By Fivestar Basketball
March 14, 2012

The end of the season is upon us. The Alhambra Catholic Invitational tips off on Thursday, offering critical games for several ranked contenders. No. 8 Paul VI, No. 13 St. Benedict's and No. 24 DeMatha will all take part, as will previously ranked Gonzaga College, fronted by UNC-bound point guard Nate Britt. It only serves as warm-up for the ESPN National High School Invitational at the end of the month.

High school's version of March Madness has arrived. As the games begin, here's how things stand.

High School Basketball Power Rankings
1 Oak Hill Academy
Last Week: 1
Given its tradition-rich history, it's saying something that Oak Hill, at 44-0, may have just completed its greatest season ever. The Warriors knocked off Prestonwood Christian and Grace Prep, both recently christened state champs, en route to a perfect record. If La Lumiere and Paul VI can close their respective seasons unbeaten, the once-controversial debate for No. 1 could become entirely one-sided.
Last week: None
Next game: Season complete
2 Brewster Academy
Last Week: 2
So close, Brewster. After corralling the top spot for the majority of the season, a surprising late-season loss to Northfield Mount Hermon seems to doom the Bobcats' chances of topping the year-end Power Rankings. But that's not to take away from what the Wolfeboro powerhouse has accomplished. Three wins over Tilton, two victories over Notre Dame Prep and New Hampton and a win over Hargrave Military Academy constitutes a very impressive résumé.
Last week: None
Next game: Season Complete
3 Findlay Prep
Last Week: 3
Findlay Prep's lone loss came to La Lumiere on Dec. 29, a 67-66 heartbreaker. At the upcoming ESPN National High School Invitational, the Pilots might have a chance to avenge it. If Findlay can emerge from a field that includes La Lumiere, St. Benedict's Montrose Christian and Montverde Academy, it could climb even higher than its current No. 3 ranking.
Last week: None
Next game: March 29 at the ESPN National High School Invitational
4 St. Anthony
Last Week: 4
The Friars are seemingly allergic to losing. They notched two more victories last week to clinch a Non-Public B title, with Kyle Anderson and Jerome Frink scoring 15 points each in the latter. Now Bob Hurley's group will attempt to defend the N.J. Tournament of Champions -- and their immaculate 63-game winning streak.
Last week: Beat Hudson Catholic, 53-30; Beat Gil St. Bernard's, 67-39
Next game: March 16 in Tournament of Champions
5 Hargrave Military Academy
Last Week: 5
Hargrave played just two ranked teams this season (New Hampton and Brewster), but its runner-up effort in the National Prep Championship warrants its top five ranking. The Tigers' dominant win over New Hampton -- a game in which Wake Forest-bound Codi Miller-McIntyre amassed 23 points, five assists and three steals -- doesn't hurt the cause, either.
Last week: None
Next game: Season complete
6 Huntington Prep
Last Week: 6
Want an example of the sticky nature of prep basketball? Huntington was not allowed to play in the ESPN National High School Invitation because it's not recognized by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission. Quite the disappointment for Elijah Macon, Andrew Wiggins and friends.
Last week: None
Next game: Season Complete
7 Simeon
Last Week: 7
Wunderkind Jabari Parker and Co. are two games away from another Class 4A state title. After dispatching of Evanston (Parker had 19 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks),l the Wolverines biggest challenged could be an undefeated Proviso East team in the championship.
Last week: Beat Marist, 65-44; Beat Evanston, 59-34
Next game: March 16 vs. Bloom
8 Paul VI
Last Week: 8
Following a sparkling season, Paul VI will looks to continue its success, and potentially crack the top five, in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational. The tandem of Stanford Robinson and Patrick Holloway could have its hands full. The competition, which starts Thursday, includes talented St. Benedict's, DeMatha and Gonzaga College teams.
Last week: None
Next game: March 15 vs. Bishop Walsh
9 Notre Dame Prep
Last Week: 9
One can only wonder how could good Notre Dame Prep might have been had Steven Adams been with the team from the beginning. Regardless, by knocking off St. Thomas More and going toe-to-toe with Brewster, the Crusaders finished their season as one of the most dangerous squads in the land.
Last week: None
Next game: Season complete
10 Marcus
Last Week: 10
Next year, Marcus' Phil Forte and Marcus Smart will take their talents to Oklahoma State. This year, they finish their high school careers as Texas champs. The duo combined for 39 points to take out the Harrison brothers in the final, helping the Marauders become the ninth school in history to repeat as Class 5A state champions.
Last week: Beat Naaman Forest, 59-34; Beat Fort Bend Travis, 56-52
Next game: Season complete
11 Mater Dei
Last Week: 11
After missing the quarterfinal against Mission Viejo with stretched ligaments in his right hand, Katin Reinhardt was deemed healthy enough to play in Mater Dei's victory over Loyola on Tuesday. Good thing. He tallied 21 points, Xavier Johnson had 26 and Stanley Johnson poured in 17 as the Monarchs advanced to the CIF state semifinals.
Last week: Beat Mission Viejo, 78-66, Beat Loyola, 75-63
Next game: March 17 vs. Bullard
12 La Lumiere
Last Week: 12
The Lakers are officially in the field at the ESPN National High School Invitational, giving them one last chance to make a charge in the rankings. They could really improve their stock by downing Findlay Prep again. Indiana signee Hanner Perea totaled 15 points and nine rebounds in their first meeting.
Last week: None
Next game: March 29 at ESPN National High School Invitational
13 St. Benedict's
Last Week: 13
