Commentary

Cardinal O'Hara takes top spot in FAB 50

Updated: January 11, 2009, 10:47 AM ET
By Mindi Rice and Glenn Nelson | ESPN HoopGurlz

Editor's note: ESPN will release the ESPN RISE FAB 50 national girls' basketball rankings each Wednesday of the season. Check out the regional rankings here.

Almost as quickly as we've been handing over the top spot in the ESPN RISE FAB 50, teams have been handing it right back.

[+] EnlargeStephanie Holzer
Glenn Nelson for ESPN Stephanie Holzer and Cardinal O'Hara took over the top spot in the FAB 50.

This time, former No. 1 St. Michael Academy (New York City) is handing over the reigns to former No. 2 Cardinal O'Hara (Springfield, Pa.). Why? Well, if you missed it, St. Michael went down to Charlotte, N.C., for the Bojangles Shootout and had two Charlotte teams -- West Charlotte and East Mecklenberg -- stop its undefeated season in its tracks. St. Michael recovered with a 68-54 win against then-No. 6 Bolingbrook (Ill.), but the damage had already been done -- O'Hara is the new recipient of No. 1. But other than the Bojangles Shootout, there weren't too many surprises in the post-Christmas holiday tournaments:

• Then-No. 12 Whitney Young (Chicago) won the top division in the Nike Tournament of Champions' second session.

• Then-No. 7 South Bend Washington (South Bend, Ind.) claimed the T-Mobile Invitational crown with wins against then-No. 17 University (Newark, N.J.) and then-No. 24 Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.)

• Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Westbury Christian (Houston) each saw their undefeated seasons come to an end, too, with losses to Sacramento and La Porte (Texas), respectively. Both have since bounced back from the lone loss with wins in the new year.

• In a league game, O'Hara returned home to beat rival Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, Pa.), 61-44.

So the 10-0 Lions now claim No. 1, while they and most of the country head into the heart of league and conference schedules, putting what the top teams learned from out-of-state battles to work against the teams who hope to be the one to knock them off.

And one
South Bend Washington returned from the T-Mobile Invitational to beat Gary West. From there, the Panthers headed to Elkhart Memorial, where Washington senior Jasmine Watson attended until this summer. Watson scored six points in the grudge match, which Washington won 70-54, while Notre Dame-bound Skylar Diggins led all scorers with 30 and senior guard Karis Phillips scored 15 second-half points for the Panthers.

The Marquee
Top among the non-league schedules is Saturday's battle between No. 22 Detroit Country Day and No. 25 Chaminade-Julienne, as the Detroit team travels to Dayton, Ohio, for the game. Among the league and conference schedules, a few key battles take place this week. Today, No. 7 Murry Bergtraum faces undefeated Manhattan Center, which features 2009 ESPN HoopGurlz' 100 No. 14 China Crosby. Among Alabama powers, No. 20 Bob Jones returns home from the T-Mobile Invitational to avenge its earlier loss to 19-0 Sparkman in Friday's action.

Off the bounce
Franklin, out of Portland, Ore., will temporarily be without the services of Shoni Schimmel, No. 8 in the ESPNU Super 60 for 2010. Schimmel, who transferred from Hermiston (Ore.) to Franklin this summer, injured her ankle in a holiday tournament Dec. 29. Her mother and coach, Ceci Moses, told The Oregonian that Schimmel will likely miss two to four weeks. … Another youngun' has been stepping up for her team and this time she's from Texas. Irving MacArthur freshman Alexis Jones is giving MacArthur a double threat as the 5-foot-9 southpaw teams with 2010 studette Odyssey Sims, a 5-foot-8 lefty herself. The latest in dynamic duos, Jones and Sims have MacArthur at 24-1 and combine for an average of 28 points and 14 assists per game. … Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) moved to 12-0, winning the Diamond State Classic in Delaware with a 63-52 defeat of Oregon City (Ore.) in the championship. … Campbell County (Gillette, Wyo.) claimed the title in its own tournament, the Gillette Energy Classic, for the first time in either years with a 61-60 championship win against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). … Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) lost the championship of the Dicks Sporting Goods Holiday Classic to Minneapolis South, 55-42, for its first loss of the season. Hopkins beat South earlier in the year. … In the SoCal Holiday Prep Classic, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) beat Bishop (LaJolla, Calif.) 78-43 behind 27 points from tournament MVP Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Introducing
Much like the Bojangles Shootout threw a few speed bumps into the season of St. Michael, it also sent a few new teams into the FAB 50. West Charlotte (N.C.) debuts at No. 41 after giving St. Michael its first loss of the season, while Charlotte's East Mecklenburg jumps into No. 36 after beating St. Michael and a win against West Charlotte earlier in the season. Butler (Matthews, N.C.) debuts at No. 33 by winning the Bojangles, beating West Charlotte for the second time this season in the championship and defeating East Mecklenberg in a semifinal.

Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.) slides into No. 44 on the heels of a strong showing in the TOC's second session, while Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) debuts at No. 49, adding a fourth team to this year's impressive power circle of Indiana hoops.

Substitutions
In the spirit of holiday giving, a handful of teams relinquished their FAB 50 positions for those that moved into the mix. Falling out were Lexington Christian (Lexington, Ky.), now 8-3; The Peddie School (Hightstown, N.J.), now 7-2; Mandan (N.D), now 2-3; St. John's the Baptist (West Islip, N.Y.), now 6-3; and H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.), now 7-4.

Rankings: Preseason / Nov. 25 / Dec. 3 / Dec. 10/ Dec. 17/ Dec. 24 / Jan. 7 / Jan. 14 / Jan. 21 / Jan. 28 / Feb. 4 / Feb. 11 / Feb. 18 / Feb. 25 / March 4 / March 11 / March 18 / March 25 / Final

Records through Jan. 4.

ESPN RISE FAB 50 Girls Basketball Rankings (Jan. 7)
Rank Team (Location) Record Previous Rank
1 Cardinal O'Hara (Springfield, Pa.) 10-0 2
2 South Bend Washington (South Bend, Ind.) 14-0 7
3 Ben Davis (Indianapolis) 14-0 3
4 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 13-0 4
5 Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati) 10-0 5
6 Heritage Christian (Indianapolis) 12-0 8
7 Murry Bergtraum (New York City) 10-0 9
8 St. Michael Academy (New York City) 11-2 1
9 Whitney Young (Chicago) 17-1 12
10 Bolingbrook (Ill.) 8-3 6
11 Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) 21-1 10
12 Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) 7-3 11
13 Oak Ridge (Tenn.) 11-2 13
14 Detroit Community (Detroit) 6-0 14
15 Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 6-1 14
16 Westlake (Atlanta) 8-1 16
17 University (Newark, N.J.) 2-2 17
18 Kentwood (Covington, Wash.) 6-0 18
19 Archbishop Carrol (Radnor, Pa.) 8-1 19
20 Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.) 17-2 24
21 Millington (Tenn.) 15-2 20
22 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) 4-0 21
23 St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) 10-3 22
24 Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.) 4-0 23
25 Chaminade-Julienne (Dayton, Ohio) 7-2 26
26 Westbury Christian (Houston) 29-1 25
27 Nimitz (Houston) 23-1 27
28 Wesleyan (Norcross, Ga.) 10-3 28
29 Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.) 11-2 29
30 Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 10-2 30
31 Trenton Central (Trenton, N.J.) 2-0 31
32 Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.) 10-0 32
33 Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 12-1 NR
34 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 9-2 34
35 Lower Richland (Hopkins, S.C.) 8-1 35
36 East Mecklenburg (Charlotte, NC) 11-1 NR
37 Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 7-3 33
38 Murrah (Jackson, Miss.) 11-0 38
39 Cajon (San Bernadino, Calif.) 13-0 39
40 Wilson Central (Lebanon, Tenn.) 12-2 40
41 West Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.) 11-3 NR
42 Eleanor Roosvelt (Greenbelt, Md.) 3-1 50
43 Punahou (Honolulu) 6-2 43
44 Memphis Central (Tenn.) 12-1 NR
45 Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas) 17-2 45
46 Broomfield (Colo.) 7-0 46
47 Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 10-1 47
48 Union (Tulsa, Okla.) 6-1 48
49 Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) 11-1 NR
50 ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 9-0 49