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High school basketball: Top four seeds advance to GEICO Nationals semifinals - HIGHSCORE
High school basketball: Top four seeds advance to GEICO Nationals semifinals
It was chalk in Thursday's GEICO Nationals quarterfinal action as each of the top four teams in high school basketball advanced to Friday's semifinals. No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), No. 2 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.), No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) and No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) each took care of business during the tournament's second day.

IMG Academy takes on Sunrise Christian Academy at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Friday while Montverde Academy meets AZ Compass Prep at 4:30 p.m. with a trip to the finals on the line.

The Ascenders, the reigning event champion, fended off a late 22-7 run from No. 7 Milton (Ga.) to escape with a 73-68 victory in the opening contest. Although Milton (28-3) never led in the game, the scrappy public school battled from down 17 points in the second half to cut the deficit to one point with 1:25 remaining.

IMG Academy responded on its next possession with a corner 3 from junior Eric Dailey, followed by a critical defensive stop that resulted in a quick transition layup by five-star junior Jaden Bradley to stretch the lead to a comfortable six points with just 41 seconds remaining.

Bradley finished with a team-high 20 points to go along with six assists and four rebounds, while fellow five-star junior Jarace Walker chipped in 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks off the bench for IMG Academy (21-2).

Ohio State pledge Bruce Thornton had 18 points, nine assists and six rebounds for Milton in the loss.

In the second quarterfinal contest, Sunrise Christian Academy (20-3) escaped with a 56-55 win against No. 12 Prolific Prep of Napa Christian (Napa, Calif.) as the Buffaloes finished the game on a 12-4 run to overcome their largest deficit of the game, a 51-44 deficit with 4:23 remaining.

A Kennedy Chandler steal and assist led to a Kendall Brown fast break dunk to give Sunrise Christian Academy a 54-53 advantage with 1:40 remaining, but Prolific Prep (31-4) responded with a pair of free-throws on the other end with 53 seconds remaining to give them the one-point edge.

On the other end, Kennedy Chandler penetrated the defense to draw a double team before kicking out to an open Zach Clemence, who attacked the closeout and finished with a game-winning reverse slam with 35 seconds remaining. A pair of defensive stops closed out the gritty win for the Buffaloes.

Brown, the Baylor signee, led all scorers with 21 points, while Tennessee-bound Chandler had 11 points, six steals, five assists and three rebounds.
Caleb Houstan, Montverde Academy
Photo by Annette Wilkerson
Caleb Houstan, Montverde Academy
A balanced attack led top-seed Montverde Academy (22-1) to a convincing 85-64 victory over Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). The Eagles never trailed and held a comfortable lead throughout, leading by as many as 24 points early in the third period.

Michigan signee Caleb Houstan finished with a team-high 20 points, seven points and three rebounds, while No. 2 ranked junior center Jalen Duren had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Five-star junior MJ Rice scored 23 points and added four rebounds for the 20-9 Warriors.

AZ Compass Prep (28-1) overcame an abysmal first half to knock off No. 10 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 59-54 in the day's final contest.

After shooting just 5-of-23 from the field over the first two quarters, the Dragons responded with a second-half flurry, shooting 12-of-24 in the second half to outscore the Tigers 41-27.

MaxPreps National Player of the Year finalist TyTy Washington continued to bolster his impressive senior campaign, pumping in a game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Fousseyni Traore finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three steals in the loss for Wasatch Academy (18-7).

GEICO Nationals schedule

Friday, April 2
Games on ESPN2 (Eastern time)
2:30 p.m. — Sunrise Christian Academy vs. IMG Academy
4:30 p.m. — Montverde Academy vs. AZ Compass Prep

Saturday, April 3

Game on ESPN
Noon — Championship
Boys National Athlete of the Year: Terrelle Pryor - HIGHSCORE
Boys National Athlete of the Year: Terrelle Pryor

By Dave Krider

MaxPreps.com

 

Terrelle Pryor can thank his football coaches at Jeannette, Pa., for his selection as MaxPreps’ 2007-08 Boys National Athlete of the Year.

 

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound superstar always had pictured himself as a basketball player first, with football definitely in the background. The summer before his sophomore year, in fact, he was oh-so-close to leaving home to specialize in basketball at Jacksonville, Fla., powerhouse Arlington Country Day.

 

“I was probably a couple days from flying down,” Pryor told MaxPreps.

 

That’s when Jeannette head football coach Ray Reitz and quarterback coach Roy Hall came up with their best sales pitch. There was no pressure, but Reitz said simply, “We don’t care if you play basketball, but give yourself a chance in football.”

 

Pryor admits, “If they wouldn’t have said (talked to him), I probably wouldn’t be here now.”

 

Even though Pryor was convinced to stay and play both sports, he made a basketball commitment to the University of Pittsburgh midway through his sophomore year.

 

The rest is history as Reitz noted happily, “His junior year he exploded and his senior year was incredible.”

