ROSELLE, N.J. – The Blue Star Media Elite boys’ basketball rankings took a slight hit last week but that’s to be expected in late January. Speaking of the calendar, we’re on cusp of February as the regular season begins to wind down.
No. 1 Nathan Hale (Seattle) won the game of the week, beating league rivals No. 22 Garfield (Seattle), 69-65. No. 21 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) lost twice but stays in the Elite 25 on strength of schedule. The Stags are hardwired to absorb tough losses and that comes from playing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference—the nation’s best league. Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) and Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)—both ranked in the Elite 25 are on the schedule.
This week’s top event is the St. James Invitational Tournament in Hagerstown, Md. The eight-team bracket runs Thursday through Saturday. The field includes St. James, No. 10 Montverde (Fla.) Academy, St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.), Sunrise Christian (Wichita, Kan.), Martinsburg (W.Va.), St. Vincent Pallotti (Laurel,, Md.), Benedictine (Richmond, Va.) and National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, Md.). This will attract a sellout crowd and numerous college coaches to western Maryland.
Last week’s top event, New Jersey vs. D.C. Collision here, was a smash hit and the New Jersey schools will travel to the Washington area next year.
Two teams join the Elite 25: No. 24 Curie (Chicago) and No. 25 Linden (N.J.). Curie re-enters after a disappointing run over the holidays. Linden is a shoo-in to win New Jersey’s Group 3 state championship in March and is the state’s second-ranked team behind local rival Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.). Those two could meet for a third time in the Union County Tournament and have split the two league contests. Coach Phil Colicchio is one the best in the nation and has his Tigers ready to pounce.
The Elite 25 rankings are back on February 7. The Elite 25 will include the results from the numerous national events and the postseason is brewing in some states. Be sure to support your local high school teams. We hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys Basketball Rankings, Jan. 31, 2017
1. Nathan Hale, Seattle (18-0)
Previous ranking: 1.
Low-down: Michael Porter Jr. turned in one of the great big-game performances last Friday with 34 points (12 of 20 shooting) and 11 rebounds to knock off No. 22 Garfield (Seattle), 69-65, in the Battle of Seattle. The Raiders led 34-31 at halftime as Freddy Brown III—whose grandfather was a standout for the Seattle Supersonics, triggered a late rally with a 3-pointer and layup.
2. Chino Hills, Calif. (23-0)
Low-down: LaMelo Ball scored 33 points and his brother added 32 to bounce
Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah), 106-80, at the Rolling Hills State Preview Classic in Norwalk, Calif. The Huskies have 58 straight games. In the buildup to Saturday’s game, the Huskies produced two wins over quality teams scoring 120 and 124 points. This is easily the most exciting team in the nation and reminds offensive-oriented fans of the great Loyola Marymount University teams in from 1987 to 1990.
3. Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (19-1)
Low-down: After crushing a pair of Gold Coast League opponents, the Trailblazers thrashed Cathedral (Los Angeles), 124-94, at the Greatest Showcase on Earth in Los Angeles. Junior C Marvin Bagley III netted 35 points. Saturday it’s a date Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) at the Nike Extravaganza in Santa Ana, Calif.
4. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (19-1)
Low-down: Defeated Lighthouse College Prep Academy (Gary), 104-43, and Roosevelt (Gary), 98-48. The Lakers have three road games before returning home on Feb. 7.
5. East, Memphis, Tenn. (19-3)
Low-down: The District 16-AAA race is beginning to wind down as the Mustangs waxed Memphis schools Central, 98-60, and Overton, 107-46. Three games remain in the regular season.
6. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (22-1)
Low-down: Junior Emmitt Williams tossed in 23 points during a 92-80 win over
Norcom (Norfolk, Va.). Also defeated Village Christian Academy (Fayetteville, N.C.), 81-71.
7. Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev. (19-3)
Low-down: The Pilots are on cruise control as the regular season finale is in focus. This weekend they have two games in Phoenix with Mesa and Pinnacle (Phoenix).
8. Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. (24-3)
Low-down: Beat A.C. Flora (Columbia, S.C.), 79-54, capped a week of four victories. Kansas-bound Billy Preston posted a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. The “Road” Warriors jet to the West Coast for games at the Nike Extravaganza in Santa Ana, Calif.
9. Imhotep Charter, Philadelphia (17-2)#
Low-down: Won the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament, beating then-No. 6 Montverde (Fla.), 57-48, in the championship game. Marvin Scott dropped in 17 points to take game Most Valuable Player honors and Rhode Island-bound Daron Russell named the tournament MVP.
10. Montverde (Fla.) Academy (18-3)
Low-down: Saw its home win streak halted at 55 games, dropping the championship game of the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament falling to then-No. 12 Imhotep Prep (Philadelphia), 57-48. Up next is the St. James Invitational in Maryland this weekend for three games.
11. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (21-1)
Low-down: The Monarchs host the Nike Extravaganza this weekend. With three more victories, coach Gary McKnight’s club registers another 10-0 record in the Trinity League.
12. Shadow Mountain, Phoenix (20-0)
Low-down: The Matadors have three games left in the regular season.
13. Klein Forest, Houston (24-0)
Low-down: A decisive 26-4 spurt in the opening quarter meant curtains for Memorial (Houston), 83-27. The Forest is 8-0 in District 15-6A and a perfect season is just two wins away.
14. Bishop Montgomery, Torrance, Calif. (20-2)
Low-down: Ethan Thompson, an Oregon State recruit, scored 26 points and David Singleton added 17 in a 79-55 win over Fairfax (Los Angeles) at the Rolling Hills State Preview Classic in Norwalk, Calif.
15. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (19-2)
Low-down: Defeated Roselle (N.J.), 73-67, at the New Jersey vs. D.C. Collision in Roselle, N.J. Earlier in the week, the Panthers avenged a December loss when they toppled St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.), 62-50. The schedule only intensifies Tuesday with a WCAC showdown with No. 21 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).
16. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (17-3)
Low-down: Miami-bound PG Chris Lyles showed why he is a Jordan Brand All-American, contributing 23 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds in a take down of then-No. 11 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), 76-63. The Purple Eagles are 9-1 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, the nation’s best schoolboy league.
17. The Patrick School, Elizabeth, N.J. (13-3)
Low-down: Sophomore G Jordan Walker flipped in a game-high 19 points to defeat then-No. 11 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), 63-56, at the New Jersey vs. D.C. Collision in Roselle, N.J. Also topped Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.), 71-47, as Kentucky-bound C Nick Richards scored 22 points at the Hoop Group Lehigh Valley Showcase in Allentown, Pa. It’ll be a big week ahead with No. 6 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and Roselle Catholic.
18. Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology, Houston (28-1)
Low-down: Averaged 92 points in two District 18-6A blowouts.
19. Skyline, Dallas (24-1)
Low-down: Atoned for its lone loss, stopping Richardson Berkner, 64-52, as Jase Townsend tossed in 17 points and Kansas-bound G Marcus Garrett added 10.
20. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati (17-0)
Low-down: Sophomore Miles McBride netted 13 points and Riley Voss had a double-double, with 12 points and 11 boards to edge Elder (Cincinnati), 52-46, in a Greater Catholic League South matchup at the famed “Pit” in Price Hill. The Crusaders are back at it Friday hosting La Salle (Cincinnati) in another GCL South contest.
21. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (16-3)
Low-down: In a rare occurrence, the Stags lost two games to ranked opponents. The schedule only gets more difficult in February.
22. Garfield, Seattle (15-3)
Low-down: Lost to top-ranked Nathan Hale (Seattle), 69-65, in a game that was televised nationally by ESPNU. Two of three losses are to top ranked team from across town. Mark it down: the rivals will meet again in the postseason.
23. Jefferson, Portland, Ore. (13-1)
Low-down: The win streak is nine games and counting, which includes a 7-0 month of January.
24. Curie, Chicago (20-2)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: The Condors return to the Elite 25 and are unbeaten in the month of January.
25. Linden, N.J. (13-2)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: The Tigers stopped Parkland (Allentown, Pa.), 75-68, at the Hoop Group Lehigh Valley Showcase. Marcellus Livingston tossed in a game-high 24 points. Coach Phil Colicchio’s team is in line for another state championship and is clearly New Jersey’s premier public school program.
Dropped: No. 16. Simeon (Chicago) and No. 22.Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore).
High-Fives by Region
- Mount St. Joseph, Baltimore (23-2)
- Hillhouse, New Haven, Conn. (13-0)
- Rindge and Latin, Cambridge, Mass. (12-0)
- Lincoln, Brooklyn, N.Y. (19-2)
- Long Island Lutheran, Brookville, N.Y. (16-2)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Bolingbrook, Ill. (18-0)
- Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian (10-0)
- Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn. (15-0)
- Simeon, Chicago (19-2)
- Oshkosh (Wis.) North (14-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Scotlandville, Baton, Rouge, La. (23-1)
- Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (23-5)
- McEachern, Powder Springs, Ga. (20-0)
- Madison Prep Academy, Baton Rouge, La. (23-3)
- Fern Creek, Louisville, Ky. (22-2)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Prolific Prep, Napa, Calif. (18-1)
- Federal Way, Wash. (20-0)
- Basha, Chandler, Ariz. (25-0)
- Corona del Sol, Tempe, Ariz. (21-2)
- Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (18-4)
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.