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Tilton tumbles, Paul VI soars as H.S. playoff picture takes shape

After dropping another close contest to Brewster a week ago, Tilton's national chances took a severe hit following a blowout loss to New Hampton. The Rams were toppled, 76-58, limping to a poor start from which they never recovered. Tilton, New Hampton, Brewster, Notre Dame Prep and Hargrave Military Academy will all play in the National Prep Championships, providing a season-ending showcase to settle some ongoing debates.

Paul VI also defeated DeMatha, clinching the WCAC title and spurring the Panthers toward the top. With the playoffs underway, here's how the Power Rankings stand.

High School Basketball Power Rankings
1Brewster Academy
Last Week: 1
After surviving a scare against Bridgton, a game in which they went 24-of-25 from the free throw line, the Bobcats are set to begin their postseason quest. The NEPSAC AAA tournament begins Wednesday, followed by the National Prep Championship, where Hargrave and Tilton await. The nation's No. 1 team will certainly be tested.
Last week: Beat Bridgton Academy 87-84
Next game: Feb. 29 vs. Winchendon in NEPSAC Class AAA Quarterfinals
 
2Oak Hill Academy
Last Week: 2
Tuesday night's resounding 61-point victory over Body of Christ clinches a perfect season for the Warriors and the fourth time in school history the team has finished with more than 40 wins. It's certainly impressive, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't want to see them play in the ESPN National High School Invitational. Coach Steve Smith recently announced Oak Hill would skip the event in favor of a basketball tour in China from March 7-19.
Last week: Beat Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy, 99-52; Beat Kennedy Charter School, 119-72; Beat Body of Christ Academy, 130-69
Next game: Regular season complete
 
3Findlay Prep
Last Week: 3
Five players scored in double figures against La Jolla Prep, including Oregon signee Dominic Artis, who netted 33 points. But the biggest news for the Pilots? Oak Hill reportedly won't attend the NHSI, giving Findlay a shot to rise even higher than its current No. 3 ranking.
Last week: Beat La Jolla Prep, 110-81
Next game: Regular season complete
 
4St. Anthony
Last Week: 4
After another string of victories, the Friars' two-year unbeaten streak remains intact. But their next challenge, the New Jersey State championships, could be tougher. They'll need more performances like Kyle Anderson's against Carteret, when he scored 15 points.
Last week: Beat Lincoln, 51-45; Beat Carteret, 58-31; Beat Medford Tech, 77-53
Next game: March 1 vs. Oratory Prep
 
5Huntington Prep
Last Week: 6
Following its heartbreaker of a loss against St. Anthony, the Express have been nothing but brilliant. Sophomore sensation Andrew Wiggins dropped 26 points in Huntington's victory over Our Savior New American -- the team's sixth straight win.
Last week: Beat Next Level Prep, 100-84; Beat McNabb prep, 94-48; Beat University of Charleston JV, 114-64; Beat Our Savior New American, 68-58; Beat REDA, 59-45
Next game: March 2 vs. Shenandoah Valley Christian
 
6Simeon
Last Week: 7
The Wolverines began the chase for a state title started with a convincing victory over Oak Lawn. Simeon's trio of stars -- five-star forward Jabari Parker, four-star shooting guard Kendrick Nunn and Marquette committed forward Steve Taylor -- continues to shine.
Last week: Beat De La Salle, 59-51; Beat Oak Lawn, 63-25
Next game: TBD
 
7Paul VI
Last Week: 11
Paul VI did it again. The Fairfax, Va., program notched two one-point victories -- the latter coming on a dramatic Patrick Holloway jumper to sink DeMatha in the waning seconds -- to clinch a well-deserved WCAC championship. The program's meteoric rise into the top 10 is warranted: Other than DeMatha, they're the first team to go unbeaten in WCAC play in 50 years.
Last week: Beat Our Lady of Good Counsel, 55-40; Beat St. John's 50-49; Beat DeMatha, 55-54
Next game: Season complete
 
