Texas has talent for the high-school girls' basketball game -- that, we know that for sure. And that talent already has been put to abundantly good use.
Shoot, some Texas teams have played a BCS season's worth of games, while most of the rest of the country hasn't even gotten started. If rankings were just about wins, then Westbury Christian of Houston, at 14-0, would be a runaway No. 1.
However, rankings are about relativity, and relativity needs measuring sticks, spaced around the country. The trouble with Texas is that its teams rarely venture outside the borders of the Lone Star State. We know some of its teams are good, but we can't know how good, on a national scale, if they don't play teams from other states.
So that's how Westbury wins 14 straight games and actually is surpassed in the Powerade Fab 50, dropping one slot from its No. 3 preseason perch. Bolingbrook (Ill.), another very good team, has played only two games, but both were in Memphis, Tenn., and both were victories. One of those was a (very) quality win, in fact, coming over then-No. 5 Memphis Central.
Memphis, in fact, was the epicenter of the high-school nation, with six nationally ranked teams in the field at the Turkey Jamm. The tournament revealed much, with the hosts dropping only one spot because it lost to a higher-ranked team, Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) doing the same for the same reason (losing in fact to Memphis Central), Potter's House (Jacksonville, Fla.) dropping five spots because it lost to a non-ranked team (Overton (Tenn.) which now is No. 32) but beating then-No. 7 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.). Clarksville (Tenn.) fell only five spots to No. 36 because its two losses were to higher-ranked teams (Hoover and Whitney Young), and Hoover (Ala.) was bumped up two spots for beating a ranked team, albeit one significantly lower, but then lost on Tuesday night to Bob Jones to tumble down to No. 27.
Following all this?
Just wait until the Nike Tournament of Champions, which will be a smorgasbord of nationally and regionally ranked teams.
Which brings us back to Texas and Westbury Christian. The Wildcats' best shot at a national championship is running the table against its fellow tall Texans and hoping Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.) and Bolingbrook beat up on each other. Which they can, in a way, since those three will play at the Nike TOC, a tournament Westbury played in last year but is bypassing this season.
High School Nation
Speaking of Westbury, star point guard Amber Orrange is off to a sizzling start, accumulating two tournament MVP awards. The Stanford signee got her second (and second straight at the event) after torching Georgetown, No. 9 regionally, for 31 points in the finals of the Jack Frost Tournament. Sylvana Okde hit five threes for Westbury, which won 71-56. ...Touted since the seventh grade as New York City's next great guard, Bianca Cuevas had an auspicious debut in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I League. Playing in just her second high-school game, the Nazareth Regional freshman point guard registered her first career triple-double, collecting 12 points, 11 assists and 10 steals, during her team's 74-58 victory over Bishop Ford. The Lady Kingsmen, who moved to Nazareth virtually intact from the now-defunct St. Michael Academy, also got 16 points and 12 rebounds from Taylor Ford and 11 points and 14 rebounds from Syracuse signee Tiffany Jones. ... Brooke Trauthwein of Oakwood (Ohio) High School recorded back-to-back double doubles (10 points and 10 rebounds, and 16 points and 10 rebounds) to help her team claim the Oakwood Tipp Off Tournament this past weekend. Trauthwein was also named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. ... Senior Aneesah Daniels of Redan (Ga.) High School had 31 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and three assists in the Lady Raiders' victory over North Atlanta.
Previous National Rankings: Preseason |
Additions: Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 4-1; Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 4-1; Cy Fair (Cypress, Texas) 5-1
Subtractions: Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) 2-2 (31); Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 1-1 (32 ); Lakeville North (Lakeville, Minn.) 2-2 (25)
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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.