By Fivestar Basketball
November 16, 2011

With the NBA's future in dire straits, extra attention trickles down to the high school hoops scene, where the season has begun in many states. Eleven of the Top 25 teams have tipped off their seasons, with plenty more taking to the court this week. There's already been some shakeup: La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) has entered the rankings, while Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.) has fallen out.

Although movement was modest, expect things to heat up in the coming weeks. The schedule only intensifies, with several high-profile matchups looming on the horizon.

High School Basketball Power Rankings
1 Brewster Academy
Last Week: 1
Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) (3-0)
The nation's No. 1 team is off to a hot start, cruising to three easy victories to open its season. Most impressive was a 108-89 beatdown of previously ranked Notre Dame Prep, a game in which Aaron Thomas -- a 6-5 shooting guard -- scored 36 points. The Bobcats also outrebounded the Crusaders 43-18, though that could change if the two meet again. Seven-foot Pitt commit Stephen Adams is set to join Notre Dame Prep starting next semester.
Last week: Beat Notre Dame Prep, 108-89; Beat Redemption Christian, 98-67; Beat CJEOTO, 79-61
Next game: Nov. 19 vs. Fishburne Military Academy
2 Findlay Prep
Last Week: 2
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) (3-0)
If its first three games are any indication, Findlay can rely on multiple options to score. In its recent outing against Stoneridge Prep, Brandon Ashley struggled, but Winston Shepard, Amedeo Della-Valle and Anthony Bennett stepped up. Shepard paced the Pilots with 21 points, while Della-Valle chipped in 19 and Anthony Bennett had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Depth shouldn't be an issue in Henderson, Nev., this season.
Last week: Beat Impact Academy, 107-63; Beat Stoneridge Prep, 102-80; Beat Stoneridge Prep, 93-79
Next game: Nov. 16 vs. ABCD Academy
3 Tilton School
Last Week: 3
Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.) (0-0)
Tilton's quest for a fifth straight Class AA NEPSAC title begins Friday at the National Prep Showcase in New Haven, Conn., as the Rams take on Kiski School. Their lineup is loaded: Heralded junior Nerlens Noel (6-10, 200) patrols the paint at center, while Wayne Selden and Missouri commit Domonique Bull compose what should be a dominant backcourt.
First game: Nov. 20 vs. Kiski School
4 Huntington Prep
Last Week: 4
Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) (3-0)
338-164. That's the score differential in Huntington Prep's first three games. Forward Elijah Macon and the Express should face stiffer challenges in weeks to come, including a top five tussle with Tilton on Nov. 26. The result should begin to establish an early season hierarchy.
Last week: Beat Next Level Prep, 81-48; Rio Grande JV, 128-57; University of Charleston JV, 129-59
Next game: Nov. 23 vs. Sunrise Christian Academy
5 Oak Hill Academy
Last Week: 5
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (8-0)
It's not even Thanksgiving, but Tyler Lewis and Co. have already notched eight victories. Looking at their schedule, the road gets tougher. After feasting on cupcakes in November, the Warriors play La Lumiere on Dec. 3 and Grace Prep on Dec. 10.
Last week: Beat Atlantic Shores Christian, 113-62; Beat Cesar Chavez, 123-51; Beat CrossRoads School, 95-55; Beat Flora McDonald Academy, 85-59
Next game: Nov. 17 vs. Harrison County
6 Simeon
Last Week: 6
Simeon (Chicago) (0-0)
Simeon has the pieces to be the title frontrunner, boasting a starting five that includes Marquette commit Steve Taylor, three-point sharpshooter Kendrick Nunn and all-everything junior Jabari Parker. But with no big man of note, the Wolverines could get outmuscled on the interior. Their inside play will be particularly pressing against Findlay (Jan. 16) and Huntington Prep (Dec. 17), games that could go a long way toward determining the Chicago power's ultimate fate.
First game: Dec. 3 vs. Hillcrest
7 Bishop Gorman
Last Week: 7
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) (0-0)
