Girls Basketball Rankings: Mar. 4

Week: Preseason | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | Final


The March shakeup has begun.

Four teams are out and four are in the ESPN HIGH Elite 25 girls basketball rankings. That's the beauty of the state tournaments.

Indiana and Illinois completed their seasons with No. 22 Whitney Young winning the first-ever Class 4A crown, while No. 17 Heritage Christian (Indianapolis) and No. 23 Carmel (Ind.) each secured titles in Indiana's 2A and 4A, respectively.

Heritage Christian is no stranger to the winner's circle and debuts in the Elite 25 after taking home its third straight state title. With five starters back and four key role players returning, a four-peat is within reach.

Carmel used a record-tying performance from junior Chrissy Steffen and tough team defense to deny No. 23 South Bend Washington a second consecutive 4A crown.

No. 14 Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.), a junior-oriented team, won the Class 6A championship and enter the 2008-09 season as the favorite.

No. 6 Lower Richland (Hopkins, S.C.) won its third straight Class 4A but won't have a chance to defend it in 2009. That's because the Diamond Hornets drop down to 3A for all sports in the fall.

No. 5 Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas) won its first girls basketball championship, knocking off No. 8 DeSoto in the Class 5A final.

The California regional playoffs tipped off this week and will crown Northern and Southern champions on Saturday. The winners meet next weekend (March 14 and 15) in Sacramento.

Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio and New Jersey will crown champions this weekend. Mississippi and New Jersey teams then participate in a tournament of champions where class or group champions meet to determine an overall winner. Ohio's state championships could provide the biggest impact on next week's Elite 25 rankings.

No. 4 Notre Dame Academy (Middleburg, Va.), top-ranked in the preseason, concludes its season at the Bishop Walsh Tournament in Cumberland, Md. The stellar eight-team field of Catholic schools includes No. 25 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), regionally-ranked Seton Keough (Baltimore) and Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.).

Three-point Play
Game ball: Junior Chrissy Steffen saved her best for last. Steffen, a junior from No. 23 Carmel (Ind.) tied an Indiana record with 31 points in an 84-72 victory over then-No. 13 South Bend Washington in the Class 4A final before 11,030 in Indianapolis.

Steffen scored 17 points in the opening half as Carmel led 43-39 at the intermission. She made 8 of 13 shots and connected on 13 of 15 free throws, adding five rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.

Carmel's state championship is the first for girls basketball but 100th overall for the sports powerhouse.

Must-see event: Welcome to three days of basketball bliss in Ohio's state capital of Columbus as the state tournament rolls into the Schottenstein Center. Divisions II and IV tip off a hoop junkie's nirvana on Thursday while Divisions I and III go Friday. Two ESPN HIGH Elite 25 teams will battle for the Division I title as No. 11 Lakota West (West Chester) plays Boardman (Youngstown) at 6 p.m. ET, followed by No. 21 Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati) and Toledo Central Catholic at 8.

If chalk holds, both Elite 25 teams will square off Saturday at 8:30 for all the marbles.

MND, which has won the last two Division I titles and three of the last four (finished second in 2005), relies on 6-2 Tia McBride (Georgetown) and 6-0 Channing Hillman (UTEP).

Lakota West beat then-No. 8 Mount Notre Dame 61-55 earlier this season vaulting the Firebirds into the Elite 25.

Saturday's action begins at 10:45 a.m. (with the Division II final), followed by Division IV (2 p.m.) and Division III (5:15 p.m.).

