High school football: Valdosta parts ways with controversial head coach Rush Propst - OFFICIAL
High school football: Valdosta parts ways with controversial head coach Rush Propst
The Valdosta Daily Times was among those reporting Thursday that controversial high school football coach Rush Propst will not return to Valdosta (Ga.) next season. In February, he was the subject of a lengthy deposition that alleged he was involved in recruiting, mishandling money and even interfering in the hiring process that brought him to the program to begin with.

The deposition is part of a lawsuit brought on the City of Valdosta Board of Education by plaintiff Leah Rodemaker, wife of former Valdosta football coach Alan Rodemaker, who was let go after the 2019 season.

Propst owns a career record of 299-92 – including 7-5 in his lone season at Valdosta – and has won seven state titles during a high-profile, 30-year career. He garnered national attention while at Hoover (Ala.), which was featured on MTV's popular "Two-A-Days" reality show. He resigned there in 2007 mired in controversy over numerous in-house allegations, including grade-tampering and an admitted extra-marital affair.

He was dismissed at Colquitt County (Norman Park, Ga.) in 2019 after being charged with lack of compliance, improper conduct with students, dishonesty and misuse of public funds and property. Reports indicate he gave pills to students "on more than one occasion" and owed nearly $450,000 in delinquent federal and state taxes.

Michael Nelson, who has been involved with the Valdosta Touchdown Club booster organization for many years, said in his sworn deposition that Propst, among other things, paid for housing for two transfers, facilitated recruiting of players with the help of college coaches, asked for a "funny money" slush fund and meddled in his own hiring process.
Rush Propst looks on during a loss to rival Lowndes in October.
Photo by Gary McCullough
Rush Propst looks on during a loss to rival Lowndes in October.
California high school softball: Roseville leads Top 10 shakeup in this week's OFFICIAL Top 25 Sac-Joaquin Section rankings - OFFICIAL
California high school softball: Roseville leads Top 10 shakeup in this week's MaxPreps Top 25 Sac-Joaquin Section rankings
There's under a month left in the regular season and it's still unclear which team will finish No. 1 in the MaxPreps Top 25 Sac-Joaquin Section softball rankings. Rocklin controls its destiny — if the Thunder win out, the top spot will be theirs. But they still have to get through five more SFL games, including one more with Del Oro (Loomis).

Third-ranked Sheldon (Sacramento) has sought out competition all season long, and this upcoming week is no different. The Huskies are home against No. 4 Elk Grove, and at seventh-ranked St. Francis (Sacramento) and No. 8 Vista del Lago (Folsom) (8).

One of the hottest teams in the area is Roseville. The Tigers have won eight straight, including a 7-1 win over St. Francis. They host No. 5 Del Oro on Monday in a game with huge rankings implications.

With no postseason or official league champions, MaxPreps will still be naming an All-Section Team. If you feel an athlete is worth consideration, please email [email protected]
Lexi Holihan, Vista del Lago
Photo by Anthony Brunsman
Lexi Holihan, Vista del Lago
MaxPreps Top 25 Sac-Joaquin Section softball rankings

1. Rocklin
14-1 | Last week: 1
Brielle Wright struck out 19 in a 3-1 win over Oak Ridge on Wednesday.

2. Vanden (Fairfield)
11-0 | Last week: 2
Season over.

3. Sheldon (Sacramento)
10-8 | Last week: 3
The Huskies scored 29 runs in two games last week and allowed one.

4. Elk Grove
18-5 | Last week: 4
Taylor Fitzgerald , Katelyn Maciel and Brooklynn Pettis each had three hits in a 10-1 win over Davis on Thursday.

5. Del Oro (Loomis)
14-2 | Last week: 5
Maddie Moore and Hailey Englebrecht hit home runs against Granite Bay on Friday. The Golden Eagles have now hit 26 long balls.

6. Roseville
11-4 | Last week: 14
Junior Malaya Johnson allowed two hits and struck out 12 as the Tigers beat St. Francis 7-1.

