BENSALEM, Pa. – Well folks, we are almost at the finish line, only two weekends remain in the boys’ basketball season and the Blue Star Media Elite 25 rankings are taking shape but are far from complete.
This weekend state championships will played in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and California. Plus there is the New York State Federation championship, where the four state recognized associations, Public, New York City Catholic, PSAL and Independents are pitted in a four-team bracket in three classes—AA, A and B in Glens Falls.
Then comes the grand daddy of tournaments, the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals, from March 30-April 1 in New York. Seven of the eight teams are ranked by the Elite 25, with one in the Far West Region.
That means top-ranked Nathan Hale (Seattle), which turned down a chance to play in the event, is not safe. The winner of this tournament could rise to No. 1. No guarantees but it could happen.
The first-round boys’ pairings on March 30 (all games on ESPNU) are Montverde Academy-Shadow Mountain, 12 p.m. EDT, Oak Hill Academy-Findlay Prep, 2 p.m., IMG Academy-Greensboro Day, 4 p.m., and La Lumiere School-Wasatch Academy, 6 p.m. The semifinals are at 3 and 5 p.m. (ESPN2), with title game on April, 12 p.m. (ESPN).
This is without question must-see TV.
No. 23 Whitney Young (Chicago) enters the Elite 25 rankings after winning the Illinois Class 4A state championship, the Dolphins first title since 2012 and fourth overall. It was a 60-50 win over then-No. 19 Simeon (Chicago) that gave the Dolphins enough traction t gain the national spotlight. Whitney Young’s triumph in Illinois 4A is one of the top state tournament brackets to conquer and deserves the spoils.
The Elite 25 final rankings will be released on April 4. We take off a week for the final week of basketball to be played before the DICK’S Nationals are contested on the first weekend in April. I’m headed Chicago this weekend for the McDonald’s All American Games and then back to New York for DICK’S National that will be housed all three days at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, a neighborhood in Queens. We hope to see you at a game soon and the DICK’S Nationals. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys’ Basketball Rankings, March 21, 2017
1. Nathan Hale, Seattle (29-0)*
Previous ranking: 1.
Low-down: Won the Class 3A championship. Michael Porter Jr., who will likely de-commit from Washington, was named Naismith national player of the year and his coach, Brandon Roy, the Naismith coach of the year. Season complete.
2. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (25-1)
Low-down: Idle. Next stop is the DICK’S Nationals in New York.
3. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (24-1)
Low-down: Idle. A first-ever trip to the DICK’S Nationals is next.
4. Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev. (33-3)
Low-down: Idle. Up next is the DICK’S Nationals in New York.
5. Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. (38-4)
Low-down: Idle. The Warriors defend their Dick’s National’s chip starting on March 30 in New York.
6. Bishop Montgomery, Torrance, Calif. (30-2)
Low-down: Won the CIF-Southern Region Open Division championship, dropping then-No. 8 Mater Dei (Santa), 60-53. It was the second win over the Monarchs this season. David Singleton sparked a late surge scoring 13 of his 15 points in the final period, Ethan Thompson had 13 and Gianni Hunt 12. Up next is the Open Division state final Saturday against Woodcreek (Roseville) in Sacramento. In the semifinals, the Knights eliminated No. 12 Chino Hills, 87-80, behind 25 points from Singleton and 23 from Thompson.
7. East, Memphis, Tenn. (36-3)*
Low-down: It was an all-Memphis final last Saturday and for the second time this month, coach Anfernee Hardaway’s team prevailed. Six-nine sophomore Chandler Lawson was tabbed MVP, recording his second double-double of the week, 18 points and 15 rebounds as the Mustangs won their second straight Class AAA championship, defeating Southwind (Memphis), 65-45. For the three game, Lawson had 54 points and 36 rebounds. In the semifinals, the Mustangs survived a huge score as Lawson scored 19 points and Alex Lomax and Terrance Moss chipped in with 14 apiece to stop Oak Ridge, 63-60. They also beat East Hamilton (Ooltewah), 76-56, in the quarterfinals as Lawson had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Season complete.
8. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (32-5)* * *
Low-down: The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions also captured District of Columbia State Championship and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference chips. Season complete.
9. Imhotep Charter, Philadelphia (29-2)* #
Low-down: Daron Russell scored 24 and David Beatty 19 and the Panthers beat Audenried (Philadelphia), 70-51, in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals. They played
Scranton (Pa.) Prep, 81-52, in the second round. Coach Andre Noble’s team tangled with Nanticoke Area in the semifinals Tuesday. The final is Saturday afternoon at Hershey’s GIANT Center versus Strong Vincent (Erie) or Quaker Valley (Leetsdale).
10. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (33-3)
Low-down: Lost to No. 6 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance), 60-53, in CIF-Southern Region Open Division final. Justin Sueing (21 points) and Spencer Freedman (16) teamed for 37 points. Season complete.
