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High school softball: Maci Bergeron, Baylea Brandon headline list of HIGHSCORE National Player of the Year candidates - HIGHSCORE
High school softball: Maci Bergeron, Baylea Brandon headline list of MaxPreps National Player of the Year candidates
The high school softball season is over in some states, deep into playoffs in others, or if you're in New York, you could be in game three of your season.

That makes identifying candidates for MaxPreps National Softball Player of the Year a bit tricky. It also means others will emerge and this list is just kicking off the discussion. If you feel a player deserves to be considered, email [email protected] or follow on twitter @smontoyamp.

This initial list of 10 candidates includes a few recently-crowned state champions, a few who've completed their year, several in postseason play and one that still has nine more regular season games left to go.

Past MaxPreps National Player of the Year winners
2020 —  No award (Pandemic)
2019 — Sydney Supple, Oshkosh North (Oshkosh, Wis.)
2018 — Montana Fouts, East Carter (Grayson, Ky.)
2017 — Taylor Dockins, Norco (Calif.)
2016 — Caroline Hedgcock, Downers Grove South (Downers Grove, Ill.)
2015 — Tannon Snow, Chino Hills (Calif.)
2014 — Johanna Grauer, Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.)
2013 — Casey Stangel, Lake City (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho)
2012 — Kenzie Conrad, Keystone (La Grange, Ohio)
2011 — Paige McDuffee, The Woodlands (Texas)
2010 — Kasey Fagan, Dunnellon (Fla.)
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
Softball Player of the Year Watch List

P Annika Litterio | Warren (San Antonio) | Sr.
The top pitcher for one of the best teams in the country has been dominant all season. The UTEP commit has a 0.23 ERA through 90 innings pitched. She's averaging just over two strikeouts per inning. The righty can also swing a bat with a .458 average with 27 RBI.

OF Baylea Brandon | Leander (Texas) | Sr.
If Brandon gets pitched to (29 walks), she is deadly with the bat. The LSU commit has 18 home runs and has two or more hits in 15 games this season. The powerful lefty is a major threat on the base paths as well as with 30 stolen bases.

P Emiley Kennedy | Lake Creek (Montgomery, Texas) | Sr.
The Texas A&M commit has not allowed an earned run this season in 84 innings pitched. The hard-throwing lefty has 168 strikeouts while allowing 18 hits in 299 batters faced. She's also hit 13 home runs.

UT Karissa Hamilton | Shelbyville (Shelbyville, Ind.) | Jr.
In 18 games, the Kentucky commit has 18 home runs while batting .719 with 45 RBI.

P Kylie Chung | Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.) | Sr.
With the CIF Southern Section announcing spring playoffs will happen, the state of California will have a player up for Player of the Year consideration. Chung, a Stanford commit, is batting .471 with four home runs. She's also 8-0 in the circle with a 0.77 ERA.

C Maci Bergeron | Notre Dame (Crowley, La.) | Jr.
She led the Pioneers to another state title this season after smashing a nation-best 30 home runs. The LSU commit has hit 62 career bombs. She also drove in 70 runs and has 174 RBI in just two full seasons of play.

P Madi Ogden | Williamsburg (Ohio) | Sr.
The Morehead State University commit has thrown seven no-hitters this season, per Mike Dyer of WCPO in Cincinnati. The 18th-ranked Wildcats have yet to enter stats on MaxPreps.

OF Nyjah Fontenot | Barbe (Lake Charles, La.) | Sr.
Led her team to a Louisiana Class 5A state title. The Arkansas commit hit 11 home runs and batted .530 this season. Her junior teammate Halie Pappion is in the running as well after finishing 19-1 in the circle.

P Paige Kilgore | Houston (Miss.) | Sr.
The Southern Miss commit has been pitching at the varsity level since she was in seventh grade. She went 22-0 in the circle this season and struck 247 batters. She has 817 career strikeouts and a 95-6 overall record.

