Note: All records are through Jan. 7
1. Ardrey Kell (15-1)
Previous ranking: No. 1
The talented Knights have won 12 in a row, dating back to a two-point loss to First Assembly in late November. Since, they have been totally dominant, blowing out many of its recent opponents. Most recently, the Knights doubled up Berry – winning 46-23 on Jan. 5 – behind a balanced attack that featured Journey Muhammad (11 points, eight rebounds), Aniyah Lutz (nine points, five rebounds), Sky Booker (game-high 11 rebounds) and Michelle Ojo, who just missed a double-double (eight points, 11 rebounds). That balance is what makes this team as good as it is.
2. South Meck (12-3)
Previous ranking: No. 2
Ashbrook jumped out to a 27-12 halftime lead and with a 50-40 win on Dec. 29, became just the second team to beat the Sabres this season as their other two losses have come at the hands of So. Meck 7 rival Ardrey Kell. Jadin Gladden (15 points) and A’Leah Gilbert (15 points, 10 rebounds) led the way, but South Meck shot just 23 percent from the field. A week later, the Sabres got back on track with a 58-29 win over Harding behind Gladden (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Gilbert (11 points).
3. Providence Day (14-4)
Previous ranking: No. 3
We knew it would take some time, but we also knew the Chargers would eventually round into championship form. Well, it did and they have. Providence Day has won seven straight games, but has had to work as the Chargers play one of the NCISAA’s toughest schedules. Recently, they have knocked off York Prep (60-45 on Jan. 5) and Rabun Gap (43-33 the following day). UNC commit Kennedy Boyd became the 15th Lady Charger to cross the 1,000-point barrier in the York Prep win.
4. Butler (9-6)
Previous ranking: No. 4
The Bulldogs have lost three of its last five games, but did so against some really good competition at their holiday tournament and to conference leader Hickory Ridge in a 52-27 loss on Jan. 5 despite 12 points from Destiny Lewis. Michaela Lane (22 points, 14 rebounds) and Payton Sutton (19 points) starred in Butler’s last win, a 63-52 win over Dorman on Dec. 30. Butler’s next four games are against Garinger, East Meck, Rocky River and Porter Ridge – teams that are a combined 7-39 – so expect some wins in the coming weeks.
5. Independence (10-5)
Previous ranking: No. 6
The Patriots have won three of their past four games although they’ve only played once in the last 17 days. In the one game so far this month – a 56-12 thrashing of Garinger on Jan. 5 – the Patriots didn’t seem to have any rust as they held the Wildcats to seven points or under in each of the four quarters and held them to five points after the half. Braylyn Miton (13 points, seven assists, five rebounds), Brianna McManus (12 points) and Ayanna Anderson (11 points, eight rebounds) led the way.
6. Providence (9-6)
Previous ranking: No. 5
The Panthers had lost four of five games to close December, but got off on the right foot to open 2018 with big wins over Hough and Olympic. Nyla McGill led the way with 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals in the 46-42 win over Hough on Jan. 3. The Panthers toppled Olympic 42-29 two days later. South Meck (Jan. 12) and Ardrey Kell (Jan. 19) await in upcoming battles, but it has been a turnaround year for Providence.
7. Charlotte Latin (7-5)
Previous ranking: No. 7
The Hawks have continued to be up and down this year, sticking around .500 for much of the year, but getting star Claudia Dickey back in the lineup could push them over the hump. Dickey – a North Carolina soccer and basketball recruit – had 16 points and 11 rebounds in a 65-23 win over Cary Academy on Jan. 5. The Hawks also got big games from Ruthie Jones (24 points) Neely Grace Tye (nine points) and Elizabeth Rose (eight points).
Also receiving votes: Myers Park (8-6)