Video: Somebody offer her a baseball contractJulia Bentrewicz of Hicksville (NY) shows off her arm with this three-quarter court heave.
The vagaries of state schedules once again come into play, as some teams will begin their postseason adventures next week — and others have to wait for nearly a month for league play to end.
Eventually, however, almost all members of the Xcellent 25 will face some playoff challenges, and those who are involved in traditional state tournaments will find it especially difficult. After a couple of rounds, the pretenders are removed from the brackets, and the teams that are left are confident and not intimidated by national rankings or elite players. All of which means that upsets are not only likely, but probable, and the final version of the Xcellent 25 may not bear much resemblance to the one below.
Massive changes, however, are still a ways down the road for most teams, as they will dominate overmatched opponents in league and conference play and try to stay sharp for the inevitable challenges ahead. There are still a few weekend events left on the schedule, however, and the Mecca Challenge in New York City could shake things up a bit.
For the most part, though, late January is a time for elite teams to get healthy, stay focused and prepare to win a state championship.
(Note: Teams that wish to be recognized either locally or nationally should make sure their information — schedule, results, roster, coach, etc. — is up to date on MaxPreps. If you have any issues, please contact email@example.com.)
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. (Last week 1) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 17-0
Archbishop Mitty has just one game in the upcoming week, and it's at home, so don't expect this ranking to change.2. (2) St. John's (Washington, D.C.), 16-1
Because the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference isn't quite up to its usual standards — though it's still one of the best in the country — St. John's will challenge itself with a trip to three-loss Georgetown Visitation on Sunday.3. (3) Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.), 13-0
Christ the King puts its unbeaten record on the line Saturday against No. 8 Riverdale Baptist at the Mecca Challenge in New York City, and expect another close game for NYC's best.4. (4) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 20-1
Business has pretty much been taken care of, as league play is all that's left before postseason, and Riverdale already beat the second best team in its conference by 24.5. (5) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 18-2
It's unclear why Paul VI is traveling to Pennsylvania to play nine-loss Cumberland Valley on Saturday, but it is clear that the Feb. 2 rematch with No. 2 St. John's will be a lot more competitive.6. (6) St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.), 18-2
It's hard for teams that don't play in a league to find games late in the year, and since St. Mary's was lifted from the Tri-City Athletic League because of its years-long domination, there's only one game on the schedule between now and Feb. 3.7. (7) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 17-2
Like St. Mary's, Hamilton Heights sometimes struggles to find games. Legacy Charter and its 14-2 record are on tap Friday, then Arlington on Saturday but after that, Hamilton Heights doesn't play until Feb. 16.8. (8) Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.), 13-3
So this is how Top 10 teams schedule: Riverdale Baptist has No. 13 Long Island Lutheran on Friday, No. 3 Christ the King, in New York, Sunday, and then 15-4 National Christian Academy, which RB beat by only four earlier this year, on Tuesday. Hopefully, Wednesday is a day off from practice.9. (9) Duncanville (Texas), 31-1
Cedar Hill could be a challenge Thursday, as Duncanville only won the first round by four. But that was at Cedar Hill, and this one is in the friendly confines.10. (10) Mercer County (Harrodsburg, Ky.), 19-2
Mercer County played, and beat, two more quality intersectional opponents at the Raatz Fence/O'Shea's Classic in Kentucky. This week's victims were Incarnate Word of Missouri (63-60) and Miami Country Day of Florida (67-55).11. (11) Winter Haven (Fla.), 22-0
Winter Haven hasn't relaxed down the stretch, and should be heavily favored in Saturday's game against Central — which is coached by former WNBA star Sophia Witherspoon.12. (12) Southeast Raleigh (Raleigh, N.C.), 18-0
Leesville Road has lost just once, and that's Wednesday's opponent, but the game is at home. And Southeast Raleigh has played a much tougher schedule.13. (13) Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.), 10-3
Long Island Lutheran is another team that goes out of its way to find quality opponents. First up this week is No. 8 Riverdale Baptist on Friday, and then one of New Jersey's best, 11-1 St. Rose, in New Jersey on Sunday.14. (14) Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.), 14-1
Princess Anne handled tough Lake Taylor by 12, and now can look ahead to No. 8 Riverdale Baptist on Feb. 2.15. (16) Baldwin (N.Y.), 12-1
It may not look like much of a challenge, but if healthy, eight-loss New Hope Academy is a very tough out, and six-loss Franklin has played enough quality teams that Baldwin's No. 15 ranking won't be at all intimidating.16. (NR) Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas), 30-2
Those two losses are by a total of three points, and one of them was to No. 9 Duncanville. And Duncanville's only loss came at the hands of Mansfield Timberview.17. (19) St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.), 13-0
St. John-Vianney's schedule gets tougher later, but St. Anthony's will be a battle on Sunday.18. (18) Centennial (Las Vegas), 20-3
Centennial has a simple goal: Hold the score down so the Nevada authorities don't demand written reports after every game. Postseason, though, begins in early February.19. (22) Central Valley (Spokane Valley, Wash.), 17-0
There are just three league games left before the playoffs begin, and even then, Central Valley may not be challenged until deep into postseason — if at all.20. (NR) Pike (Indianapolis), 20-1
Pike jumps into the rankings thanks to wins over Rock Island and North Central, and thanks to avenging its only loss, to Lawrence North. After Hamilton Southeastern on Wednesday, the playoffs begin.21. (23) Westlake (Atlanta), 19-1
Though Wheeler made it exciting Tuesday night — leading by seven at halftime — Westlake pulled out a 68-64 win. That will likely be the last close call before postseason.22. (NR) St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), 11-4
St. Frances returns to the rankings after Bishop McNamara, which beat St. Frances earlier this year, got upset. St. Frances gets the nod, though, thanks to good wins over McDonogh, Roland Park, Lake Taylor and South Shore, and three losses to ranked teams.23. (NR) Pickerington Central (Ohio), 16-1
Pickerington Central emerges out of Ohio, and slips past Newark and Lakota West thanks to its trip to the Diamond State Classic, where it proved itself against quality out-of-state opposition. The only loss is to Sacred Heart Academy of Kentucky, which was ranked at one point and has played a difficult schedule as well.24. (24) Eastview (Apple Valley, Minn.), 15-0
Eastview is on cruise control until postseason, though it's possible that the trip to Lakeville North on Friday could be a bump in the road.25. (25) Edwardsville (Ill.), 20-0
Edwardsville remains at No. 25, even with a couple more wins, because the schedule has been less than daunting. O'Fallon is 20-2, however, and shows up on the schedule Feb. 6.Dropped Out:
No. 15 Campbell County, No. 20 McDonogh, No. 21 Montini Catholic (Lombard IL)