 

Last fall the brilliant quarterback was named the nation’s No. 1 offensive player by every major publication, including MaxPreps. His statistics were mind boggling. He ran 143 times for 1,899 yards (13.3 average) and 33 touchdowns. He completed 87-of-130 passes for 1,889 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also scored on one pass reception and one interception return of 100 yards. Roughly, he accounted for a touchdown once every four times he ran or completed a pass.

 

The bottom line is that the 2007 Jayhawks won Pennsylvania’s Class AA state championship with a perfect 16-0 record and set an all-time state record with 860 points for a staggering 55.0 average. His very presence drew fans from far away and enabled Jeannette to sell out every home game at 8,000 capacity.

 

Pryor joined – and perhaps passed – such Western Pennsylvania legends as Tony Dorsett, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Tom Clements. He stands alone today as the only player in state history to run and pass for over 4,000 yards in a career – even though he sat out large chunks of many runaway games. He finished with 4,340 passing and 4,238 rushing. He accounted for 125 touchdowns as the Jayhawks went 38-4 during his final three campaigns.

 

Asked where Pryor ranks in state history, Reitz replied quickly, “Remember Frank Merriwell (legendary fictional hero)? He (Pryor) had a story-book career. The way he matured and became a leader was so special. Not only does he have the ability, but he puts the time in, too. The greatest thing is that he’s very unselfish and for the total team. He’s one of the best athletes ever to come out of Western Pennsylvania. I’m 52 and he’s the best I’ve seen.”

 

Reitz stresses that Pryor is a true quarterback – not just a great athlete playing quarterback. But he also used him at times at linebacker, defensive end, safety and receiver. He also could see him starring in track as a sprinter (he has run 40 yards in a blazing 4.35 seconds and ran 200 meters in 22.4 seconds as a freshman), high jumper, long jumper or triple jumper. Reitz added, “He could be a great volleyball player. I don’t think there’s any sport he couldn’t be great at.”

 

You can add baseball (where he used to hit long home runs in Little League) and golf (where he can drive the ball 280 yards with little practice).

 

Coach Reitz then paused and acted as if he had found a single flaw: “He might have trouble with bocce.” Asked what that is, he answered, “Italian bowling.”

 

Despite his huge success in football, Pryor continued to star in basketball. During his senior year, he averaged 21.9 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Jayhawks posted a 25-4 record and won the Class AA state title. He finished his career with 2,285 points – No. 8 in Western Pennsylvania history – and helped Jeannette post a 98-18 record.

 

Basketball coach Jim Nesser told MaxPreps, “I call him a point forward. He handles the ball and passes like a guard, but rebounds like a forward. As a senior he really matured and did whatever it took to be successful. He became very well rounded. He never worried about his stats – only about winning. He is one of the most competitive people I ever have been around. He’s really smart and mentally sharp about athletics. He is one of the athletes who lived up to the hype and really surpassed it.

 

“He’s a legend performance-wise. He was like a rock star, man. The media. Fans. Autographs before games. We sold out most of our home games (capacity 1,500). One playoff game they turned away 1,000 people at Sharon. Some of them had pre-sold tickets.”

 

Asked if playing dual sports helped or hurt Pryor. Nesser replied, “I think it helped him. The weight room really helped him (he can bench press 320 pounds). It was a good 1-2 punch for him. Could he have been better (in basketball) if he had been in the gym 12 months a year? Sure.”

 

When he was asked the same question, Pryor said, “Of course, it can make you better if you play only one. But basketball helped my legs (for football) and football (competitiveness) helped me in basketball when we were down 10 points in the fourth quarter.”

 

Pryor’s amazing career has been chronicled closely by veteran Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Mike White, who started covering prep sports in 1979. He believes that Pryor’s all-around ability can best be compared to Tom Clements, who graduated from Pittsburgh Canevin in 1971. He chose Notre Dame football (quarterback) over University of North Carolina basketball (point guard). He also was a superb baseball shortstop.

 

There were other great multi-sport athletes, such as Dan Marino (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) and Lavar Arrington (Pittsburgh North Hills), but White is convinced that “From a high school standpoint, I’d put him (Pryor) No. 1. I talked to a Division I college coach and he said if he wanted to, he could play in the NBA. He has enough size, athletic ability and talent.

 

“He’s one of those guys who, when you go see them play, there are moments that you just go, “What?” And your jaw drops, both in football and basketball.”

 

White still is amazed by Pryor’s performance in the district championship against Beaver Falls when he exploded for 39 points, 24 rebounds and 10 blocks. He apparently plays his best on the big stage because he had over 400 yards in a wild 73-49 district semifinal football victory against Aliquippa.

 

Because White wrote so much about the Jeannette superstar, he became closely linked to him from a public perception. “It became a zoo at the end of this year,” he described. “I never saw a recruiting saga quite like his. It got so ridiculous that everywhere I went, people would come up and ask, ‘Where’s Pryor going?’ My own personal opinion: it was Ohio State for a long time. I think his dad just wanted him to look at some things.”

 

Pryor’s maturity is quite evident. He admitted, “I didn’t really work hard except last year and this year. I just woke up, went out and played (on pure athletic ability).”

