St. Mary's tops preseason rankings
1. St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) Tip: The Rams didn't lose a single player from last year's team that was among the best in the country already. With another year of chemistry on the court, there's no telling how high Chelsea Gray and Afure Jemerigbe will lead their team.
2. St. Michael Academy (New York) Tip: Kentucky-bound guard Jennifer O'Neill leads the Eagles back to the helm of the New York City scene after knocking off Murry Bergtraum for the New York Federation title in March. Brittany Webb and Jelleah Sidney are just the beginning of O'Neill's on-court support squad.
3. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) Tip: With three members of the USA U16 gold medal team from the FIBA Americas qualifier, the Monarchs are the top team in the country. But stress fractures for junior Alexyz Vaioletama mean she'll miss an undetermined amount of time, while sophomore Jordan Adams and junior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis pick up the slack.
4. Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) Tip: Returning most of the key players, led by super sophomore Ariel Massengale, the Raiders could make a run for a national title and another 4A crown in Illinois, but with Morgan Tuck just back from ACL rehab, anything's possible.
5. Shabazz (Newark, N.J.) Tip: The Bulldogs missed playing for the New Jersey TOC title by one game a year ago, but don't expect that to happen again with senior twins Ka-Deidre Simmons and Desiree Simmons composing a powerful backcourt duo.
6. Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) Tip: Considered among the best young crop of talent in the country, Loliya Briggs, Brittany Roundtree and Antoinette Bannister hope to do some damage on the national scene this year, the last of PHCA's suspension from the Florida High School Athletic Association.
7. Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas) Tip: The Bobcats will be after their fourth consecutive 5A postseason appearance with Chiney Ogwumike leading the way. With junior Cassie Peoples running the point, Ogwumike will surely get the ball, and Cy-Fair should surely find success.
8. Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.) Tip: Despite the loss of a couple strong seniors, senior Kelsey Harris and highly regarded junior Justine Hartman are poised to repeat as Division II champions in California.
9. Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh) Tip: Returning the vast majority of a team that went 31-0 and claimed the Pennsylvania's 4A title is just a start for the Blue Devils, who will expand their schedule to include national competition this year.
10. Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.) Tip: Athough the Warriors graduated a few starters, super sophomores Aaliyah Whiteside and Danielle Ballard hope to lead their teammates to a fifth consecutive 20-plus win season, including a few on the national stage.
11. MacArthur (Irving, Texas) Tip: Another Texas program with two of the country's top players, guards Odyssey Sims, bound for Baylor next year, and sophomore Alexis Jones make MacArthur a team bound for great things in 5A.
12. Butler (Matthews, N.C.) Tip: With junior star Cierra Burdick, who recently committed to Tennessee, and senior Clair Watkins both back for coach Stephanie Butler, the Bulldogs will be ready to take the state title from nearby West Charlotte.
13. Hoover (Birmingham, Ala.) Tip: Auburn-bound Tyrese Tanner leads the Buccaneers off an Alabama 6A runner-up finish and into what the team plans on making a successful season.
14. Ben Davis (Indianapolis) Tip: Although the reigning 4A Indiana champions lost key players from 2009's top team in the country, the cupboard is anything but bare for coach Stan Benge. Purdue-bound Dee Dee Williams leads a senior class that includes Vivian Holcomb and Jordan Huber, while junior Bria Gross is not to be forgotten.
15. Murry Bergtraum (New York) Tip: The Blazers barely lost a step in the offseason and guard CeeCee Dixon will return them to full speed quickly. With Shakurah Washington and Doris Ortega on the court, Bergtraum will easily be the cream of the NYC public school crop again.
16. Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.) Tip: Richa Jackson is the key to Midwest City's power and the Duke-bound senior plans to keep the Bombers moving right along to the state title, which they missed by two points for their only loss in 2009.