If any team has the potential to make the biggest late-season rankings' jump, it's unquestionably St. Benedict's. The Gray Bees play in a stacked Alhambra Catholic Invitational before competing in the ESPN NHSI at the end of the month. Tyler Ennis and Melvin Johnson will be put to the test.
Last week: Beat Mont Clare Academy, 78-53
Next game: March 15 vs. John Carroll
14 Montrose Christian
Last Week: 14
TThe reigning ESPN NHSI champions, Montrose Christian will look to defend its title once the tournament tips off March 29. It'll be tough without Tyrone Johnson, now at Villanova, but Virginia-bound forward Justin Anderson will look to recreate his heroics. Anderson drained a game-tying three-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in the first overtime to help the Mustangs beat Oak Hill, 70-62, in double OT in the final.
Last week: None
Next game: March 29 at ESPN National High School Invitational
15 Grace Prep
Last Week: 15
Finishing the season as TAPPS Class 4A champions not only solidifies Grace Prep's position, but also provides added value to No. 1 Oak Hill's résumé. Now, the Lions could use a little help. If Mater Dei and Montverde, both teams that Grace Prep beat in December, perform well down the stretch, Ray Forsett and Co. could move up via strength of schedule.
Last week: None
Next game: Season Complete
16 New Hampton
Last Week: 16
After finishing their 2011-12 season in style, collecting two late wins against a star-studded Tilton squad, blue-chip sophomores Noah Vonleh and Jared Terrell can prepare for the upcoming travel season. College scouts will be watching. Small forward Vonleh already boast offers from Boston College, Kansas, Providence and Syracuse while shooting guard Terrell has offers from B.C., Cincinnati, Providence, Rutgers and Virginia Tech.
Last week: None
Next game: Season Complete
17 Chester
Last Week: 17
The Clippers extended their winning streak to 54 games with a win over J.P. McCaskey, a game in which they demonstrated their offensive balance: Shanier Cottman, Darius Robinson, Richard Granberry and Erikk Wright all scored in double-figures. The only thing keeping Chester from top 10 consideration is its lack of a nationally demanding schedule.
Last week: Beat J.P. McCaskey, 86-43
Next game: March 14 vs. Norristown
18 Montverde Academy
Last Week: 18
Kevin Boyle's Montverde squad has been off for what seems like forever, lacking any games since their Feb. 4 victory over North Broward Prep. It begs the question: Will the extra practice time behoove the Eagles in the ESPN NHSI? Or will their rust set the stage for a first-round exit?
Last week: None
Next game: March 29 at ESPN National High School Invitational
19 Tilton School
Last Week: 19
After a season full of highs, the Rams' 2011-12 campaign ended with several lows. Tilton dropped games to St. Mark's and New Hampton to close the year, slipping to the bottom half of the Power Rankings in the process. But with the season over, attention can to recruiting. Five-star center Nerlens Noel, arguably the top prospect in this year's class, is reportedly down to Georgetown, UNC, Kentucky, Syracuse and UConn.
Last week: None
Next game: Season complete
20 Milton
Last Week: 20
After picking up two technical fouls against North Gwinnett, Georgia-bound shooting guard Charles Mann was forced to serve a suspension. That didn't stop the Eagles from winning the Georgia Class 5A title honors. Shaquille Johnson had 23 points, six rebounds and three blocks and Tevin Glass had 17 points and 10 boards as the Eagles beat Savannah by 12 points in the final.
Last week: Beat Harrison, 73-52; Beat Savannah, 79-67
Next game: Season complete
21 Bishop Gorman
Last Week: 21
The Gaels started slowly, losing four of their first eight games, but finished with a bang. Top recruit Shabazz Muhammad and Bishop Gorman won their last 24 contests, including the Nevada Class 4A championship, by scoring an average of 82.3 points.
Last week: None
Next game: Season complete
22 Prestonwood Christian
Last Week: 22
Prestonwood's state championship season is over, but the future looks bright in Plano. Five-star center forward Julius Randle will return for next season, looking to build off his 26-point, 11-rebound, five-assist performance in the title game. The 6-foot-8, 235-pounder is attracting major college attention: He has offers from Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio State and Texas, among others.
Last week: None
Next game: Season complete
23 Columbia
Last Week: 23
The Eagles captured their third consecutive state championship with a convincing 19-point victory over Drew. Tahj Shamsid-Deen, Columbia's star point guard who's received an offer to Northwestern, netted a game-high 17 points in the triumph.
Last week: Beat Eagle's Landing, 64-50; Beat Drew, 65-4
Next game: Season complete
24 DeMatha Catholic
Last Week: 24
As far as high school offenses go, few are more balanced than DeMatha's spread-it-out attack. Five players average at least 10 points per game, led by BeeJay Anya and Jerami Grant, who average 12.5 and 12.1, respectively. The Stags will need all of their weapons to come through in the upcoming The Alhambra Catholic Invitational. The field features St. Benedict's, Gonzaga College and rival Paul VI, which has beaten DeMatha three times.
Last week: None
Next game: March 15 vs. Benedictine College Prep
25 Proviso East
Last Week: NR
Despite its perfect 31-0 record, Proviso East has flown under-the-radar all season. That could change in the coming days. Led by 5-foot-11 guard Paris Lee and 5-foot-10 guard Paris Burns -- nicknamed the French connection -- the Pirates could take on Simeon in the Class 4A state finals. It could be closer than expected. Proviso has outscored opponents by an average of 22.4 points on the season.
Last week: Beat Schaumburg, 78-39; Beat Aurora West, 62-51
Next game: March 16 vs. Auburn

Dropped out: Fort Bend Travis (Richmond, Texas)

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)