8Marcus
Last Week: 8
Marcus advances to the Class 5A regional semifinals after picking up a decisive victory Mansfield Timberview. The Marauders' Oklahoma State-bound standouts proved to be the difference: Marcus Smart and Phil Forte combined for 33 points, with Forte drilling four three-pointers.
Last week: Beat Justin Northwest, 51-39; Beat Duncanville, 65-37; Beat Mansfield Timberview 78-56
Next game: March 2 vs. North Crowley
 
9Mater Dei
Last Week: 9
Xavier Johnson's 23 points helped Mater Dei eke out a tight win over Loyola on Tuesday. The win serves as their 15th straight -- pits them against the No. 2 team in California, Long Beach Poly (27-1), on Saturday.
Last week: Beat Foothill, 72-60; Beat Loyola, 61-58
Next game: March 3 vs. Long Beach Poly
 
10Tilton School
Last Week: 5
After a shocking loss to New Hampton over the weekend, the Rams fall from their vaunted slot in the top four. But Nerlens Noel and Co. don't have time to dwell on defeat. They start playoff action against Vermont Academy on Wednesday, and have another shot at Brewster -- and possible tilts with Notre Dame Prep and Hargrave Military Academy -- at next week's National Prep Championship.
Last week: Beat Proctor Academy, 72-53; Lost to New Hampton, 76-58
Next game: Feb. 29 vs. Vermont Academy
 
11La Lumiere
Last Week: 10
The Lakers finished their regular season with a blowout victory over North Chicago, a game in which Hanner Perea poured in 15 points. Though it's not yet official, the only team to knock off No. 3 Findlay Prep should be heading to the NHSI for a chance to make one final rankings' push.
Last week: Beat North Chicago, 82-44
Next game: Regular season complete
 
12St. Benedict's
Last Week: 12
The Gray Bees took home the Prep A tournament title after beating Blair Academy, 81-57. Melvin Johnson scored 26 points and Tyler Ennis added 21 -- replicating the success St. Benedict's has enjoyed all season. Following its victory over Rise Academy, the Bees have won 19 straight games since their one-point loss to St. Anthony.
Last week: Beat Blair Academy, 81-57; Beat Rise Academy, 98-53
Next game: March 5 vs. Life Center Academy
 
13Notre Dame Prep
Last Week: 13
WThe Crusaders survived a closer-than-expected affair with Putnam Science, escaping with a one-point victory. Steven Adams and friends now turn their focus to the National Prep Championships -- a chance to really make a rankings' splash.
Last week: Beat Putnam Science Academy, 88-87
Next game: FFeb. 29 vs. Redemption Academy
 
14Hargrave Military Academy
Last Week: 14
The Tigers are rolling heading into the National Prep Championships, finishing their regular season a perfect 36-0. It was more of the same against Fishburne: Virginia Tech pledge Montrezl Harrrell had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Ryan Taylor contributed 18 points and 10 boards.
Last week: Beat Massanutten Military Academy, 115-77; Beat Fishburne Military Academy, 115-75
Next game: March 6 at National Prep Championships
 
15Montrose Christian
Last Week: 15
Virginia-bound forward Justin Anderson added another achievement to his terrific career: He surpassed the 1,000-point plateau after dropping 33 against Don Bosco Rey. He's averaging 17.8 points this season, and the Mustangs are beating opponents by an average of 36.2 points per game since February.
Last week: Beat Don Bosco Rey, 100-48
Next game: Regular season complete
 
16Grace Prep
Last Week: 17
The Lions are two steps away from winning another state title. Isaiah Austin and Co. will play San Antonio Christian next, a team they beat 73-53 last season en route to the championship.
Last week: Beat Concordia, 77-52
Next game: March 2 vs. San Antonio Christian in TAPPS Class 4A semifinals
 
17Montverde Academy
Last Week: 18
After wrapping up its regular season on Feb. 4, Montverde remains stationed in the bottom half of the Power Rankings. Michael Frazier and Co. lost three games -- to Grace Prep, Hagerty and Ridgeway -- but dominated for the majority of the season. In their 24 games, they outscored the competition by an average 16.3 points.
Last week: None
Next game: Regular season complete
 
