Video: 2016-17 MaxPreps National Girls Basketball Player of the Year Watch
See top players from teams throughout the Xcellent 25.
First things first: Immensely talented Riverdale moves into the top spot in the Xcellent 25 despite having the weakest strength of schedule of the next 13 teams. The reason? Some quality wins (notably over No. 10 Norcross in Georgia) and a reasonably tough road ahead in the Tennessee postseason.
Of course, St. John's would still be No. 1 if it had managed to get past new No. 2 Paul VI on the road Sunday, but even with that loss, St. John's still can't fall too far. And the two should meet again, which will most likely drop the loser out of the top 10 and keep the winner in the top four.
There's also some discussion-worthy moves at the other end of the bracket, as previous No. 14 Butler lost to unranked but very good Sacred Heart Academy in incredibly competitive Louisville. Usually, that would be enough to knock a team like Butler out of the rankings, but they have good wins over the teams just below them, and at least for this week, remain in the Xcellent 25 at No. 23.
And two teams from traditionally strong Texas and California move into the rankings, though some may wonder why Mansfield Timberview gets the nod over Duncanville. Both are very strong teams, and split with each other, but Mansfield Timberview's other loss is to No. 13 Amarillo and Duncanville's other loss is to unranked Fayetteville of Arkansas. On such minutiae do the ranking wheels turn ...
(Note: We urge all teams, not just those in the Xcellent 25, to make sure their rosters and schedules are up-to-date on MaxPreps. This allows parents, fans, media and college coaches easy access to what they need to know. Problems? Contact email@example.com.)
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard1. (2 last week) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 25-0
The convoluted Tennessee playoffs begin Wednesday, and Riverdale will likely encounter both nemesis Stewart's Creek and unbeaten Brentwood Academy sooner rather than later.
2. (4) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 25-1
Paul VI took full advantage of the packed home court and outlasted previous No. 1 St. John's 58-54 to even their season series at one apiece. The two could meet for the third and decisive time in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference final later this month.3. (3) Monacan (Richmond, Va.), 22-0
Huguenot is the second seed in the romantically named Conference 20 playoffs and Monacan hung more than 90 points on Huguenot -- twice. Expect an easy advance to the next level.4. (1) St. John's (Washington, D.C.), 23-2
After losing the biggest game of the season -- so far -- and dropping out of the top spot in the Xcellent 25, St. John's struggled some Tuesday before knocking off Seton 58-53.
5. (5) Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.), 25-2
The Regionals begin Wednesday, but that's not saying much … Centennial is the top seed and beat No. 2 seed Faith Lutheran 72-24 last time out, and No. 3 seed Legacy 61-16.6. (6) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 21-2
The regular season ends Friday night, and then Mitty moves on the Open Division playoffs in the Central Coast Section. As long as Mitty avoids a first-round upset, a trip to the Northern California Open Regionals will surely follow.7. (7) Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.), 27-2
Clovis West is the heavy favorite to win California's Central Section Division 1 (largest schools) title, and even if it loses in the semifinals or finals, it will advance to the Regionals -- where its likely destination is the Open Division, though whether that will be north (with No. 6 Mitty) or south (with No. 17 Long Beach Poly) is yet to be determined.8. (8) Miami Country Day (Miami), 27-1
Miami Country Day is three games from a state title and completing a one-loss season -- though the odds are the Spartans will be in the Dick's National High School Championship in New York City March 31 and April 1.9. (9) Grandview (Aurora, Colo.), 20-1
If size of school matters as much as administrators believe -- most states divide their schools into classifications based on number of students -- Cherry Creek's 3,500 students should roll over No. 9 Grandview's 2,600. It's possible, but not likely.10. (10) Norcross (Ga.), 25-2
West Forsyth is Friday, with a 13-13 record, and Marietta, at 21-6, is likely next. But since Norcross already beat Marietta 70-45, looking ahead to rival McEachern in the finals can be forgiven.11. (11) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 21-1
Though the National Association of Christian Athletes nationals doesn't get a lot of respect, there will be some quality teams in Dayton, Tenn., starting Feb. 22. Hamilton Heights will be the favorite, but it won't be a stroll in the Tennessee woods. 12. (12) St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.), 25-0
The unbeaten season and national ranking were this close to evaporating in overtime against National Christian Academy, but Nia Clouden
hit a jumper at the buzzer for a 75-74 win.13. (19) Amarillo (Texas), 34-1
The long march of the Texas playoffs have begun, and three games in, Canyon looms as the first big stumbling block. Canyon is responsible for Amarillo's only loss (in Amarillo) but Amarillo turned the tables (at Canyon). The next one will be at a neutral site, assuming both survive that long. 14. (17) Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.), 21-1
After surviving Blair Academy 60-52 on Tuesday night, Rutgers Prep draws Life Center on Feb. 22, which will be yet another major tuneup prior to postseason.
15. (16) Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.), 17-0
The last two regular season games -- against Heritage on Saturday and Renaissance on Tuesday -- are against teams that have lost a total of four games. And then come the playoffs ...16. (23) Southeast Raleigh (Raleigh, N.C.), 26-0
The question is this: Will Southeast Raleigh's weak list of opponents catch up to it in the North Carolina 4A playoffs? Millbrook (22-2) and Heritage (20-3) have played much tougher schedules, and if Southeast Raleigh survives, it will have earned this ranking.17. (NR) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), 21-3
Southern California returns to the rankings, as Long Beach Poly's overall body of work -- and extensive travel -- offsets its one bad loss. And California's Southern Section, which includes 529 schools, has taken the best 16 and put them in the Open Division playoffs. The top four then advance to the Southern California Regionals.18. (18) Central Valley (Spokane Valley, Wash.), 22-0
Central Valley will begin its state title quest -- and search for its second straight unbeaten season -- this week. Expect few bumps in the road before the semifinals, if then.19. (NR) Mansfield Timberview (Arlington, Texas), 29-2
Mansfield Timberview returns to the rankings, as its only two losses are to No. 13 Amarillo and Texas power Duncanville, which it also beat. And Mansfield Timberview could meet Amarillo again in the 5A postseason.20. (20) King (Milwaukee), 21-0
King moves into the second round of the Division 1 playoffs Wednesday, but may not be tested for a while. Then again, that's what one might expect from a nationally ranked team.21. (21) Destrehan (La.), 30-0
Destrehan starts the playoffs Thursday but the only Louisiana team in the Xcellent 25 is the third seed. Three-loss Barbe is No. 1, and East Ascension, which lost to a team Destrehan beat by 26, is No. 2. Go figure.22. (22) Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.), 23-0
Hopkins plays a doubleheader Saturday, and the nightcap against Owatonna might prove to be a bit of a challenge. But then again, most likely not.23. (14) Butler (Louisville, Ky.), 25-2
After barely surviving a punch in the mouth from Sacred Heart Academy and hanging on to a spot in the Xcellent 25, Butler draws a strong Henderson County team Friday. There will be no more second chances ...24. (15) Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.), 28-1
It was not a good week, as a previous loss to Butler means Butler's fate is entwined with Montini, and it took double overtime to get past Oswego East. But the scoreboard doesn't lie, and Montini remains No. 24.25. (24) Rock Island (Ill.), 28-1
Rock Island hasn't lost since Dec. 10, and may get a chance to avenge that five-point defeat at the hands of Montini in the Illinois postseason -- which has just begun.Dropped out:
No. 13 North Central (Indianapolis), No. 25 Holy Innocents Episcopal.