ESPN HIGH Elite 25 High School Girls Basketball Rankings
RANK TEAM RECORD COMMENT
1 (1) Murry Bergtraum, New York 20-0 Recap: Idle. The top-seeded Lady Blazers blew off the rust after an 18-day layoff to handily defeat Boys and Girls (Brooklyn) 79-33 in the New York City Public School Athletic League AA second round. Coach Ed Grezinsky's club faces Francis Lewis (Queens) in Saturday's quarterfinals at York College in Queens.
2 (2) Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco 29-0 Recap: The Irish won their 52nd straight game, defeating St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 68-44 in the CIF-Central Coast Section Division III final. Pepperdine-bound Jazmine Jackson scored 25 points as the Irish won their ninth straight sectional title. They also beat Soquel 74-48 in the semifinals. SHC played Oroville Tuesday night in the CIF-Northern California Division III quarterfinals. The winner plays Sacramento High or West Valley (Cottonwood) Thursday in the semifinals. The final is Saturday at ARCO Arena in Sacramento.
3 (4) Poly, Long Beach, Calif. 27-2 Recap: The Lady Jackrabbits crushed then-No. 25 Millikan (Long Beach) 66-33 in the CIF-Southern Section Division I-AA final. Rutgers-bound Jasmine Dixon had 14 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals. They beat Lynwood 57-32 in the semifinals. Also beat Bonita Vista (Chula Vista) 74-27 in the CIF-Southern California Division I first round. The Lady Jackrabbits played San Clemente Tuesday night in the quarterfinals.
4 (5) Notre Dame Academy, Middleburg, Va. 25-2 Recap: Closed out regular season defeating National Christian (Fort Washington, Md.) 86-32. Kristin Coles (signed with American) scored 17, Azania Stewart (Florida) added 16 and Morgan Wrightson (Bucknell) had 12 to pace five players in double figures on Senior Night. The Dragons face Holy Cross (Kensington, Md.) Thursday in the first round of the Bishop Walsh Tournament Thursday in Cumberland, Md.
5 (8) Cy-Fair, Cypress, Texas 39-2 Recap: The Bobcats avenged a loss in last year's Class 5A state championship game knocking off then-No. 3 DeSoto 50-33. Stanford-bound Nneka Ogwumike was named the Most Valuable Player of the 5A final, contributing 17 points and 17 rebounds. Ogwumike, a four-year starter, went 112-2 during her career. The Bobcats beat Converse Wagner 60-41 in the semifinals. Season complete.
6 (6) Lower Richland, Hopkins, S.C. 26-0 Recap: The Diamond Hornets are Class 4A state champions for the third consecutive year; this time barely. Junior Morgan Stroman scored 13 points and Fannie Goodwin added 12 in a 47-45 win over Dorman (Roebuck). Leading 47-44 with no time remaining, a Dorman player missed two of three free throws. Making all three meant overtime and possibly a different result. It was the fifth title for coach Debbie Stroman and the 44th straight win. Season complete.
7 (7) St. Mary's, Stockton, Calif. 32-0 Recap: The Lady Rams captured their ninth CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section crown (and first since 2005) defeating Sacramento High 81-68 in the final. Afure Jemerigbe and Chelsea Gray scored 19 points apiece. The Lady Rams played Hercules in the CIF-Northern California Division III quarterfinals. The winner plays Miramonte (Orinda) or St. Ignatius (San Francisco) Thursday in the semifinals. The final is Saturday in Sacramento, where No. 2 Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) could await.
8 (3) DeSoto, Texas 39-2 Recap: Lost to then-No. 8 Cy-Fair (Cypress) 50-33 in the Class 5A state final. Defeated Naaman Forest (Garland) 56-48 in semifinals. Keandra Goodson paced DeSoto with 17 points in the semis. Season complete.
9 (9) Sapulpa, Okla. 25-1 Recap: Oklahoma's top-ranked Class 6A team extended its win streak to 22 games, stopping Claremore 35-22 in the Class 6A playoffs. Sapulpa meets Choctaw in the 6A tournament quarterfinals Thursday at Oklahoma City's Ford Center. The winner plays Norman or Owasso Friday in the semifinals. The final is Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
10 (10) Gentry, Indianola, Miss. 36-0 Recap: Idle. The Lady Rams played Brookhaven in the Class 4A semifinals on Tuesday afternoon at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. The winner plays Friday against Yazoo County (Yazoo City) or Forest Hill for the championship.
11 (11) Lakota West, West Chester, Ohio 25-1 Recap: The Firebirds reached the state finals for the first time, beating then-No. 17 Dublin Coffman 62-48 in the Division I region final. Tennessee-bound Amber Gray had 10 points and six rebounds and junior Alexis Rogers added 18 points and six rebounds. Coach Andy Fishman's club meets Boardman (Youngstown) Friday in the Division I semifinals at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. The final is Saturday.
