Video: When your ball handling skills are on pointEmily Beard of Dickson County (TN) falls to the floor, keeps her dribble
and still crosses a defender up.
It's not that Riverdale hasn't done enough to win a national title -- Tennessee's top team has beaten more than a few quality opponents and is undeniably talented. It's just that Riverdale could have easily done more. Two other nearby teams made it to the Nike TOC despite bad weather, but Riverdale couldn't make the connection; and a potential game with No. 11 Hamilton Heights couldn't be arranged.
Even so, Riverdale is at the top of the Xcellent 25 and barring an upset of massive proportions in the Tennessee AAA playoffs, will remain there. Four other teams in the top ten have completed their seasons, and two more have just one game left, so the final list is starting to solidify. Still, there will be shifts, as the two California teams in the Top 10 will either be surprised in the Open Division playoffs, or face off in the state championship, and Miami Country Day will likely travel to New York for the Dick's High School National Tournament.
Now if Riverdale could join Miami Country Day there March 31 and April 1, it truly would be a national championship tournament -- but not all state associations are willing to extend the season that long, and spring sports' coaches want those basketball players out on the field sooner rather than later.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. (1) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 31-0
Riverdale opens the Tennessee AAA state tournament Wednesday against 23-10 Morristown-Hamblen West, and would face the winner of Clarksville and Houston on Friday morning. Memphis Central and Stewart's Creek are the favorites in the other half of the bracket.2. (2) Monacan (Richmond, Va.), 29-0
Monacan just has one game left between it and a perfect season -- not to mention a 4A state title. Friday's opponent is 23-5 King's Fork, a team Monacan beat 74-65 in January. But the journey hasn't been easy -- Monacan trailed by three in the third quarter against Lake Taylor in the semis before turning it on in a 66-50 win.3. (3) St. John's (Washington, D.C.), 30-2
Georgetown Visitation was not an easy out in the District of Columbia championship, but St. John's won 63-51 and finished a great season with a D.C. title, as well as a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference crown.4. (4) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 32-2
Paul VI rebounded from its disappointing loss to St. John's in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and, as expected, rolled through the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division 1 postseason bracket.5. (5) Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.), 30-2
That early loss to Paul VI, at Paul VI, pins Centennial here. The other loss was to No. 7 Clovis West, which Centennial avenged in January. 6. (6) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 25-2
Archbishop Mitty outlasted Pinewood in the Central Coast Section finals, and now moves on to the Northern California Regional Open division. St. Mary's of Stockton, fully healthy for the first time this year, looms as the biggest threat. 7. (7) Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.), 30-2
Clovis West beat intracity opponent Clovis 54-22 to win the Central Section championship, and now moves into the Southern California Regional Open bracket. No. 15 Long Beach Poly is expected to be the biggest obstacle to a trip to the state championship game March 25. 8. (8) Miami Country Day (Miami, Fla.), 29-1
So there are nine classes in Florida, with 1A the smallest -- and Miami Country Day won the 4A title. But the Spartans also beat the 6A, 7A, 8A and 9A champs during the season, so there's no doubt who Florida's best really is. It also goes to show how meaningless enrollment is when it comes to determining level of play.9. (9) Grandview (Aurora, Colo.), 25-1
With Highlands Ranch an upset victim, Grandview has only Regis Jesuit (which it beat 58-30), and Cherry Creek (which it beat twice) or Lakewood left. It will all play out this week.10. (10) Norcross (Ga.), 29-2
Way back on Nov. 19, in the first game of the season, Norcross beat McEachern 57-53. Wednesday, in the last game of the season, the two will meet again for the AAAAAAA Georgia championship. 11. (11) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 28-1
Just one stumble (against Forest Trail in the championship game of the second bracket at the Title IX tournament) marred an otherwise perfect season -- which concluded with a 61-50 win over National Christian Academy in USA National Prep Basketball Championships.12. (12) St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.), 30-0
The fourth time was not the charm for McDonogh, which once again fell as St. Frances won the Bishop Walsh tournament and could wind up at the Dick's National High School Tournament in late March.13. (13) Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.), 29-1
After disposing of rival St. Rose 54-32, Rutgers Prep gets Patrick School in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Non-Public B semifinal, a team Rutgers Prep beat by 12 earlier this year. But Patrick is the top seed ... go figure ...14. (14) Southeast Raleigh (Raleigh, N.C.), 32-0
There was no doubt in the 47-31 thumping of Millbrook, and next up is 29-2 Northwest Guilford on Saturday for the 4A title. Northwest Guilford has lost only to No. 12 St. Frances and Northern Guilford, a team it later beat.15. (15) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), 25-3
Long Beach Poly handled Harvard-Westlake 68-52 in the Southern Section Open finals, and is the No. 2 seed in the Southern California Open Regionals (behind No. 7 Clovis West). L.A. City champion Fairfax, 23-5, is next.16. (18) Duncanville (Texas), 39-2
Cypress Ranch made it a game for a while but Duncanville rolled to its 10th state championship, 76-65. Duncanville's last loss was Dec. 30, 16 games ago.17. (19) King (Milwaukee, Wis.), 25-0
King earned this ranking thanks to its unbeaten record and a win over new No. 19 Ursuline. Unbeaten Appleton North didn't play any out-of-state teams but can stake a claim for the Xcellent 25 with a win over King on Friday. 18. (NR) Fayetteville (Ark.), 27-2
On Nov. 26, Fayetteville lost to Central, but has since beaten Central twice. The loss to a good Rock Bridge team is offset by wins over No. 16 Duncanville and Georgia power McEachern. But North Little Rock could derail the dream Saturday. 19. (NR) Ursuline Academy (Wilmington, Del.), 20-1
Ursuline jumps into the rankings thanks to wins over a number of quality Northeast teams -- plus SoCal's Redondo Union. The only loss was to No. 17 King in the second game of the season.20. (20) Destrehan (La.), 35-0
Destrehan completed an unbeaten season by knocking off top seed Barbe 62-57 in the 5A finals. The title was the first state championship for Destrehan. 21. (21) Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.), 28-0
Wayzata is next in the playoffs Wednesday, but since Hopkins has beaten its league rival by 30 and 37, expect an easy ride to the eight-team state tournament.22. (22) Butler (Louisville, Ky.), 31-2
Butler has a chance for revenge Wednesday against Sacred Heart Academy, which knocked off Butler 58-49. Then again, Butler also beat Sacred Heart 81-62 -- and a repeat sets up a run to Sunday's championship game.23. (NR) Canyon (Texas), 31-3
Coach Joe Lombard is an acknowledged master of the high school game, and his team jumps into the Xcellent 25 on the strength of a 47-45 upset over previous No. 17 Mansfield Timberview, which had beaten Canyon earlier in the year. Canyon also lost to Amarillo, but beat Amarillo twice. Mansfield Summit, a 26-win team, gave Canyon the other loss, but the two never played again.24. (24) Seton Catholic (Chandler, Ariz.), 29-3
Two of the three losses were to Top 10 teams (Centennial and Grandview) and the other was to Cactus Shadows, a team Seton Catholic beat once in the regular season and once more for the state championship.25. (25) Newark (Ohio), 27-0
Dublin Coffman is next on Friday and a win puts Newark at Ohio State for the Division I final four. Mount Notre Dame and Solon will likely be the toughest competition.Dropped out:
No. 16 Central Valley, No. 17 Mansfield Timberview, No. 23 Montini Catholic