BENSALEM, Pa. – Nathan Hale (Seattle) continued their stay atop the Blue Star Media Elite 25 boys’ basketball rankings. Last week, Hale indicated it would not participate in the upcoming DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Tournament.
That immediately opens the No. 1 final ranking for teams participating in the DICK’S Nationals. Hale is no longer permanently secured but for at least three more weeks, they are top ranked. The top six teams in the Elite 25, four of which will play in the DICK’S Nationals, stays intact. The big upset of the week was No. 16 Sierra Canyon School (Chatsworth, Calif.) dropping nine spots after losing to St. Augustine (San Diego) in the CIF-Southern California Region Open Division first round. It was the second straight year the Trailblazers bowed out early.
No. 22 Cypress Falls is the lone team to join the Elite 25 after winning the Texas Class 6A state championship. The Eagles beat then-No. 15 Skyline (Dallas) the semifinals and finished off San Antonio Wagner in the title game.
No. 9 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) made history, earning the rare treble. After winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament and District of Columbia state crowns, the Eagles bagged their sixth overall Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament championship with a quality win over Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore) in the final. Three titles, plus the WCAC regular season chip, is big-time stuff for coach Steve Turner’s team. Hence the meteoric bump in the Elite 25. That’s a stellar end to great season. Kudos to the Purple Eagles!
So far 11 Elite 25 teams have won state or national tournament championships, with 12 of the 20 regional teams doing the same. This weekend championships will be conducted in Tennessee, New York, Indiana and Illinois. California, Michigan, Minnesota, New York (state federation tournament) and Ohio go the following weekend.
Speaking of the end, it might be the end of the line for St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.). The urban Catholic school and national powerhouse coached by Hall of Famer Bob Hurley said last week that April 5 the future of the school would be decided. There’s fast and furious last-minute fundraising push to keep the doors open. St. Anthony must show it can cover a $500,000 gap in the operational budget and start paying off existing debt to the Archdiocese of Newark. Showtime, starting March 23, will broadcast a documentary on the season and the struggles to keep the school afloat. According to published reports, a celebrity fundraising game is in the works, but a deep-pocketed donor is the likely savior. Otherwise, dig deep and help out a worthy cause.
To donate or for more information on the Friars situation follow this link: http://www.stanthonyhighschool.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=416180&type=d&pREC_ID=909459
The Elite 25 rankings are back on March 21. The Elite 25 will include the results from state playoffs and national and conference tournaments that make this time of year very special. It will also be the penultimate rankings for the season. We will take off a week for the final week of basketball to be played before the DICK’S Nationals are played in the final week of the season. I will be splitting time between the McDonald’s All American Games in Chicago and then jetting back to New York for that impactful tournament that will be contested at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, a neighborhood in Queens. We hope to see you at a game soon and help by giving for St. Anthony High School to survive. — Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys’ Basketball Rankings, March 14, 2017
1. Nathan Hale, Seattle (29-0)*
Previous ranking: 1.
Low-down: Won the Class 3A championship. Season complete.
2. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (25-1)
Low-down: Idle. Next stop is the DICK’S Nationals in New York, tipping on March 30.
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. (30-3)
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: The Warriors can rest after dispatching York (S.C.) Prep, 91-39, in the regular season finale. Iowa State-bound G Lindell Wigginton popped in 17 and Billy Preston, a Kansas recruit, posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards. The reigning DICK’S Nationals champions are ready for a title defense beginning on March 30.
6. Bishop Montgomery, Torrance, Calif. (28-2)
Low-down: Defeated Torrey Pines (San Diego), 64-49, in the CIF-Southern Region Open Division first round. Up next is a showdown with No. 12 Chino Hills in the Open Division semifinals at El Camino College in Torrance. The final is Saturday.
7. East, Memphis, Tenn. (33-3)
Low-down: Won Class AAA sectional, beating Brighton, 74-54. The AAA state tournament starts Wednesday against East Hamilton (Ooltewah) in the quarterfinals at Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy Center in Murfreesboro. The semifinals are Friday and the final Saturday. The Mustangs are still in the running for an invite to the DICK’S Nationals. Winning a second straight title is imperative.
8. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (32-2)
Low-down: The Monarchs push on after stopping rivals Westchester (Los Angeles), 74-60, in the CIF-Southern Region Open Division first round. Junior C Bol Bol posted 22 points and cleared 10 rebounds. Junior F Michael Wang added 16 points and handed out 6 assists. That means coach Gary McKnight’s team entertains St. Augustine (San Diego) in the region semifinals. The final is Saturday.
9. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (32-5)* * *
Low-down: The Purple Eagles capped a memorable season with the coveted treble—three postseason championships! Last weekend, they won captured the 57th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament championship, stopping regionally ranked Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore), 82-70. Miami-bound G Chris Lykes poured in 34 points and junior Prentiss Hubb hit for 27, as the duo combined for 61 points. Lykes scored 72 points in three games to earn MVP honors. The Eagles also beat St. Maria Goretti (Hagerstown, Md.), 77-74, in the semifinals and Bishop Walsh (Cumberland, Md.), 87-38, in the first round. The ACIT title is added to the District of Columbia State Championship and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference chips. Season complete.