18Chester
Last Week: 19
After taking care of Wissahickon, benefiting from a game-high 21 points from Darius Robinson, the Clippers take on Lower Merion, Kobe Bryant's alma mater, in the District-1 4A finals at Villanova on Friday. They'll look to remain unbeaten, and further a more impressive trend: Dating back to Jan. 14, Chester has won every game by a minimum of 10 points.
Last week: Beat Methacton, 59-31; Beat Norristown, 81-31; Beat Wissahickon, 67-52
Next game: March 2 vs. Lower Merion in the District-1 4A Tournament
 
19Milton
Last Week: 20
The Eagles survived a scare from Walton on Saturday, notching a six-point win behind 19 points from Auburn signee Shaq Johnson. Things don't get any easier. Shiloh, a 19-2 squad coming off seven straight victories, looms in the second round of the Georgia Class 5A playoffs on Wednesday.
Last week: Beat Walton, 68-62
Next game: Feb. 29 vs. Shiloh
 
20Bishop Gorman
Last Week: 21
Shabazz Muhammad might not be the only basketball prodigy in the family. Though the nation's No. 1 recruit amassed 36 points in the Gaels' NIAA Class 4A title triumph over hug, his younger brother, Rashad, scored 14 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. Rashad, a 6-3, 170-pound point guard, currently boasts offers to Maryland, USC and Colorado, among others.
Last week: Beat Douglas, 73-38; Beat Hug, 96-51
Next game: Season complete
 
21Prestonwood Christian
Last Week: 22
Prestonwood added to its run of recent successes, stomping Central Catholic, 83-64. Five-star forward Julius Randle scored 20 points, and freshman sensation Mickey Mitchell poured in 29. With the state tournament coming up, the Lions have a chance to clinch their second 5A title in a span of three years.
Last week: Beat Central Catholic, 83-64
Next game: March 2 vs. St. Thomas Catholic
 
22New Hampton
Last Week: NR
With its season spiraling downhill, New Hampton righted the ship in a major way last week. Zach Auguste tallied 22 points and 14 rebounds, Oliver Hanlan collected 21 and eight and Lew Evans added 12 and seven as the Huskies upended Tilton, 76-58. With the National Prep Championships right around the corner, can New Hampton mount an improbable late-season charge?
Last week: Beat Worcester Academy, 57-40; Beat Tilton, 76-58
Next game: Feb. 29 vs. South Kent in the Class AAA Quarterfinals
 
23Columbia
Last Week: 24
The Eagles filled out the stat-sheet on Friday against Shaw, with four players notching double-figures. Among the notables: Tahj Shamsid-Deen (24 points, 10 assists), Jarmal Reid (11 points, seven rebounds, three blocks) and Jhaustin Thomas (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks).
Last week: Beat Shaw, 84-66
Next game: Feb. 29 vs. Dalton
 
24DeMatha Catholic
Last Week: 23
DeMatha's latest loss to Paul VI furthers this season's ongoing trend: The Stags come up just short. After watching Patrick Holloway's game-winning jumper fall through the net, they've now lost three times to the Panthers by a combined six points. That's brutal. On the bright side, the team's stars continued to play well. BeeJay Anya, Jerami Grant and James Robinson combined for 32 points in defeat.
DeMatha's record has been updated to reflect its correct mark of 27-5
Last week: Beat Bishop O'Connell, 80-63; Beat Gonzaga, 45-42; Lost to Paul VI, 55-54
Next game: Season complete
 
25Ridgeway
Last Week: 16
UAB commit Cameron Golden scored 28 points in a victory over White Station, but his 22 weren't enough in Tuesday's stunning loss to Central. The Roadrunners fell behind by 20 points entering the fourth quarter, and couldn't overcome the deficit despite a late string of three-pointers. Once primed for a top 10 debut, Ridgeway plummets to the bottom of the rankings, where it'll likely stay for the remainder of the season.
Last week: Beat Southwind, 61-60; Beat White Station, 78-62; Lost to Central, 59-55
Next game: Regular season complete

Dropped out: Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)

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