Editor's note: ESPN will release the ESPN RISE FAB 50 national girls' basketball rankings each Wednesday of the season. Click here for the regional rankings.
If Kelsey Bone and Brittney Griner eventually go down as the women's basketball version of Wilt and Russell, the seeds of such a historic rivalry can be traced to a nearly packed regional arena in Houston on Saturday night. For all the hype that has surrounded the top two players in the ESPN HoopGurlz 100 for 2009, they'd never been matched in a club or high school game until then.
As might have been expected, it was a competitive game with a nail-biter ending that Bone-led Dulles claimed 64-63 over Griner and Nimitz at Wheeler Field House. The victory elevated Dulles (Sugar Land, Texas) to No. 24 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50.
"It was electrifying," said Bone, who scored 19 points, second to teammate Jasmine Henderson's 24. "I've never played a game in high school that had that kind of atmosphere.
"It would have been a huge disappointment if I'd never gotten to play against Brittney in high school. It was everything I expected and probably a little bit more."
As is usually the case in a game involving the 6-foot-7 Griner, the "little bit more" was a dunk. The feat caused all the players, according to Bone, "to freeze and marvel at the fact something like that happened in a game we were playing."
Baylor-bound Griner led Nimitz with 24 points. Dulles was playing without Amber Arceneaux, its second-leading scorer, who suffered an ankle sprain expected to keep her out of action another two weeks or so.
The game occasionally was heated -- Griner was whistled for a technical foul after striking Bone with an elbow -- but the two goliaths embraced afterward, and Bone said she walked away a fan.
"Sometimes when a girl is 6-7 or 6-8, she has no idea what to do with that height," said Bone, who is 6-5. "We call them 'big for nothing.' You can't say that about Brittney. Everything she is supposed to do with that height, she does.
"She is going to change the game, with her dunking and shot-blocking ability. I think we'll both change the game, but in different ways."
The upset bug bit near the top of the FAB 50 when Ben Davis (Indianapolis) bounced then-No. 2 Bolingbrook of Chicago 41-28 at Blue Star Basketball's Country Classic Showcase in Champaign, Ill., on Saturday. Alex Bentley, a Penn State signee ranked No. 76 in the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred, led Ben Davis with 14 points. Bolingbrook freshman Morgan Tuck led the Raiders with 18 points. The victory elevated Ben Davis to No. 8 and dropped Bolingbrook, a young team, to No. 14. On the same card, Heritage Christian, also of Indianapolis, jumped 10 spots to No. 28 after a 67-42 thumping of highly regarded Rufus King of Milwaukee, Wis. Sophomore Liz Stratman had 14 points for Heritage, which also got 11 from Connecticut-bound Kelly Faris. Senior Sarina Simmons, a Marquette signee, led Rufus King with 16 points. Bob Jones High School (Madison, Ala.) moves up to No. 23 after a 44-35 victory over Ramsay of Birmingham, Ala., and Kaneisha Horn, the No. 2 prospect in the ESPN HoopGurlz Super 60 for 2010.
While most of the nation's top teams don't play during the Thanksgiving weekend, Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco, a team many consider the 2007-08 national champion, opens its schedule Saturday, playing St. Patrick-St. Vincent in the Gametime East Bay Classic at Berkeley High School. Along with a top national ranking, No. 3 Sacred Heart -- with a 56-game win streak on the line -- won the Division III title in California last year, while St. Patrick-St. Vincent is the defending Division IV champion.
Winning its first six games to start the season, defending Mississippi state 5A champion Murrah of Jackson leaps over Gentry, which suffered its first loss, and debuts at No. 48. Coming off a record sixth straight sixth title, Mandan (N.D.) has not yet started its season, but comes in at No. 50.
Dropping out of the rankings are previous No. 42 Gentry of Indianola, Miss., which ran its state public-school record to 83 straight victories before losing last week to Greenville-Weston, and No. 49 Mansfield Timberview of Arlington, Texas, which lost to Horn.
Fab 50 Rankings Panel
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the McDonald's All-American and Parade All-American Selection Committees, he formerly coached girls club basketball; was the editor-in-chief of an online sports network; and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Mindi Rice is a staff writer for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and a barista at Starbucks, and grew up in Seattle, where she attended Roosevelt High School before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Hansen covers girls' high school basketball nationally for ESPN.com and leads the panel that ranks and evaluates players for the network. He has a communications degree from the University of Washington and has a communications degree. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Mark Lewis is a columnist and national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. Twice ranked as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the game by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, he has more than 20 years of college coaching experience at Memphis State, Cincinnati, Arizona State, Western Kentucky and, most recently, Washington State. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelvin Powell is a national high-school evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A former coach and club-program director, he operates Roundball Journal, a leading prep scouting service, and is a contributing editor at SLAM Magazine, as well as a member of the McDonald's All-American and the Gatorade National and State Player of the Year Selection Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Discuss this on our Message Board