12 (12) Murrah, Jackson, Miss. 29-1 Recap: Idle. Opens the Class 5A state tournament with South Panola (Batesville) in the semifinals at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. The winner plays for the title Saturday against Greenville-Weston or Brandon.
13 (14) Lewis & Clark, Spokane, Wash. 29-0 Recap: The Tigers won their unprecedented third straight Class 4A state championship, holding off upset-minded Moses Lake 42-37. Junior Jeneva Anderson scored 13 points in the final. Coach Jim Redmon's squad stopped Prairie (Brush Prairie) 52-45 in the semifinals. Season complete.
14 (15) Bob Jones, Madison, Ala. 35-2 Recap: The Lady Patriots won the Class 6A state championship beating Clay-Chalkville 48-42. Tournament Most Valuable Player Kylie Cook nailed all six free throws in the final minute to clinch the school's second overall state crown. Jala Harris added 14 points. They beat Robertsdale 72-31 in semifinals. It was the second state title for coach Tim Miller in the last three years. In 2006, he won a title with Jeff Davis (Montgomery). Season complete.
15 (16) Cardinal O'Hara, Springfield, Pa. 25-2 Recap: Season complete.
16 (18) Sequoyah, Tahlequah, Okla. 25-2 Recap: The Indians return to the Class 3A state tournament after disposing of Kansas High (Okla.) 73-43 in the Area IV state-qualifier. Kansas-bound guard Angel Goodrich produced 22 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists and Cassie Moore added 12 points and Mariah Norwood 10. The Indians play Marietta in Thursday's quarterfinals at the State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City. The semifinals are Friday afternoon and final is Saturday morning (11:30 a.m. ET).
17 (NR) Heritage Christian, Indianapolis 27-1 Recap: Won third straight Indiana Class 2A state championship defeating Oak Hill (Converse, Ind.) 53-31. The Eagles became the third school to win three consecutive girls basketball titles. Junior Kelly Faris and freshman Liz Stratman scored 10 points apiece. Season complete.
18 (19) Wichita (Kan.) Heights 21-1 Recap: Won twice in the Class 6A sub-states, defeating Topeka 82-44 and Maize 63-57. Jennifer Lane totaled 56 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists and May Sims 31 points and 10 assists in two games. The Eagles play Shawnee Mission Wednesday in the Class 6A state quarterfinals. The semifinals are Friday and final is Saturday in Emporia.
19 (20) Barron Collier, Naples, Fla. 30-3 Recap: Season complete.
20 (21) Winter Haven, Fla. 30-3 Recap: Season complete.
21 (NR) Mount Notre Dame, Cincinnati 24-2 Recap: The two-time defending Division I champions are in position for a third after beating Oak Hills (Cincinnati) 56-41 in the region final. Georgetown-bound Tia McBride scored 17 points. Also beat Springboro 68-42 in the semifinals. Junior Gabby Smith had 13 points as MND made 10 of 14 three-pointers and connected on 52 percent of its shots. MND plays Toledo Catholic Central Friday in the Division I semifinals in Columbus.
22 (NR) Whitney Young, Chicago 30-3 Recap: The Dolphins won their first state championship knocking off powerhouse Bolingbrook 54-45 in Class 4A final. Ashlee Anderson scored 14 points and Porsha Harris added 11. Beat then-No. 22 Buffalo Grove 38-32 in semifinals. Season complete.
23 (NR) Carmel, Ind. 23-4 Recap: Won Class 4A state championship defeating then-No. 13 South Bend (Ind.) Washington 84-72. Junior Chrissy Steffen tied a state final record netting 31 points, including 17 in the first half. Danielle Havel added 16 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. It was the school's 100th overall state crown but the first in girls basketball. Season complete.
24 (13) South Bend (Ind.) Washington 23-3 Recap: Lost to Carmel 84-72 in Class 4A final. Juniors Skylar Diggins (25 points) and Takoia Larry (24 points) combined to score 49 points but it wasn't enough. It was the Panthers' first loss to an Indiana school since November 2006 and third straight trip to the title game. Season complete.
25 (24) St. Frances Academy, Baltimore 25-3 Recap: Idle. The Panthers will participate in the Bishop Walsh Tournament starting Thursday in Cumberland, Md.
Dropped out: No. 17 Dublin (Ohio) Coffman lost to No. 11 Lakota West (West Chester) 62-48 in Division I region final; No. 22 Buffalo Grove (Ill.) lost to Whitney Young (Chicago) 38-32 in Class 4A semifinals; No. 23 Ben Davis (Indianapolis); and No. 25 Millikan (Long Beach, Calif.) lost to No. 4 Poly (Long Beach) 66-33 in CIF-Southern Section Division I-AA final.

