Fivestar Basketball
Wednesday December 28th, 2011

Things are finally starting to get interesting. Though the top seven held steady, unpredictability reigned in the rest of the latest Power Rankings. Julius Randle and Prestonwood surged to No. 8 after winning at City of Palms, and Aaron Gordon and Archbishop Mitty entered at No. 23 after starting a perfect 5-0.

Upsets also abound. Bishop Gorman, Mater Dei and Miller Grove all lost, opening the door for several newcomers to make appearances. Heading into the New Year, here's how things stack up.

High School Basketball Power Rankings
1Brewster Academy
Last Week: 1
Mitch McGary and Brewster enjoyed the holiday off knowing their top spot was not in danger. But their return to action won't be easy. New Hampton waits on Jan. 6, followed by a highly anticipated rematch with Tilton at the Hoop Hall Classic.
Last week: None
Next game: Jan. 6 vs. New Hampton
2Findlay Prep
Last Week: 2
There were no games for Findlay this week, as the Pilots remain at No. 2. They'll have a chance to state their claim for the top spot on Thursday. Anthony Bennett and Co. play La Lumiere at the Mike Miller Classic, an opportunity for another quality win -- and a chance to potentially supplant Brewster.
Last week: None
Next game: Dec. 29 vs. La Lumiere
3Oak Hill Academy
Last Week: 3
Oak Hill becomes the first 20-win team in the rankings, earning three more victories at the Chick-fil-A Classic. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 17 points in the final, while Tyler Lewis dished out 13 assists.
Last week: Beat W.J. Keenan, 68-67; Beat Paul IV, 76-55, Beat David Douglas, 93-53
Next game: Dec. 21 vs. W.J. Keenan
Last Week: 4
Two of Chicago's top teams squared off last Thursday, with Jabari Parker and Simeon emerging victorious over Jahlil Okafor -- a distant cousin of Emeka -- and Whitney Young. Parker had 15 points to Okafor's 20, but the supporting casts were the difference. Wolverines' shooting guard Kendrick Nunn dropped 19 points and forward Steve Taylor added 16. They'll play next at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
Last week: Beat Corliss, 79-51; Beat Whitney Young, 62-55
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Bloomington
5Tilton School
Last Week: 5
All of the buzz centered on Prestonwood Christian at last week's City of Palms, but Tilton quietly won the Signature Series with a resounding victory over Wilbraham & Monson. Georges Niang (20 points), Wayne Selden (17 points) and Kevin Crescenzi (13 points) paced the Rams' well-balanced attack.
Last week: Beat Wilbraham & Monson, 63-47
Next game: Jan. 6 vs. Proctor
6St. Anthony
Last Week: 6
St. Anthony was inactive this week, but UCLA commit Kyle Anderson and Co. are in Boston tonight for the start of the Shooting Touch Shootout. Following a pair of games, the schedule picks up: The Friars play 12 games in January -- five on one or two days rest.
Last week: None
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. New Mission
7Huntington Prep
Last Week: 7
After escaping a late rally from Northland, Huntington outlasted a tougher-than-expected Taft squad by closing their Dec. 23 contest on a 27-12 run. Now, the Express enjoy a well-deserved week off before battling Whitney Young (4-2) at Rupp Arena on Jan. 8.
Last week: Beat Northland, 71-62; Beat Taft, 72-53
Next game: Jan. 8 vs. Whitney Young
8Prestonwood Christian
Last Week: 12
Prestonwood Christian continued its early brilliance, dismantling Grace Prep by 20 to clinch the City of Palms title. Julius Randle tallied seven points, seven rebounds and five assists, but forward Mickey Mitchell stole the show. Arguably the top player in the freshman class, he scored a game-high 19 points -- and is a major reason that the Lions have skyrocketed to No. 8 in the latest rankings.
Last week: Beat Grace Prep, 62-42
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Scott County
9Grace Prep
Last Week: 8
Six days after dusting Prestonwood Christian, 79-64, the Lions fell to the same foe in the City of Palms final. It wasn't close. Prestonwood held Grace Prep to 25 percent shooting in a 62-42 rout. It's disappointing, but doesn't erase an otherwise dominant showing from Isaiah Austin and Co. For a full recap of tournament action, check out this mixtape.
Last week: Lost to Prestonwood Christian, 62-42
Next game: Jan. 3 vs. Pantego Christian
10DeMatha Catholic
Last Week: 9
Maryland's top team cruised to a 20-point victory over St. Mary's Ryken, benefiting from 15 points from Marcellous Bell and 12 from center BeeJay Anya. The latter checked in with Five-Star to offer his thoughts on his eventual college commitment.
Last week: Beat St. Mary's Ryken, 86-66; Beat Lincoln, 59-48
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Mayfair
Last Week: 11
After climbing three spots last week, Marcus was inactive over the holidays. Marcus Smart, Phil Forte and Co. jump back into action with a showdown against Plano -- a team it beat 60-37 last year -- on Jan. 3.
Last week: None
Next game: Jan. 3 vs. Plano
12Montverde Academy
Last Week: 14
Montverde captured another quality win this week, claiming a 12-point victory over Riverside Academy at City of Palms. Michael Frazier racked up 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Kasey Hill scored 13. The latter -- a four-star junior point guard -- recently narrowed his college list to three.
Last week: Beat Riverside, 92-80; Beat North Clayton, 81-47
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Kingdom of the Sun
13Montrose Christian
Last Week: 15