 

So, Terrelle Pryor – who will play no more basketball – studies the Ohio State playbook and views film of future Buckeye opponents every week. “The plays aren’t really hard,” he feels. “There are 13 offensive concepts in passing. I’ve got that down pretty well. But I look at the defenses a lot more. I’m watching a lot of film.”

 

Asked if he’ll ever see another Terrelle Pryor, coach Reitz quipped, “Maybe if I live to be 150. I hope I don’t have to coach against someone like him.”

 

Coach Nesser, who is going to miss those electric dunks the most, predicted, “I don’t think in my lifetime there will be an all-around athlete like him. I’ll be honest – he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. It’s going to be scary.”

High school baseball: Top 10 active win streaks - HIGHSCORE
High school baseball: Top 10 active win streaks
Many of the longest win streaks in 2021 are holdovers, trapped in time from the 2020 season. With COVID-19 wiping out the entire season for most states in the Midwest and northeast, many teams have still-active win streaks heading into the 2021 season.

MaxPreps lists the Top 10 active win streaks to start the 2021 season, along with the addition of Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.), which has already started its season and has moved up among the top 10 active win streaks.
MaxPreps No. 1 Jesuit also has a 20-game win streak, among active national leaders.
Photo by Marc Estrada
MaxPreps No. 1 Jesuit also has a 20-game win streak, among active national leaders.
Top 10 active baseball win streaks

1. Webster (Wis.) — 37
Led by former MLB pitcher Jarrod Washburn, the Tigers have won back-to-back state championships, but haven't played since 2019. Webster won 30 games in 2019 and the last seven games of the 2018 season to build a 37-game win streak. Webster had the third-longest win streak entering last season behind Silo (40) and Blanchard (39), both of Oklahoma. Webster doesn't play until April, but it returns all-state selection Owen Washburn, the coach's son, who batted .561 as a sophomore in 2019.

2. Andrean (Merrillville, Ind.) — 35
The Fighting 59ers won the 3A championship in 2019, losing the second game of the season and then winning 35 in a row. Coach Dave Pishkur went over 1,000 career wins during the 2019 season and also became the all-time winningest coach in Indiana. Andrean doesn't open its season until late March.

3. Center Moriches (N.Y.) — 32
Like Webster, the Red Devils have a winning streak that extends into the 2018 season. They won their final five games of the 2018 season to win the Class B state championship. They then went 27-0 in the 2019 season to win the crown again. Center Moriches did not play in 2020.

4. Colonel Richardson (Federalsburg, Md.) — 24
Last year was supposed to be another stellar season for the Colonels as they returned half of the starting lineup from a club that went 24-0 in 2019 and won the Maryland Class 1A state championship. They never took the field, leaving it up to the 2021 team to extend the nation's fourth-longest active win streak.

5. (tie) Elkhart (Kan.) — 22
The  Wildcats edged Marion 3-2 in the Kansas Class 2-1A state championship game. Elkhart finished the season 22-0, but it did not play in 2020. The Wildcats are scheduled to begin their season on March 29.

5. (tie) Appoquinimink (West Middletown, Del.) — 22
The Jaguars went 22-0 and captured the 2019 state championship. They were one of the favorites again in 2020 with Gatorade State Player of the Year Lorenzo Carrier leading the way at shortstop. He returns for his senior season 2021 to help the Jaguars extend their streak.

7. Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) — 21
The Tigers won their final eight games of the 2019 season to a capture a Florida state championship. Jesuit started the 2020 season with a 9-0 record and is the only team on this list that played in 2020. The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps to start 2021, is off to a 4-0 start. The Tigers take on Venice, the team Jesuit beat to start the streak in 2019.

8. (tie) Lisbon (Lisbon Falls, Maine) — 20
The Greyhounds went undefeated in winning the Class C state championship in 2019. Lisbon did not take the field in 2020 and is not expected to play again until April.

8. (tie) Gateway Christian (Roswell, N.M.) — 20
The Warriors simply dominated in 2019, winning games by an average score of 14-1. Twice, Gateway scored over 30 runs in a game. The Warriors won the Class A state championship, but they did not play in 2020.

8. (tie) St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) — 20
The Eaglets actually started the 2019 season with a 7-9 record, but they won 27 of their final 29 games with two ties. Thus St. Mary Prep has a 29-game unbeaten streak with 20 straight wins in a row. St. Mary Prep did not play in 2020, but is ranked by MaxPreps as the top team in Michigan for the 2021 season.

11. White River Valley (Royalton, Vt.) — 18
The Wildcats have the distinction of never having lost a baseball game in the school's history. That's because the school began play in 2019 and went 18-0 with a Division 3 state championship. White River Valley lost one starter from the 2019 team, but did not play in 2020.
Best high school volleyball team in all 50 states - HIGHSCORE
Best high school volleyball team in all 50 states
While not every state has returned to action on the court, the high school volleyball season is in full swing in a majority of states. And those championship dreams are taking hold despite social distancing, masks and ensuring equipment is sanitized.

Last week, MaxPreps took at look at the top high school volleyball player in each state and today we continue out cross-country look with the top team in each state.

