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SBLive Nebraska Top 25 girls basketball rankings (Jan. 23)

This week's Nebraska prep girls basketball Top 25 rankings

By Sam Pimper 

This week's SBLive Nebraska Top 25 high school girls basketball rankings: 

1. Lincoln High (13-1, 10-0 district)

Lincoln High is the No. 1 team in the state for the second week straight. The winners of 12 straight, the Links have utilized length, athleticism and fast scoring to roll through their competition. On Saturday, they mowed over Fremont 70-34. Lincoln High plays Columbus in a district matchup Thursday.

2. Millard North (13-1, 9-0 district)

The Mustangs are perfect thus far during the month of January, with their best wins coming over Omaha Central and Lincoln East. Look for them to be tested Tuesday, when they take on an 11-2 Bellevue East squad. On Saturday, they blew past Northwest (Iowa) 67-39.

3. Skutt Catholic (16-0, 1-0 district)

Skutt Catholic made a big jump from seven to three in this week’s ranking. The SkyHawks may be a Class B School, but they are undoubtedly one of the most talented and well-rounded squads in the state. Skutt has huge matchups this week against Class A’s Lincoln Pius X and Omaha Central. How they play will tell us a lot moving forward.

4. Millard South (15-2, 8-0 district)

The Patriots are on a six-game winning streak, with best victories coming against Bellevue West and Millard West. On Saturday, South blew past Gretna 77-48. The Patriots should be able to keep their win streak alive, playing just one game against a 4-8 Omaha Burke squad.

5. Bellevue West (14-2, 7-1 district)

Bellevue West has shown consistent excellence through most of this season. The Thunderbirds are led by guard Naomi White, who is averaging 17.4 points per game. Junior Ahnica Russel-Brown is adding 12.3 per outing. Coming off of Thursday’s win over Gretna, this squad has a big matchup Tuesday against 11-5 Omaha Central.

6. Bellevue East (11-2, 7-1 district)

A huge game is right around the corner for the Chieftains on Tuesday, when they face SBLive’s No. 2 team Millard North. Riding a four-game win streak, a win over Millard North would be a huge momentum builder. East has been led by Mya Scoff and Jayla Wilson, averaging 16 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.

7. Elkhorn North

The Class B power jumped three spots in this week’s rankings. Like Skutt, they don’t play the best of the best week-in and week-out but have already shown their class by beating a tough Millard South team in overtime earlier this year. Coming off a 70-30 Friday win over Hastings, North plays South Sioux City at home on Tuesday.

8. Benson (9-4, 6-2 district)

These Bunnies certainly know how to keep things exciting. Undermanned but rarely outgunned, Benson is the winner of four straight. The bunnies are led by Ahmani Klabunde’s nearly 20 points per game, and Zakiyyah Muhammad’s jaw-dropping 18 rebounds per game. Look for Benson to keep winning early this week when they face an 0-15 Buena Vista squad Tuesday.

9. Lincoln Pius X (13-2, 9-1 district)

Pius is coming off three straight wins, but all have been against weaker opposition. How will this team respond when they take court against Class B No. 1 Skutt Catholic Tuesday evening? Leading the Thunderbolts is Adison Markowski, scoring 12.4 points per game. Teammate Elsa Vedral is adding 7 per contest.

10. Omaha Central (11-5, 7-4 district)

Central has shown some vulnerability during January, losing to both Millard North and Lincoln high. Both were close losses against top Class A teams, but can Central find a way to close out tight games down the stretch? It doesn’t get easier for the Eagles this week, facing 14-2 Bellevue West and Class B No. 1 Skutt Catholic.

11. Lincoln East (8-4, 8-3 district)

Coming off a 44-32 win over Lincoln Northeast last Tuesday, the Spartans get back to action this Tuesday against 7-6 Lincoln Southeast. East’s leading scorer is Regan Barnard, averaging just under 10 points per game. Shandy Faalii and Lillie Shaw are scoring 9.3 and 9.2 points per game, respectively.

12. Lincoln Northeast (10-7, 5-5 district)

After rolling over Lincoln East in late December, Northeast’s crosstown rival got revenge last week, and the Rockets also took a tumble against North Star. Without improvement, and quickly, look for this team to slide down SBLive’s Top 25 list.