SJ Geurin | Leander (Texas) | Sr.
The Oklahoma commit is the ace for the top-ranked team in the country. In 81 innings pitched, Geurin has struck out 223 batters and has allowed 11 earned runs.
High school softball: Alabama team wins 46-45 in third-highest scoring game in prep history - HIGHSCORE
High school softball: Alabama team wins 46-45 in third-highest scoring game in prep history
Jonathan Whitfield didn't have a single hit, run, stolen base, strike out or catch in the record-setting Alabama high school softball game between Park Crossing (Montgomery) and Lanier (Montgomery) Monday, yet he might have left Lagoon Park the most exhausted.

Whitfield was the game's official scorer.

In the third-highest scoring game in history according to the NFHS record book, Park Landing escaped with a 46-45 in a nearly five-hour 6A AHSAA Area 3 tournament game. The game set state records for runs (91), walks (65) and hit-by-pitches (29). Latoria Cleare set a state mark scoring seven runs even though she didn't record an official at-bat. She walked five times and was hit by three pitches.

Four other players tied the previous state record with six runs, including teammate Janiya Watts and Lanier players Aryn Williams, Jai Mister and Jamil Young.

De’asia Hinds led the way at the plate for the winners with two hits and seven RBI, while Watts and Amanda Wesley each had three hits and five RBI.

Remarkably, Lanier managed just five hits but turned 42 walks into 45 runs. In defeat.

Park Crossing took leads of 11-4 and 18-5 after the first two frames but watched Lanier roar back to take a 22-20 lead in the top of the fourth, then go up 30-22 in the top of the fifth. The Thunderbirds took back the lead at 32-30 after five, Lanier struck for 11 in the sixth to go up 38-32 but Park Crossing added 10 in the bottom half, to go up 42-38.

A seven-run uprising in the top of the seventh gave the Poets a 45-42 lead, but the Thunderbirds ended it with a four-run rally in the bottom half.

As remarkable as the victory was, Park Crossing was just getting started.

It beat Lee 16-15 in the semifinals, then lost 18-2 to Lee to force a deciding game for the 6A Area 03 title. Park Crossing pulled out another thriller, 15-14, on Thursday. 

The national record for runs in a game was established in California during the 2011 season when Cuyama Valley beat Coast Union 48-47.
Girls high school basketball rankings: No. 6 Mount Notre Dame lone HIGHSCORE Top 25 team with out-of-state MLK matchup - HIGHSCORE
Girls high school basketball rankings: No. 6 Mount Notre Dame lone MaxPreps Top 25 team with out-of-state MLK matchup
Usually, the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is full of big games with lots of impact on the rankings — but right now, "usual" is a word that's conspicuous by its absence.

There is one team in the MaxPreps Top 25 girls high school basketball rankings playing a major event this weekend that will draw out-of-state competition — No. 6 Mount Notre Dame of Ohio vs. Compass Prep of Arizona. As for ranked teams from different areas of the country going head-to-head? Not likely this year.

Which means that making sense of the national rankings — always a difficult task — is even more complicated in 2021, especially with some states (such as California) not even playing in the winter and thus not included.

Still, we're confident every one of the teams in the list below is a very good. It's just unfortunate that we're unlikely to find out how good, as schools are wisely staying local as much as possible and doing all in their power to keep players, coaches, officials, fans and relatives safe.

(NOTE: Please update schedules and results on MaxPreps. If there are issues, please reach out to [email protected] for assistance.)

MaxPreps Top 25 Girls High School Basketball Rankings

Record: 11-0 | Last week: 1
The Highlanders took care of a major challenge last week by jumping on No. 14 Montverde early and rolling to a 57-47 win. DME Sports Academy, at 10-3, is Monday's test.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 2
Still looking at a Feb. 1 start.

Record: 8-0 | Last week: 3
It won't be an easy week for Westlake, with 11-1 Langston Hughes on Friday and 8-2 Forest Park on Monday. Though Langston Hughes has the better record, note that Forest Park took No. 14 Montverde to overtime earlier this season.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 4
Wayzata isn't quite as strong as it was last year, when it was Hopkins' main Minnesota rival, but next Tuesday's game should still be a serious test for the No. 4 team in the country.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 5
Another team still sitting in limbo.