There are state champions looking to add another banner to the gym, runners-ups looking to avenge last season's defeat, and teams who gained experienced last season and now look to put it all together. Sprinkled throughout the list of top teams are All-Americans, state Gatorade winners and a slew of All-State selections.
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
Alabama — Bayside Academy (Daphne)
Last year: 62-12, 4A champion
The Admirals are loaded with talent in a quest for a 19th straight state title. Senior setter Brelynn Dailey returns with 963 assists, and hitters Ella Broadhead (440 kills), Emily Buhl (424 kills) and Colton Thompson (255 kills, 629 assists) have enough to overcome the loss of the 587 kills from Jacque Martin, lost to graduation.

Last year: 58-10-3, 4A champion
The Wolverines lost three senior swingers, but have plenty waiting in the wings as they look for back-to-back state titles. Senior Cami Houser brings back 319 kills, while juniors Hanna Henrie and Kensey Schilke combined for nearly 400 more in 2019. Rising senior Emma McMillian dished up 536 assists for South.

Last year: 31-11, 5A quarterfinalist
The Huskies look to move further in 2020 as sophomore Kendal Murphy pounded 359 kills and tallied a team-leading 517 assists, while junior Kaden Young added 203 kills and 468 assists last year. Juniors Eden Driescher (198 kills), Taylor Johnson (197 kills) and Phoebe Stebner (459 assists) add depth to what was a young roster in 2019.

Last year: 31-6, 6A runner-up
A 3-1 finals' loss to Bentonville will no doubt fuel the Mavericks. Senior Hanna Hogue was five assists shy of the 1,000 mark last season and Avery Fitzgerald posted 414 kills. Junior Toree Tiffee (258 kills) and senior Aleigha Johnson (190) provide extra firepower.

California — Marymount (Los Angeles)
Last year: 33-5, Southern California Open Division semifinalist
Along with Texas, the Golden State is chock full of talent so picking one team is never easy. Cases could be made for Redondo Union (Redondo Beach), Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) and perennial power Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) — all young teams last season. But the Sailors have the talent and experience to perhaps put a state-title run together with junior hitters Elia Rubin (420 kills) and Kerry Keefe (265 kills). Junior setter Kelly Belardi's 825 assists shows she can put it where hitters like. Caroline Altergott and Kathryn Kilroy add depth.

Colorado — Sterling
Last year: 29-0, 3A champion
The Tigers return every piece of the unbeaten title team save for Jade Feather (587 digs). Juniors Sydney Henry (388 kills, 418 digs) and Kaylee Johnson (298 kills, 142 digs) look to add to the win streak along with senior Valarie Allen (163 kills) and junior Emerie Rios (123 kills). Senior setter Allie Schumacher dished up 907 assists.

Connecticut — Greenwich
Last year: 19-3, LL quarterfinalist
The Cardinals got 244 kills, 189 digs and 49 aces from senior Lilly Saleeby while senior Cornelia Roach added 103 kills and 36 blocks. Junior Adele Sotgiu pitched in 241 digs and 257 receives.

Last year: 18-3, Division I champion
In addition to the state's top player, senior middle blocker Mackenzie Sobczyk, the Pandas also return junior setter, Audrey Lyons and senior defensive specialist/libero Colleen McClintock.

District of Columbia — St. John's (Washington, D.C.)
Last year: 33-3, DCSAA champion
The Cadets look for a three-peat with returning state Gatorade winner Rachel Richardson in the fold. The senior pounded 465 kills and added 253 digs for the WCAC champions. Junior Addie Gaskins looks to fill the void left by Maya Boykin. Sophomore Pamela McCune is a 6-0 middle hitter who tallied 151 kills and 63 blocks as a freshman. Samiha Foster brings her 160 kills back as well.

Last year: 24-8, 6A runner-up
Others such as Cardinal Mooney, Leon and Hagerty could also lay claim to the Sunshine State's top spot, but the Raiders are just plain deep. They have four hitters — juniors Carter Olivia Mogridge and Meredith Dixon along with senior Lilly Costigan and sophomore Zy'Aire Barr — who all posted more than 100 kills last season. Add Alyssa McBean (309 digs, 55 aces), Isabella Riquezes (190 digs), Erin Engel (524 assists) and Liah Perez (288 assists) and STA has talent across the board.

Last year: 36-1, AAAAA champion
The Chiefs enter 2020 already 5-0 on the young season and looking for their fourth straight Peach State title. Ngozi Iloh (301 kill and 64 blocks) joins rising junior Alexa Markley's 217 kills to offset the graduation loss of Erykah Lovett. The only thing McIntosh needs is to find a way to replace the 931 assists that graduated setter Jessie Doyal supplied.

Last year: 39-4, Division I champion
The Warriors graduated senior leaders Keonilei Akana, Bryanne Soares and Tara De Sa, but have the state's top player in Devin Kahahawai returning with her team-high 381 kills. Junior Maui Robins posted 228 kills, 70 blocks and 314 digs last season.

