BENSALEM, Pa. – The Blue Star Media Elite 25 boys’ basketball received a late February jolt. It involved three teams moving in and three exciting. That’s simple math as the state playoffs are in full swing.
Nathan Hale (Seattle), which won the Sea-King championship, is the nation’s top-ranked team for the third week. Hale is cruising into the Washington Class 3A state tournament and is a heavy favorite. If the Raiders win it, they could be headed to the DICK’S High School National Tournament later next month in New York. There’s considerable work left in the Pacific Northwest before booking a flight to the Big Apple.
No. 11 Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) leapt 14 slots after an impressive run, which included two wins at an event in Benton, Ky.
Joining the Elite 25 are three schools, including two that return triumphantly. No. 23 Basha (Chandler, Ariz.) is one of the two favorites in Arizona Conference 6A. Returning are No. 24 Simeon (Chicago) after winning the program’s eighth Chicago Public League championship and No. 25 Greensboro (N.C.) Day School—just two wins away from a state championship.
The Elite 25 rankings are back on February 28. The Elite 25 will include the results from state playoffs, city playoffs and events that make this time of year very exciting. Welcome to March Madness! So, get out to a game, the season is down to a precious few weeks. We hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys Basketball Rankings, Feb. 21, 2017
1. Nathan Hale, Seattle (24-0)
Previous ranking: 1.
Low-down: Won Sea-King District Tournament, topping West Seattle, 62-52, in the final and Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash,), 85-39, in the semifinals. Michael Porter Jr. had 34 points and 12 rebounds in the final, totaling 71 points and 24 boards in the two games. No surprise that Porter was named the Metro League Most Valuable Player.
2. Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (26-1)
Low-down: Cody Riley sank a pair of free throws in the final seconds and the Trailblazer made 7 of 8 in the final 37 seconds to survive Heritage Christian (Northridge), 99-93, in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division first round. The game was tied at 91but Sierra closed on an 8-2 run. Up next is Damien (La Verne) Tuesday in the quarterfinals and the semifinals are Friday.
3. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (25-1)
Low-down: Defeated Roosevelt (Gary), 94-62. Up next is Handle It Prep (Marietta, Ga.) on Friday.
4. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (24-1)
Low-down: Idle. A trip to the DICK’S Nationals is the next round of games.
5. Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev. (26-3)
Low-down: Beat Tennessee Prep Academy (Memphis, Tenn.), 90-65, at the Kentucky Lake Basketball Showcase in Benton, Ky. Also stopped Hopkinsville (Ky.), 94-75, as PJ Washington posted a double-double with 23 points and 18 rebounds. Three games remain in the regular season and then the long wait for the DICK’S Nationals.
6. Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. (32-4)
Low-down: It was a productive week as the Warriors defeated Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.), 81-67, at the Jordan Brand Invitational in New Orleans. With the regular season winding down, the Coach Steve Smith’s club has three games this week.
7. Chino Hills, Calif. (28-1)
Low-down: Defeated JSerra (San Juan Capistrano), 105-74 in the CIF-Southern Section Division first round. Now the Huskies visit Poly (Long Beach) Tuesday for the quarterfinals. The semifinals are Friday.
8. East, Memphis, Tenn. (25-3)
Low-down: Defeated Melrose (Memphis), 94-48, in the Class AAA District 16 semifinals. Played Whitehaven (Memphis) on Tuesday in the district final.
9. Imhotep Charter, Philadelphia (24-2) #
Low-down: Thrashed Math, Civics and Sciences (Philadelphia), 89-57, in the Philadelphia Public League semifinals. Rhode Island-bound Daron Russell bucketed a game-high 25 points and Koby Thomas added 16. The Panthers play league rival Martin Luther King (Philadelphia) Thursday in the city final on Hawk Hill.
10. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (28-1)
Low-down: The win streak reached 18 games in defeating Crossroads School (Santa Monica), 80-44, in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division first round. The Monarchs play Tuesday against Roosevelt (Corona) in the quarterfinals. A matchup with No. 7 Chino Hills looms Friday in the semifinals.
11. Prolific Prep, Napa, Calif. (23-2)
Low-down: Leveled Sunrise Christian Academy (Wichita, Kan.), 84-53, with Gary Trent, Jr., a McDonald’s All-American, hitting for 36 points. Also stopped Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix), 81-66, at the Kentucky Lake Basketball Showcase in Benton, Ky. This weekend the seniors will be honored in northern California.
12. Shadow Mountain, Phoenix (25-0)
Low-down: Trounced Buckeye (Ariz.) Union, 111-43, in the Conference 4A state quarterfinals and Dysart (El Mirage), 83-43, in the first round. Up next is Moon Valley (Phoenix) Thursday in the semifinals. The championship game is Saturday at the Gila River Arena.
