No. 10 Riverdale Baptist hasn’t played any games according to the schedule, but the Crusader girls just came back from what might be the trip of a lifetime. Coach Sam Caldwell played professionally in Europe, so he set up a series of scrimmages in Germany for Riverdale Baptist, and the team played three games in a week-long visit.
And given the fact that 12 Riverdale Baptist alumni have played professionally in Europe on the women’s side, it just might be a preview of a future job opportunity for some of the very talented girls on the Crusader roster.
Closer to home, the big event over Thanksgiving was the Turkey Jamm Shootout in Murfreesboro, Tenn., home to No. 3 Blackman and now No. 17 Riverdale.
The biggest splash was made by Homewood-Flossmoor, which jumped into the Xcellent 25 at No. 14.
The Xcellent 25 still has a lot of teams that have yet to play a game, while some have already gotten in five. The rankings will be pretty fluid for the next several weeks, but should settle down after the major tournaments over the Christmas holidays.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Girls Basketball Rankings Presented by the Army National Guard1. (Preseason 1) Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis) 1-0
The Red Knights are easing into a difficult season, and won’t play again until Dec. 11, when they travel to Parkway North. 2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 1-0
The Monarchs start this week, but like Incarnate Word, shouldn’t be challenged early in the season. 3. (3) Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 4-0
The Blaze jumped right into the fire, playing Sparkman, always one of Alabama’s best, previously ranked McEachern and No. 21 Rock Bridge — and beat them all at the Turkey Jamm in Tennessee. 4. (4) Shabazz (Newark, N.J.) 0-0
Expect to see the Bulldogs in this spot for a while, as they’re one of the New Jersey teams that haven’t even been allowed to start practice yet. Shabazz will play its first game just before Christmas.5. (5) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 0-0
The Panthers get started Friday against Edison of Virginia, a 24-win team last season, and then take on Seton LaSalle of Pennsylvania, a team knocking of the door of the Xcellent 25. 6. (6) Duncanville (Texas) 9-0
They don’t fool around in Texas — Duncanville has already played nine games, but now the Pantherettes take some time off. They’ll start conference play Dec. 10 and their second game will be against always tough Mansfield Timberview.
7. (7) Windward (Los Angeles) 4-0
The Wildcats rolled through the Palisades tournament over Thanksgiving, and beat perennial SoCal power Lynwood 55-28 in the finals. 8. (9) Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) 0-0
Regis Jesuit will start this week with Colorado opposition, but probably won’t be tested until the Nike TOC in Phoenix Dec. 19-21. 9. (10) Bedford North Lawrence (Bedford, Ind.) 5-0
After a convincing win over previous No. 8 Fairmont — at Fairmont, no less — the Stars unfortunately have no more out-of-state teams on their schedule. If Fairmont stumbles, it will be hard to determine just how good Bedford North Lawrence really is. 10. (13) Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 0-0
The always talented, always deep, always "play anyone anywhere" Crusaders will take on one of New Jersey’s best, Life Center, this weekend. 11. (16) New Hope Christian Academy (Thomasville, N.C.) 5-0
The Phoenix racked up an impressive 27-point win over Life Center of New Jersey, and now head to Virginia for the Lady Cavs Showcase. 12. (14) Long Beach Poly (Calif.) 0-0
The Jackrabbits don’t get let loose until Dec. 12, when they travel to Hawaii to play in the Iolani Classic. They then have two more tournaments before they get into league play. 13. (17) Rolling Meadows (Ill.) 5-0
The Mustangs didn’t miss a beat at the Lake Zurich tournament, and since every player but one is back from last year’s 31-4 team, Rolling Meadows should be in the middle of the state title hunt. 14. (NR) Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.) 3-0
The Vikings remained resilient in Tennessee to knock off No. 17 Riverdale, 63-62, in the Turkey Jamm Shootout — and then handled a talented Capitol Christian team from Maryland the next night to push themselves into the national picture. 15. (15) Saint Mary's (Albany, Calif.) 0-0
The Panthers will get serious quickly, playing graduation-depleted but still very talented Bishop O’Dowd (finished No. 3 nationally last year) on Saturday. 16. (8) Fairmont (Kettering, Ohio) 0-1
The Firebirds should get back on track after losing to No. 9 Bedford North Lawrence of Indiana but they won’t be tested by out-of-state competition again until after Christmas. 17. (11) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 4-1
After getting upset by Homewood-Flossmoor of Illinois on their home court, the Warriors bounced back to edge No. 23 Rock Bridge by two. Still, the upcoming schedule doesn’t get any easier for last year’s national champ. 18. (NR) Manvel (Texas) 8-1
There’s no disgrace in losing to No. 6 Duncanville in Duncanville, which Manvel did by a 56-50 count. But with
and Jordan Hosey
in the lineup, the Mavericks are a threat to beat anyone. 19. (22) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 0-0
The Royals are back in their accustomed spot at the top of the NYC rankings, but jump right in with a game against Nazareth and Bianca Cuevas Friday. 20. (21). St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) 0-0
The pressing, trapping, frenetic Rams will start out at a local tournament before heading to the Nike TOC before Christmas and the West Coast Jamboree after the presents are opened. 21. (12) Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.) 0-2
How can an 0-2 team still be ranked? By losing by a total of four points in the hometown of two other nationally ranked teams. And coach Julie Nagel doesn’t duck anyone — 25-win Blue Springs is on tap Sunday.22. (24) Northside (Fort Smith, Ark.) 3-0
The Grizzlies handled West Memphis 69-60, and West Memphis played No. 24 Horn Lake closer, losing 50-47. Northside is off to the Cleveland Invitational in Oklahoma this weekend.23. (25) Southwest DeKalb (Decatur, Ga.) 4-0
The Panthers are jumping right into things in Georgia, having already played traditionally strong Southwest Atlanta Christian and Fayette County — and Miller Grove, which won 26 games last year, is on tap this weekend. 24. (NR) Horn Lake (Miss.) 7-0
Led by A'Queen Hayes
, the Eagles knocked off previously ranked Shades Valley and talented but young Potter’s House Christian of Florida in the Turkey Jamm in Tennessee to send a message to the South. 25. (NR) Lawrence North (Indianapolis) 4-0
The Wildcats knocked off previous No. 23 Columbus North, 50-39, to move into the Xcellent 25. But since they don’t play any out-of-state teams this season, they need to stay unbeaten to hold onto this spot. Dropped out:
No. 17 Shades Valley, No. 19 MacArthur, No. 20 McEachern, No. 23 Columbus North