By Mitch Stephens
Early-round playoff games and late-season tune-ups led to a season-low 39 wins and a single defeat this week for the Xcellent 25.
Previous No. 1 and last week’s No. 3 squad Murry Bergtraum (New York, N.Y.) had a 73-game win streak snapped with a 61-54 defeat against a strong Manhattan Center squad on Thursday.
Inactivity may have been a problem for the Blazers who had played just once since Jan. 25, a span of 18 days. Bergtraum dropped 12 spaces to No. 15.
The remaining 24 were perfect though 10 teams played only one game including No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) which showed no signs of a letdown after an emotional and gritty win over No. 15 Cajon the previous week.
The 10 bubble teams, waiting for someone to burst, were a perfect 22-0 as well.
About the Rankings: MaxPreps already provides the most comprehensive high school sports ratings with the MaxPreps National Rankings presented by the National Guard, a computer model developed by Ned Freeman. Now, it’s time to get the human element involved.
Each Monday, Mitch Stephens will run down the top 25 girls basketball teams in the country – weighing record, quality wins and losses and other factors to determine the best of the best.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25
1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 26-0 (1-0 last week) – Following biggest win of 2009 over then No. 14 Cajon, came right back with 32-point road win over strong Orange Lutheran (21-3), ranked 25th in the state.
2. Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.) 26-0 (3-0) – Gave up a scant 63 points in three wins, including 38-9 over Manuel (Indianapolis) in slowdown special. Remember no shot clock in Indiana. Beat strong Decatur Central for the third time 59-27 in sectional final as 10 players scored including 22 from Penn State-bound Alex Bentley.
3. Washington (South Bend, Ind.) 23-0 (2-0) – Need three more wins to move into what could be the national game of the year against Ben Davis for the state championship. Won two sectional games last week by 23 points each. See Xcellent profile on national Player of the Year nominee Skylar Diggins.
4. Cardinal O’Hara (Springfield, Pa.) 22-1 (2-0) – Defense continues to key the Lions who give up 52 points while more than doubling two opponents. Stephanie Holzer had 25 in 55-25 win over Neumann-Goretti. For the first time O’Hara has a chance to look forward to a state-title run.
5. Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 27-1 (1-0) – Had little trouble with Benet Academy 62-28 in only game last week as Porsha Harris and Ashley Anderson had 12 points apiece.
6. Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.) 24-2 (2-0) – The good news is the Wildcats extended their win streak to 20 games. The bad news the starters got little work in 68- and 77-point wins last week.
7. Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) 21-0 (1-0) – Amazingly balanced Conquerors had four more girls in double figures led by Lindsey Moore’s 15 points during 68-50 SPSL District win over Graham-Kapowsin. Jessie Genger, Liz Mills and Kylie Huerta combined for 41.
8. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati, Ohio) 18-1 (2-0) – Two more lopsided wins last week, two more on the horizon for Dante Harlan’s team that is led by USC-bound Kendall Hackney, Kathryn Reynolds and Gabby Smith.
9. St. Michael Academy (New York, N.Y.) 19-2 (1-0) – Fiveborosports.com is reporting starting point guard Janine Davis (MCL tear) will be back in the postseason for the injury-prone Eagles.
10. Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 19-2 (2-0) – Last four of five games the Crusaders have scored between 65-69 including wins of 28 and 21 points last week. Senior post Tianna Hawkins leads the squad with averages of 16.2 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
11. Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 23-2 (1-0) – Practice would be much more productive than the team’s only game, a 65-6 win over Compton, a team it beat 77-11 the first time. We know coach Carl Buggs, who always plays one of the country’s toughest schedules, takes no pleasure in these yearly league blowouts.
12. Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 21-1 (1-0) – At the other end of many of these unbalanced leagues is the West Catholic Athletic League, which usually boasts 4-5 section finalist and multiple state finalists. That’s why the Irish’s third straight undefeated WCAL season, finished off with a 64-51 win over two-time defending Division II state champion Archbishop Mitty, was so gratifying for coach Brian Harrigan on Friday. Ki-Ki Moore, one of the country’s most underrated point guards, had 25 points in the victory.