13. Klein Forest, Houston (30-0)
Low-down: The Eagles take an unblemished record into their Class 6A, Region 2 bi-district playoff game with Aldine Nimitz (Houston) Tuesday in Tomball.
14. 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.
15. Bishop Montgomery, Torrance, Calif. (23-2)
Low-down: The Knights advanced with an 83-68 victory over Oak Park in the CIF-Southern Section first round. Up next is Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita) in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Sierra Canyon could be waiting in Friday’s semifinal.
16. Skyline, Dallas (29-1)
Low-down: The Class 6A, Region II bi-district playoff game is Tuesday against Garland in Rockwall. In the season finale, the Raiders clipped Jesuit (Dallas), 75-65, as Marcus Garrett scored 25 points.
17. The Patrick School, Elizabeth, N.J. (19-4)
Low-down: CJ Wilcher netted 17 points, including three 3-pointers, to help defeat Rahway, 76-37, in the Union County Tournament quarterfinals. The Celtics play Roselle Catholic Tuesday in the semifinals. The winner gets regionally ranked Linden or St. Mary’s (Elizabeth) Saturday in the final. When the Non-Public B South tournament opens on March 1 they entertain St. Joseph (Hammonton).
18. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati (22-0)
Low-down: Coach Carl Kremer’s crew made history becoming the program’s first team to go unbeaten in the regular season by clipping rivals Elder (Cincinnati), 53-35. The win sewed up the Greater Catholic League South Division title at 6-0 as Keegan McDowell flipped in 13 points and sophomore Miles McBride had 11. The Crusaders are Ohio’s top-ranked Division I and won’t play again until March 1 in the sectional tournament.
19. McEachern, Powder Springs, Ga. (27-0)
Low-down: Crushed Mill Creek (Hoschton), 89-55, in the Class AAAAAAA first round, advancing to play Lambert (Suwanee) Thursday in the second round.
20. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (23-5)
Low-down: The Purple Eagles split Washington Catholic Athletic Conference games with Elite 25 teams DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) and Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) before defeating Bishop Ireton (Alexandria, Va.), 61-50. Junior F Myles Dread had 16 points and 11 boards vs. Ireton, finishing 15-3 in the ultra-competitive WCAC.
21. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (23-4)
Low-down: Anthony Harris scored 14 points to lead four double digit scorers in an 89-55 thumping of Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.), That victory come on the heels of a 72-57 loss to then-No. 16 Gonzaga (Washington). The regular season closes Monday against rival DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).
22. Jefferson, Portland, Ore. (20-1)
Low-down: The Democrats rolled to three league wins by an average margin of 35 points. The regular season concludes Wednesday at Roosevelt (Portland) with coach Pat Strickland’s club aiming for a perfect mark in 16 Portland Interscholastic League 6A games.
23. Basha, Chandler, Ariz. (28-1)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Terrell Brown dropped in 25 points as the Bears throttled Desert Ridge (Phoenix), 68-40, in the Conference 6A state quarterfinals. Up next is Desert Vista (Phoenix) in the semifinals at Gila River Arena.
24. Simeon, Chicago (24-3)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Kezo Brown netted 26 points and Evan Gilyard added 18 as the Wolverines won the Chicago Public League championship, beating rival Morgan Park (Chicago), 68-64. It was their eighth city crown.
25. Greensboro (N.C.) Day School (31-3)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: The Bengals are back in the North Carolina Independent Schools 3-A state semifinals on Friday against Cannon School (Concord). If they advance to the final it will be Saturday versus Wesley Christian Academy (High Point) or Providence Day School (Charlotte).
Dropped: No. 17 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), No. 22 Bolingbrook (Ill.) and No. 24 Curie (Chicago).
High-Fives by Region
- Rindge and Latin, Cambridge, Mass. (18-0)
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (17-0)
- Mount St. Joseph, Baltimore (29-3)
- Linden, N.J. (19-3)
- First Love Christian Academy, Washington, Pa. (19-2)
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 (15-0)
- Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn. (21-0)
- Bolingbrook, Ill. (23-1)
- Oshkosh (Wis.) North (20-0)
- North, Fort Wayne, Ind. (21-1)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Jonesboro, Ark. (26-0)
- Madison Prep Academy, Baton Rouge, La. (30-3)
- Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (28-6)
- Cedar Hill, Texas (28-4)
- Bowling Green, Ky. (27-2)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (22-4)
- Woodcreek, Roseville, Calif. (25-2)
- Birmingham, Lake Balboa, Calif. (24-3)
- Corona del Sol, Tempe, Ariz. (25-3)
- Gonzaga Prep, Spokane, Wash. (22-1)
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. 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.