By Fivestar Basketball
November 30, 2011

It was more famine than feast over the holiday, as 12 of the Top 25 teams were inactive. But there was quality play at the DFW Thanksgiving Hoop Fest. Grace Prep knocked off No. 19 Fort Bend Travis, and Prestonwood Christian Academy beat Upper Room Christian Academy, vaulting into the national radar. Then there was the game of the week: No. 3 Tilton topped previous No. 4 Huntington Prep, with Rams' tour-de-force Nerlens Noel earning Most Outstanding Player honors.

Though action has started slowly, expect it to pick up soon. A number of highly anticipated matchups loom, including showdowns between Findlay Prep and Marcus, Tilton and South Kent and Oak Hill and La Lumiere. The season is upon us: Let the games begin.

High School Basketball Power Rankings
1 Brewster Academy
Last Week: 1
Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) (5-0)
After ten days off, the No. 1 team in the land resumes play against Holderness, a squad it beat by 43 points last season. Expect a similar result. Brewster is 5-0, winning by an average of 23 points.
Last week: None
Next game: Nov. 30 vs. Holderness School
2 Findlay Prep
Last Week: 2
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) (5-0)
Anthony Bennett, Brandon Ashley and the rest of Findlay Prep stated their case for the top spot last Friday, crushing Christian Faith Center Academy at the Kentucky Preseason Showcase. Winston Shepard scored 32 points, and Nigel Williams-Goss approached a triple-double, (25 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists). Things get tougher this week: The Pilots play No. 11 Marcus on Saturday.
Last week: Beat Christian Faith Center Academy, 112-79
Next game: Dec. 3 vs. Marcus
3 Tilton School
Last Week: 3
Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.) (4-0)
After blowing out Trent Internationale and edging Sunrise Christian, Tilton showed all that it's capable of in a bout with Huntington Prep. The Rams limited high-flying Express to 28 points through three quarters, registering a staunch defensive effort in a 53-48 win. Center Nerlens Noel was named State Farm Tournament of Champions MVP, and small forward Wayne Selden also made the All-Tournament team.
Last week: Beat Trent Internationale, 76-52; Beat Sunrise Christian Academy, 47-42; Beat Huntington Prep, 53-48
Next game: Dec. 4 vs. South Kent
4 Oak Hill Academy
Last Week: 5
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (9-0)
Following a busy start to the season, the 9-0 Warriors rested last week. They'll need to get back in the thick of things quickly. After a warm-up against Thomasville Prep, Oak Hill plays what may be the game of the week: Dec. 3 versus La Lumiere. Seven-footer A.J. Hammons could have his hands full with Hanner Perea in the paint.
Last week: None
Next game: Nov. 30 vs. Thomasville Prep
5 Huntington Prep
Last Week: 4
Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) (5-1)
Like Tilton, Huntington trounced Trent Internationale and grinded for a win over Sunrise Christian. But in the marquee matchup of the week, the Express came up five points short. Sophomore sensation Andrew Wiggins and Missouri commit Negus Webster-Chan -- both All-Tournament team selections -- will have a chance to reassert their national dominance on Dec. 17 against Simeon.
Last week: Beat Sunrise Christian Academy, 49-39; Beat Trent Internationale, 79-41; Lost to Tilton, 53-48
Next game: Dec. 2 vs. Wesley Christian
6 Simeon
Last Week: 6
Simeon (Chicago) (0-0)
The wait is almost over. Jabari Parker, Steve Taylor, Kendrick Nunn and Co. tip off Dec. 3 against Hillcrest, beginning their highly anticipated campaign. When the two teams met last season, Simeon rolled 57-29.
First game: Dec. 3 vs. Hillcrest
7 Bishop Gorman
Last Week: 7
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) (0-0)
One more off-week remains for Bishop Gorman, as the Gaels eagerly await their Dec. 9 season-opener. Though inactive, Shabazz Muhammad continues to create a recruiting buzz. He recently talked to Five-Star about attending Duke with Miller Grove's Tony Parker, a tandem that could potentially wreak havoc in Durham.
