BENSALEM, Pa. – Remarkably the Blue Star Media Elite boys’ basketball rankings are in tact with no additions. That’s likely to change this weekend as several national events dot the calendar with juicy matchups.
Going coast to coast here is a sampling of the top events.
In Norwalk Calif., the Rolling Hills State Preview Classic at Cerritos College, which is run by one of the nation’s top coaches Harvey Kitani (previously a fixture at Fairfax in Los Angeles), rolls eight games on Saturday. This is great facility and located just off the I-605 in southern California. Two Elite 25 teams are in the house. The feature matchup is No. 2 Chino Hills (Calif.) vs. regionally ranked Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah), 8:30 p.m. PT. Chino Hills regularly puts up triple figures and Wasatch is gaining a national foot hole.
Here’s rest of the slate: Rolling Hills-Brentwood Academy, 9:30 a.m. PT, Serra (Gardena, Calif.)-Loyola (Los Angeles), 11; Durango (Las Vegas)-Maranatha (Pasadena), 12:30 p.m.; Orange Lutheran-Sheldon (Sacramento), 2; Santa Monica-Alemany (Mission Hills), 3:30; Corona Centennial-Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita), 5; Fairfax-No. 15 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance), 7.
This is the top event on the West Coast this month and must-see hoops.
I will be attending the New Jersey vs. D.C. Collision at Roselle Catholic High School in Roselle, N.J., on Saturday afternoon for four games. There are four schools from the famed Washington Catholic Athletic Conference making the trip north up I-95 for a day of high-end basketball. The lineup is Hudson Catholic (Jersey City)-Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.), 2 p.m. ET; Immaculate (Montclair)-St. Mary’s Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.), 3:45; Roselle Catholic-Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 5:30 and The Patrick School (Elizabeth)-DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), 7:15. Three teams from the Elite 25 will be on display.
In central Florida, No. 6 Montverde Academy hosts its annual invitational tournament, starting on Thursday at the school’s spacious state-of-the-art facility. The MAIT is has the four out of state teams in the top of the bracket and the four Florida school in the bottom. The eight-team quarterfinals on Thursday: Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.)-Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), 2 p.m. ET; No. 12 Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia)-Rainier Beach (Seattle), 4; Winter Park-Windermere Prep, 6 and Montverde Academy-Lehigh (Lehigh Acres), 8. The consolation round and semifinals are Friday; and more games, including the title game, are Saturday.
Back in New York City, four of the tri-state’s top teams will compete in the ninth annual SNY Invitational at City College of New York’s Nat Holman Gymnasium, tipping on Friday with two semifinal games: St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.) vs. St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.), 6 p.m. ET and Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) vs. Mount Vernon (N.Y.), 8. The third place game is at 4 p.m., and the final at 6 on Saturday. The event raises scholarship monies and funds for area high schools.
One last thought: For the first time in eons, the top 3 teams in the Elite 25 are traditional high schools that play for a state championship. Some where state associations are applauding. However. there is a long way to the finish line.
The Elite 25 rankings are back on January 31. The Elite 25 will include the results from the numerous national events—expect a shakeup. Be sure to support your local high school teams and if you have a chance to attend one of the aforementioned events, please do so. We hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys Basketball Rankings, Jan. 24, 2017
1. Nathan Hale, Seattle (15-0)
Previous ranking: 2.
Low-down: Fueled by an 80-77 legitimizing win over then-No. 7 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., the Raiders are No. 1. They also pounded Lakeside (Seattle), 68-40, as 6-10 F Michael Porter produced a double-double with 33 points and 10 rebounds, while his younger brother, sophomore Jontay Porter, did the same with 15 points and 11 boards.
2. Chino Hills, Calif. (20-0)
Low-down: The freewheeling, high-flying Huskies offense churned out 106 and 136 points in two lopsided wins. The win streak is now 55 games—tops nationally. Brothers Li’Angelo and LaMelo Ball are leading the charge.
3. Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (16-1)
Low-down: Knocked off previous top-ranked La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.), 76-74, at the Hoophall Classic and resume their slate on Tuesday against Campbell Hall (North Hollywood).
4. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (17-1)
Low-down: The Lakers were upset by then-No. 4 Sierra Canyon School (Chatsworth, Calif.), 76-74, at the Hoophall Classic, but rebounded with two wins. Coach Shane Heirman’s squad is eyeing the DICK’s Nationals in March in New York.
5. East, Memphis, Tenn. (17-3)
Low-down: After beating Memphis schools White Station, 98-51, and Hamilton, 91-44, the Mustangs are 7-0 in District 16-AAA. The course to the Class AAA championship has been plotted.
6. Montverde (Fla.) Academy (16-2)
Low-down: R.J. Barrett showed why he is considered the nation’s top sophomore, scoring 32 points and clearing 9 rebounds in a 94-59 thumping of Tampa Catholic at the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoop Fest in Tampa. This weekend the Eagles host
7. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (20-1)
Low-down: Defeated The Rock (Gainesville), 84-63, at the Vince Murray Memorial Challenge in Ocala, Fla. Also topped Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian, 69-36.
8. Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev. (18-3)
Low-down: After dropping two straight for the first time in three seasons, the Pilots needed overtime but subdued local rivals Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 78-72, in the Big City Showdown. Prep had lost two of the last three meetings in the series. Kentucky-bound P.J. Washington had 25 points and 14 rebounds.
9. Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. (20-3)
Low-down: After a rare loss, the Warriors bounced back at the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoop Fest in Tampa, Fla., beating St. Petersburg (Fla.), 81-59.
10. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (21-1)
Low-down: The Monarchs are 5-0 in the Trinity League and have a tricky one on Wednesday at St. John Bosco (Bellflower) and won’t challenged until they play twice at the Nike Extravaganza (Feb. 3-4) on their home floor.
11. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (16-1)
Low-down: Ryan Allen flipped in 12 points and Notre Dame-bound D.J. Harvey added 11 to edge Greenforest Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.), 46-43, at the Peachtree Corners Invitational in Suwanee, Ga. This is big week for the Stags with the WCAC race at warp speed and a trip north to play No. 20 The Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.).
12. Imhotep Charter, Philadelphia (13-2)#
Low-down: Once the Panthers captured the Beach Ball Invitational title last month in South Carolina, playing in the Montverde (Fla.) Invitational Tournament became the next challenge and it starts Thursday with powerhouse Rainier Beach (Seattle). Obviously the dream matchup is against the hosts in Saturday’s final.
13. Shadow Mountain, Phoenix (18-0)
Low-down: Idle. The action resumes Tuesday at St. Mary’s (Phoenix).
14. Klein Forest, Houston (23-0)
Low-down: The Eagles are rolling and the playoffs are right around the corner.
15. Bishop Montgomery, Torrance, Calif. (18-2)
Low-down: In two Del Rey League wins, the defense allowed only 64 points. The Knights fell to No. 6 Montverde (Fla.) Academy, 73-67, at the Hoophall Classic. This weekend presents another challenge in the State Preview Classic in nearby Norwalk.
16. Simeon, Chicago (18-1)
Low-down: Dropped a matchup with league rival Bogan (Chicago), 83-64, and then traveled north to defeat Washington (Milwaukee), 73-56. The Wolverines are still Chicago’s team to beat and the Public School playoffs will be their stage.
17. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (16-2)
Low-down: Anytime you pick off three Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rivals in a four-day stretch that’s considered a great week. First, the Panthers beat then-No. 13 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 83-73, and later it was a 67-66 win at Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.). A new week brings more challenges and redemption on Tuesday when St. John’s College (Washington) visits and then it’ll be Roselle (N.J.) Catholic on the road Saturday.
18. Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology, Houston (27-1)
Low-down: Defeated Houston schools Westside, 66-51, and Chavez, 92-24, to stay unbeaten in District 18-6A.
19. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (15-3)
Low-down: Coach Steve Turner’s club dropped an 83-73 decision at then-No. 20 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), but rebounded with two league wins. That momentum will be needed Tuesday when the Purple Eagles entertain bitter rivals No. 11 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) on I Street in a WCAC showdown.
20. The Patrick School, Elizabeth, N.J. (10-3)
Low-down: It was an up and down week for the Celtics in Union County—the state’s bastion for basketball. They lost to archrivals Linden, 71-67, but bounced back to stop powerful Roselle Catholic, 83-68. Sophomore G Jordan Walker flipped in 22 points in the victory over Roselle Catholic. The Celtics and Linden could meet again next month in the county tournament, while Roselle Catholic is likely in the state sectional tournament in March.
21. Garfield, Seattle (16-2)
Low-down: Top-ranked Nathan Hale (Seattle) visits Friday. The Bulldogs lost the first meeting by 23 points at the Les Schwab Invitational last month in Oregon.
22. Mount St. Joseph, Baltimore (22-1)
Low-down: Veteran coach Pat Clatchey’s team improved to 13-0 in the MIAA A Conference Back Division and 8-1 in the Baltimore Catholic League with two wins last week.
23. Jefferson, Portland, Ore. (10-1)
Low-down: After nearly two weeks off following a spate of bad weather, the Democrats rattled off three wins, averaging nearly 88 points per game. Up next are two in the Portland Interscholastic League against Franklin and Benson Tech.
24. Skyline, Dallas (22-1)
Low-down: Defeated Lake Highlands (Dallas), 46-30, and Jesuit (Dallas), 46-24, to remain in first place in District 9-6A.
25. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati (15-0)
Low-down: This week’s schedule features a trip to the famed “Pit” gymnasium at league rivals Elder (Cincinnati) Friday and another road game at Wilmington. Seven games remain in the regular season.
High-Fives by Region
- Linden, N.J. (10-2)
- Hillhouse, New Haven, Conn. (11-0)
- Rindge and Latin, Cambridge, Mass. (10-0)
- Lincoln, Brooklyn, N.Y. (17-2)
- Long Island Lutheran, Brookville, N.Y. (13-2)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Curie, Chicago (18-2)
- Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn. (12-0)
- Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian (9-0)
- Oshkosh (Wis.) North (12-0)
- New Albany, Ind. (13-2)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Scotlandville, Baton, Rouge, La. (21-1)
- Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (20-5)
- McEachern, Powder Springs, Ga. (18-0)
- Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C. (22-2)
- Fern Creek, Louisville, Ky. (19-2)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Prolific Prep, Napa, Calif. (15-1)
- Federal Way, Wash. (17-0)
- Basha, Chandler, Ariz. (23-0)
- Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (18-3)
- Corona del Sol, Tempe, Ariz. (19-2)
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
# Includes a forfeit loss
About: The Blue Star Media Elite 25 High School Boys Basketball Rankings are released weekly from November until the conclusion of the high school season. Criteria considered are the quality of the team and its players, strength of schedule, tradition, and quality of the team’s league, conference, region or district. The rankings are compiled by Blue Star Media’s Christopher Lawlor, who consults with a national network of coaches, talent evaluators and prep sports writers. The final rankings will be released in April. Follow him on Twitter at #clawlor.