Video: Olivia Nelson-Ododa Dunk Contest
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Sometimes it's not what happened, but what might happen — and that's why Central Valley (Spokane Valley, Wash.) jumps to No. 1 in the second-to-last Xcellent 25.
What might happen is that Central Valley might win the GEICO National High School Championship this weekend at Christ the King in New York City. If that comes to pass, the Washington 4A champion will be the only unbeaten team in the country with wins over nationally ranked opponents, as the other three teams at the GEICO are ranked No. 5 (Hamilton Heights), No. 12 (Winter Haven) and No. 13 (Westlake).
Of course, Central Valley has by far the weakest strength of schedule of the quartet, and hasn't played a game outside of the Evergreen State, so the odds suggest that Central Valley's hold on that No. 1 spot is tenuous at best. But, as might have been mentioned somewhere before, that's why they play the games.
Hamilton Heights also might be able to make a strong case for the No. 1 ranking if it wins the GEICO, as that would mean two more wins over ranked teams, and a boost in the strength-of-schedule rating that already gives it the edge over No. 2 Riverdale (whose fans were expecting ascension to the top spot this week). In fact, Winter Haven's resume would be very strong as well, so the games this weekend (on ESPNU Friday and ESPN2 Saturday) will be critical in determining the final order of the Xcellent 25.
And with Windward's win over Pinewood in the California Open Division, the falling dominoes this week bumped St. Mary's of Stockton straight out of the rankings. Last week, one of St. Mary's victims, Riverdale Baptist, was removed, and the combination of that and Pinewood's demotion (the team that upset St. Mary's) to No. 18 means Stockton's finest are now on the outside looking in.
And it wouldn't be fitting to not mention that new No. 6 Baldwin validated its season — and like Central Valley, weak schedule — with an upset over previous No. 1 Christ the King in the New York state Federation final. Christ the King was one win away from another national title, but like Archbishop Mitty, fell just short of the top spot.
Which leads back to this week's No. 1, also unbeaten, and also oh-so-close to a national championship. Can Central Valley seal the deal? Will Hamilton Heights climb the mountain? Will Riverdale win out in the end?
Good questions, and the answers will come this weekend. Set your DVR …
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. (9) Central Valley (Spokane Valley, Wash.), 27-0 2. (2) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 36-13. (3) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 29-1 4. (4) St. John's (Washington, D.C.), 32-2 5. (6) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 24-26. (11) Baldwin (N.Y.), 26-17. (1) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), 29-1 8. (5) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 30-4 9. (7) Centennial (Las Vegas), 29-3 10. (8) Mercer County (Harrodsburg, Ky.), 36-311. (10) Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.), 26-1 12. (14) Winter Haven (Fla.), 32-1 13. (15) Westlake (Atlanta), 30-114. (16) Manasquan (N.J.), 32-215. (21) Windward (Los Angeles), 27-3 16. (17) St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), 24-4 17. (18) Amarillo (Texas), 40-2 18. (12) Pinewood (Los Altos Hills, Calif.), 27-3 19. (19) Duncanville (Texas), 39-2 20. (20) Southridge (Beaverton, Ore.), 29-1 21. (22) Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.), 29-222. (NR) Edison Academy (Detroit), 24-1 23. (23) Eastview (Apple Valley, Minn.), 32-0 24. (24) Dimond (Anchorage, Alaska), 30-0 25. (25) Northwest Guilford (Greensboro, N.C.), 29-2
No. 13 St. Mary's (Stockton)