Record: 12-0 | Last week: 6
If the Journey to the Tourney can be played this weekend, the Cougars take on Compass Prep of Arizona on Saturday and 11-3 Springboro on Sunday.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 7
There was some concern the Cadets might not play at all this year, but it appears that games will be played and some sort of schedule will be announced soon.

Record: 3-0 | Last week: 8
After disposing of unbeaten Marquette 60-42, the Red Knights have only one game this week — against 1-3 Nerinx Hall.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 9
The Lancers' first game should be played Jan. 21.

Record: 18-0 | Last week: 10
Jersey Village is 15-0 — and coming off a 69-0 win Saturday — so that Jan. 13 game might be a serious test. Then again, Jersey Village hasn't played anyone nearly as good as the Cougars.

Record: 6-0 | Last week: 13
If the Tigers hold on to this No. 13 ranking, it will have earned it: First up is powerful Moore on Friday, then rival Norman North on Saturday and finally young but talented Edmonds North on Tuesday. Oklahoma is awfully good this year.

Record: 5-0 | Last week: 12
We'll know a lot more very soon, as the Raiders play once-beaten traditional power Pickerington Central on Thursday, and then unbeaten Wayne on Saturday.

Record: 9-0 | Last week: NR
The Redskins are the first newcomer jumps into the rankings thanks to a big win over previous No. 11. Classen, which had beaten No. 21 DeSoto. But it's one thing to get into the rankings — it's another thing to stay there.

Record: 13-1 | Last week: 14
You can't really punish a team for losing to No. 1, but the Eagles needs to be ready for 12-3 Mekiva on Thursday. At this point, the margin for error is slim.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 15
No word on when or if the Quakers will begin their season.

Record: 18-0 | Last week: 16
That perfect record will be tested by 12-4 Thompson on Friday and perennial power St. Francis of Georgia (now 8-1) Monday.

Record: 4-1 | Last week: 17
As a team that relied heavily on scheduling out-of-area games, New Hope's future slate is uncertain. What is certain is the level of talent on the roster.

Record: 7-0 | Last week: 19
After Friday's game against Harpeth Hall, the Tigers are off until Jan. 26.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 20
The Argonauts are still searching for their first game — which may be harder to find than the golden fleece.

Record: 10-0 | Last week: 25
The Silverwolves have lots of talent in a smaller state, so the next challenge probably won't come until Jan. 22, when Syracuse shows up on the schedule.

Record: 14-1 | Last week: 18
The Eagles should have a relatively easy time of it, at least until Jan. 23. That's the date of the rematch with No. 23 Duncanville.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 22
There's hope for games, but nothing confirmed yet — still, expect some schedule info soon.

Record: 18-1 | Last week: 23
There are three Texas teams in the Top 25 right now — likely there will be only two after the Panthers and DeSoto play Jan. 23.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 24
It seems less and less likely the Riverhawks will play basketball this winter, but we won't know for sure until a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association meeting Jan. 19.

Record: 9-0 | Last week: NR
With a win over previously unbeaten Madison Central, the Wildcats jump into the Top 25 — which is unfamiliar territory for Mississippi schools.

Dropped out:
No. 11 Classen SAS (Oklahoma City), No. 21 Valley Vista (Surprise, Ariz.).
Girls high school basketball rankings: HIGHSCORE Top 25 showdown set for Wednesday as No. 1 Lake Highland Prep meets No. 14 Montverde Academy - HIGHSCORE
Girls high school basketball rankings: MaxPreps Top 25 showdown set for Wednesday as No. 1 Lake Highland Prep meets No. 14 Montverde Academy
National rankings always include a lot of educated guesswork, as top teams often don't play each other and some have limited local schedules — but this year, obviously, is different. This year, some high school girls basketball teams may not play at all. This year, some states plan to play basketball in the spring. This year, some won't start their season until Feb. 1. This year, some have played their normal schedules.

