EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to a reporting error, St. John's College (Washington, D.C.) originally appeared in this week's ranking with a 9-1 record and, as a result of the reported loss, dropped in the Fab 50. After learning that St. John's actually is 10-0, we have elevated it to a ranking, No. 17, that is more indicative of its status on the national scene. We regret the error and confusion that it caused.
In a lot of people's minds, Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.) is the anti-Mater Dei. Unlike its rivals, Brea is a public school and, while its gym is nice, it is not Mater Dei spectacular or cavernous enough to stage simultaneous practices for three separate sports. While the Monarchs from Santa Ana, Calif., seem constantly to be tip-toeing across a minefield of explosive egos and personalities, the Ladycats have the endearing and inspiring qualities of overcoming adversity through work ethic and common will.
Shoot, Brea's idiosyncratic head coach, Jeff Sink, probably appropriately started his high-school girls' basketball coaching career at Lathrop in Fairbanks, Alaska, by twice losing state tournament games to upstart Wasilia and its point guard, Sarah "Barracuda" Heath, who in 2008 would become the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, known by her married name, Sarah Palin.
Yes, the new Powerade Fab 50 No. 1 is not like the old No. 1. Brea Olinda is defined by the physical flaws of its senior stars. UCLA-bound Justine Hartman, the No. 7 prospect in the ESPNU HoopGurlz 100, played on a blown-out knee before having it surgically repaired, forcing her to miss her junior season. Point guard Alexis Perry-Riley has missed much of her high-school career with tears in both knees and major injuries to both shoulders. A recurrence of the subluxation in her left shoulder during the opening round of last week's Nike Tournament of Champions appeared to knock her out of the event but, very much Brea-like, she was out on the floor to run her team the next game.
And did we mention that Brea Olinda learned right before the TOC that it had lost its leading scorer, Amber Van Duedekom, to a torn anterior-cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee?
Instead of slip-sliding away, Brea turned the would-be tragedy into triumph, mowing through four straight opponents, including then-No. 3 Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) and current No. 2 Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.). The only thing missing from its No. 1 resume is the kind of signature victory over Mater Dei that Brea Olinda has produced in two previous seasons. The Ladycats may get such a shot in the CIF Southern Sectional, where both Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei loom. They also will have to get past Poly for a state championship.
As Sink says, "there's no way" any of the Southern California superpowers will go unbeaten. "Not this year."
But, after the display Brea Olinda put forth in Chandler, Ariz., last week, it will be difficult to bet against them.
-- Glenn Nelson
Tiffany King, a 6-foot senior for Winchester Bluffs (Ill.), scored a school-record 35 points and added 17 rebounds in a win against Mason City Illini Central. ... Greta Stever hit a buzzer-beater with one second left in regulation to give Bemidji (Bemidji, Minn.) a 52-50 win over Moorhead (Moorehead, Minn.) last Tuesday. Stever finished with 16 points. ... Emily Miron recorded 14 points and 14 rebounds during the Wadena-Deer Creek (Wadena, Minn.) Wolverines' 69-37 non-conference win over the Frazee (Frazee, Min.) Hornets Friday. ... Freshman Ashley Tyna poured in 27 points for Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) as the Royals handed St. Thomas Aquinas (Louisville, Ohio) a loss at Cuyahoga Falls. ... Lyndsay Merola led Southern Regional (Manahawkin, N.J.) with a double-double of 29 points and 10 rebounds in their win over Toms River South (Toms River, N.J.). ... Andrea Hoover, the University of Dayton commit, scored 48 points and shot 22 of 26 from the free-throw line to lead Spring Valley (Spring Valley, Ohio) over Stivers (Dayton, Ohio) 65-55 last Tuesday. ... Sarah Kober, a sophomore at Hampshire Regional High School (Westhampton, Mass.), dominated with an incredible 13 points, 14 rebounds, 10 steals and 10 assists in only three quarters during a win over Southwick (Southwick, Mass.). ... Junior Alexis Johnson of Hamilton (Hamilton, N.J.) opened up the season by collecting 31 points, 24 rebounds, seven blocked shots and three steals in leading the Hornets to a 59-56 victory over Nottingham (Trenton, N.J.).
-- Kara Howe
Records are through Dec. 28, 2010 games, where reported.
Additions: 29. Troy (Fullerton, Calif.) 6-2, 39. Cypress Falls (Houston, Texas) 20-1, 40. Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 11-0, 46. Madison Academy (Madison, Ala.), 47. Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.) 9-0, Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 7-1
Subtractions: La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla, Calif.) 8-1 (27), Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 2-4 (35), St. John the Baptist (Islip, N.Y.) 3-0 (47), Carondelet (Concord, Calif.) 5-1 (48), Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 6-3 (49), Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas) 5-5 (50)
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ESPN HOOPGURLZ HS RANKINGS PANEL
Lisa Bodine is a national evaluator for ESPN HoopGurlz. A native of Queens, N.Y., she began her coaching career in 1993 with the NY Gazelles, has coached with D.C.-based Team Unique, and in 2009 she was named DAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill, Va., to its first-ever conference title. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Gray is an intern for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously wrote a column for the website about her experiences as a freshman on basketball scholarship at the University of North Carolina. She transferred to and played at Kentucky and now plays basketball and golf at Union College. A 5-foot-10, sharp-shooting guard out of Georgetown, Ky., Gray was named Miss Basketball in the state of Kentucky after averaging 25.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 4.8 assists during her senior season at Scott County High School. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kara (Harrison) Howe founded and coached in the Utah Sky club program, which sent several players, including sister Michelle, a recent Stanford, graduate to Division I schools. She played college basketball at Utah Valley State, was an all-state performer at Alta High School in Sandy, Utah, and coached high school in the Salt Lake area. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Mark Lewis is the national recruiting coordinator 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.
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the Parade All-American Selection Committee, he formerly coached girls' club basketball, was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of an online sports network, authored a basketball book for kids, has had his photography displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.