Coach Grant Rice is putting the finishing touches on his roster, as varsity tryouts concluded yesterday. There is little doubt about the headliner. Shabazz Muhammad, the nation's top player, should have the Gaels ready to roll for their Dec. 9 season-opener. On the recruiting front, forward Ben Carter recently committed to Oregon, while Rosco Allen pledged to Stanford.
First game: Dec. 9 vs. Durango
8 New Hampton
Last Week: 8
New Hampton (New Hampton, N.H.) (0-0)
The Huskies scrimmaged against Harvard's club team to tune-up for their season-opening weekend, as they'll join Blair Academy and Kiski School at the National Prep Showcase. Super sophomore Noah Vonleh has been held out of action with a hand injury, but head coach Peter Hutchins is confident that his 6-7 power forward will be ready to go.
First game: Nov. 19 vs. Kiski School
9 St. Anthony
Last Week: 9
St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (0-0)
UCLA commit Kyle Anderson will front St. Anthony's title defense, building off last year's historic 33-0 campaign. But don't overlook on Hofstra commit Jimmy Hall. He went for double figures in seven games, and should play an increased role as his senior year tips off.
First game: Dec. 16 vs. Emily Fischer Academy
10 Miller Grove
Last Week: 10
Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) (1-0)
After a halftime stalemate, Miller Grove used a second half surge to edge a talent-rich Milton squad. Big man Tony Parker's (6-9, 270) presence was evident. He scored a game-high 20 points before fouling out.
Last week: Beat Milton, 75-72
Next game: Nov. 29 vs. Redan
11 Marcus
Last Week: 11
Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) (1-0)
Marcus opened its 2011-12 campaign where it left off last season -- with a 'W'. The reigning state champs downed Heritage (Texas) 59-45, riding its tandem of Oklahoma State committed stars. Marcus Smart (6-4, 220) netted 14 points and Phil Forte (5-11, 180) scored 11, providing a harbinger of what to expect from the Marauders this season.
Last week: Beat Heritage, 59-45
Next game: Nov. 17 vs. Madison
12 DeMatha Catholic
Last Week: 12
DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) (0-0)
The Stags won't take the floor until December, but don't expect them to miss a beat. DeMatha's high-powered trio -- Syracuse commit Jerami Grant, Pittsburgh commit James Robinson and shot-blocking big man BeeJay Anya -- can match up with anyone.
First game: Dec. 3 vs. Glenelg Country Day
13 Montrose Christian
Last Week: 13
Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) (0-0)
In Montrose Christian's case, a December season-opener isn't such a bad thing. The late start provides transfer forward Ishamel Wainwright with added time to mesh with four-star swingman Justin Anderson, accelerating his acclimation. The chemistry could be crucial: The Mustangs play No. 11 Marcus on Dec. 15.
First game: Dec. 2 vs. Hayfield
14 Mater Dei
Last Week: 14
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) (0-0)
In an interview with Five-Star over the summer, Colorado commit Xavier Johnson said that the Monarchs were the best team on the West Coast. Now, it's time to back it up. Mission Viejo, Mater Dei's first foe, went 29-3 last year and returns savvy shooting guard Evan Zeller (10.9 ppg).
First game: Nov. 28 vs. Mission Viejo
15 Grace Prep
Last Week: 15
Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) (1-0)
Even without forward Karviar Sheppard, the Lions coasted to a season-opening victory. They defeated Dallas Kimball 65-55, accumulating six dunks in the first half alone. Their high-flying performance put the nation on notice: The inside-outside combination of Emmanuel Mudiay and Isaiah Austin should be lethal all season.
Last week: Beat Dallas Kimball 65-55
Next game: Nov. 17 vs. Lakeview Centennial
16 South Kent
Last Week: 16
South Kent (South Kent, Conn.) (0-0)
Featuring two ultra-talented guards in Ricardo Ledo and Chris Thomas, South Kent's backcourt should be electric this season. The duo just needs to improve its shot selection. If it can -- and Kansas State committed center Laimona Chatkevicius can be a force on the interior -- the Cardinals could have a big season in store.
First game: Nov. 16 vs. Robinson
