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No. 2 DeMatha (MD) moves up Blue Star Media Elite 25 boys’ basketball rankings; No. 1 Montverde Academy (FL) to host NIBC Invitational over next two weekends

Boys Elite 25

BENSALEM, Pa. — So, three months are nearly in the books. If the boys’ basketball started for some states in November, the first day of February marks the fourth month.

And for some teams from the Blue Star Media Elite 25 boys’ rankings the start of the season cannot arrive a day too soon.

There’s good news out of New York.

 The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc., (NYSPHSAA) announced high risk sports have been authorized by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to begin practice and competition on Feb. 1 if permitted locally.

According to the NYSDOH release, “… participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments).”

That’s means Elite 25 teams such as Long Island Lutheran and Archbishop Stepinac could be up and running in a few weeks albeit with shortened seasons.

This week New Jersey, Pennsylvania (in some areas) and Colorado open their seasons. Illinois is close to getting the green light for early February depending if local health officials deem the pandemic numbers low enough to play. State such as California, Oregon and Washington won’t lift off until the spring.

There are no additions to the Blue Star Media Elite 25 rankings but expect a jolt next week Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament (MAIT) tips off with a new look in central Florida.

The MAIT will host the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) over the next two weekends. Earlier this month the national series was played over two weekends in Springfield, Va. Hosts Montverde (Fla.) Academy (FL), La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.), Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va., ), Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) and Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah), AZ Compass (Chandler, Ariz.) and Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) will compete at the EdgeCenter for Sportsmanship and Wellness beginning Thursday for three days end and Feb. 4-6. That’s another big-time event that goes a long way in determining a national champion.

The schedule can be found here.

No. 7 Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.) climbed 16 spots after recording a key road win this weekend in Indianapolis over an Elite 25 team.

The Elite 25 boys’ rankings are back on Feb. 2.

Until then stay safe, mask up, practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly and support your local small businesses that struggling to stay open.

Hope to see you at a game soon. – Christopher Lawlor

Blue Star Media Elite 25 Boys’ Basketball Rankings, Jan. 26, 2021

1. Montverde (Fla.) Academy (15-0)

Previous rank: 1.

Low-down: The Eagles host the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament this weekend starting Thursday. Yet this year the newly formed National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) over the next two weekends, including Feb. 4-6.

2. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (6-0)

Previous: 3.

Low-down: Led three double-digit scorers, the Stags used a 24-10 closing tear to put away St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio), 73-56, at the Chet Mason Invitational in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Juniors Tyrell Ward and Rodney Rice (17 points) apiece and UConn-bound Jordan Hawkins (13) teamed to score 47 points. Also beat Virginia Academy (Ashburn, Va.), 105-70.

3. Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Va. (14-1)

Previous: 4.

Low-down: Idle. The Warriors are off to Florida this week for the NIBC Invitational.

4. Sunrise Christian Academy, Bel Aire, Kan. (11-1)

Previous: 5.

Low-down: Upended then-No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 69-62, at the St. James NIBC Invitational. G Kennedy Chandler averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.5 steals at the event and was named First Team All-Tournament.

5. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (14-2)

Previous: 2.

Low-down: The Ascenders dropped two straight games to close out the St. James NIBC Invitational but rallied over the weekend to beat Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian, 65-31.

6. Wasatch Academy, Mount Pleasant, Utah (15-3)

Previous: 7.

Low-down: Lost to No. 1 Montverde (Fla.), 70-59, at the St. James NIBC Invitational.

7. Homestead, Fort Wayne, Ind. (16-0)

Previous: 23.

Low-down: Give credit where it is due, the Spartans went on the road and stopped then-No. 6 North Lawrence (Indianapolis), 55-50, in overtime. Junior G Fletcher Loyer, a Purdue recruit, struck for a game-high 27 points. Kaleb Kolpien’s layup with 18 seconds left in the OT made it 52-50 and the Spartans survived. Also beat Fort Wayne North, 107-61. No doubt that coach Chris Johnson’s team is top-ranked in Indiana’s Class 4A

8. Millard North, Omaha, Neb. (19-0)

Previous: 8.

Low-down: Defeated Millard South (Omaha), 62-51, and Burke (Omaha), 95-65.

9. Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, Minn. (3-0)

Previous: 10.

Low-down: The Redhawks took a road trip north and in iron-mining country, landing predictable results. The nation’s top recruit, 7-1 Chet Holmgren, tossed in 21 points and blocked seven shots and Prince Aligbe added 17 in a 77-36 dusting of Duluth East. Less than 24 hours later, the game at Hibbing was postponed until February.

10. Milton, Alpharetta, Ga. (16-2)

Previous: 12.