So how to sort it all out? First, by conceding that this year's rankings will be even more problematic than most, as intersectional games and major events are few and far between. Second, by excluding schools from the rankings that do not begin play until April. Third, by relying more on perceived talent level than on game results — though that said, losses to in-state rivals that in the past could be offset by wins over other nationally-ranked teams will now be more critical when it comes to putting together the MaxPreps Top 25 high school girls basketball rankings.

Of course, no one knows how the season will play out, as state associations and local school districts are making decisions on a daily basis that will affect the teams mentioned below, so schools may appear and disappear from the rankings much more frequently than in previous seasons.
But regardless, here we go...
Maria Mykleburst, Montverde Academy
Photo by Pete Wright
Maria Mykleburst, Montverde Academy
MaxPreps Top 25 Girls High School Basketball Rankings

1. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
Record:
10-0 | Last week: 1
Uneasy lies the crown. Point guard Sierra Godbolt tore her ACL and unbeaten No. 14 Montverde Academy is tonight's opponent. The Highlanders only managed 36 points against No. 17 New Hope in a three-point win Dec. 22.

2. Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 2
The first of many teams that has yet to play. An abbreviated season for this uber-talented group is expected to begin around Feb. 1.

3. Westlake (Atlanta)
Record: 6-0 | Last week: 7
A big win against a strong McEachern team was good news for Westlake in the early going, but several intersectional games were canceled over the holidays. The Peach State's best will resume play this week, however.

4. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Record:
0-0 | Last week: 4
Despite the graduation of Paige Bueckers, Hopkins still has one of the most talented rosters in the country. The Royals are expected to begin play this week.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 5
A perennial fixture in the MaxPreps Top 25 should get under way in mid-January.

Record: 10-0 | Last week: NR
The first newcomer, Mount Notre Dame lands in the top 10 thanks to wins over previously-ranked North Central of Indianapolis and another strong Indiana team, Carmel. And unlike most teams this year, Mount Notre Dame also added another intersectional win, this one over Madison Academy of Alabama.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 8
In the same league as No. 2 Bishop McNamara, St. John's and Azzi Fudd are still on hold. A February start is anticipated.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: 9
Incarnate Word played two games in early December, but has been shut down since then. An in-state schedule should resume Jan. 14.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 1
New Jersey teams always start the season later than other states, but this year's Jan. 15 beginning actually is earlier than many.

Record: 16-0 | Last week: 18
Texas, as always, rolls on. After playing 42 games last year (losing one), Cypress Creek has played 16 games already this year. Of those 16 wins, the closest was by 12 points.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: NR
Classen SAS jumps into the rankings thanks to a 50-46 win over previous No. 11 DeSoto. Mark Feb. 11 on the calendar, as that's when a game against No. 13 Norman pops up on the schedule.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: 12
Reynoldsburg's ranking will be tested next week, as unbeaten Newark and once-beaten Pickerington Central (the loss was to Newark) are on tap.

Record: 5-0 | Last week: 13
Norman gets back in full swing with two games next week.

Record: 11-0 | Last week: 23
A big win over Compass Prep of Arizona was a major reason for the jump. An even bigger win is possible tonight against No. 1 Lake Highland Prep.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 15
A Feb. 1 start is anticipated for a new kid on the MaxPreps Top 25 block.

Record: 18-0 | Last week: 16
Hoover handled unbeaten Hewitt-Trussville on Saturday, and with 18 wins already, is off to a very impressive start.

Record: 4-1 | Last week: 14
It's no disgrace to lose to No. 1 so New Hope drops only three spots this week.

Record: 12-1 | Last week: 11
The loss to No. 11 Classen SAS was balanced by a 62-55 win over previous No. 2 Duncanville — but note that the Duncanville-DeSoto rematch Jan. 23 could scramble the rankings again.