13. St. Mary’s (Stockton, Calif.) 22-3 (1-0) – Back to the snoreboard for the Rams who trounce Tokay 99-38. St. Mary’s is averaging just a hair below 80 points per game. The Rams have averaged 87 over the last 11 games that included five games better than 90, including 105.
14. Bolingbrook (Ill.) 18-4 (2-0) – Rock steady senior point guard Satavia Taylor led the Raiders to a sloppy but hard-earned 54-26 win Lockport last week. The Loyola signee had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five steals and freshman sensation Morgan Tuck added 18 points and nine rebounds.
15. Murry Bergtraum (New York, N.Y.) 20-1 (0-1) – All that inactivity we’ve been harping on lately comes back to bite the Blazers, who have their 73-game win streak snapped by 20-4 Manhattan Center 61-54. Bergtraum, which can still win its 11th straight PSAL title, never led in the game.
16. Cajon (San Bernardino, Calif.) 25-2 (2-0) – Rebounded in big way from tough loss to top-ranked Mater Dei with 55-point and 50-point wins, the latter an 87-37 win over a 20-win San Bernardino squad as Layshia Clarendon led five girls in double figures with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
17. Horizon (Thornton, Colo.) 21-0 (2-0) – Two more lopsided wins for the Hawks who won two games by 29 points each. Great balanced scoring all year from Meagan Malcolm-Peck (17.6 points per game), Brenna Malcolm-Peck (14.8) and Cherae Medina (14.5).
18. Westbury Christian (Houston) 40-1 (1-0) – The first team we’ve seen to crack the 40-win barrier with a 77-16 win over Hyde Park Baptist in TAPPS 4A Bi-District as Amber Orrange had 17 and Waltia Rolle 15.
19. Heritage Christian (Indianapolis, Ind.) 22-1 (2-0) – Two wins by a combined 66 points kept the Eagles firmly in the top 20. A 65-39 win over Park Tudor gave coach Rick Risinger his 100th victory (just four defeats) and the Eagles their seventh straight section title. His team, which gets get tough Hagerstown (18-3) next, is going after its fourth straight state crown.
20. Dulles (Sugar Land, Texas) 33-2 (2-0) – Recorded its highest scoring game of the year and gave up the most in a 95-72 win over Bush as six players scored in double figures for the winners led by Trayvia Hart (21 points) and Amber Arceneaux-Francis. (18 points).
21. Nimitz (Houston, Texas) 31-1 (1-0) – Brittney Griner had 27 points and six blocks and Chrishauna Parker 25 points and 13 rebounds in tougher-than-expected 63-40 win over Humble, which trailed 21-5 after one quarter.
22. University (Newark, N.J.) 17-3 (3-0) – The Phoenix have won 16 of 17 and 11 straight with second three-victory week in a row. Opens state tournament Friday at Verona.
23. Detroit Country Day (Mich.) 18-0 (2-0) – The Yellowjackets get their first competitive win since Jan. 9 with a 63-49 win over Waite (Toledo, Ohio) as Faziah Steen had 13 points and Troy Hambric added 12 points, seven steals and six rebounds.
24. Fargo South (Fargo, N.D.) 16-0 (1-0) – Has scored at least 84 in six of the last 12 games including 84-58 win over Devils Lake last week.
25. College Park (The Woodlands, Texas) 31-2 (1-0) – Monique Smalls put up big numbers in 76-42 win over Dekaney with 16 points, 12 assists and eight steals.
10 on the bubble (alphabetical): Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, Pa) 21-1; Detroit Community (Detroit, Mich.) 14-0; Fayetteville (Ark.) 25-0; Foothill (Santa Ana, Calif.) 25-1; Germantown Academy (Pa.) 27-0; Highlands Ranch (Colo.) 17-2; Lakota West (West Chester)18-2; Lewis & Clark (Spokane, Wash.) 20-0; Oak Ridge (Tenn.) 26-2; St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.) 22-1; Westlake (Atlanta) 22-1.
Past weeks: Jan. 5, Jan. 12, Jan. 20, Jan. 26, Feb. 2, Feb. 10
Click Here for MaxPreps National Rankings presented by the National Guard.