Low-down: The Eagles blew past two Region 5-AAAAAAA opponents by 30 and 45 points. Three games are scheduled this week.

11. Atascocita, Humble, Texas (15-0)

Previous: 13.

Low-down: The win streak reached 15 games after beating Kingwood, 69-40, and Summer Creek (Houston), 54-52.

12. Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa. (0-0)

Previous: 11.

Low-down: Coach John Mosco’s squad opens Friday with (Pa.) Conwell-Egan (Fairless Hills) in a Philadelphia Catholic League fixture.

13. Waxahachie, Texas (14-2)

Previous: 14.

Low-down: It was a short week with the Indians trouncing Midway (Waco), 103-43. It was 33-7 after one period and Prince Banks led the winners with 21 points, pacing five double-figure scorers.

14. Lawrence North, Indianapolis (14-1)

Previous: 6.

Low-down: In recent weeks, the Wildcats have been living on the edge with razor-thin wins. Finally, they were caught last weekend in overtime during 55-50 setback to then-No. 23 Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.). The Wildcats rallied throughout but were outscored, 9-4, in OT. Butler-bound C.J. Hughes scored 14 points and pulled down 11 boards and C.J. Gunn had 13 points. Coach Jack Keefer’s team will try rebound this weekend with games against Center Grove (Greenwood) and Jeffersonville.

15. Long Island Lutheran, Brookville, N.Y. (0-0)

Previous: 15.

Low-down: Idle. It appears basketball practice in New York starts on Feb. 1.

16. Duncanville, Texas (17-1)

Previous: 16.

Low-down: The Panthers get a second crack at No. 13 Waxahachie on Feb. 2 after winning once last week in District 11-6A.

17. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore (0-0)

Previous: 17.

Low-down: Idle. The Panthers have been playing games as a club team until the season tips.

18. Archbishop Stepinac, White Plains, N.Y. (0-0)

Previous: 18.

Low-down: Idle. It appears basketball practice starts in New York on Feb. 1.

19. Simeon, Chicago (0-0)

Previous: 19.

Low-down: Idle. The state of Illinois can start practicing but a date will be set later this week.

20. Camden, N.J. (0-0)

Previous: 19.

Low-down: New Jersey’s top-ranked club opens today at Cherry Hill West and then archrivals Woodrow Wilson (Camden) Thursday evening.

21. The Patrick School, Hillside, N.J. (0-0)

Previous: 20.

Low-down: The Celtics face Immaculate Conception (Montclair) today in the season opener. That’s a great way to start.

22. Paul VI, Chantilly, Va. (3-2)

Previous: 9.

Low-down: Idle. The Panthers face Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) on Wednesday.

23. Vashon, St. Louis (6-0)

Previous: 21.

Low-down: Idle. The Wolverines are Missouri’s top-ranked squad in Class 4.

24. Pace Academy, Atlanta (15-1)

Previous: 24.

Low-down: The Knights are on a COVD-19 pause for at least three games.

25. La Lumiere School, La Porte, Ind. (3-4)

Previous: 25.

Low-down: Idle. The Lakers will play this weekend at the MAIT NIBC Invitational in Florida.

Dropped: None.

High-Fives by Region

East

  1. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (0-0)
  2. St. Raymond, Bronx, N.Y. (0-0)
  3. Roselle (N.J.) Catholic (0-0)
  4. Polytechnic Institute, Baltimore (0-0)
  5. Neumann-Goretti, Philadelphia (0-0)

Midwest

  1. St. Catherine’s, Racine, Wis. (17-0)
  2. Hilliard (Ohio) Bradley (8-0)
  3. Cathedral, Indianapolis (12-1)
  4. Carmel, Ind. (13-1)
  5. Cedar Falls, Iowa (9-0)

Geography: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Southland

  1. Orlando (Fla.) Christian Prep (19-0)
  2. Carmel Christian, Matthews, N.C. (18-1)
  3. Pebblebrook, Mableton, Ga. (17-2)
  4. Magnolia, Ark. (14-0)
  5. Bowling Green, Ky. (4-0)

Geography: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Far West

  1. Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif. (0-0)
  2. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (0-0)
  3. O’Dea, Seattle (0-0)
  4. Mountain Pointe, Phoenix (2-0)
  5. Timpview, Provo, Utah (12-3)

Geography: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Records are through Sunday.

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. 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. Follow him on Twitter at @clawlor.

Senior Writer and national analyst for Blue Media and compiles the Blue Star Elite 25 national boys and girls high school basketball and football rankings during the season. Lawlor, an award-winning writer, is a voting committee member and advisor for several national high school events, including the McDonald’s All-American Games. He previously wrote for USA TODAY and ESPN.com, where he was the national preps writer, while compiling the national rankings in four sports.

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