Last year: 34-14, 5A champion
The Titans, in their second year of existence, brought home a battle-tested state title. All five tournament games went at least four sets and Idaho's top player, Paige Clark steps into the limelight as the leading returning hitter with 236 kills, 207 digs and 729 assists.

Illinois — Sterling
Last year: 36-6, 3A champions
The Golden Warriors will rely on seniors Lexi Rodriguez and Breelyn Borum and Brooklyn Borum, plus sophomore Grace Egan. Egan had 360 kills in her freshman campaign and tied for the team lead with Brooklyn Borum. Bree Borum added 287 kills, while Rodriguez was all over the stat sheet in addition to leading the U18 US National team to a gold-medal performance in Egypt last September.

Indiana — New Castle
Last year: 35-1, 4A champion
The Trojans seeks a fourth state title — they own back-to-back 3A crowns before earning last year's 4A jewelry — and have leading hitter Mabrey Shaffmaster back in the fold. Older sister Melani graduated, but Laila Smith (340 kills), Bailey Cox (284 digs) and Nicole Wilkinson (117 kills) look to keep the Trojans rolling. Replacing Melani's 948 assists is first on the docket.
Laila Smith and Mabrey Shaffmaster lead New Castle in a quest for a fourth straight Indiana title.
File photo by Julie Brown
Laila Smith and Mabrey Shaffmaster lead New Castle in a quest for a fourth straight Indiana title.
Iowa — Valley (West Des Moines)
Last year: 38-5, 5A runner-up
Hayden Kubik had a monster sophomore campaign with 401 kills and 117 digs and looks to get help from senior Payton Lombardi (127 kills). The Tigers need to replace Olivia Curry's 537 assists.

Last year: 33-9, 5A playoffs
After an early exit in pool play, the Golden Eagles return with their top three hitters in Ella Larkin (341 kills), Riley Daugherty (236 kills) and Kenzie Dugan (139 kills). Daugherty posted 260 digs, while Larkin led the team with 290 digs and added  285 assists.

Kentucky — Mercy (Louisville)
Last year: 36-7, runner-up
Betting against perennial champion Assumption seems foolhardy, but the Jaguars return enough hitters in Fallan Lanham, Allison Holloway and Jaymison Summers to pair with setter Elana Scott (800 assists) and do-everything Eleanor Beavin (555 digs, 505 serve receives, 72 aces).

Last year: 20-4, Division II champion
The Rebels had little trouble winning their seventh straight crown, losing one set in the state tournament. Defending that title is now on the shoulders of Cicily Hidalgo — the state Gatorade Player of the Year recipient — in addition to senior libero Molly Webre and hitter Paige Guidry (497 kills, 438 digs).

Maine — Falmouth
Last year: 17-0, Class A champion
The Yachtsmen sailed to the unbeaten season and title behind the stellar play of two-time All-State Player of the Year and Gatorade selection Annika Hester, who posted 329 kills, 161 digs and 14 blocks. Senior Katie Phillips dished up 258 assists last year.

Last year: 23-3, IAAM A champion
Mary Grace Goyena, the state Gatorade Player of the Year and three-time All-IAAM first team selection posted 405 kills, 133 digs and 58 aces. Senior Chidinma Onukwugha and sophomore Kelenna Onukwugha supplied nearly 400 kills combined. The Sailor must replace Grace Wallace's 771 assists.

Massachusetts — Needham
Last year: 21-0, Division I champion
Rising seniors Karen Nie and Lila Carr combined for nearly 500 kills while Ellie Streeper had 251 digs in her sophomore campaign. The Rockets need to find a setter to replace Daly Johnson's 622 assists.

Michigan — Lowell
Last year: 55-4, Division I runner-up
A strong case could be made for both D-II champion Grand Rapids Christian and D-I champion Mercy, but the Red Arrows simply counter with Jenna Reitsma's 873 kills from last season along with 1,571 assists from Sophia Powell. Add in Emma Hall and sophomore Aubreigh Oswald and Lowell should be in position to challenge for the crown.

Minnesota — Eagan
Last year: 36-1, AAA runner-up
The Wildcats lost a five-set heartbreaking in the title game, after breezing through the schedule up to that point. They're led by Star Tribune and Gatorade state Player of the Year Kennedi Orr (170 kills and 269 assists), who is looking to avenge the title loss. The Nebraska commit will be joined by 6-2 middle hitter Abby Moe.

Mississippi — Jackson Academy (Jackson)
Last year: 43-3, MAIS champion
The Raiders are off to an 8-1 start and led by reigning Gatorade recipient Parker Bracken (648 kills, 517 digs last season) and setter Natalie Derusso (1,287 assists).

Last year: 34-4-1, Class 3 champion
Five of the Knights' top six hitters return in Ella Brinkman, Lily Brown, Lynsey Batson, Kaitlyn Patke and Caroline Glastetter. Junior Annie Arand looks to slide into the setter's role of graduated senior Abby Lynn.

Montana — Capital (Helena)
Last year: 33-0, Class AA champion
Seniors Paige Bartsch and Dani Bartsch combined for nearly 600 kills last season and pair with setter Audrey Hofer, who dished up nearly 900 assists.