Regional rankings
East
1. Murry Bergtraum, New York (20-0) 2. Cardinal O'Hara, Springfield, Pa. (25-2) 3. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (25-3) 4. St. Michael Academy, New York (23-1) 5. Seton Keough, Baltimore (26-4) 6. Morris Catholic, Denville, N.J. (27-0) 7. Downingtown East, Exton, Pa. (28-1) 8. Shabazz, Newark, N.J. (26-2) 9. University, Newark, N.J. (25-3) 10. Paint Branch, Burtonsville, Md. (21-0)

Midwest
1. Sapulpa, Okla. (25-1) 2. Lakota West, West Chester, Ohio (25-1) 3. Sequoyah, Tahlequah, Okla. (25-2) 4. Heritage Christian, Indianapolis (27-1) 5. Wichita (Kan.) Heights (21-1) 6. Mount Notre Dame, Cincinnati (24-2) 7. Whitney Young, Chicago (30-3) 8. Carmel, Ind. (23-4) 9. South Bend (Ind.) Washington (23-3) 10. Centennial, Circle Pines, Minn. (27-0)

Southland
1. Notre Dame Academy, Middleburg, Va. (25-2) 2. Cy-Fair, Cypress, Texas (39-2) 3. Lower Richland, Hopkins, S.C. (26-0) 4. DeSoto (Texas) Central (39-2) 5. Gentry, Indianola, Miss. (36-0) 6. Murrah, Jackson, Miss. (29-1) 7. Bob Jones, Madison, Ala. (35-2) 8. Barron Collier, Naples, Fla. (30-3) 9. Winter Haven, Fla. (30-3) 10. Millington, Tenn. (35-1)

West
1. Sacred Heart-Cathedral, San Francisco (29-0) 2. Poly, Long Beach, Calif. (27-2) 3. St. Mary's, Stockton, Calif. (32-0) 4. Lewis and Clark, Spokane, Wash. (29-0) 5. Highlands Ranch, Colo. (21-3) 6. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (29-4) 7. Redondo Union, Redondo Beach, Calif. (27-3) 8. Clovis West, Fresno, Calif. (28-2) 9. Narbonne, Harbor City, Calif. (29-4) 10. Miller, Fontana, Calif. (29-2)

Records through March 3.

About the rankings: The ESPN HIGH Elite 25 high school girls basketball rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor of ESPN.com, who consults with a national network of sportswriters, Scouts Inc. analysts and high school coaches. Criteria considered are a team's strength of schedule with an emphasis on national games; the superiority of competition in its state, district or league; the program's history and tradition; and the quality of its personnel.

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