They say familiarity breeds contempt, which may or may not be true, but it definitely breeds upsets.
Three ranked teams went down to defeat last week, and not in big tournaments or showcase events, but rather just "local" games. But Xcellent 25 coaches know that though many league games aren't going to be that competitive, those that are will be flat-out wars, especially if the families, players and teams have competed against each other in youth sports and in high school. There's no fear or intimidation involved, just a burning desire to win this time -- and take down a highly ranked rival.
The most surprising result wasn't that Christ the King knocked off Archbishop Molloy, especially with Molloy star Aryn McClure on the bench after being ejected in the previous game, but the margin of victory was a shocker. Christ the King won by 43 points, 77-34, and Xcellent 25 teams just shouldn't lose by that much.
Joining Molloy on the "dropped out" list was Northside, which had handled four-loss Fayetteville at home by nine, but the road trip turned out differently, as Fayetteville eked out a 45-42 win.
Finally, Leavenworth was riding high after beating Rock Bridge and looked to be the favorite in Kansas, but then Shawnee Mission Northwest, a league opponent, shocked Leavenworth 43-34, and bumped them right out of the Xcellent 25.
Of course, there are a bunch of Martin Luther King weekend showdowns and showcases coming up, so expect more casualties next week, but don't be surprised if some league teams step up and stun their supposed betters on some cold Tuesday night.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Girls Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 14-1
Mater Dei will be on the road again this weekend, heading to Northern California to take on one of the region's top three teams, Miramonte. The game is just part of a Martin Luther King weekend extravaganza hosted by No. 4 St. Mary's of Stockton.2. (2) Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia), 11-0
Neumann-Goretti handled traditional Philadelphia power Cardinal O'Hara Tuesday but now must take on always-tough Archbishop Wood Friday -- and Archbishop Wood has played a much more adventurous schedule and is primed for hosting a major upset.3. (4) Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 14-2
It should be an easy week for the Blaze, but crosstown rivals Oakland and Riverdale will show up on the schedule soon enough.4. (5) St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.), 12-1
St. Mary's will take on two of Southern California's better teams in the next week, Sierra Canyon (which made a brief appearance in the Xcellent 25) and La Jolla Country Day (alma mater of Candice Wiggins). 5. (8) Whitney Young (Chicago), 12-1
Indiana is loaded this year, and Heritage Christian, one of the top two or three teams in that state, came to Illinois -- and went home with a loss. The two ranked Indiana teams could do the same, but choose not to.6. (7) Bedford North Lawrence (Ind.), 16-0
It should be a relaxing long weekend for Bedford North Lawrence, which should be challenged only by Roncalli (Jan. 24) the rest of the regular season.
7. (3) Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.), 23-2
Yet another long road trip for the Lions didn't work out this time, as Potter's House lost to a solid Life Center team in New Jersey. Potter's House is back in Florida for a while, but even then, a trip to south to No. 11 Miami Country Day is on tap Jan. 24.8. (10) Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.), 8-2
A good win over one of New Jersey's top teams, Eastside, cemented Long Island Lutheran's place in the top 10. But perennial New York power Murray Bergtraum and talented McDonogh are on the schedule this weekend.9. (13) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 14-1
After slipping past Bishop McNamara 53-52 last week, Paul VI can breathe a little as the schedule lightens up. But Our Lady of Good Counsel is once again strong, and that game is Jan. 23.10. (11) Miami Country Day, 18-1
Miami Country Day is taking on all comers in Florida. Dunbar and Dillard, two of the top teams in the state, are this weekend's competition.11. (12) Elizabethtown (Ky.), 16-2
After just slipping past Homestead in the Kentucky-Indiana Hall of Fame challenge, Elizabethtown returns to its home state for the weekend. The week after, though, Elizabethtown will travel to Tennessee to play long-time power Riverdale.12. (14) Long Beach Poly (Calif.), 12-2
League play isn't much of a challenge for the deep and talented Jackrabbits, who won't get tested until they travel to Windward Jan. 24.13. (16) Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.), 11-1
Myers Park and New Hope will not meet in North Carolina's postseason, so Tar Heel State supremacy will be decided this weekend when the two play in Columbia. 14. (15) Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.), 10-3
Those three losses were to Long Island Lutheran, Long Beach Poly and once-ranked Leavenworth -- and all came without star forward Cierra Porter
. Rock Bridge doesn't leave Missouri the rest of the year, so those could easily be the only three losses.15. (17) Lawrence North (Indianapolis), 15-0
Pike has always played Lawrence North tough, and Saturday was no exception, but the Wildcats escaped with a 48-46 win and preserved their spot in the Xcellent 25. The next challenge will be 13-2 Hamilton Southeastern.16. (19) New Hope Christian Academy (Thomasville, N.C.), 20-1
New Hope has played nine more games and an overall tougher schedule than No. 13 Myers Park -- we'll see if that pays off when the two play on Saturday.17. (24) Cypress Woods (Cypress, Texas), 19-1
Some schools can only play a few games outside of their league schedule due to state game-limit rules. Out of its 20 games, Cypress Woods has only played four league games so far -- but of course there are still nine more games left in the regular season.18. (NR) Manasquan (N.J.), 7-0
Led by Marina Mabrey
, sister of Notre Dame's Michaela Mabrey, Manasquan has proved itself to be New Jersey's best so far, and jumps into the Xcellent 25.19. (22) Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.), 12-1
Eden Prairie and Washburn are two quality opponents, so Hopkins can't just coast to two more wins. In fact, no team in Hopkins' league has a losing record, so every game, especially every road game, is going to be a challenge.20. (20) Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.), 11-0
Central Valley looks to be the biggest challenge in Eastern Washington for Gonzaga Prep, but the first game -- at Central Valley -- was a 19-point win for the Bullpups. Thursday's game is at home, but you never know.21. (21) Konawaena (Kealakekua, Hawaii), 21-1
It's hard not to be envious. Not only are the Wildcats really good, but they're spending the winter in the Hawaiian Islands.22. (NR) Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.), 14-0
The schedule hasn't been too adventurous but a nice win over North Carolina's Providence Day, and no slip-ups at all, puts Princess Anne in the Xcellent 25.23. (23) Braintree (Mass.), 6-0
Christ the King's stomping of previous No. 6 Archbishop Molloy helps Braintree, as its signature win is over the traditional New York power.24. (25) Desert Vista (Phoenix), 13-3
It's a good year in Arizona, and Desert Vista draws Hamilton, one of the strongest teams, on Wednesday. Luckily, the game's at Desert Vista.25. (NR) Easton (New Orleans), 18-0
Louisiana teams often slip beneath the radar, but Easton is clearly the Pelican State's best, and has a win over Salmen and 6-foot-5 Baylor signee Kalani Brown.Dropped out:
No. 6 Archbishop Molloy, No. 9 Northside, No. 18 Leavenworth.