Last year: 34-5, Class B champion
In addition to All-American Lindsay Krause (360 kills), the SkyHawks are deep all around with three other hitters — Ava Heyne, Cameron Cartwright and Abby Schomers — who posted more than 100 kills. Additionally, senior setter Allie Gray (1,225 assists) knows how to find hitters and defensive specialist Bre Skala added 501 digs.

Nevada — Boulder City
Last year: 41-5, 3A champion
The Eagles return Kamry Bailey's 481 kills as well as Kate Prior's 291 kills. Zoey Robinson and Ava Wright each notched more than 100 aces while Wright had 1,180 assists.

New Hampshire — Inter-Lakes (Meredith)
Last year: 19-0, Division III champion
Emily Weeks brings back her 402 assists and Devyn Vaal adds 157 digs and 72 kills. Emma Richardson contributed 143 digs last year.

Last year: 35-4, Non-Public champion, Tournament of Champions winner
The Blue Eagles lost Anna Morris, but have hitters Gianna Grigaliunas and Brookelyn Talmadge waiting in the wings. Junior Olivia Coughlin runs the offense well, dishing up nearly 500 assists in 2019.

New Mexico — La Cueva (Albuquerque)
Last year: 22-1, 5A champion
The Bears enter 2020 on a 22-game win streak after falling in their first 2019 match before running the table. Sidney McIntosh returns after posting 323 kills in her junior season, while Maalese Wallace and Isabella Harrison combined for 300 kills. Junior Erin Jones leads the offense having dished up 808 assists last season.

Last year: 44-6, Class A champion
The Spartans had a breakout year from incoming junior Carlie Rzeszotarski, who posted 523 kills and 278 digs in 2019. Callie Chevalier and Claire Isaksen, who each notched more than 145 kills and Isaksen (more than 1,000 assists).

Last year: 31-4, NCISSA 4A champion
The Knights lost kills leader Skylar Buckley, but Riley Buckley looks to step into that go-to role along with Arica Davis, Imani Lester and Kayla Hawkins, who all combined for nearly 800 kills. In addition to her second-high kill total, Riley Buckley also paced NRCA with 451 assists.

North Dakota — Fargo Davies (Fargo)
Last year: 33-2, Class A champion
Outside hitter Grace Solberg is back for the Eagles as they look for back-to-back title. Libero Justice Thilges also returns.

Last year: 25-3, Division I semifinalist
The Cougars return leading hitter Carly Hendrickson (442 kills) and assist leader Megan Wielonski (958 assists). Seniors Anna Currin (189 digs) and Anna Christman (155 kills) join the fray for MND.

Oklahoma — Norman North (Norman)
Last year: 21-9, 6A quarterfinalist
The Timberwolves return Ali Woodrow and are off to a quick 2-0 start in 2020.

Oregon — Jesuit (Portland
Last year: 25-4, Class 6A champion
The Crusaders were young en route to their state championship. Flashing much more experience, they return their top three hitters in Maddy Dowdall (288 kills), Amanda Henry (194 kills) and Tess Masingale (188 kills). Alison Bucholz also is back after a 281 dig-765 assist season.

Pennsylvania — Parkland (Allentown)
Last year: 31-11-3, 4A semifinalist
Top hitter Brynn Dreisbach is back for the Trojans after notching 515 kills in 2019. Sydney Esquieres also returns more than 100 kills from last season and senior Jackie Malitzki averaged nearly 10 assists per set on her way to posting 1,169 for the season.

Rhode Island — North Kingstown
Last year: 25-0, Division I champion
The Skippers haven't lost since Nov. 19, 2016 and roll into 2020 looking for a fourth straight unbeaten season. Senior setter Ava Mattiucci, senior hitter Cadia Greene and senior libero Jaime Harrington lead the charge for a fourth straight title.

South Carolina — Dorman (Roebuck)
Last year: 34-7-2, 4A semifinalist
The Cavaliers return their four top hitters and setter after losing in 2019 to eventual champion Nation Ford. Grace Metcalf dished up 925 assists to the likes of juniors Lauren Mims (342 kills), Savannah Freeman (306 kills) and seniors Ally Eggert (193 kills) and Brantley Chipley (127 kills).

South Dakota — O'Gorman (Sioux Falls)
Last year: 26-5, Class AA runner-up
The Knights return most of last year's squad led by the state's top player in Bergen Reilly (503 assists, 225 kills and 47 aces). Sister Raegen Reilly also returns along with her 411 assists and 222 kills. Libero Emma McKay (327 digs) joins Grace Bengford as key returners.

Tennessee — Brentwood
Last year: 54-3, Class 3A champion
Shaye Eggleston, the Volunteer State Gatorade winner, returns as the Bruins seek their fourth straight AAA title. The Alabama commit recorded 856 kills, 444 digs, 80 blocks and 87 aces last year and is joined by Hollye Tate (267 kills). Brentwood must replace Piper Drazek's 1,746 assists.