Coming off a heartbreaking 42-40 loss to Marcus on Dec. 15, Montrose Christian proceeded to dominate its slate of games in Hawaii. The Mustangs won the Iolani Tournament with an 11-point victory over Orlando Christian Prep, and took home an abundance of hardware: Justin Anderson won the Most Outstanding Player Award, and power forward Michael Carrera earned MVP honors.
Last week: Beat Orlando Christian Prep, 47-36
Next game: Jan. 10 vs. Don Bosco Cristo Ray
14New Hampton
Last Week: 16
Following a Mercer Tournament title last week, New Hampton won't play again until 2012. It has a chance to bounce back in style. The Huskies can contend for a spot in the prep elite with a victory over Brewster on Jan. 6.
Last week: None
Next game: Jan. 4 vs. Vanier Prep
15Arlington Country Day
Last Week: 17
Arlington Country Day notched its sixth win to open the season with a victory over Lexington in the Chick-fil-A Classic. The Apaches were a model of balance: Four players scored in double-figures, led by swingman Ben Howze, who had a game-high 20 points. They'll look to remain unbeaten in the Triple Threat Holiday Tournament.
Last week: Beat Lexington, 77-66
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Roosevelt
16St. Thomas More
Last Week: 18
St. Thomas More bettered its record to 11-0, handling NIA Prep 99-74 on Dec. 21. Senior guard Ky Howard continued to impress. He totaled 24 points and 11 rebounds -- and continues to rise on the radar of a number of national scouts.
Correction: St. Thomas More varsity -- not prep -- lost to Wheeler School last week.
Last week: Last week: Beat CCRI 81-59, Beat NIA Prep, 99-74
Next game: Jan. 11 vs. New Hampton
17Wichita Heights
Last Week: 20
The Falcons are off until Jan. 3, when they take on struggling (1-4) Bishop Carroll. As they continue to beat up on lesser-known and lesser-talented competition, don't be surprised if teams with tougher schedules pass them.
Last week: None
Next game: Jan. 3 vs. Carroll
18Hargrave Military Academy
Last Week: NR
With an 18-0 record, Hargrave Military Academy -- led by Wake Forest-bound point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre -- cracks the Top 25. The problem is, the Tigers don't play any contender of note. Hargrave falls into the same boat as Wichita Heights -- immensely talented but untested -- something that could hinder its rankings' rise.
Last week: Beat American Basketball Institute, 112-53
Next game: Jan. 7 vs. True Academy
19Mater Dei
Last Week: 13
Though Mater Dei and Bishop Gorman did't meet in the City of Palms final, the Monarchs 79-69 victory over the Gaels in the fifth place game was impressive nonetheless. UNLV commit Katin Reinhardt was unstoppable: He converted three shots from beyond the arc and went a perfect 15-for-15 from the free throw line. However, a surprising 56-44 loss to Rancho Bernardo drops the Monarchs to No. 19.
Last week: Beat Bishop Gorman, 79-69; Beat Burbank, 75-42; Lost to Rancho Bernardo, 56-44
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Dorsey
20Bishop Gorman
Last Week: 10
Apparently, Shabazz Muhammad can't do it all by himself. The nation's top-ranked recruit dropped a game-high 26 points against Mater Dei at City of Palms, but the Gaels still fell by 10 points. Gorman will look to bounce back from a disappointing start at the upcoming Beach Ball Classic.
Last week: Lost to Mater Dei, 79-69; Beat Rye, 81-33
Next game: Dec. 29 vs. Lakota East
Last Week: 23
Point guard Nate Britt's future focus may be in North Carolina, but his current drive is keeping the upstart Eagles unbeaten. Gonzaga stomped Bishop McNamara to improve to 6-0, but must win three games in South Carolina in order to keep the streak alive. Britt, Kris Jenkins and Will Rassman are all averaging double figures.
Last week: Beat Bishop McNamara 68-46
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. James Island Charter
Last Week: 22
Is Loyola the best team in the West? After Bishop Gorman and Mater Dei underwhelmed at City of Palms, the undefeated Cubs can make a case for that claim. After 18 days off, they'll try to cement that reputation with a trip to Maryland for the Father George National Jesuit Christmas Classic.
Last week: None
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Bellarmine Prep
23Archbishop Mitty
Last Week: NR
Five-star forward Aaron Gordon's crew makes its initial appearance in the rankings -- and it shouldn't be the last. Archbishop Mitty could face DeMatha in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic with a chance to better its national stock.
Last week: Beat Compton, 61-47
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Windward
Last Week: NR
Welcome to the Power Rankings, Chester. Paced by junior forward Rondae Jefferson, the high-flying Clippers might be the most talented team in basketball-crazy Philadelphia. They'll have a chance to prove it. A matchup with Omar Calhoun and Christ the King looms on New Year's Day.
Last week: Beat Newark, 69-41
Next game: Dec. 28 vs. Imhotep Charter
25La Lumiere
Last Week: 24
Two of the Lakers top players -- Hanner Perea and Raphael Davis -- missed the team's two most recent games due to family commitments. They resulted in a win and a loss. This week's game against Findlay will be more telling -- and a chance for La Lumiere to potentially jump back into the top 15.
Last week: Lost to Elgin 40-34, Beat Batavia 59-35
Next game: Dec. 29 vs. Findlay Prep

Dropped out: Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.), Columbia (Decatur, Ga.), Riverside (Reserve, La.)

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