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Aminu Mohammed of Greenwood (Springfield) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps Missouri High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound senior helped the Blue Jays go 20-6 en route to the state quarterfinals.
Sidwell Friends was ranked in the preseason MaxPreps Top 25 girls high school basketball rankings but will not play this season. Meanwhile St. John's, which was ranked last week, is down a four-game schedule. So neither is in this week's Top 25, because part of being a top team is testing the talent on the roster — and four games (or no games) simply doesn't ask enough of a team and a coach.
Yes, teams are ranked that have yet to play, but their schedules are expected to kick in soon, so unfortunately, Sidwell Friends and St. John's must join teams from California, Oregon and Washington on the rankings sidelines. (Teams from the last three states may actually play more than four games, but won't start — if they do start — until the spring.)
And further complicating the process is the lack of major tournaments and intersectional games, which are the best way to measure teams from different regions. As always, though, we are confident the following 25 teams are very good girls high school basketball teams — but this year, more than any other, there could easily be better teams that are not on the list or on the court.
1. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
Record: 12-0 | Last week: 1
District playoffs now begin for the Highlanders, but given the too-many divisions in Florida postseason, don't expect too much competition in the 4A bracket.
2. Westlake (Atlanta)
Record: 14-0 | Last week: 3
Westlake moves up to No. 2, and after a game Feb. 3, will begin postseason — and there are some pretty good teams standing between Westlake and a AAAAAA title.
3. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati)
Record: 19-0 | Last week: 6
Another team with just one game left before the playoffs begin, the Cougars are now No. 3 thanks to a tougher schedule than the schools ranked lower.
4. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Record: 5-0 | Last week: 4
There are about 53,000 people in Minnetonka, but a very surprising number of those people are very talented high school girls' basketball players. Hopkins has a lot of them, of course, but so does crosstown rival, Minnetonka, which lost to the Royals by one last week.
5. Edison Academy (Detroit)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 5
Eventually, Edison will get to play, or so we're led to believe. Supposedly games can begin in Michigan on Thursday, but as is the case everywhere, you never know.
6. Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis)
Record: 16-0 | Last week: 8
Incarnate Word's next opponent is 19-3 Whitfield, which lost to IWA by only 14 the first time around — this game, though, is in the friendly confines.
7. Cypress Creek (Houston)
Record: 23-0 | Last week: 10
Cypress Creek finishes up the regular season this week, and draws 20-1 Jersey Village on Friday. But that one Jersey Village loss was to Cypress Creek — by 61.
8. Norman (Okla.)
Record: 11-0 | Last week: 11
Classen SAS has a win over No. 13 DeSoto and only one loss all year, so the Feb. 11 game matching Norman and Classen SAS could shake up the MaxPreps Top 25.
9. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 9
St. John-Vianney finally gets under way Feb. 3 — and with the addition of a game against talented Trenton Catholic to the schedule, we'll get to see if SJV is really a Top 10 team.
10. Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.)
Record: 12-0 | Last week: 12
It's going to be a challenging weekend for Ensworth. First up, on Friday, is 14-6 Brentwood Academy, which lost to Ensworth by nine earlier this year, followed by 16-1 Bearden on Saturday afternoon.
11. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Record: 19-1 | Last week: 14
Montverde outlasted previously unbeaten Winter Haven 76-66 last week, and since Montverde doesn't participate in the Florida postseason, that could be it for the season.
12. Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
Record: 7-0 | Last week: NR
The Panthers hammered Elizabeth Seton 71-51, which matters because Seton turned around and beat previous No. 2 Bishop McNamara. And then, more to the point, PVI knocked off previous No. 17 New Hope Academy to earn a spot in the Top 25.
13. DeSoto (Texas)
Record: 20-1 | Last week: 15
DeSoto shouldn't have too much trouble in the final two regular season games, but the 6A playoffs that follow will be a much tougher test.
14. North Central (Indianapolis)
Record: 21-2 | Last week: 16
North Central is now in the 4A playoffs, but note that Bedford North Lawrence, which beat North Central earlier this season, will be the likely semifinal opponent.
15. Fremont (Plain City, Utah)
Record: 16-0 | Last week: 18
Fremont has one more tough league game left against a solid Syracuse team, but Herriman looks like the biggest threat when the 6A playoffs begin.
16. Newark (Ohio)
Record: 18-1 | Last week: 20
Newark beat its next two opponents by a combined score of 146-29 the first time around, so look for Newark to take another jump next week if teams ranked higher should falter.
17. Grandview (Aurora, Colo.)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: NR
Grandview appears in the rankings for the first time, and not coincidentally, Colorado just started playing. Plans call for a 14-game schedule plus postseason so Grandview will have a chance to prove it belongs.
18. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)
Record: 1-0 | Last week: 22
Neumann-Goretti and Cardinal O'Hara are traditionally two of the strongest teams in Philadelphia, and those two just happen to be Archbishop Wood's next two opponents.
19. Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: 19
Rutgers Prep continues its abbreviated schedule but what appears to be a lack of quality opponents could be an issue for continued ranking.
20. Valley Vista (Surprise, Ariz.)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: 21
Valley Vista has one more game this week, and one the next. And then plays five games in six days.
21.Hazel Green (Ala.)
Record: 28-1 | Last week: 23
Hazel Green begins the 6A playoffs, but note that Hoover, considered the next strongest team in the state, will be in 7A. Which means there will be no rematch of the Jan. 23 win that put Hazel Green in the Top 25, and knocked Hoover out.
22. Anderson County (Lawrenceburg, Ky.)
Record: 12-0 | Last week: 24
Bethlehem has only one loss, on the road by one point to unbeaten Boyd County, so Thursday's opponent will be a test for Anderson County.
23. Ponchatoula (La.)
Record: 22-0 | Last week: 25
In the middle of a four-games-in-seven-day stretch, Ponchatoula must travel to 15-4 Mandeville and host 18-4 Mt. Carmel. So while last week's 31-28 win over Anchorage Christian was a big one, there's still work to do.
24. Johnston (Iowa)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: NR
Johnston jumps to the top of the Iowa list, and into the Top 25, but must deal with more experienced, and very talented, Waukee later this week. And it won't get easier, as there are a lot of strong teams in Iowa this year.
25. Upperman (Baxter, Tenn.)
Record: 23-0 | Last week: NR
Upperman joins the Volunteer State's Ensworth in the Top 25, but the two will not play in postseason. Ensworth is a 3A school and Upperman is 2A.
Dropped out: No. 2 Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.); No. 7 St. John's (Washington D.C.); No. 13 Union (Tulsa, Okla.); No. 17 New Hope Academy (Landover Hills, Md.).
Date: Saturday, May 8 | Time: 6 p.m. local time
Paolo Banchero, F, O'Dea (Seattle, Wash.) – Duke
Matthew Cleveland, F, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.) – Florida State
Jerddarian Davison, G, Calhoun (Letohatchee, Ala.) – Alabama
A.J. Griffin, F, Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) – Duke
Tyrese Hunter, G, St. Catherine's (Racine, Wis.) – Iowa State
Raven Johnson, G, Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) – South Carolina
Johnathan Lawson, F, Houston (Germantown, Tenn.) – Oregon
Bryce McGowens, G, Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.) – Nebraska
Hunter Sallis, G, Millard North (Omaha, Neb.) – Gonzaga
Terquavion Smith, G, Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.) – North Carolina State
TyTy Washington, G, AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) – Undecided
Peyton Watson, F, Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) – UCLA
Benny WilIiams, F, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) – Syracuse
Jaden Akins, G, Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) – Michigan State
Trey Alexander, G, Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – Auburn
Kendall Brown, F, Sunrise Christian Academy – Baylor
Ahamed Bynum, G, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) – DePaul
Kennedy Chandler, G, Sunrise Christian Academy – Tennessee
Daimion Collins, F, Atlanta (Texas) – Kentucky
Michael Foster Jr., F, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) – Undecided
Nolan Hickman, G, Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) – Kentucky
Chet Holmgren, C, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) – Gonzaga
Jordan Longino, G/F, Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.) – Villanova
Joshua Minott, F, Saint Andrew's (Boca Raton, Fla.) – Memphis
Kowacie Reeves Jr., G, Westside (Macon, Ga.) – Florida
Daeshun Ruffin, G, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) – Mississippi
Sarah Hollenbeck of WFTS Tampa Bay reports that Steinbrenner's varsity team was placed in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. The Warriors had the option to forfeit or call up the junior varsity squad en masse to face Palm Harbor University.
Steinbrenner (16-7) elected to give it a go with the JV. The Warriors lost the first set 20-25, rallied to win the second 25-22 then fell again in the third 23-25. With its backs against the wall, the Tampa-area school prevailed 25-22 and 15-13 in the final two sets. Here's the dramatic final sequence:
Thanks to the efforts of the late replacements, Steinbrenner enters the Class 7A state tournament as the top seed from District 13 and is scheduled to face Sickles (Tampa) next Friday. According to Hollenbeck, the varsity team is expected to be available for that contest.
Ready for our very own "Do you believe in miracles" moment?— Hillsborough Schools (@HillsboroughSch) October 16, 2020
Steinbrenner High's Varsity Volleyball Team got quarantined right before District Championships.
They could forfeit - or let JV take the court.
Watch as the JV team does the unthinkable!@gshswarriors @HCPSAthletics pic.twitter.com/lw6pzzmsNW
Palm Harbor University also advances and will meet Plant on Wednesday. There is an outside shot the two teams could meet again in the regional semifinals.