First game: Dec. 9 vs. Durango
8 New Hampton
Last Week: 8
New Hampton (New Hampton, N.H.) (2-0)
New Hampton's formula is simple: Get the ball to Noah Vonleh, and let the ultra-athletic sophomore do the rest. The 6-8 Vonleh averaged 17 points and 16.5 rebounds in two opening victories, and will look to keep things rolling against St. Thomas More. The Huskies beat the Chancellors by three points last March.
Last week: None
Next game: Nov. 30 vs. St. Thomas More
9 St. Anthony
Last Week: 9
St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (0-0)
The wait continues. St. Anthony sits out for a few more weeks, practicing before back-to-back games against Emily Fischer Academy and Trenton Catholic. The latter could pose a challenge. The Iron Mikes went 19-7 in '10-'11, and return Brandon Taylor, a Penn State committed power forward.
First game: Dec. 16 vs. Emily Fischer Academy
10 Miller Grove
Last Week: 10
Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) (2-0)
The Wolverines remained unbeaten for another week, routing Redan 86-51. It was more of the same: Tony Parker collected 26 points and 18 boards, and Georgia-bound forward Brandon Morris contributed 13 and eight. They'll need to maintain that production. Miller Grove plays Southwest DeKalb -- and Memphis commit Shaq Goodwin -- on Dec. 6.
Last week: Beat Redan, 86-51
Next game: Dec. 2 vs. Mays
11 Marcus
Last Week: 11
Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) (8-0)
Marcus survived another early season test, besting Houston Yates 80-67. The Marauders showed impressive resolve: Leading by two points entering the fourth quarter, they outscored the Lions 24-13, with Oklahoma State commit Phil Forte netting 10 crucial points. We'll get a better feel for Marcus's Top 10 potential on Saturday, as the top team in Texas faces No. 2 Findlay Prep.
Last week: Beat Houston Yates, 80-67; Beat Upper Room Christian, 61-54
Next game: Dec. 3 vs. Findlay Prep
12 DeMatha Catholic
Last Week: 12
DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) (0-0)
Maryland's highest-ranked team finally tips off its season this weekend, playing a pair of games against Glenelg Country Day and Magruder High. It's been said before, but it bears repeating: Point guard James Robinson and swingman Jerami Grant are as explosive as any tandem in the nation.
First game: Dec. 3 vs. Glenelg Country Day
13 Montrose Christian
Last Week: 13
Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) (0-0)
Maryland's other contender of note, Montrose Christian also begins its season over the coming weekend. It shouldn't be tested. The Mustangs first two opponents, Hayfield and Woodbridge, went a combined 7-35 last year.
First game: Dec. 2 vs. Hayfield
14 Mater Dei
Last Week: 14
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) (2-0)
The Monarchs showed no signs of rust in their opening two games, beating Mission Viejo and Los Alamitos by an average of 40.5 points. Xavier Johnson and Katin Reinhardt both dropped 15 against the Griffins, setting the tone for what should be a successful season. Looking ahead, Mater Dei should notch a few more victories before tipping off the City of Palms Classic on Dec. 17.
Last week: Beat Mission Viejo, 89-53; Beat Los Alamitos, 72-27
Next game: Dec. 1 vs. San Juan Hills
15 Grace Prep
Last Week: 15
Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) (6-0)
The Lions notched their first quality win in the '11-'12 campaign, staving off Fort Bend Travis 76-72 in overtime. Seven-foot Baylor commit Isaiah Austin led the way -- and future coach Scott Drew watched from the stands.
Last week: Beat Fort Bend Travis, 76-72; Beat South Oak Cliff, 85-62
Next game: Dec. 15 vs. Prestonwood Christian
16 South Kent
Last Week: 16
South Kent (South Kent, Conn.) (3-0)
Ricardo Ledo and Co. enjoyed the week off after racking up three quick victories, but the Cardinals better not have slacked too much. They take on Tilton -- and its ferocious frontcourt of Nerlens Noel, Goodluck Okonoboh and Georges Niang -- on Sunday. It's a chance to make an early season statement -- and potentially climb into the Top 10.
