Video: Top 25 girls high school basketball rankings
DeSoto remains unbeaten and No. 1.
Not all high schools are created equal — at least when it comes to rankings.
For example, Bishop McNamara, a team on the cusp of the Top 25, lost last week to Winston-Salem Christian, a very talented 11-2 team out of North Carolina. But for our purposes, that loss doesn't "count" because Winston-Salem Christian will often re-classify students, moving them down a grade. In other words, a transfer who just finished her sophomore year at one school and now transfers into Winston-Salem Christian (and many other schools) might be judged academically behind her peers and thus needs to repeat her sophomore classwork — so she is "re-classed" as a sophomore even though she would have been a junior at her previous school.
When it comes to athletics, this gives some students an extra season of sport, which can be a significant advantage, so for the girls' basketball Top 25, schools that re-classi are not eligible for ranking.
Some prep schools accept students who have already graduated from high school, and give them another year to prepare for college, again perhaps giving that girl and the team she plays for an advantage, so prep schools who play high school grads are also not part of the Top 25.
Finally, some schools are not affiliated with state or national high school athletic associations, and also fall outside the Top 25 qualification list.
So sometimes losses aren't really losses, in our eyes, because even though a game is played under high school rules, the rosters don't meet generally accepted high school standards.
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On another note, this will be our last ranking until 2020 — so expect lots of changes as the major holiday tournament brackets play themselves out. Also, we'd like to remind coaches to make sure their MaxPreps' schedules are up to date, with no duplicate scores and early November exhibition games removed.
Thanks — and have a great Holiday season.
MaxPreps Top 25 national high school girls basketball rankings
1. (Last week 1) DeSoto (Texas), 14-0
DeSoto remains No. 1, but it won't be easy to still claim that spot come 2020. First up is 14-3 Cedar Hill on Friday, and then DeSoto has the murderous half of the draw in the Sandra Meadows Classic at Duncanville, with unbeaten Conway, always tough McEachern and SoCal power Harvard-Westlake in DeSoto's half of the bracket.
It took three overtimes for La Jolla Country Day to outlast intracity rival Cathedral Catholic last week, and expect similar tests in the top division at the Nike TOC this week. If LJCD can get four wins there, look for them at the top of the next Top 25.
Of course, Centennial's plan is to win all four games at the Nike TOC and lay its claim to the top spot in the Top 25 — and there's reason to believe. Faith Lutheran won 19 games last year, and couldn't reach double digits against Centennial, losing 78-8.
Riverdale Baptist justified this ranking with a 57-53 win over now-No. 17 St. Frances Academy, but like No. 2 La Jolla Country Day and No. 3 Centennial, will next go to work in Arizona at the Nike TOC.
Stop me if you heard this: Sierra Canyon will have a chance to prove itself at the Nike TOC this week. Yes, that means four of the top five teams in the country will be in the Joe Smith Division of the long-running Arizona classic.
Paul VI draws unbeaten Stoneridge School of the Sacred Heart on Saturday, but its post-Christmas trip to Florida for the Palm Beach Holiday Classic won't be as challenging as it could be.
Hopkins, with its deep and talented roster, is ravaging Minnesota, not surprisingly, and is not testing itself out of its home state. Maybe the game at 10-0 Park Center on Dec. 28 will be closer than 20 points. Maybe …
Though Mount Notre Dame isn't playing in any holiday tournaments, it has games against two unbeaten teams: Lebanon and Wayne. The Lebanon game is at home Saturday, but Wayne — which beat a strong Fairmont (of Kettering) team — will be at a neutral site Dec. 29.
So even though Hamilton Heights is not official enough to satisfy administrators in some states — and thus can't play in the top bracket of the Nike TOC — there are enough potential opponents that Hamilton Heights will still be in Arizona, playing against some top Canadian teams and prep schools. And plenty of college coaches will find their way to those games.
Westlake held off in-state rival Lovejoy 55-52 in a taut, high-level high school game to move back into the Top 10. The Peach State Classic and the Naples Holiday Shootout aren't elite tests, but both holiday events will deliver at least a couple challenges.
South Shore's big adventure is the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas over the holidays, and rising power Valor Christian of Colorado will be ready to make its mark nationally by targeting New York's best.
Grandview is only No. 12, but they're still letting Colorado's top team in to the top bracket of the TOC, which will be Grandview's last out-of-state test. They will draw once-ranked Cherry Creek at least twice once back home, however.
Last year was supposed to be the year for Long Island Lutheran, but with solid wins over once-ranked Archbishop Wood, McDonogh and St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida, LuHi jumps into this year's Top 25.
Southeast Raleigh knocked off previous No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech to earn this spot, and the win over Neumann-Goretti is a good one as well. But No. 17 St. Frances looms in the John Wall Invitational after Christmas.
Youth generally means inconsistency, and Tampa Bay Tech is young — and got surprised by Southeast Raleigh. Then, however, TBT put the hurt on a very strong New Hope team, 60-45. Who knows what's next?
Africentric's schedule is not filled with a week-in, week-out diet of powerhouses — but No. 18 Edison is on tap Dec. 28, and it's quite possible the loser will slide out of the Top 25 … for good.
St. Frances lost to No. 4 Riverdale Baptist, but will have a chance to jump back into the Top 15 with a win over new No. 14 Southeast Raleigh. A loss there, though, could have St. Frances on the outside looking in.
Edison slipped past two solid Illinois teams, and though the margins weren't that big, wins are wins. A win over No. 16 Africentric on Dec. 28, though, would be impressive regardless of the final score.
Garfield has beaten up on its Washington opposition, but No. 2 La Jolla Country Day is made of sterner stuff. And that's just the opening game at the Nike TOC.
Lovejoy gave No. 10 Westlake 55-52 all it could handle this past weekend, and has always tough Hoover and a trip to New York to look forward to. And North Carolina's Zebulon Vance Jan. 3 won't be a gimme either.
One of the advantages of hosting your own tournament is that you get to set the brackets — and Duncanville's road to the finals of the 32-team Sandra Meadows Classic is a whole lot easier than that of No. 1 DeSoto.
The Boo Williams post-Christmas tournament includes two teams that started the season in the Top 10 — New Hope and Bishop McNamara — and another, Neumann-Goretti, that just might be better.
Though Benet isn't seeing much outside of Illinois, the trip to 10-0 York on Saturday and a very competitive Montini Catholic Tournament after Christmas will be serious tests.
Northwestern's schedule isn't going to rock anyone's world, but the post-Christmas Subway Classic does offer up Jeffersonville and Evansville North, each with only two losses.
The seventh member of the Top 25 in the Nike TOC shouldn't be overlooked — and again, an unbeaten team that wins the Joe Smith Division will lay a strong claim to the top spot come January, regardless of the ranking going in.Dropped out:
No. 12 Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.), No. 17 New Hope (Landover Hills, Md.)