Record: 2-0 | Last week: 19
Some teams in Tennessee have played as many as 15 games; Ensworth has reported only two. Still, those two wins are enough to keep Ensworth in the MaxPreps Top 25.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 20
Like St. John-Vianney, Rutgers Prep has yet to start play.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 21
Valley Vista will begin an 18-game, in-state season Jan. 19.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 22
Archbishop Wood is a bit of a mystery as no schedule has been posted — even though Pennsylvania is expected to begin play this week.

Record: 12-1 | Last week: 2
The loss to No. 18 DeSoto dropped the Panthers to No. 23, but the Jan. 23 rematch will be a shot at redemption – and a rise in the rankings.

Record: 0-0 | Last week: 24
Washington will meet this week to decide if the season will begin Feb. 1 or be postponed until spring (as is the case in California, among others). But for now, Chiawana stays at No. 24.

Record: 8-0 | Last week: NR
Fremont jumps into the rankings thanks to a hot start and a loaded roster. Davis, at 5-1, will be a test this Friday.

NOTE: Coaches are encourage to update schedules and results on MaxPreps. For support, contact us via email at [email protected]
High school volleyball rankings: In search of sixth consecutive state title, Nebraska's Skutt Catholic headlines preseason HIGHSCORE Top 25 - HIGHSCORE
High school volleyball rankings: In search of sixth consecutive state title, Nebraska's Skutt Catholic headlines preseason MaxPreps Top 25
While the 2020 high school volleyball season might look different on a national level, one thing remains: You've got to win the matches in front of you. More than two-thirds of the states are pushing forward with fall sports, though some have a delayed calendar, but the national landscape will nonetheless look different.

California opted for a spring volleyball schedule, while some of the national tournaments were either canceled or rebooted in a different format. Michigan, with several Top 25-worthy teams is still trying to figure out if it's pushing back or moving forward.

Still, there's a ton of individual talent already on the court and equal number of teams capable of putting together state and perhaps national title runs.

We've included teams that have started playing or will start in September. Coaches can play their part in formulating accurate rankings by updating schedules and scores via MaxPreps.
Mabrey Shaffmaster and New Castle (Ind.) check in at No. 9 in our preseason rankings. The Trojans are chasing their fourth straight Indiana title.
File photo by Julie Holt
Mabrey Shaffmaster and New Castle (Ind.) check in at No. 9 in our preseason rankings. The Trojans are chasing their fourth straight Indiana title.
Preseason MaxPreps Top 25

1. Skutt Catholic (Omaha, Neb.), 7-0
Notes: Won the Bellevue West Invite without dropping a set. Lindsay Krause has 84 kills in 15 sets, while Allie Gray has 188 assists.

2. Flower Mound (Texas), Opens Sept. 15
Notes: Finished 41-4 last season and return three All-Americans in Kaylee Cox, Angelique Cyr and Caroline Dykes.

3. Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas), Sept. 15
Notes: Defending 5A champions posted a 2019 mark of 48-5. All-Americans Averi Carlson and Cecily Bramschreiber look to repeat.

4. Hoover (Ala.), 14-1
Notes: Following a season-opening five-set loss to McGill-Toolen, the Bucs have reeled off 14 straight including a revenge win over the Yellowjackets and a three-set tourney win over Tennessee's Brentwood.

5. Mercy (Louisville, Ky.), Sept. 8
Notes: Kentucky runners-up open the season against 2019 champion Assumption in a battle of the titans.

6. Assumption (Louisville, Ky.), Sept. 8
Notes: See No. 5 Mercy.

7. Valley (West Des Moines, Iowa), Sept. 2
Notes: Tigers open 2020 against Fort Dodge after 38-5 runner-up season in 2019. All-American Hayden Kubik leads Valley.

8. Brentwood (Tenn.), 9-1
Notes: The Bruins started 9-0 before the loss to Hoover. All-American Shaye Eggleston has 150 kills to start the year.

9. New Castle ( Ind.), 1-0
Notes: The Trojans opened with a sweep of Center Grove as Mabrey Shaffmaster (21) and Laila Smith (16) combined for 37 kills.