10. Imhotep Charter, Philadelphia (27-2)* #
Low-down: South Carolina-bound Dave Beatty scored 20 points and Bernard Lightsey 17 to trounce Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg), 72-41, in the PIAA Class AAAA first round. Up next is the second round Wednesday against Scranton (Pa.) Prep.
11. Shadow Mountain, Phoenix (27-0)*
Low-down: Idle. Won the Conference 4A state championship. Up next is the DICK’S Nationals.
12. Chino Hills, Calif. (30-2)
Low-down: In an crowd-pleasing offensive display that produced a total of 240 points, the Huskies outscored Birmingham (Lake Balboa), 130-110, in the CIF-Southern California Region Open Division first round. UCLA-bound Li’Angelo Ball pumped in 52 points and his team totaled 15 dunks. Up next is a trip to No. 6 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) Tuesday in the region semifinals. The final is Saturday.
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. (27-4)*
Low-down: Won its first Non-Public B championship, since 2009, beating Hudson Catholic (Jersey City), 65-48. It was the 14th state title in school history (also when it was named St. Patrick). G Jamir Harris threw in a game-high 23 points. The Celtics are the top seed in the State Tournament of Champions and play Friday (weather pending) in the semifinals versus West Side (Newark) or Teaneck, with the overall TOC championship on March 20 in Trenton. In the South B final, coach Mike Rice’s team stopped Roselle Catholic, 71-62. It was the Celtics first sectional title also since 2009. C Nick Richards had a monster double-double with 28 points and 16 rebounds. They also defeated Ranney School (Tinton Falls), 66-56, in the semifinals.
15. Archbishop Moeller, Cincinnati (25-0)
Low-down: Defeated Walnut Hills (Cincinnati), 57-46, in the Division I district final. Up next is Mason Wednesday in the Dayton Region 4 semifinals at the Nutter Center in Dayton. The final is Friday for the right to play in the state tournament semifinals in Columbus.
16. Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (27-3)
Low-down: It was another disappointing ending after tripping against St. Augustine (San Diego), 88-81, in the CIF-Southern Region Open Division first round. Season complete.
17. Jefferson, Portland, Ore. (27-1)*
Low-down: Won the Class 6A championship, outlasting Clackamas, 70-67, as G Geno West scored a game-high 28 points, including nine down the stretch. It was the ninth overall state chip for the Democrats and the first in 6A. They also outlasted Beaverton, 63-54, in the semifinals as 6-9 junior Kamaka Hepa hit for 15 points (two 3s), 9 rebounds and 5 assists. In the quarterfinals, West’s 17 points helped the Dems overcome a slow start to defeat city rivals Grant (Portland), 77-61. West, a 6-3 senior, was named the Portland Interscholastic League’s player of the year. Season complete.
18. Basha, Chandler, Ariz. (30-1)*
Low-down: Won Conference 6A state championship. Season complete.
19. Simeon, Chicago (28-3)
Low-down: The Wolverines won the Class 4A Thornwood Sectional, stopping Thornton (Harvey), 69-52, in the final and Marist (Chicago), 56-36, in the semifinals. Up next was Edwardsville in the Normal SuperSectional on Tuesday. The 4A state semifinals are Friday and the championship and third-place game is Saturday at Carver Arena in Peoria.
20. Jonesboro, Ark. (32-0)*
Low-down: Won Class 6A state championship, trouncing El Dorado, 74-57. The Hurricane trailed 30-29 at halftime but a 23-8 third-quarter run turned the game. Season complete.
21. Prolific Prep, Napa, Calif. (28-3)
Low-down: Upset in the Grind Session’s High School World Championship semifinals, losing to Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix), 66-64, in overtime. Beat Liberty Heights Institute (Charlotte, N.C.), 76-48, as Gary Trent Jr. scored 28 points in the quarterfinals. There is one game left in the season.
22. Cypress Falls, Houston (35-3)*
Previous: Not ranked.
Low-down: Won the Texas Class 6A championship, beating San Antonio Wagner, 63-57, for the program’s first state title. The Eagles ended the season on a 25-game win streak. Trajan Wesley netted a game-high 20 points. In the semifinals, they upset then-No. 15 Skyline (Dallas), 46-43, in triple-overtime. Season complete.
23. Greensboro (N.C.) Country Day (33-3)*
Low-down: Won second North Carolina Independent Schools 3-A state title in three seasons. Season complete.
24. Trinity Episcopal, Richmond, Va. (35-1)*
Low-down: Won the Virginia Independent Schools Division state championship. Season complete.
25. Skyline, Dallas (34-2)
Low-down: Lost to Cypress Falls (Houston), 46-43, in triple overtime in the Class 6A semifinals. The game was tied at 36 after regulation. Kansas-bound PG Marcus Garrett scored 16 points, but it was not enough. Season complete.
Dropped: No. 25 Klein Forest (Houston)
High-Fives by Region
- Rindge and Latin, Cambridge, Mass. (22-0)
- Mount St. Joseph, Baltimore (37-4)*
- Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa. (24-3)*
- 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 (24-0)
- Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn. (27-0)
- Bolingbrook, Ill. (29-1)
- Morgan Park, Chicago (24-6)
- West, Iowa City, Iowa (23-3)*
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)*
- Meridian, Miss. (30-2)*
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Garfield, Seattle (23-5)
- Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (23-4)
- St. Augustine, San Diego (28-4)
- Woodcreek, Roseville, Calif. (30-2)
- 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.