Video: St. Mary's wins the Nike TOC
See America's top team in action.
It's never easy, not even if you're No. 1.
St. Mary's of Stockton had what looked to be two relatively competitive games last week, against Clovis West (a team St. Mary's had beaten by 23 earlier in the year) and Salesian, which had lost three times, but things are never as simple as they seem.
Against Clovis West, St. Mary's was without two senior starters including Mi'Cole Cayton
, was tall-tournament at the top bracket at the Nike TOC, and struggled to a 10-point win. Against Salesian, another senior starter, Sierra Smith
, was dinged in the first quarter, and St. Mary's needed overtime to pull out the victory.
But the bottom line is that the scoreboard doesn't lie, and a win is a win -- so St. Mary's retains the top spot. And hopes to get healthy soon.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. (1 last week) St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.), 15-0
St. Mary's will host its annual Martin Luther King Day weekend tournament, and will draw a pair of Southern California teams -- the best of which is a consistently solid Alemany team. But the return of the three injured senior starters is first on the agenda.2. (2) Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.), 19-1
Once-beaten South Shore is on tap Monday, but Riverdale Baptist most likely has too much firepower and too much experience for the New York school. But there are plenty of challenges ahead for the nation's second-best team.3. (4) Duncanville (Texas), 26-0
Duncanville is settling into league play, and second-place DeSoto has five losses. Oh, and Duncanville has already beaten DeSoto -- by 41.4. (5) Centennial (Las Vegas), 16-1
Centennial is in cruise control until an early February matchup with perennial national power Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). Desert Oasis is the only team that might be a test in league play.5. (6) National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, Md.), 17-0
National Christian will play three games in three days this weekend, all against decent opposition. Still, fatigue in game three is the only likely path to an upset.6. (7) Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia), 12-0
The big one will be Monday against unbeaten Cardinal O'Hara, the only time the two league rivals will play this year. Luckily for Neumann-Goretti, they'll be playing in their friendly confines.7. (8) Miramonte (Orinda, Calif.), 13-0
Saturday will be the test for No. 7 Miramonte: Mater Dei at the St. Mary's of Stockton MLK Showcase. Mater Dei has lost just once, to D.C. power Our Lady of Good Counsel -- which just beat previous No. 3 Paul VI. 8. (9) Forestville (Md.), 10-1
Forestville will travel to New York City this weekend but is not matched against any of the NYC powers. 9. (10) North Shore (Houston), 24-1
Nothing special for North Shore this weekend -- and not really until the Texas postseason. Too bad they don't play a more ambitious schedule.10. (11) Montini (Lombard, Ill.), 19-0
There was a time that Joliet Catholic would have been a tough game -- but now the next challenge appears to be Morgan Park on Jan. 23.11. (12) Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 15-2
Blackman's heading to Nashville to take on Whitney Young, a perennial power from Illinois, and McGill-Toolen out of Alabama. But remember, the only losses are to No. 3 Duncanville and No. 5 National Christian.12. (13) St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.), 16-1
Holy Innocents Episcopal Saturday will be a decent test, but the real challenge will be from unbeaten Collins Hill Jan. 23. 13. (15) Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.), 16-0
Benet, a quality team from Illinois, is on tap in Chicago Saturday, and that will give Indiana's best an out-of-state measuring stick.14. (16) Cicero-North Syracuse (Cicero, N.Y.), 11-0
Beating now-No. 17 Archbishop Mitty in California looks better and better as time marches on -- but until New York's convoluted postseason, Cicero-North Syracuse should have no issues.15. (17) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 17-1
While patiently awaiting a rematch with crosstown rival No. 11 Blackman, Riverdale will travel to Georgia Saturday to take on a talented Archer team. Looking too far ahead could prove fatal to residence in the Xcellent 25.16. (NR) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 10-3
As mentioned above, sometimes the rankings' web is very tangled. But note that Mitty has lost only to ranked teams, plays in a very tough league -- and showed very well at the Nike TOC.17. (3) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 16-1
There's no disgrace in losing to a talented rival in an away league game, but there's little mercy in the Xcellent 25. The rematch date, Feb. 5, is already circled in red on the calendar.18. (18) Bellevue (Wash.), 12-0
Unbeaten Mercer Island comes to Bellevue Wednesday, but last year, without Anna Wilson, Bellevue won by double digits both times. 19. (19) Lynnwood (Bothell, Wash.), 11-0
At 10-2, Glacier Park might give Lynnwood a battle Wednesday, but realistically, Lynnwood is just waiting for postseason to prove it's better than Bellevue.20. (20) Central (Little Rock, Ark.), 14-0
The best team in Arkansas isn't doing anything special this weekend, but Jonesboro and Mountain Home are two of the better teams in Central's league.21. (21) Highlands Ranch (Colo.), 12-1
The big one is Jan. 22, at ThunderRidge. In the meantime, expect Highlands Ranch to add to its win total.22. (22) Villa Maria Academy (Erie, Pa.), 13-0
There are those who question Villa Maria's presence in the Xcellent 25, but it's not a fluke. The Pennsylvania AAA power has averaged 24 wins a year over the past nine seasons.23. (23) Heritage (Saginaw, Mich.), 9-0
Midland Dow next Tuesday should be a decent test for Heritage, but that one's at home. Heritage will travel to Midland Dow in February.24. (24) Wenonah (Birmingham, Ala.), 20-0
Wenonah has been dancing on the brink of disaster, barely escaping Hoover in overtime Friday, but then bounced back to thump Ramsay Tuesday night.25. (25) St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.), 8-1
St. John-Vianney battled through two tough games this past weekend while most other members of the Xcellent 25 were relaxing a bit. First, it took overtime for St. John-Vianney to get past in-state rival Manasquan, and then it was a four-point win over one of New York's best, Christ the King.
No. 14 Princess Anne.