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11. Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Last Season's Record: 37-4, National Christian Schools Athletic Association champion
Key Players: G Loliya Briggs (5-11, Jr.); G Antoinette Howard (5-10, Soph.)
Outlook: The Lions are really a year away, as none of their top players are seniors. They're also already road warriors, having played all over the country in 2008-09, and they will do the same in 2009-10. Look for them in an elite event near you.
|Michala Johnson, who is recovering from an ACL injury, joins four returning starters for No. 17 Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.).|
12. Start (Toledo, Ohio)
Last Season's Record: 22-4, Division I state playoff qualifier
Key Players: G Maleeka Kynard (5-7, Jr.); F Azia Bishop (6-2, Jr.); F Tiffani Blackman (5-10, Sr.)
Outlook: The Spartans lost just one starter from a team that ran into eventual state champ Mount Notre Dame early in the Ohio playoffs. This time around, they're favored to go all the way. Oh, and the rich get richer: They got a 6-3 transfer.
13. Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.)
Last Season's Record: 26-1, Class 6A state finalist
Key Players: F Richa Jackson (6-0, Sr.); F Kaylon Williams (6-3, Jr.)
Outlook: The Bombers beat Del City twice last season, but lost 29-27 in the state championship game. With Jackson and Williams up front, Midwest City is favored to win the state title this season, and a strong performance at the Tournament of Champions in Arkansas could vault the Bombers into the top 10.
14. Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)
Last Season's Record: 30-2, Class 4A state finalist
Key Players: G Chanise Jenkins (5-4, Jr.); G Janee Thompson (5-6. Soph.)
Outlook: Although only two starters are back and there may not be much size, coach Corry Irvin says the Dolphins will be quicker than last year, which will make their uptempo, pressing game even more devastating. They also will test themselves with a demanding schedule.
Girls' high school basketball is back and ESPN RISE is getting you ready for the season with a week's worth of previews, including the release of the Preseason ESPN RISE FAB 50 rankings.
15. Elmhurst (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Last Season's Record: 25-2, Class 3A state champion
Key Players: F Liza Clemons (6-2, Jr.); G Lacia Gorman (5-7, Jr.)
Outlook: The Trojans return four starters and 11 out of 12 players overall, so they should be primed to repeat as 3A champions. And in one of the highlight games early in the season, they'll get a chance at Ben Davis on Nov. 21.
16. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
Last Season's Record: 32-3, CIF Division I state champion
Key Players: F Thaddesia Southall (6-3, Sr.); G Brittany Wilson (5-8, Sr.); G Ashley Wilson (5-8, Sr.)
Outlook: The Jackrabbits have won the Division I state title four years in a row, but as in more than a few states, it's not necessarily true that the biggest schools have the best teams. Still, winning in California in any division isn't easy, and thanks to three returning starters and at least potential seven Division I players, Poly could well make it five straight in 2010.
17. Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.)
Last Season's Record: 28-6, Class 3A state quarterfinalist
Key Players: F Michala Johnson (6-3, Sr.); G Courtney Thomas (6-1, Sr.); G Whitney Holloway (5-6, Jr.)
Outlook: Johnson, who's going to UConn, missed last season because of an ACL injury, so her return makes a pretty good team (four starters back) a lot better. Holloway also has committed to Notre Dame. It's too bad the Broncos don't play more out-of-state competition.
18. Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.)
Last Season's Record: 31-0, Association of Independent Schools champion
Key Players: G Maggie Lucas (5-8, Sr.); F Alexa Gallagher (6-1, Jr.)
Outlook: The Patriots dominate the independent schools in Pennsylvania but don't compete against the top public and private schools in the postseason. Still, they're good again, and they will test themselves at the Naples Daily News Holiday Shootout in Florida.
19. Shabazz (Newark, N.J.)
Last Season's Record: 30-2, State Tournament of Champions semifinalist
Key Players: G Ka-Deirde Simmons (5-6, Sr.); F Alyesha Lovett (6-0, Jr.); G Aliyyah Handford (5-9, Soph.)
Outlook: Vanessa Watson has been coaching the Bulldogs for 27 years, and this is another powerhouse team filled with major-college-level talent. Shabazz doesn't travel much, so the Bulldogs need to win the postseason New Jersey TOC to stay in the top 20. Shabazz lost there last season to Colts Neck. Neptune and University (Newark) are two other in-state squads that could wreck the plan as well.
|Senior center Chiney Ogwumike and No. 23 Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas) are looking to build on their state semifinal appearance.|
20. Hillsboro (Nashville, Tenn.)
Last Season's Record: 36-1, Class 3A state champions
Key Players:C Isabelle Harrison (6-4, Jr.); F Lakeisha Crouch (6-0, Sr.); G Jemilah Leonard (5-7, Fr.)
Outlook: The addition of freshman Leonard in the backcourt will have to make up for the loss of three starters, but she may be that talented. The Burros will get a chance to show the country how good they are at the Nike TOC in Phoenix.
21. Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
Last Season's Record: 22-3, Class 6A state quarterfinalist
Key Players: F Jhasmine Bowen (6-1, Jr.); F Kamisha Richard (5-11, Sr.)
Outlook: The Falcons made an early exit from the state playoffs last year, but all five starters return this season. In fact, only one senior is projected to be in the rotation.
22. Timberview (Mansfield, Texas)
Last Season's Record: 35-4, Class 4A state finalist
Key Players: G Keena Mays (5-7, Sr.); G Maegan Conwright (5-9, Sr.); F Camille Redmon (6-4, Sr.)
Outlook: There aren't many former WNBA head coaches at the high school level, but Candi Harvey of Timberview is one -- and she's guided the Panthers to 30 wins in each of the last three seasons. Expect no less in 2009-10. Mays has committed to Kansas, and Conwright is headed to Kentucky.
23. Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas)
Last Season's Record: 35-4, Class 5A state semifinalist
Key Players: C Chiney Ogwumike (6-2, Sr.); G Cassie Peoples (5-6. Jr.)
Outlook: The Bobcats might not be quite as good as they were last season, but any team with Ogwumike and Peoples is going to win a lot of games. If both are playing at the top of their games, Cy-Fair can beat just about anyone.
24. Murry Bergtraum (New York, N.Y.)
Last Season's Record: 24-2, N.Y. Federation AA finalist
Key Players: F Shakurah Washington (5-11, Sr.); G Cece Dixon (5-4, Sr.)
Outlook: The Blazers have become a fixture in the top 25 yet this season their hold is a little shakier than in years past. They have four starters back and plenty of weapons; still, St. Michael Academy has moved ahead of them in New York.
25. Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Last Season's Record: 31-1, Class AAA state champion
Key Players: F Elizabeth Williams (6-3, Jr.); F Samisha Powell (5-9, Sr.)
Outlook: Williams has moved to the top of the Hoopgurlz Class of 2011 rankings and could lead the Cavaliers to another Virginia state title. But the team doesn't play a great schedule, so we may never know how good it can be.
Mark Tennis and Doug Huff contributed to these rankings.