Texas — Flower Mound
Last year: 41-4, 6A quarterfinalist
The Lone Star State is overflowing with talent and Lovejoy, Byron Nelson, Guyer or Hebron could easily supplant the Jaguars for the No. 1 spot. But with Caroline Dykes, Kaylee Cox and Angelique Cyr all back, the senior leadership is undeniable. Cox and Cyr posted nearly 1,000 kills together, while Dykes added 936 assists and junior Megan Farris added 579 of her own. Flower Mound needs to have its big three fill the leadership void left by Sarah Martinez.

Utah — Lehi
Last year: 21-12, 5A runner-up
Avery Shewell (443 kills) leads a quartet of hitters returning for the Pioneers. Senior Macey Faddis (185 assists) must fill in the setter role vacated by Eliza Gibson. Libero Bailee Holland added 295 digs for Lehi last season.

Last year: 26-1, Division I runner-up
The Hornets' lone loss in 2019 came to Champlain Valley in the title match. Essex returns All-State picks Jessie Rose, Molly Ardren and Jazmin Munson, along with second-team pick Amanda Lyon and honorable mention selection Kayla Boutin.

Virginia — Flint Hill (Oakton)
Last year: 31-1, VISAA Division 1 champion
Seeking their fourth straight state title, the Huskies lose all-around player Sydney Reed, but return Elayna Duprey (264 kills) and sophomore Sydney Bryant (112 kills). Additionally, Zoe Huang is back for her senior season after putting up 542 assists (6.2 per game) last season. Flint Hill is a combined 98-2 over the last three seasons.

Washington — Graham-Kapowsin (Graham)
Last year: 19-6, 4A semifinalist
The Evergreen State is wide open and the Eagles look poised to step to the forefront with sophomore Hailey Brockway returning after a 472-kill freshman season. Senior Makenna Jackson added 150 kills and 300 digs last season and Madison Brockway contributed 401 digs. The setter position needs to be filled after losing Raedyn Goudreau's 646 assists to graduation.

Last year: 58-2-2, Class 3A champion
The Patriots are loaded with returning swingers as five of the top six from last year are back — Camryn Hughes (505 kills), Nyla Birch (369), Maya Harris (259), Molly Grimm (155) and Faith Smith (137). The biggest loss is Julia McClanahan's 1,563 assists.

Last year: 36-9, Division I section quarterfinalist
Mckenna Wucherer returns with her 592 kills, 346 digs and 46 blocks from last year, as does junior Morgan Daugherty (186 kills). Junior Tatum Kebisek will set up the hitters after posting 1,176 assists last season.

Wyoming — Rock Springs
Last year: 25-11, 4A quarterfinalist
Leading hitter Brenli Jenkins (286 kills, 258 digs) and Cali Pollastro (third-best 128 kills) both return for the Tigers. Rising junior Emily Taucher tallied 737 assists last year (8 per game).
Angelique Cyr, Flower Mound
File photo by Jim O
Angelique Cyr, Flower Mound


High school girls basketball rankings: No. 16 Anderson County survives upset bid, moves up two spots in HIGHSCORE Top 25 rankings - HIGHSCORE
High school girls basketball rankings: No. 16 Anderson County survives upset bid, moves up two spots in MaxPreps Top 25 rankings
Ponchatoula has played 30 games in Louisiana. Simeon, which was ranked in our preseason MaxPreps Top 25 high school girls basketball rankings, will play its first game in Illinois this week. Mater Dei and Archbishop Mitty, both from California and both given spots before the season, may not play at all.

Such is the state of high school basketball in the season of COVID-19, which has only added to the challenge of putting together these rankings.

So should an unbeaten team with 10 games be ranked ahead of an unbeaten team that's played 30? After all, every game is a chance to lose, and the 10-game team clearly had fewer opportunities to pick up a loss. But then again, it's certainly not the fault of the teams that they've played fewer games than expected, or didn't have a chance to get that big intersectional win that would have put them on the map.

Which means that this year, more so than any other, the talent on the roster — as measured by individual rankings and recruiting interest — has an impact on where a team is placed. Edison has played four games, but sits at No. 5 thanks to a horde of top-shelf talent that was just as likely to be 24-0 as 4-0.

Is this the way we normally do it? Not at all, but a lot of things aren't normal in the 2020-21 girls basketball season — and like most of these teams you just have to play the hand you're dealt.

NOTE: Coaches and team personnel are encouraged to update schedules and results on MaxPreps – especially those in the mix for MaxPreps Top 25 consideration. For assistance or questions, please reach out to [email protected]
Marya Hudgins, Grandview
Photo by Steve Abeyta
Marya Hudgins, Grandview
MaxPreps Top 25 Girls Basketball Rankings

Record: 17-0 | Last week: 1
Note that there are two American Heritage high schools in Florida, and the one in the other 4A semifinal — the one Lake Highland Prep might have to face this weekend should it get by Bishop Kenny — is not the American Heritage that's ranked No. 24.

2. Westlake (Atlanta)
Record: 15-0 | Last week: 2
Westlake has waited nearly a month to play a game as opponents were hard to come by, but the AAAAAA postseason begins this week. The first serious test likely will come next week from 23-3 Kell in quarterfinals.

3. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati)
Record: 23-0 | Last week: 3
The Cougars won their first two Division 1 playoff games by an average score of 82-7 but it's possible, if not likely, that 21-2 Centerville — which only lost to host Mount Notre Dame by nine earlier this year — will be the semifinal opponent. We're guessing that game will be a lot closer than 82-7.

4. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 4
Hopkins easily disposed of Minnetonka, which gave the defending state champs a tough game the first time around. So the next focus will be on the March 5 game at No. 20 Chaska.

5. Edison Academy (Detroit)
Record: 4-0 | Last week: 5
Edison downed perennial rival Renaissance 68-59 on Saturday.

6. Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis)
Record: 18-0 | Last week: 6
There are two games left in regular season for the Show Me State's best, and neither should pose much of a challenge.

7. Cypress Creek (Houston)
Record: 28-0| Last week: 7
Cypress Creek will play 24-4 Heights on Wednesday, and that record is impressive. But Cypress Creek already played Heights and won by 31.

8. Norman (Okla.)
Record: 13-0 | Last week: 8
Norman has had a long break, but plays Thursday against Grant — and is expected to move on to the 6A Area playoffs, which begin March 4.

9. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)
Record: 9-0 | Last week: 9
St. John Vianney's comfortable home in the Top 10 will be threatened Friday by 8-0 Trenton Catholic — but luckily the game will be in the friendly confines of Holmdel.

10. Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 10
Season complete.

11. DeSoto (Texas)
Record: 22-2 | Last week: 12
DeSoto continues to advance in 6A District play, but down the road must deal with rival Duncanville and No. 7 Cypress Creek.

12. Newark (Ohio)
Record: 24-1 | Last week: 13
Hilliard Darby, Wednesday's opponent in the Division 1 playoffs, is the 25th seed — 16-2 Watkins Memorial, the likely Friday opponent, will be a tougher test.

13. Grandview (Aurora, Colo.)
Record: 9-0 | Last week: 14
There are some very good teams in Colorado, but Grandview won't face any of them until postseason, which begins the week of March 8.

14. Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Record:
10-0 | Last week: 17
Princess Anne completed its abbreviated unbeaten season by winning its eighth straight state title, and 12th overall.

15. Fremont (Plain City, Utah)
Record: 22-0 | Last week: 15
The 6A playoffs begin Thursday, but Fremont is the No. 2 seed, behind once-beaten Herriman, which did play a tougher schedule. We might find out how much that matters if both reach the March 6 finals.

16. Anderson County (Lawrenceburg, Ky.)
Record: 17-0 | Last week: 18
Sometimes it takes a little luck. Anderson County got a banked-in, 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds to left to take a 69-68 lead over Sacred Heart — and then had to watch as Sacred Heart's desperation heave spent some time on the rim before bouncing out.

17. Ponchatoula (La.)
Record: 30-0 | Last week: 22
Ponchatoula is three games away from an unbeaten season, a Top 20 ranking (or higher), and most important, a Louisiana 5A state title.

18. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)

Record: 21-2 | Last week: 11
Montverde lost by one in the first round of the Independent School National Championships, but bounced back to win its last two and retain a spot in the Top 25. The other loss was to No. 1 Lake Highland Prep, and Montverde has a handful of impressive wins over strong Florida opposition.

19. Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.)

Record: 7-0 | Last week: 19
Rutgers Prep has two games left before a limited postseason, and a loss anywhere along the line would be considered a major upset.

20. Chaska (Minn.)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 20
Chaska was on no one's radar in preseason — but now you can bet No. 4 Hopkins is already gathering intel for the March 5 matchup.

21. Hazel Green (Ala.)
Record: 32-1 | Last week: 21
Should Hazel Green get past Hartselle Wednesday — and Hazel Green won by 19 back in November — McGill-Toolen would be the 6A semifinals foe. Hazel Green beat McGill-Toolen by 25 in December.

22. New Hope Academy (Landover Hills, Md.)
Record: 10-3 | Last week: NR
New Hope returns to the rankings after winning the Independent School National Championship over a strong field. And if you think three losses are too many for a Top 25 team, think again — all three came against elite opposition.

23. Bearden (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Record: 25-1 | Last week: 23
Oak Ridge is 20-4 and the likely opponent in Monday's Class AAA Regional semifinals, but Bearden should be favored, if not heavily favored, until the state tournament starts March 10.

24. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
Record: 23-2 | Last week: 24
It's not going to be easy for American Heritage to hold on to this ranking, as Florida is very strong this year, and the 5A Final Four is impressive. First up is 24-4 Clearwater, which hasn't lost since Dec. 11, and the other side of the bracket has 26-1 St. Augustine and a fully healthy, and very talented, 22-3 Palm Bay.

25. Pius X (Lincoln, Neb.)
Record:
20-0 | Last week: 25
Pius X must get past either 12-win Benson or 12-win Bellevue West on Thursday to get to the Class A state tournament, which starts next week. And it would be unwise to bet against the No. 25 team in the country.

Dropped out: No. 16 Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.).