7. St. Francis (Sacramento)
12-4 | Last week: 6
After back-to-back losses to Elk Grove and Roseville, the Troubadours got on track again winning two Delta league games.

8. Vista del Lago (Folsom)
11-2 | Last week: 10
Mia Huot and Lexi Holihan combined to strikeout 13 while allowing two hits Thursday in a 5-0 win over Rio Americano.

9. Folsom
8-5 | Last week: 7
The Bulldogs tough schedule continues against Oakmont on Tuesday and Rocklin on Wednesday.

10. Lincoln
14-4 | Last week: 12
Araceli Jaimes had four of the Zebras 17 hits in a thrilling 10-7 extra inning game Tuesday against Oakmont.

11. Oakmont (Roseville)
13-4 | Last week: 11
Hailey Roloff drove in two and Grace Johnson had four hits in a 6-5 win over Ponderosa on Thursday.

12. Central Catholic (Modesto)
10-2 | Last week: 8
The Raiders lost twice last week. Four more games this season remain, including Escalon on May 26 to close out the season.

13. Escalon
12-1 | Last week: 9
The Cougars could finish inside the Top 10 if they finish out an already great season.

14. Oakdale
12-3 | Last week: 13
The top team in the Valley Oak League will come down to the next two weeks. The Mustangs look to close out the year with seven-straight wins.

15. Cordova (Rancho Cordova)
10-2 | Last week: 15
The Lancers have a few more games outside GSL play, including Wednesday at Del Campo.

16. Ponderosa (Shingle Springs)
10-5 | Last week: 16
The Bruins hit the road for three non leagues in a row, starting Monday at Pleasant Grove.

17. Pitman (Turlock)
8-0 | Last week: 17
Senior Gabby De Leon is batting .480 at the plate. She is also 7-0 in the circle.

18. Tracy
13-5 | Last week: 18
The Bulldogs finished the season winning seven straight.

19. Linden
13-3 | Last week: 19
Hannah Ortega struck out 10 in a win over St. Mary's. She also had three hits and four RBI to help her cause.

20. Calaveras (San Andreas)
8-0 | Last week: 22
Coach Mike Koepp's team has scored 15 or more runs in all but one game this season.

21. Granite Bay
11-9 | Last week: 21
Amy Kurpershoek had four hits and four RBI as the Grizzlies got revenge in a 10-2 win over Whitney.

22. Marysville
12-2 | Last week: 23
Sophomore Jenissa Conway has hit a home run in three consecutive games. She now has seven on the year.

23. Enochs (Modesto)
4-0 | Last week: NR
Senior Kayla Simpson hit three home runs in one game as the Eagles got a late start to their season.

24. Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove)
8-10 | Last week: NR
The Eagles have been up and down all season facing one of the tougher schedules in the section.

25. Inderkum (Sacramento)
11-5 | Last week: 25
Isabella Jimenez had two hits as the Tigers knocked off Woodcreek 8-7 on Friday.
High school girls basketball rankings: Westlake finishes No. 1, becomes first Georgia team to be crowned OFFICIAL National Champion - OFFICIAL
High school girls basketball rankings: Westlake finishes No. 1, becomes first Georgia team to be crowned MaxPreps National Champion
It was the strangest of seasons, but in the end, there is no doubt: Westlake (Atlanta) is the best high school girls basketball team in the country. The Lions went 22-0, won a fourth straight Georgia state title and, most important, took home the title at GEICO Nationals with a convincing performance.

Westlake slides into the No. 1 spot in the final MaxPreps Top 25 and is the 2020-21 MaxPreps National Champion.

There are some very good teams still playing, and some states have yet to even begin, but no team can mount a better case for No. 1 than the Lions no matter what happens the rest of the way.

Previous No. 1 Lake Highland Prep was undone by a torrent of turnovers (28) in a GEICO overtime semifinal loss to new No. 4 Paul VI, which in turn was handled easily by Westlake in the final.

