit Saturday afternoon.

8. Incarnate Word Academy, Bel Nor, Mo. (19-0)

Previous: 12.

The Low-down: Won the Webster Groves Winter Challenge and sophomore C Natalie Potts earned Most Valuable Player honors. Potts had a breakout game with a career-high, tournament-record 40 points, making 19-of-21 shots (90.5%), hauled down 12 rebounds and made 3 steals when the Red Knights trounced Ladue (St. Louis), 88-31, in the quarterfinals. They also beat rival St. Joseph’s Academy (St. Louis), 63-41, in the semifinals and Webster Groves, 61-50, for the title. Potts scored 23 points in the final and finished with 82 points in three games. There are six games scheduled for the remainder of the regular season that ends on Feb. 25 for coach Dan Rolfe’s team.

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

Previous: 10.

The Low-down: Defeated Quality Education Academy (Winston-Salem), 59-45, and Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.).

10. Hazel Green, Ala. (29-1)

Previous: 14.

The Low-down: The Alabama Class 7A Area playoffs tip off this week with the Lady Trojans facing Columbia (Huntsville) Wednesday in the semifinals. The winner gets Madison Academy or Athens Friday in the Area final. The Lady Trojans closed out the schedule with a 65-18 win over Buckhorn (New Market).

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

Previous: 15.

The Low-down: The regular season is complete.

12. Hoover, Ala. (26-1)

Previous: 16.

The Low-down: Reniya Kelly’s 14 points were the difference in a 57-43 season-finale victory over crosstown rivals Spain Park. Aniya Hubbard scored 13 points and Jada Knight added 12.. The Lady Bucs opened the postseason with Tuscaloosa County (Northport) Tuesday in the Class 6A Area Tournament.

13. Converse (Texas) Judson (21-1)

Previous: 17.

The Low-down: The Rockets closed out the regular season, beating Smithson Valley (Spring Branch), 94-31, and went 13-1 in District 27-6A play. The Class 6A bi-district playoff game is Thursday vs. San Antonio Johnson. The Area playoff game is Monday or Tuesday.

14. Simeon, Chicago (0-0)

Previous: 8.

The Low-down: Idle. Illinois schools await the start of the basketball seasons. The Wolverines are the defending Illinois Class 3A champions.

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

Previous: 9.

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

16. Renaissance, Detroit (0-0)

Previous: 11.

The Low-down: The Phoenix open at West Bloomfield Wednesday. It will play four games in six days. The compressed 17-game schedule will be played in 31-day window (Feb. 10 through March 13). Circle Feb. 20. That’s the date for a matchup with powerhouse Edison (Detroit). There will be Michigan playoffs too. Call it a frenetic pace.

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

Previous: 18.

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

18. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (0-0)

Previous: 19.

The Low-down: The Cadets have two games scheduled this week, which started at WCAC powerhouse Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) Tuesday.

19. North Central, Indianapolis (24-2)

Previous: 20.

The Low-down: Indiana’s top-ranked Class 4A team won the North Central Sectional after beating Lawrence North (Indianapolis), 82-42, in the final and Lawrence Central (Indianapolis), 71-28, in the semifinals. The Panthers jumped to a 23-8 lead after one quarter in the semis. Senior F Nakaih Hunter netted 15 points to lead four double-digit scorers. Next is Brownsburg in the Class 4A Decatur Regional semifinals Saturday morning. The final is Saturday night.

20. Rutgers Prep, Somerset, N.J. (3-0)

Previous: 21.

The Low-down: Christina Dalce had another double-double, her second of the young term, contributing 19 points and 10 rebound in a 63-28 victory over Phillipsburg. The Argonauts have three games scheduled this week capped by Ridge (Basking Ridge) Saturday.

21. Valor Christian, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (5-0)

Previous: 22.

The Low-down: The Eagles captured three games, defeating Dakota Ridge (Littleton), 84-29, Ralston Valley (Arvada), 65-63, and Lakewood, 67-35 Jenna Siebert scored 27 points and the Eagles used a 28-15 fourth-quarter run to erase an 11-point deficit in the win over Ralston Valley.

22. Newark, Ohio (20-1)

Previous: 24.

The Low-down: The Wildcats won the Ohio Capital Conference Buckeye Division. Last week, they defeated Pickerington North, 75-28, and Central Crossing (Grove City), 48-16. The regular season wraps up with Groveport Madison Friday.

23. Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa. (2-0)

Previous: 24.

The Low-down: Junior Ryanne Allen scored 17 points, sinking three 3-pointers, and Villanova-commit Kaitlyn Orihel bucketed 16 points and the Vikings stopped rival Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia), 63-50. There was another Philadelphia Catholic League rivalry game with Cardinal O’Hara (Springfield) Tuesday.

24. Cardinal Newman, Columbia, S.C (13-1)

Previous: 25.

The Low-down: Swept Hammond (Columbia), 65-53, and 70-52. In the former result, Kristyn Knight scored 16 points and Mary Ashley Groot added 15.

25. Ensworth School, Nashville, Tenn. (15-1)

Previous: 13.

The Low-down: Upset by Bearden (Knoxville), 47-39, vanquishing the win streak at 60 games. The Tigers stay in the Elite 25 for now but are teetering on expulsion.

Dropped: None.

High-Fives by Region

East

  1. Paul VI, Chantilly, Va. (9-0)
  2. Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton, N.J. (3-0)
  3. North Allegheny, Wexford, Pa. (11-0)
  4. Princess Anne, Virginia Beach, Va. (6-0)
  5. Saddle River (N.J.) Day, (2-0)

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

 Midwest

  1. Pius X, Lincoln, Neb. (16-0)
  2. Edison Public Academy, Detroit (0-0)
  3. Millard South, Omaha, Neb. (16-1)
  4. Mason, Ohio (17-0)
  5. Crown Point, Ind. (21-1)

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. Bearden, Knoxville, Tenn. (20-1)
  3. Norman, Okla. (12-0)
  4. Upperman Baxter, Tenn. (25-0)
  5. Anderson County, Lawrenceburg, Ky. (13-0)

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

Far West

  1. Grandview, Aurora, Colo. (4-0)
  2. Fremont, Plain City, Utah (18-0)
  3. Valley Vista, Surprise, Ariz. (3-0)
  4. Herriman, Utah (16-1)
  5. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (17-1)

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.

Comments
Advertisement

Latest Articles

Advertisement

More in Christopher Lawlor