10. Walton (Marietta, Ga.), 2-0
Notes: The Raiders opened with sweeps of North Cobb and Marietta.

11. Guyer (Denton, Texas), Sept. 15
Notes: The Wildcats went 35-9 before losing to 6A champion Byron Nelson in the state semis.

12. Leon (Tallahassee, Fla.), Sept. 18
Notes: The Lions were 29-3 last season in winning the FHSAA 6A title and return assist leader Alexa Washington after dishing up 957 in 2019.

13. Papillion-LaVista South (Papillion, Neb.), 6-1
Notes: Sophomore Stella Adeyemi (46 kills) and freshman Lauren Medeck (39 kills) had helped the Titans to the 6-1 mark. Lone loss was to Skutt.

14. Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.), 7-0
Notes: The Royals have been paced by Delaney Garner's 83 kills and while freshman Lauren Harden has added 74. Junior Emily Weber has 129 assists.

15. McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.), 12-2
Notes: Senior Skyler Bumpers has 180 kills thus far as Yellowjackets' losses are to Hoover and Brentwood.

Notes: Ella Broadhead has 110 kills with senior Emily Buhl adding 87 as the Admirals' lone losses are to upper division opponents Hoover and McGill-Toolen.

17. O'Gorman (Sioux Falls, S.D.), 1-0
Notes: All-American Bergen Reilly opened her sophomore campaign with 16 kills in the sweep over Roosevelt.

18. Teurlings Catholic (Lafayette, La.), Sept. 9
Notes: The Rebels open the quest for their fourth straight DII title along with senior Gatorade winner Cicily Hidalgo.

19. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati), 2-0
Notes: Junior Carly Hendrickson posted 25 kills in three sets as the Cougars earned two sweeps to start the year.

20. Jenks (Okla.), 11-1
Notes: Mikiah Perdue, Sophie Bufogle and Savanna LaBiche all have more than 50 kills as the Trojans took the Broken Arrow Invitational.

21. Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.), Sept. 2
Notes: The Saints open with St. James.

22. Briarcrest Christian (Eads, Tenn.), 4-0
Notes: Zykia Jones has 45 kills as the Saints have jumped to a 4-0 start without dropping a set.

23. Providence (Clarksville, Ind.), 5-1
Notes: Pioneers' lone loss to Hamilton Southeastern.

24. McIntosh (Peachtree City, Ga.), 7-0
Notes: Senior Ngozi Iloh has 85 kills and junior Alexa Markley added 77 kills as the Chiefs have dropped only two sets. Senior Claire Lewis has 172 assists.

25. Padua Franciscan (Parma, Ohio), 4-0

Notes: Senior Brooke Cirigliano leads the Bruins with 49 kills as Maria Futey has added 40. Amanda Leigh dished up 123 assists as Padua has swept all four matches.

The Next 25

26. Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.), 9-2
27. Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.), 7-1
28. Pope (Marietta, Ga.), 7-0
29. Klein (Texas), Sept. 11
30. Southside (Fort Smith, Ark.), 2-1
31. Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.), Sept. 10
32. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.), Sept. 17
33. Washburn Rural (Topeka, Kan.), Sept. 3
34. Willard (Mo.), 6-0
35. Ursuline Academy (Cincinnati), 3-0
36. Plano West (Plano, Texas), Sept. 18
37. Pleasant Grove (Utah), 3-0
38. Byron Nelson (Trophy Club, Texas), Sept. 15
39. Elkhorn South (Omaha, Neb.) 2-0
40. Norman North (Norman, Okla.), 4-1
41. Parkland (Allentown, Pa.), Sept. 15
42. North Allegheny (Wexford, Pa.), Sept. 14
43. St. Francis Borgia (Washington, Mo.), Sept. 3
44. Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wis.), Sept. 15
45. Prosper (Texas), Sept. 11
46. St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.), Sept. 8
47. St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta), 8-0
48. Notre Dame Academy (Toledo, Ohio), 1-1
49. Reagan (San Antonio), Sept. 4
50. Appleton North (Appleton, Wis.), Sept. 18