Video: Miracle buzzer beater to win girls state championship
See Tianna Lohse win the Kansas state title for Hanover with her last-second 3-pointer.
There's only one more iteration of the Xcellent 25 to go after this, and though there will be some movement after the Dick's Sporting Goods National High School Championships this Friday and Saturday in New York City, these 25 teams are almost certainly the 25 that will comprise the final list.
What does it take to earn a spot? A full season's body of work, and not just a state championship. No. 22 Norcross, for example, is still in the Xcellent 25 even though Norcross lost to unranked McEachern in the AAAAAAA title game in Georgia. McEachern's six losses – three to unranked teams plus one to Norcross early in the season – were simply too much to overcome from our viewpoint.
But why Long Beach Poly? The perennial California power has four losses yet is ranked higher than unbeaten Elk River, which doesn't seem quite right. But Poly lost to No. 5 Clovis West twice, No. 7 Miami Country Day and No. 14 Seton Catholic and had a fistful of quality wins, so the Jackrabbits stay in.
Sometimes, though, the situation just isn't definitive. Olive Branch slid into the Xcellent 25 at No. 25, but it easily could have been Mesquite of Arizona. The two teams each had one loss, each had quality wins and each played an intersectional schedule. In the end, the hair-splitting came down to this (and we admit it wasn't much): Olive Branch's road to the Mississippi state title was tougher than Mesquite's path in Arizona, and so the Southeast gets another representative.
And speaking of regions, neither the Northwest nor the Northeast (north of Delaware, at least) managed to place a team in this year's rankings – but the wheel turns, and next year's geographical breakdown could be completely different.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. (last week 1) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 34-0
It's hard to go unbeaten, especially in a state like Tennessee.2. (2) St. John's (Washington, D.C.), 30-2
The loss to No. 5 Clovis West in the Nike TOC kept them here.3. (3) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 32-2
Paul VI lost to No. 2 St. John's twice – case closed.4. (4) Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.), 30-2
Somehow, it doesn't seem quite right that Centennial's cross country trip to Paul VI that resulted in a seven-point loss should be the decider, but nobody said life was fair.5. (7) Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.), 34-2
Clovis West avenged a one-point overtime loss to then-No. 7 Archbishop Mitty in Hawaii in December with a 44-40 win in the California Open Division title game. It wasn't close to pretty, but a win's a win.6. (6) Monacan (Richmond, Va.), 30-0
Unbeaten, but Monacan wasn't challenged as much as the teams above it, and didn't finish strong.7. (8) Miami Country Day (Fla.), 29-1
Winning the Dick's Championship this weekend could result in a bump, but the loss to No. 5 Clovis West will keep the Spartans from going much higher.8. (9) Grandview (Aurora, Colo.), 27-1
The loss at the Nike TOC, in overtime, to No. 7 Miami Country, tells the tale.9. (10) St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), 30-0
Winning the Dick's National Championship could rocket St. Frances way up the rankings.10. (11) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 28-1
One of the most talented teams in the country, with some impressive wins, but losing to a good, but unranked, team is a killer.11. (5) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 28-3
The losses were to No. 2 St. John's, No. 5 Clovis West and No. 8 Grandview.12. (12) Fayetteville (Ark.), 30-2
Beat Duncanville at Duncanville. Enough said.13. (13) Duncanville (Texas), 39-2
Lost two home games, but won 6A title.14. (14) Seton Catholic (Chandler, Ariz.), 29-3
Has a chance to improve in second straight trip to Dick's National High School championships.15. (15) Ursuline Academy (Wilmington, Del.), 22-1
The only Northeast representative lost to the Wisconsin runner-up.16. (16) Canyon (Texas), 31-3
Avenged two of those three losses en route to third straight state title -- and 13th overall.17. (17) Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.), 28-2
Avenged the loss to Carmel but the defeat at the hands of good but unranked Wayne of Ohio keeps Homestead here.18. (18) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), 27-4
As mentioned above, a very tough schedule – and an itinerary that went from Hawaii to Phoenix to Washington DC to Massachusetts.19. (19) Elk River (Elk River, Minn.), 32-0
Needed some out-of-state cred to move higher.20. (20) Destrehan (Destrehan, La.), 35-0
See No. 19 Elk River.21. (21) Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.), 26-1
Once again Michigan's best – but travel restrictions limit DCD's opportunities.22. (22) Norcross (Norcross, Ga.), 29-3
The loss to McEachern can't dim the luster of a superb season.23. (23) Appleton North (Appleton, Wis.), 28-0
See No. 20 Destrehan.24. (24) Northwest Guilford (Greensboro, N.C.), 29-2
The last loss was Dec. 10, to No. 9 St. Frances.25. (NR) Olive Branch (Miss.), 33-1
Returns to the rankings – but by the slimmest of margins.Dropped out:
No. 25 North Allegheny