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13. North Bend Central (15-1, 3-1 district)

NBC picked up a big win this past week during a tournament win over Glenwood (Iowa). The star of the show was senior Kaitlyn Emanuel. Scoring 12 points, Emanuel became NBC’s all-time scoring leader with 1,380 points. NBC returns to action tonight during a non-district matchup with 14-2 Oakland Craig.

14. Bridgeport (14-0, 1-0 district)

Bridgeport moved up five places in this week’s rankings. Undefeated, the Bulldogs have won every game by double digits – it hasn’t even been close. Level of competition plays a huge factor in rankings, but the lopsided nature of these wins shows that Bridgeport really is a force to be reckoned with.

15. Kearney (9-7, 6-3 district)

Kearney is coming off of a 49-31 win over a struggling Norfolk team, and heads to Lincoln to Play North Star on Friday. The Bearcats have weathered a tough three-game stretch (Elkhorn North, Lincoln East and Bellevue West) and look to put together some consistency down the stretch. Kearney will need some big games out of senior guard Tatum Rusher, who is averaging about 10 points per game.

16. Lincoln North Star (7-5, 4-3 district)

Previously unranked by SBLive, North Star lands at No. 16 this week, riding the momentum of four straight wins. Look for North Star to keep winning when it takes on Norfolk this Tuesday. Sarah Gatwech is averaging just under 15 points per game, and Ani Leu and Jay Buettner are scoring 12.3 and 9.4 per game, respectively.

17. Millard West (7-6, 6-5 district)

Millard West dropped six spots in this week’s rankings after a tough four-game losing stretch. Three of those losses came against teams inside SBLive’s Top 6, but Millard West has a shot to get back to winning Tuesday against Gretna. Westview on Friday is another winnable game for a squad looking to right the ship.

18. Lincoln Southeast (7-6, 5-5 district)

Southeast has a big game Tuesday against 8-4 Lincoln East. This squad has shown steady improvement week to week, but remains in the No. 18 spot. We need to see a little more for the Knights to make a push at climbing the rankings.

19. Adams Central (14-1, 2-1 district)

Adams Central is coming off of its first loss of the year – a 1-point fall to Grand Island Central Catholic. Look for this squad to rebound quickly when it faces Hastings St. Just how good this team is may be answered on Jan 31 when it plays Hastings St. Cecelia, who is 13-3 on the season.

20. York (13-1, 0-0 district)

Leading the way for this one-loss York squad is Kiersten Portwine, averaging just under 10 points per game. Chloe Koch and Lauryn Haggadone are scoring 9.3 and 6.7 per game, respectively. Look for York to keep winning this week when it plays a 3-11 Crete squad Tuesday.

21. Sidney (13-1-2-0 district)

Sidney picked up a solid win against a very good Gothenburg team Friday. They return to action Friday against a 7-2 Yuma squad. When challenged this season, Sidney has consistently responded and found ways to win. Though most contests have been lopsided, Sidney has come out on top in three tight games.

22. Beatrice (11-1, 1-0 district)

The Orangemen’s one loss this season came at the hands of a stout Malcom squad. Since, they’ve been the winners of eight straight. Beatrice looks to keep that streak alive when they face a 2-11 Nebraska City squad tonight.

23. Blair (11-3, 1-0 district)

Addie Sullivan has been a strong player for the Bears all season, averaging 12.6 points per outing. Kaitlyn Johnson and Joslyn Policky are scoring 9.9 and 6.4 points per game, respectively. Blair faces a 6-8 Elkhorn team tonight before heading to face Roncalli Catholic Jan. 31.

24. Papillion-LaVista (8-7, 7-6 district)

The Monarchs have hit their stride at this point in the season, winning three straight games, including one against rival Papillion-LaVista South. Rease Murtaugh is scoring just over 13 points per game, and Mia Slizinski and Brooklyn Holloway are netting 9.3 and 9.1 per game, respectively. The Monarchs take on Omaha South Friday.

25. Lincoln Southwest (6-7, 6-6 district)

Southwest is coming off of a 55-43 district win over Fremont. The Silver Hawks return to action Friday during a district matchup with Lincoln East. During a tough season where points haven’t always come easily, Brinly Christensen has been a steady scoring presence, averaging 14 per game. Hayden Rathe and Eleanor Griffin are scoring 10.8 and 7.8 per game, respectively.

Next 5: Papillion-LaVista South, Gretna, Scottsbluff, Norris, Omaha Marian