Though junior Taniya Latson had 31 points in the 70-50 win over Paul VI, the key to the Westlake dominant season was senior point guard Raven Johnson, who ran the show with aplomb, passing, scoring, rebounding and stealing whenever the occasion demanded it. And senior Snoop Turnage also played a key role, as her seven blocks in the finals kept Paul VI from mounting any kind of a run.

Latson averaged 23.2 points on the season, while Johnson put up 15.1 points per night and Turnage chipped in just over 10 each contest for the Lions, whose closest game of the season was a 68-64 win Dec. 12 over McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.). Westlake, which has won 37 straight dating back to last season, allowed 819 points on the year with an average margin of victory of just over 32 points.

Even though Mount Notre Dame, Hopkins, Incarnate Word Academy and Norman all claimed state titles with unbeaten seasons, only Westlake faced serious out-of-state competition and won big games far from home. And of course, Westlake was the only team to win the GEICO Nationals.
Photo by Pete Wright / Graphic by Ryan Escobar
Past MaxPreps National Champions
2013 — Riverdale

MaxPreps Top 25 Girls Basketball Rankings

1. Westlake (Atlanta)
22-0 | Last week: 2

2. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati)
Record: 28-0 | Last week: 3

Record: 11-1 | Last week: 9

4. Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis)
29-0 | Last week: 6

5. Edison Academy (Detroit)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 5

6. Chaska (Minn.)
Record: 17-0 | Last week: 20

7. Norman (Okla.)
19-0 | Last week: 7

8. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)
Record: 14-0 | Last week: 8

9. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Record: 15-1 | Last week: 4

10. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
19-1 | Last week: 1

11. DeSoto (Texas)
28-2 | Last week: 10

12. Fremont (Plain City, Utah)
26-1 | Last week: 11

13. Newark (Ohio)
28-2 | Last week: 12

14. Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
17-0 | Last week: 13

15. Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)
10-0 | Last week: 14

16. Cypress Creek (Houston)
32-1 | Last week: 15

17. New Hope Academy (Landover Hills, Md.)
13-3 | Last week: 16

18. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
21-2 | Last week: 17

19. Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.)
13-0 | Last week: 18

20. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
25-2 | Last week: 19

21. Hazel Green (Ala.)
36-1 | Last week: 21

22. Pius X (Lincoln, Neb.)
25-0 | Last week: 22

23. Crown Point (Ind.)
25-1 | Last week: 23

24. Zebulon B. Vance (Charlotte, N.C.)
12-0 | Last week: 24

25. Shawnee Mission Northwest (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)
23-0 | Last week: 25
Patrick McMahon named 2020-21 OFFICIAL Alaska High School Basketball Player of the Year - OFFICIAL
Patrick McMahon named 2020-21 MaxPreps Alaska High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Patrick McMahon of Colony (Palmer) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps Alaska High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-6 senior guard helped the Knights go 13-2 en route to the Class 4A state semifinals.

McMahon averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc.

Named Class 4A Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, McMahon finished his career with over 1,700 points.

McMahon will join a strong Montana State recruiting class that includes MaxPreps Wyoming Player of the Year Sam Lecholat, MaxPreps Montana Player of the Year Alex Germer, 7-3 center Jasper Reinalda and international prospect Great Osobor.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which is scheduled to be released April 13.
High school girls basketball rankings: Bearden, Minnetonka earn spots in OFFICIAL Top 25 as postseason looms for much of the country - OFFICIAL
High school girls basketball rankings: Bearden, Minnetonka earn spots in MaxPreps Top 25 as postseason looms for much of the country
Even in the best of times, high school basketball is wildly unpredictable. Teenage problems, high school drama and the ups and downs of adolescent life create oceans of uncertainty when it comes to figuring out how well a team might play on a given night.