17. East Mecklenburg (Charlotte, N.C.) Tip: Virginia Tech-bound Monet Tellier is the key piece that makes East Mecklenburg go, but her supporting cast is just as important. Expect East Mecklenburg to make some noise around the holiday tournaments.
18. Trenton Catholic (Trenton, N.J.) Tip: With most of the team back, Trenton Catholic junior Briyona Canty will lead her team into the fire against some of the toughest competition in the tri-state area. A spot in New Jersey's TOC should be in the plan this year.
19. Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) Tip: The 2009 champions in the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament, the Crusaders return seniors Tierra Hawkins, Ataira Franklin and Jazzmine Johnson to one of Maryland's top programs.
20. Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Tip: Georgia Tech-bound Dawnn Maye will lead the Panthers against some of the top teams in Florida, and even on the road, as they look to unseat the top teams in their area and state.
21. ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) Tip: A 5A semifinalist a year ago, Kansas-bound Brooke Jelniker and junior Carlie Needles return to lead the Grizzles in the state's toughest basketball conference.
22. Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.) Tip: Although Germantown lost a couple starters off their perfect 31-0 team from a year ago, seniors Maggie Lucas and Tory Thierolf will make sure the Patriots aren't forgotten this season, especially against some of the top teams in the area.
23. Minneapolis Roosevelt (Minneapolis, Minn.) Tip: One of the summer's breakout stars, Suriya McGuire, will team up with Shakila Boler for their senior year before two of the state's top players go their separate ways for college.
24. Westbury Christian (Houston) Tip: Returning just two starters off a strong team can sometimes spell trouble, but the Texas private school champs think that they'll be fine with junior Amber Orrange lending her hand to the leadership.
25. Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) Tip: An already strong team in Georgia, the Blue Devils will withstand the graduation of Tiffany Clarke to Vanderbilt by bringing in summer stars Kaela Davis and Diamond DeShields, who made people take notice before even beginning their freshmen season.
In The Mix (alphabetically): Inkster (Mich.), Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.), Peddie School (Hightstown, N.J.), Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.), Ramsay (Birmingham), St. Mary's (Phoenix), St. Michael the Archangel (Baton Rouge, La.).
(Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont)
1. St. Michael Academy (New York )
2. Shabazz (Newark, N.J.)
3. Mt. Lebanon (Pittsburgh)
4. Murry Bergtraum (New York)
5. Trenton Catholic (Trenton, N.J.)
6. Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.)
7. Peddie School (Hightstown, N.J.)
8. Neptune (Neptune, N.J.)
9. Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)
10. University (Newark, N.J.)
(Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia)
1. Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.)
2. Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.)
3. Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
4. Hoover (Birmingham, Ala.)
5. East Mecklenburg (Charlotte, N.C.)
6. Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
7. Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
8. Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)
9. Ramsay (Birmingham, Ala.)
10. Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)
(Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin)
1. Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.)
2. Ben Davis (Indianapolis)
3. Minneapolis Roosevelt (Minneapolis, Minn.)
4. Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.)
5. Inkster (Inkster, Mich.)
6. Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.)
7. Oak Hill (Oak Hill, Ind.)
8. Chaminade-Julienne (Dayton, Ohio)
9. Harding (Marion, Ohio)
10. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
(Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)
1. Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas)
2. MacArthur (Irving, Texas)
3. Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.)
4. ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
5. Westbury Christian (Houston)
6. St. Michael the Archangel (Baton Rouge, La.)
7. Mansfield Timberview (Mansfield, Texas)
8. Monarch (Louisville, Colo.)
9. St. Joseph's Academy (St. Louis, Mo.)
10. Cibola (Albuquerque)
(Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
1. St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.)
2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
3. Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.)
4. Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
5. St. Mary's (Phoenix)
6. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
7. Highland (Gilbert, Ariz.)
8. Oregon City (Ore.)
9. Sacramento (Calif.)
10. South Eugene (Eugene, Ore.)
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