BENSALEM, Pa. – The latest Blue Star Media Elite 25 boys’ basketball rankings are based on games through Sunday. Having said that are no new additions to the fold but two schools are on the brink of falling out.
The aforementioned teams are No. 24 Roselle (N.J.) Catholic and No. 25 Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.).
Roselle Catholic stays alive in the Elite 25 after a near win over top-ranked Montverde (Fla.) Academy last Friday. Roselle Catholic held a late lead by the Eagles rose—actually RJ Barrett scored six points in the final 24 seconds—and avoided the loss. Roselle Catholic has a tough road ahead with the always-powerful Union County Tournament and the Non-Public B North Sectional. The Lions’ path to a state title won’t be easy and getting out of the sectional requires heavy lifting.
Oak Ridge is still among the favorites in Florida’s Class 9A (largest classification) and open the districts this week. The Pioneers are at that stage of win or go home.
The biggest shock—well to some at least—was No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) upending No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at the Heartland Hoop Classic in Nebraska. The Buffaloes moved up 10 spots a week ago after winning the Saint James Invitational Tournament in Maryland and now are up four more after beating OHA. Many felt OHA and Montverde would enter the GEICO Nationals (newly named in lieu of DICK’S Nationals) both unbeaten and meet for the title on March 31.
Well that won’t happen but both will play in the GEICO Nationals. As we near invitation time for the national tournament to be played in New York, at least four independent schools and publics will be chosen. That number could sway to five independents.
So far Montverde, Oak Hill Academy, Sunrise Christian and Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) are in with La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.), Wesley Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) and Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah) on the bubble. The public schools are nebulous, but Garfield (Seattle), University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) control their own destinies needing to win state titles. Schools from Washington, Utah, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina (independents) and Maryland (privates) are all in play. The picture gets clearer each week leading up to the phone calls.
The Elite 25 rankings return on Feb. 20 and state tournament action highlights the national landscape. Enjoy the games.
Hope to see you at one soon. – Christopher Lawlor
Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys Basketball Rankings, Feb. 13, 2018
1. Montverde (Fla.) Academy (32-0)
Previous rank: 1.
Low-down: The Eagles went 3-0 on their trip north to New Jersey competing at the Metro Classic in Union. RJ Barrett’s six points in the final 24 seconds rallied the Eagles past then-No. 25 Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, 60-59. The Duke-bound senior netted 18 of his 20 points after the break. Coach Kevin Boyle’s team also defeated Christ the King (Middle Village N.Y.), 85-59, and Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone, N.J.), 71-48.
2. Sunrise Christian Academy, Bel Aire, Kan. (23-2)
Low-down: The Buffaloes are the nation’s hottest team and punctuated their recent form with a 76-65 win over then-No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at the Heartland Hoop Classic in Grand Island, Neb. The Buffaloes have all but clinched a berth at the GEICO Nationals in March.
3. Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. (36-1)
Low-down: Lost to then-No. 6 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), 76-65, at the Heartland Hoops Classic in Grand Island, Neb. The Warriors close the regular with eight consecutive home dates.
4. Bishop Montgomery, Torrance, Calif. (26-0)
Low-down: Defeated Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello), 67-63. The Knights are headed to the postseason. The top-seeded Knights play St. John Bosco (Bellflower) Friday in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division first round.
5. University School, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (26-1)
Low-down: The Sharks host the District 13-5A playoffs on Wednesday, starting with a semifinal matchup.
6. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (25-2)
Low-down: The Panthers continued their mastery of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference continued with two wins, defeating then-No. 20 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 58-51, and Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.), 76-71. In the former win, sophomore Jeremy Roach scored 21 points, making all right free throws, and Anthony Harris added 18. The last bit of business is finishing off the regular without a blemish with Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) Tuesday and No. 11 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) Friday—both at home. The WCAC playoffs start next week but the Panthers have already clinched at least a tie for the WCAC title.
7. Shadow Mountain, Phoenix (21-1)
Low-down: The Matadors beat Cactus Shadows (Cave Creek), 94-63. Next up is 16th-seeded Flagstaff on Wednesday in the 4A first round. The state tournament final is Feb. 24.
8. Denton (Texas) Guyer (33-1)
Low-down: JaKobe Coles scored 25 points in a 77-46 win over Plan West and the Wildcats used a 13-6 fourth-quarter spree to overcome Plano, 59-55. The District 6-6A champions close out with Plano East on Tuesday.
9. Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev. (27-4)
Low-down: Defeated Foothill (Henderson), 81-50.
10. Simeon, Chicago (22-3)
Low-down: Iowa State-bound Talen Horton-Tucker produced a rare triple-double with 21 points, 10 boards and 10 assists to lead the Wolverines over Corliss (Chicago), 81-51, in the second round of the Chicago Public League playoffs. Next up is Uplift (Chicago) Tuesday in the quarterfinals. The semifinals are Thursday and the title game is Sunday—both rounds at Chicago State University.
11. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (22-4)
Low-down: The Stags won three times last week and concludes the WCAC season with three more, including nationally ranked Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) and Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.).
12. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (17-3)
Low-down: Isaiah Stewart produced 24 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks to beat Roosevelt (Gary), 96-54. The Lakers play Culver (Ind.) Military Academy Thursday.
13. McEachern, Powder Springs, Ga. (24-2)
Low-down: Won the Region 3-AAAAAAA crown, defeating Kennesaw Mountain (Kennesaw), 87-71, in the final. Also beat Hillgrove (Powder Springs), 71=-41, in the semifinals. The Indians take a 13-game win skein into the Class AAAAAAA state tournament.
14. East, Memphis, Tenn. (22-3)
Low-down: Won the SCIAA Class AAA championship, beating Ridgeway (Memphis), 80-55, in the final. James Wiseman had 14 points and 7 rebounds. The Mustangs went 8-0 in district play.
15. Garfield, Seattle (22-0)
Low-down: Defeated archrivals Rainier Beach (Seattle), 72-68, in the Class 3A Metro League final and Cleveland (Seattle), 84-70, in the semifinals Next up is the SeaKing District Tournament quarterfinals vs. Ingraham (Seattle) on Tuesday. The semifinals are Thursday and the final is Saturday.
16. Salesian College Prep, Richmond, Calif. (23-1)
Low-down: Defeated Albany, 66-38. The CIF-North Coast Section playoffs are next.
17. Imhotep Charter, Philadelphia (21-2)
Low-down: Crushed Franklin (Philadelphia), 100-48, in the Public League playoffs. Next up is Parkway Northwest on Tuesday in the second round.
18. Etiwanda, Calif. (27-1)
Low-down: The Eagles closed out the regular season winning the Baseline League title with a perfect record by defeating Damien (La Verne), 73-66) and Upland, 55-52. They open the CIF-Southern Section Open Division playoffs with Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita) on Friday.
19. Clarkston, Mich. (13-1)
20. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (22-3)
Low-down: It was a downer week for the Purple Eagles, who lost to then-No. 5 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), 58-51, and St. John’s College (Washington), 49-47. In the latter, the Eagles rallied from a 44-33 deficit in the fourth quarter but fell short. They have a crucial game with archrivals No. 11 DeMatha on Tuesday.
21. Westlake, Austin, Texas (30-3)
Low-down: The Chaps take a 13-game win streak in the District 25-6A finale against Vista Ridge (Cedar Park) on Tuesday.
22. Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C. (25-4)
Low-down: Defeated Greensboro (N.C.) Day School, 57-41, for the second in a week. Next is the NCISAA 3A state tournament quarterfinals on Saturday.
23. Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (20-2)
Low-down: Defeated Timpanogos (Orem), 55-47, as Tyrese Samuel had 18 points and 7 rebounds. Also topped Davis (Kaysville), 65-61.
24. Roselle (N.J.) Catholic (18-4)
Low-down: The Lions defeated Union Catholic (Scotch Plains), 85-50, but lost a heartbreaker to top-ranked Montverde (Fla.) Academy, 60-59, after blowing a five-point in the final seconds. Josh Pierre-Louis came off the bench to flip in 17 points in the latter game at the Metro Classic.
25. Oak Ridge, Orlando, Fla. (22-4)
Low-down: Lost to Boone (Orlando), 78-76, and defeated East River (Orlando), 80-50. The district playoffs begin this week. In spite of the loss, the Pioneers are the top seed in the Class 9A, District tournament and play a semifinal game Wednesday with the final Friday.
High-Fives by Region
- Long Island Lutheran, Brookville, N.Y. (19-2)
- Hudson Catholic, Jersey City, N.J. (17-4)
- Plymouth-Whitemarsh, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (23-0)
- St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (29-3)
- Bonner-Prendergast, Drexel Hill, Pa. (19-3)
Geography: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
- Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, Minn. (18-1)
- Curie, Chicago (22-3)
- Orr, Chicago (21-3)
- Riley, South Bend, Ind. (19-0)
- Warren Central, Indianapolis (21-0)
Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
- Cox Mill, Concord, N.C. (22-3)
- Pebblebrook, Mableton, Ga. (24-2)
- Mountain Brook, Birmingham, Ala. (30-4)
- Scott County, Georgetown, Ky. (26-1)
- Trinity, Louisville, Ky. (24-2)
Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Jefferson, Portland, Ore. (19-3)
- Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (21-3)
- Rancho Christian, Temecula, Calif. (26-2)
- Gonzaga Prep, Spokane, Wash. (22-0)
- Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (20-6)
Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
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 @clawlor.