The marquee boys game of the 3rd Annual Tony Matson Memorial Classic at Orange Lutheran High School on MLK Monday was supposed to be a battle of Southern California teams looking to make a splash in the POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings and the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings.
Lutheran (Orange) came into the game ranked No. 49 in the FAB 50 and No. 4 in the state, but was reeling without the services of state Mr. Basketball candidate Gabe York. He suffered an appendectomy before New Year's and on MLK Monday the Lancers lost to state No. 15 La Verne Lutheran 60-58.
It was Orange Lutheran's third consecutive loss. It was a game effort, but last week the Lancers also lost to unranked JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 67-52 and to state No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 65-51 without the services of the No. 36 player in the ESPNU 100.
Outside of Lutheran's struggles, California's top teams fared well over MLK weekend and will move up in the next set of FAB 50 and West Region rankings.
Mater Dei, which was No. 22 in the FAB 50, routed Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 88-50 Monday at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. UNLV commit Katin Reinhardt drained nine 3-pointers and finished with 35 points.
New York City basketball is not what it used to be on a national level, but Mater Dei's victory was still impressive nonetheless.
Mater Dei's victory also came one game after Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) defeated DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 73-65 behind a 37-point performance from Mr. Basketball USA candidate Shabazz Muhammad. DeMatha came into the came ranked No. 5 in the FAB 50 and Mater Dei owns a 10-point victory over Bishop Gorman, so that bodes well for the Monarchs and California's other top-ranked teams.
La Verne Lutheran also won a game at the Hoophall Classic on Saturday, defeating traditional New Jersey power St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) 68-66 behind 30 points from state Mr. Basketball candidate Grant Jerrett.
State No. 2 Long Beach Poly ventured to the University of Washington for the King Holiday Hoop Fest and came away with a 64-58 victory over Rainier Beach (Seattle). Poly came into the game No. 26 in the FAB 50 with Rainier Beach No. 27. Juniors Roschon Prince (20 points, eight rebounds) and Jordan Bell (13 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, four blocks) led the way for the Jackrabbits.
The one California team likely to move into the FAB 50 this week would be 17-1 Crespi of Encino, which did not play on MLK Monday. As for Orange Lutheran, the Lancers could have more potential problems as the school is looking into claims York may have jeopardized his high school eligibility by participating in an adult league game, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In an email sent to EPNHS and Cal-Hi Sports, CIF Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons did not have any facts about the unfolding situation. He did clarify that York (or any other player in a similar situation) would be immediately ineligible for two games for every game he participated in with another team during the high school season.
According to our colleague Neal Nieves of CaliforniaPreps.com, who spoke to York before Monday's game, the Arizona recruit will sit out at least one more week because of the appendectomy.
According to Nieves, York would have sat out Monday evening's game even if there weren't any questions surrounding his eligibility with the Lancers.