Video: Top 25 high school girls basketball rankings
See who moved up and down after last week's action.
There are approximately 18,000 girls basketball teams in the United States. Twenty-five of them make the list below.
So we're not talked the 90th percentile, or the 95th, or even the 98th. To qualify for the MaxPrep Top 25 national girls high school basketball rankings, a team must be in the 99th percentile of all teams in the country. And in that group of 99th percentile teams, a top 25 school must rank in the top 15 percent.
Or to put it another way, put the 1,000 nearest high schools and their girls basketball teams in the closest NBA arena. That will be about 12,000 players, give or take. The number of teams in the Top 25? One. The number of players? Around a dozen.
Just think about that for a second. Put 12,000 people in an arena and call 12 of them down to center court. That means 11,988 are still in the stands.
Which gives you an idea how hard it is to be one of those teams, and how easy it is to be replaced. We had six teams drop out this week, and the first thing to remember is that those six teams are outstanding. Put them against an average team in your league and they win by 40. Or 60.
The teams that replaced them? Even better. And the Top 10? Don't even think about competing at that level of play unless you're running at least one Power 5 player out on the floor, accompanied by two or more Division I players and a bench full of girls who plan to play collegiately somewhere.
And don't forget that these teams, for the most part, aren't content to just beat up on their in-state rivals. They get out and travel, dealing with officials well versed in the arts of home cooking and teams that can make their seasons by pulling off the upset.
There's a reason it's called the Top 25, but it really doesn't even begin to describe how exceptional these teams and coaches really are. Many are called (about 18,000), but few are chosen (25) — and we should never forget just how much hard work and talent goes into being part of such an exclusive club.
MaxPreps Top 25 national high school girls basketball rankings
1. (Last week 2) DeSoto (Texas), 12-0
The win over No. 5 Sierra Canyon is big, but it came in Texas, and the fact that DeSoto won't play a game outside of its home state makes this a very shaky crown. So if the winner of the Nike TOC's top bracket is also unbeaten, it will very likely jump ahead of DeSoto next week.
Tampa Bay Tech won a game 100-1 last week, which is a combination of unfortunate scheduling and an unseemly desire to hit triple digits, but Southeast Raleigh and New Hope at She Got Game this weekend will not allow for such self-indulgence.
Centennial will finally play a game Friday, and then head to the Nike TOC in Arizona to find out if the Nevada champion has reloaded once again.
Riverdale Baptist's death march of a schedule continues with No. 13 St. Frances on Thursday and the Nike TOC next week.
There are those who say Sierra Canyon really isn't California's best, but the only loss is to No. 1 DeSoto, in Texas, and the difficult schedule — which counts for a great deal in the rankings — will continue at the Nike TOC.
Paul VI was supposed to be down this year, but that 4-0 record and the upset of previous No. 1 Westlake — plus plenty of tough games remaining — earns a jump from the wilderness to No. 6.
The rumblings from San Diego have been consistent all year, and La Jolla Country Day justified the hype with a 20-point win over perennial Colorado power Highlands Ranch and a 40-point win over one of Arizona's best (Millennium) in its own tournament. The Nike TOC is next.
After thumping Whitney Young 74-47 — in Cincinnati, however — Mount Notre Dame stays unbeaten. It's just too bad the schedule is not more challenging.
Hamilton Heights handled previous No. 16 Africentric by seven last week, but last month, HH didn't win the tournament that No. 8 Mount Notre Dame did, so right now this is as high as Tennessee's best can go. But a strong showing at the Nike TOC could change things next week.
Hopkins has way too much talent for Minnesota competition to be much of a challenge — as long as ennui doesn't set in. The next test won't come until January, but even then, the game against Aquinas of Wisconsin is in Minnesota.
As Mike Tyson famously said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth, and No. 6 Paul VI landed a haymaker with a 21-6 first quarter. Westlake battled back, but the damage had been done in a 67-58 loss.
Upper Dublin has been one of Pennsylvania's best public schools in recent years, and pushed Germantown on Monday — but the 40-31 final kept the private school at No. 12.
St. Frances always plays a difficult schedule, and the matchup against No. 3 Riverdale Baptist on Thursday is a typical preseason opponent. Of course, you have to win some of those tough games to stay in the Top 25.
With the unsightly collapse of Christ the King, South Shore emerges as New York's best — though the schedule, even with a trip to Las Vegas for the Tarkanian Classic, is nothing special.
Grandview makes its appearance in the Top 25 after a solid showing in Texas and in anticipation of next week's trip to the TOC. But it's really easy to go 1-3 in Arizona, and that outcome would mean a quick exit from the rankings.
Hamilton Heights was ranked higher than Africentric, so how can Africentric be punished for an expected outcome? No. 19 Edison visits Columbus on Dec. 28, and a loss then, however, will raise red flags.
Bishop McNamara, considered by many to be the most talented team in the East, is Thursday's opponent, and No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech is on tap Saturday. And then comes the TOC, so New Hope will have plenty of chances to show this ranking is too low.
Not only Georgia supremacy will be at stake Saturday when Lovejoy and No. 11 Westlake play at a neutral site — the national rankings will likely shift around as well.
Bolingbrook and Homewood-Flossmoor, are strong Illinois teams, and Homewood-Flossmoor's only loss in seven games was to No. 23 Benet — which means this will be a challenging weekend for Edison with those two on the schedule.
Garfield is a mystery team to most of the nation, as Washington's best hasn't traveled much in the past. But next week, they'll fly to Arizona for the TOC and it will become very clear whether this ranking is justified.
Three losses in early December and still ranked? One loss was to No. 1 DeSoto, and another was to No. 5 Sierra Canyon. The third, a one-pointer at the hands of South Grand Prairie, was avenged (by 12) two weeks later. And beating uber-talented Bishop McNamara is an impressive win.
Princess Anne doesn't travel much, but they will head to Woodbridge on Dec. 21, and Woodbridge was 29-1 last year.
Benet will be tested this weekend, first by a trip to unbeaten Marist and then when once-beaten Fremd comes to Lisle.
Northwestern has just one game left before Christmas, a visit to 6-2 Taylor on Friday. As with some other teams, it's too bad the schedule isn't more of a challenge.
At one time not that long ago, Long Beach Poly seemed to have permanent ownership of a place in the Top 25, but the brutal competition in Southern California showed no mercy. But now, after beating previous No. 11 Mater Dei in overtime, the Jackrabbits have hopped back into the rankings. Dropped out:
No. 7 Northside (Fort Smith, Ark.); No. 9 Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.); No. 11 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.); No. 18 Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.); No. 21 Ryle (Union, Ky.); No. 25 Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.).