17 Montverde Academy
Last Week: 17
Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) (0-0)
Coach Kevin Boyle -- formerly of St. Patrick (N.J.) -- is ready to make his mark on the Florida high school hoops circuit. He's doing a little recruiting, too. Standout sophomore D'Angelo Russell transferred from Central (Louisville, Ky.) to Montverde earlier this week.
First game: Nov. 21 vs. Forest Lake Academy
18 North Central
Last Week: 18
North Central (Indianapolis) (0-0)
After finishing 22-3 last season, North Central has been christened as the top team in Indiana. The question is: Can the Panthers live up to the hype? Patrick Ingram and Ronnie Johnson, two Big Ten-bound guards, open the season against Noblesville tomorrow.
First game: Nov. 17 vs. Noblesville
19 Fort Bend Travis
Last Week: 19
Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas) (1-0)
The heralded Harrison twins didn't disappoint in the Tigers' season-opener. Aaron went for 22 points and Andrew for 20 in a 77-71 win over Yates. Most striking, they knocked off the Houston-area power without leading rebounder Christian Crockett, currently serving a 21-day suspension. He'll be sorely missed in weeks to come: Fort Bend Travis plays Grace Prep -- and seven-footer Isaiah Austin -- on Nov. 26.
Last week: Beat Yates, 77-71
Next game: Nov. 18 vs. Cypress Spring
20 Vermont Academy
Last Week: 20
Vermont Academy (Saxton River, Vt.) (0-0)
Point guard Trey Davis' job shouldn't be too difficult: Feed the ball to highly touted wingmen Daquan McNeil and Jamel Artis. Vermont Academy's schedule, however, is more challenging. Newly ranked La Lumiere awaits on Nov. 20, as the Wildcats will be tasked with shutting down Hanner Perea.
First game: Nov. 20 vs. La Lumiere School
21 Arlington Country Day
Last Week: 21
Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville) (0-0)
There's a reason the Apaches scheduled four opponents in the Top 15 (Findlay Prep, Tilton, Oak Hill, Montrose Christian) this season: They have as much talent as any roster in the nation. That starts with seniors Torian Graham and Jordan Goodman, the latter committing to Texas Tech on Monday.
First game: Nov. 17 vs. Potter House Christian Academy
22 Christ the King
Last Week: 23
Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) (0-0)
The Royals earn the preseason distinction as the top team in New York, thanks largely to one player: Omar Calhoun. The 6-3, 170-pound UConn commit has scored more than 1,000 points in his Christ the King career, and seems primed for a monster senior season. His supporting cast isn't bad, either. Point guard Isaiah Lewis is an emerging star, and two-sport sensation Jordan Fuchs, a 6-6 power forward, should provide much needed toughness in the paint.
First game: Dec. 2 vs. Thomas Jefferson
23 Wichita Heights
Last Week: 24
Wichita Heights (Wichita Heights, Kan.) (0-0)
For the Falcons to thrive, forward Gavin Thurman (a Missouri State commit) and shooting guard Terrance Moore need to see open opportunities. They shouldn't be hard to come by. Blue-chip power forward Perry Ellis -- a five-star Kansas commit -- will draw plenty of double teams in the middle.
First game: Dec. 2 vs. Wichita North
24 Columbia
Last Week: 25
Columbia (Decatur, Ga.) (1-0)
The Eagles opened their season in convincing fashion, notching a 83-58 win over Southwest DeKalb. Junior point guard Tahj Shamid-Deen stole the show, racking up a game-high 31 points. It's early, but if he can continue to score in bunches, the Eagles could realistically challenge Miller Grove as Georgia's top team.
Last week: Beat Southwest DeKalb, 83-58
Next game: Dec. 4 vs. Greater Atlanta Christian
25 La Lumiere School
Last Week: NR
La Lumiere School (LaPorte, Ind.) (2-0)
The Lakers enter the Top 25 following a 2-0 start, but Hanner Perea, Raphael Davis and Co. are about to be tested in a big way. Matchups loom against Vermont Academy (Nov. 20) and Findlay Prep (Nov. 25), contests that should put La Lumiere's national standing in perspective.
Last week: Beat REDA Prep, 116-59; Beat IMG Prep, 62-53
Next game: Nov. 19 vs. Lee Academy

Dropped out: Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.)

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