BEN SALEM, Pa. – Nathan Hale (Seattle) continues its firm grip on the top spot in Blue Star Media Elite 25 boys’ basketball rankings. The No. 1 Raiders defeated previously ranked and crosstown rivals Garfield (Seattle) in the 3A Metro League final and have punched a ticket for the Washington Class 3A state tournament.
The top four teams held together with No. 2 Sierra Canyon School (Chatsworth, Calif.), No. 3 La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.) and No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) preserving the order. No. 6 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) slips a spot after losing to St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.) at the Metro Classic in Union, N.J. However, the Warriors won’t be penalized for playing a team with at least one fifth-year player. The Elite 25 does not recognize schools or team with fifth-year or postgraduate level student-athletes.
No. 21 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) and No. 25 Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) enter the Elite 25 after posting great resumes this season. McEachern has heavy lifting left in the Class AAAAAAA state tournament. Prolific Prep has several “Grind Sessions” left before playing in an elite national championship tournament in March.
The CIF-Southern Section Open Division playoffs tip this week in southern California with four Elite 25 teams in the 16-team field. Talk about being loaded!
A hearty congratulation goes to Gene Pingatore of St. Joseph’s (Westchester, Ill.) for securing his 1,000th coaching victory—becoming the first boys’ basketball coach in Illinois history. Pingatore, 80, one of the nation’s treasures in hoop circles improved to 1,000-352 (in his 48th season) when his Chargers topped St. Rita (Chicago), 81-71, in the Chicago Catholic League Tournament last Saturday. Pingatore has won two state championships and coached future Hall of Fame guard Isiah Thomas. Afterwards Pingatore assured that he would return at the helm next season.
The Elite 25 rankings are back on February 21. The Elite 25 will include the results from state playoffs, city playoffs and events that make this time of year very exciting. So, get out to a game, the season is down to a precious few weeks. Don’t forget to attend a Senior Night celebration in your community. We hope to see you at a game soon. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys Basketball Rankings, Feb. 14, 2017
1. Nathan Hale, Seattle (22-0)
Previous ranking: 1.
Low-down: Washington-bound Michael Porter Jr., a McDonald’s All American, bucketed 39 points to take down then-No. 22 Garfield (Seattle), 90-58, in Class 3A Metro League final. It was the Raiders’ third win over Garfield this season. They beat West Seattle, 72-59, in the semifinals.
2. Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (25-1)
Low-down: Won the Gold Coast League title, beating Crossroads School (Santa Monica), 79-66. Junior Marvin Bagley III scored 15 of his game-high 30 in the third quarter.
3. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (24-1)
Low-down: The Lakers polished off Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights, Ill.), 86-36, and Marquette Catholic (Michigan City, Ind.), 69-63.
4. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (24-1)
5. Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev. (24-3)
Low-down: Lamine Diane poured in 31 points and Kentucky-bound P.J. Washington added 28 in a 97-69 victory over Planet Athlete Academy (Phoenix).
6. Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. (31-4)
Low-down: The Warriors went to New Jersey splitting a pair of games, but lost to a team that has at least one fifth-year player. This week they head to the Big Easy.
7. Chino Hills, Calif. (27-1)
Low-down: Fifteen times this season the Huskies scored at least 100 points. UCLA-bound sophomore LaMelo Ball was otherworldly when he scored an eye-popping 92 points (and a career high, doh!), including 41 in the final period in a 146-123 thriller over Los Osos. He made 37 of 61 shots (seven 3-pointers), netted 11 of 14 free throws, and had 7 assists and 5 boards. WOW! Up next is the CIF-Southern Section Division Division first round against JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) on Friday.
8. East, Memphis, Tenn. (24-3)
Low-down: Won SCIAA Class AAA Tournament, Cordova (Memphis), 75-52, in the championship game. The Mustangs went 13-0 in district play.
9. Imhotep Charter, Philadelphia (20-2) #
Low-down: Koby Thomas dropped in 15 points in a 70-37 victory over
John Bartram (Philadelphia) in the Philadelphia Public League Class AAAA semifinals. The Panthers played Audenried on Monday.
10. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (27-1)
Low-down: The Trinity League champions were unbeaten in 10 league games, topping Orange Lutheran, 91-63. The Monarchs take a 17-game win streak into the CIF-Southern Section Open Division Tournament Friday against Crossroads School (Santa Monica).