This year, COVID-19 has kicked that baked-in unpredictability to new heights, especially when it comes to the MaxPreps Top 25. For example, No. 1 Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.) and No. 2 Westlake (Atlanta) were scheduled to play a game — but it was canceled. And with it was the on-the-court decider for the top spot. This week, No. 8 Norman (Okla.) was supposed to play Classen SAS (Oklahoma City), which had knocked off No. 13 DeSoto (Texas) earlier this season — but that game has been called off.

And now, as we move into postseason in many states (some of which will allow fans for the games), we can only expect more of the same. Some seasons will likely end with a COVID cancellation in the playoffs, maybe even a forfeit. Others may find themselves without key players or head coaches down the stretch thanks to contact tracing or test results.

The bottom line? What is usually a crazy sport will be crazier than ever in 2021, and anyone who has any confidence in any predictions just isn't paying attention. And though rankings are fun and state titles are impressive achievements, the most important result this year is that everyone involved with all these teams makes it through the season in good health.

This year, that's a championship worth playing for.

NOTE: We encourage all girls basketball teams to update schedules and results on MaxPreps – especially those in the mix for MaxPreps Top 25 consideration. For assistance or questions, please reach out to [email protected]
Through three games, junior star Jennah Isai of No. 18 Valley Vista (Surprise, Ariz.) is averaging 18.0 points, 5.7 steals and 5.3 rebounds per outing.
Photo by Chris Stanley
Through three games, junior star Jennah Isai of No. 18 Valley Vista (Surprise, Ariz.) is averaging 18.0 points, 5.7 steals and 5.3 rebounds per outing.
MaxPreps Top 25 Girls Basketball Rankings

1. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
Record: 14-0 | Last week: 1
The Highlanders start the 4A Region 2 playoffs Thursday and 19-4 Wesley Chapel is the likely second-round opponent. Ribault and American Heritage, which will be the biggest tests, are a ways down the road.

2. Westlake (Atlanta)
Record: 15-0 | Last week: 2
Westlake has some time off to prepare for the AAAAAA playoffs as the first game isn't until Feb. 23 at the earliest. At some point, though, expect a matchup with unbeaten Buford.

3. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati)
Record: 20-0 | Last week: 3
The Cougars finished the regular season with a convincing 67-39 win over a solid Notre Dame Academy team and move on to the Division 1 Princeton 2 playoffs Saturday against 32nd seed Middletown.

4. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Record: 6-0 | Last week: 4
The Royals should have smooth sailing until Feb. 18, when the bus will load up for a crosstown game at rival and new No. 25 Minnetonka — which came within one point of knocking off the nation's No. 4 team the first time around.

5. Edison Academy (Detroit)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 5
We're pretty sure the Pioneers will finally begin their season Feb. 10 against Cornerstone Health & Tech but Michigan's rollout of winter sports hasn't been all that smooth. Maybe this time.

6. Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis)
Record: 16-0 | Last week: 6
The toughest regular season game remaining for the Red Knights appears to be Burroughs on Feb. 24, but even then, the chances of an upset are remote. Postseason, however, will present more of a challenge.

7. Cypress Creek (Houston)
Record: 26-0 | Last week: 7
The Cougars have rampaged through the Houston area so far. That pattern of domination is likely to continue through the first two games in the 6A Region 3 playoffs. But No. 13 DeSoto or perennial power Duncanville will likely show up eventually, and that will be a different story.

8. Norman (Okla.)
Record: 12-0 | Last week: 8
There was a lot of anticipation surrounding Thursday's game vs. Classen SAS but unfortunately it was canceled, meaning the biggest challenge left before postseason will be a Feb. 19 trip to Edmond Memorial.

9. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)
Record: 3-0 | Last week: 9
It took a long time for New Jersey to get going, but it didn't take long for a big game to show up on the schedule: The Lancers against unbeaten Saddle River Day on Saturday. Luckily for the No. 9 team, it's in the friendly confines.

10. Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
Record: 9-0 | Last week: 12
Do the Panthers really deserve a top 10 ranking? If Virginia's best can beat talent-laden Bishop McNamara at home Saturday, there will be no doubt.

11. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Record: 19-1 | Last week: 12
The Eagles' season is complete unless an invite to the GEICO Nationals is forthcoming — and that assumes that the event is even played this year.

12. North Central (Indianapolis)
Record: 24-2 | Last week: 14
The 4A playoffs begin Saturday and the Panthers could potentially play two games in one day. The second could be against 20-4 Roncalli. Down the road, Bedford North Lawrence, which has a win over North Central, could make an appearance.

13. DeSoto (Texas)
Record: 20-2 | Last week: 13
To avoid a repeat of fights that have marred a couple of Eagle games, the DeSoto administration chose to forfeit the game against Cedar Hill last week.

14. Newark (Ohio)
Record: 19-1 | Last week: 16
The Wildcats wind up the regular season Friday, and will begin the Division 1 Central 4 playoffs Feb. 16 versus Mifflin. There are a lot of games in the Ohio postseason, and a lot of good teams, so there's no guarantee that Newark and No. 3 Mount Notre Dame will meet but it would be fun.

15. Fremont (Plain City, Utah)
Record: 18-0 | Last week: 15
The Silverwolves host 15-2 Syracuse on Friday in what should be the last test before the Utah 6A playoffs begin — but even then, Fremont is the heavy favorite to run the table.

16. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)
Record: 2-0 | Last week: 18
The Vikings got a late start but are making up for lost time. There are three games in the next seven days, culminating with a Tuesday matchup against longtime rival and perennial power Cardinal O'Hara.

17. Grandview (Aurora, Colo.)
Record: 4-0 | Last week: 17
The Wolves will get their first test Friday traveling to unbeaten Arapahoe. The toughest tests, though, likely won't come until postseason.

18. Valley Vista (Surprise, Ariz.)
Record: 3-0 | Last week: 20
The Monsoon travel to 6-1 Hamilton on Friday, and though that spacious gym won't be unfamiliar, it's still a tough place to play.

19. Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.)
Record: 3-0 | Last week: 19
Setting up games has been a challenge for a lot of teams this year, and the Argonauts are no exception — which is why the schedule is more likely to resemble a walk in the park than a walk on the wild side.

20. Anderson County (Lawrenceburg, Ky.)
Record: 13-0 | Last week: 22
The Bearcats slipped past Bethlehem 57-56 last week to stay in the MaxPreps Top 25 — but with unbeaten Elizabethtown and talented Sacred Heart back-to-back next week, the ranking is definitely in peril.

21. Hazel Green (Ala.)
Record: 29-1 | Last week: 21
The Trojans are ready to start the 6A playoffs, and won't face 7A Hoover again, as the schools are in different divisions. And Hazel Green has already beaten the second- and third-ranked 6A teams handily, so it could be a relatively easy ride the rest of the way.

22. Ponchatoula (La.)
Record: 26-0 | Last week: 23
The Bayou State's best beat Mt. Carmel, the second-ranked 5A team, by 21 on Monday. The Green Wave have two games remaining in the regular season before the playoffs begin Feb. 18.

23. Upperman (Baxter, Tenn.)
Record: 25-0 | Last week: 25
The regular season is over, and the Division II playoffs won't start until Feb. 20, so the Bees will have plenty of time to get busy on the practice floor.

24. Bearden (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Record: 19-1 | Last week: NR
The Bulldogs jump into the rankings thanks to a 47-39 win over previous No. 10 Ensworth. This offsets an early season loss to Alcoa, which has won 13 of its last 16 games. A trip to 24-2 Grainger is on the docket Saturday.

25. Minnetonka (Minn.)
Record: 7-1 | Last week: NR
It's rare that a team gets into the MaxPreps Top 25 thanks to a loss, but the Skippers' ability to come within one point of No. 4 Hopkins got them a bid. That said, unbeaten Chaska is Friday's opponent, so the celebration could be short.

Dropped out: No. 10 Ensworth (Tenn.), No. 24 Johnston (Iowa)