Last week: None
Next game: Dec. 2 vs. Worcester Academy
17 Montverde Academy
Last Week: 17
Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) (3-0)
The duo of Michael Frazier and Kasey Hill combined for 41 points against Orlando Christian, and Chris Davenport led a balanced scoring attack versus Bartow. If Davenport -- a 6-7, 195-pound power forward -- can consistently impose his will, the Eagles will be an increasingly tough team to beat.
Last week: Beat Orlando Christian Prep, 74-62; Beat Bartow, 75-26
Next game: Dec. 6 vs. Dr. Phillips
18 North Central
Last Week: 18
North Central (Indianapolis) (1-0)
North Central started its season in impressive fashion, collecting a 12-point victory over perennially talented Pike. It's encouraging, but it's only the first step in proving the Panthers can succeed without D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Richmond -- 19-6 last year -- is next.
Last week: Beat Pike, 88-76
Next game: Dec. 2 vs. Richmond
19 Fort Bend Travis
Last Week: 19
Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas) (3-1)
It's tough to criticize the Tigers for losing to Grace Prep, especially considering their efforts in overtime. But a loss is a loss. Andrew and Aaron Harrison need to step it up against Morton Ranch -- 26-6 last season -- to maintain their spot in the Top 20.
Last week: Lost to Grace Prep, 76-72
Next game: Dec. 6 vs. Morton Ranch
20 La Lumiere School
Last Week: 20
La Lumiere School (LaPorte, Ind.) (4-0)
La Lumiere's strong start continued, with Hanner Perea and Co. knocking off another pair of unranked foes. But now the road gets tougher. The team plays Oak Hill Academy on Saturday, a matchup laden with rankings implications. A win would bolster the Lakers' resume -- and go a long way toward cementing their status as national title contenders.
Last week: Beat AIM Prep, 50-38; Beat Summit Christian, 95-79
Next game: Dec. 3 vs. Oak Hill Academy
21 Arlington Country Day
Last Week: 21
Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville) (2-0)
How's this for balance? Six Apache players scored in double figures against Oldsmar Christian, as Arlington Country Day nearly doubled its overmatched Florida foe. Shooting guard Torian Graham, an N.C. State commit, tallied 33 points and seven steals.
Last week: Beat Oldsmar Christian, 103-55
Next game: Dec. 2 vs. Southwind
22 Christ the King
Last Week: 22
Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) (0-0)
The New York City power plays its first game of the season on Saturday, taking on a Jefferson team it beat 71-67 last year. UConn commit Omar Calhoun may need to replicate his performance: He scored a game-high 23 points and went 12-of-12 from the free throw line in leading the Royals to victory.
First game: Dec. 2 vs. Thomas Jefferson
23 Wichita Heights
Last Week: 23
Wichita Heights (Wichita Heights, Kan.) (0-0)
Kansas commit Perry Ellis made a name for himself during the summer AAU circuit. Now, the five-star power forward will look to help Wichita Heights begin its rankings climb. That starts Friday, when he'll face fellow Jayhawks' commit Conner Frankamp and North.
First game: Dec. 2 vs. Wichita North
24 Columbia
Last Week: 24
Columbia (Decatur, Ga.) (3-0)
The Eagles are soaring after their first three games, outscoring the competition 217-123. Don't expect a letup. Point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen, forward Jarmal Reid and center Jhaustin Thomas are firing on all cylinders.
Last week: Beat Lausanne Collegiate, 60-34; Beat Brainerd, 74-31
Next game: Dec. 2 vs. Arabia Mountain
25 Vermont Academy
Last Week: 25
Vermont Academy (Saxton River, Vt.) (0-1)
The Wildcats weathered a difficult start, losing to La Lumiere in their season-opener. But Vermont Academy can redeem itself. It plays Putnam Science Academy, Manhattan Sports Academy and Next Level Prep on consecutive days -- three chances for coach Bill Murphy and Co. to right the ship.
Last week: None
Next game: Dec. 2 vs. Putnam Science Academy

Dropped out: None

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