11. Shadow Mountain, Phoenix (27-0)*
Low-down: Idle. Won Conference 4A state championship. Up next is the DICK’S Nationals.
12. Chino Hills, Calif. (30-3)
Low-down: Lost to then-No. x Bishop Montgomery (Torrance), 87-80, in the CIF-Southern California Region Open Division semifinals. LiAngelo Ball scored 25 points and Eli Scott had a double-double with 22 points and 19 boards. Season complete.
13. Montverde (Fla.) Academy (22-4)
Low-down: Idle. The Eagles are off until March 30 when they play in the DICK’S Nationals in New York.
14. The Patrick School, Elizabeth, N.J. (29-4)* *
Low-down: The Celtics stopped Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey), 69-54, in the State Tournament of Champions final in Trenton. It was their sixth TOC crown. In the semifinals, they used a 10-0 run to open the third quarter and defeated Teaneck, 63-45, with Kentucky-bound C Nick Richards scoring 26 points. It was the Celtics’ first trip to the TOC final since winning it in 2009.
15. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati (27-0)
Low-down: Keegan McDowell’s 10 points and a stifling defense staked the Crusaders to a 38-32 win over league rivals LaSalle (Cincinnati) in the Dayton Region 4 final. The Crusaders held their foe to a season low point total and shooting (34 percent). Also, sophomore Mikes McBride flipped in 22 points, nailing a trio of 3-pointers to beat Mason, 60-57, in the semifinals. Up next is the Division I state semifinals in Columbus Friday against Pickerington Central. Coach Carl Kremer’s team last won it all in 2007. Kremer was named Ohio’s co-coach of the year by The Associated Press and McDowell was a first team all-state selection.
16. Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (27-3)
Low-down: Lost in the CIF-Southern Region Open Division first round. Season complete.
17. Jefferson, Portland, Ore. (27-1)*
Low-down: Won the Class 6A championship. Season complete.
18. Basha, Chandler, Ariz. (30-1)*
Low-down: Won Conference 6A state championship. Season complete.
19. Jonesboro, Ark. (32-0)*
Low-down: Won Class 6A state championship.
20. Prolific Prep, Napa, Calif. (29-3)
Low-down: Closed out on a high note, waxing Orangeville Prep (Ontario, Canada), 123-99, in the Cali vs. Canada Showdown in Sacramento. Gary Trent, Jr., a Duke recruit and McDonald’s All-American scored 23 point and Canadian F Abu Kigab (Oregon signee) and PG Paul Scruggs (Xavier), a native of Indianapolis, added 20 apiece. Season complete.
21. Cypress Falls, Houston (35-3)*
Low-down: Won Class 6A state championship. Season complete.
22. Greensboro (N.C.) Country Day (33-3)*
Low-down: Idle Won second North Carolina Independent Schools 3-A state title. Will play in the DICK’S Nationals for the second time in three seasons starting March 30 in New York.
23. Whitney Young, Chicago (27-7)*
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Won Class 4A championship, upending then-No. 19 Simeon (Chicago), 60-50. Senior F Lucas Williamson scored 19 points on five 3s, and 6-3 junior Justin Boyd added 17 as the Dolphins claimed a fourth state title—the last in 2014. Season complete.
24. Trinity Episcopal, Richmond, Va. (35-1)*
Low-down: Won the Virginia Independent Schools Division state championship. Season complete.
25. Simeon, Chicago (30-4)
Low-down: Upset in Class 4A championship, falling to rivals Whitney Young (Chicago), 60-50. Evan Gilyard scored 16 and Talen Horton-Tucker 13. Season complete.
Dropped: No. 25 Skyline (Dallas).
High-Fives by Region
- Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa. (26-3)*
- Rindge and Latin, Cambridge, Mass. (25-0)*
- Mount St. Joseph, Baltimore (37-4)*
- Lincoln, Brooklyn, N.Y. (29-3)*
- First Love Christian Academy, Washington, Pa. (24-3)*
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian (25-0)
- Morgan Park, Chicago (26-6)*
- Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn. (29-0)
- Webster Groves, Mo. (29-2)*
- Bolingbrook, Ill. (30-2)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Madison Prep Academy, Baton Rouge, La. (35-3)*
- Southwest Christian Academy, Little Rock, Ark. (30-2)*
- Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (30-7)*
- Tift County, Tifton, Ga. (29-2)*
- Bowling Green, Ky. (36-2)*
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (23-4)
- Woodcreek, Roseville, Calif. (32-2)
- Garfield, Seattle (23-5)
- St. Augustine, San Diego (28-5)
- Bingham, South Jordan, Utah (24-3)*
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
# Includes a forfeit loss
* Won state, national or conference/league postseason tournament championship
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. Teams with fifth-year players cannot be ranked. 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.