11. Shadow Mountain, Phoenix (23-0)
Low-down: Idle. The Matadors need to win the 4A Conference state title for an invitation to the DICK’S Sporting Good High School Nationals in New York.
12. Klein Forest, Houston (29-0)
Low-down: The regular season finishes up on Tuesday with Klein Oak in District 15-6A.
13. Montverde (Fla.) Academy (22-4)
Low-down: Coach Kevin Boyle returned to his old stomping grounds and swept Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, 63-51, and then-No. 25 Linden (N.J.), 61-38, at the Metro Classic in Union, N.J. R.J. Barrett scored 19 points in the latter win. The Eagles are off until March 30 when they play in the DICK’S Nationals in New York.
14. Bishop Montgomery, Torrance, Calif. (22-2)
Low-down: The Knights clocked Cathedral (Los Angeles), 103-45, to finish 8-0 in the Del Rey League. The postseason begins Friday with Oak Park in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division first round.
15. Skyline, Dallas (28-1)
Low-down: The regular season closes Tuesday with Jesuit (Dallas).
16. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (21-4)
Low-down: Going 2-1 during some weeks in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference isn’t so bad, but going forward with back-to-back games featuring No. 18 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) on Tuesday and No. 17 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) on Thursday is what makes the WCAC the best.
17. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (20-4)
Low-down: Ryan Allen threw in 20 points but it wasn’t enough in a narrow 55-53 loss at rival Bishop O’Connell (Alexandria, Va.).
18. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (22-3)
Low-down: The Panthers cap the season with Elite 25 teams Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) on Tuesday and DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) on Feb. 20. The WCAC race and tournament is worth watching.
19. The Patrick School, Elizabeth, N.J. (19-4)
Low-down: Downed Archbishop Molloy (Briarwood, N.Y.), 73-59, at the PrimeTime Shootout in Roselle, N.J. The Celtics picked up two quality wins last weekend and now enter the Union County Tournament on Saturday against Westfield or Rahway in the quarterfinals. The semifinals are Feb. 21 and the final is Feb. 25.
20. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati (20-0)
Low-down: Keegan McDowell had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals during a 62-40 win over rivals St. Xavier (Cincinnati) in a Greater Catholic League South matchup. The Crusaders are 5-0 in league play with one game remaining on Friday against Elder (Cincinnati).
21. McEachern, Powder Springs, Ga. (26-0)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Won Class AAAAAAA, Region 3 tournament, battering Hillgrove (Powder Springs), 71-34. In the semifinals, the Indians beat Kennesaw Mountain (Kennesaw), 67-35.
22. Bolingbrook, Ill. (23-0)
Low-down: Downed Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.), 57-46. Two games remain before the regional playoffs.
23. Jefferson, Portland, Ore. (17-1)
Low-down: Downed Roosevelt (Portland), 97-80, completing a 3-0 week. Another busy week sees the Dems play three times against.
24. Curie, Chicago (22-2)
Low-down: The Condors opened the Chicago Public League playoffs, beating Clemente, 72-43, in the first round and Brooks, 63-43, in the second round. They face Orr in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
25. Prolific Prep, Napa, Calif. (21-2)
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Senior G Dempsey Roggenbuck scored 23 points to help beat Reno (Nev.) International Prep, 111-72. Up next is the Kentucky Classic in Benton, Ky., with two games, most notably Sunrise Christian Academy (Wichita, Kan.) on Saturday.
Dropped: No. 22 Garfield (Seattle) and No. 25 Linden (N.J.).
High-Fives by Region
- Rindge and Latin, Cambridge, Mass. (14-0)
- Wise, Upper Marlboro, Md. (15-0)
- Mount St. Joseph, Baltimore (28-3)
- Linden, N.J. (17-3)
- 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 (14-0)
- Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn. (19-0)
- Simeon, Chicago (21-2)
- Oshkosh (Wis.) North (18-0)
- Jackson, Massillon, Ohio (17-1)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Jonesboro, Ark. (24-0)
- Madison Prep Academy, Baton Rouge, La. (29-3)
- Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Chattanooga, Tenn. (26-6)
- Cedar Hill, Texas (27-4)
- Bowling Green, Ky. (26-2)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Garfield, Seattle (18-4)
- Basha, Chandler, Ariz. (26-1)
- Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (21-4)
- Woodcreek, Roseville, Calif. (23-2)
- Birmingham, Lake Balboa, Calif. (24-3)
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 or postgraduates won’t be considered for ranking. 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.