High-SchoolFlorida: BASKETBALL Weekly Rankings

Hoop Rankings: Three kings crowned

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
2:59
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Click here to see the POWERADE Florida Weekly Hoop Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams.

Chipley (Class 1A) and Orlando Christian Prep (2A) became Florida's first basketball state champs in 2011-12 on Wednesday, while Tampa Prep defeated Sagemont 58-50 to win the 3A title on Thursday morning. While Chipley and OCP were heavy favorites, Tampa Prep had to survive an impossibly deep 3A field that included eight teams that were ranked in our 25 in the past month. It was the first title for Joe Fenlon's Terrapins, who made multiple championship games and final fours without getting over the hump — until now. The Terps didn't even need a big game from their top player, Butler recruit Devontae Morgan, getting 17 points from Marshall Holmes and 15 from Josh Heath.

And there's plenty of action yet to come. No. 5 Lake Highland Prep, which took down previous No. 10 Godby on Wednesday night, will face Pine Crest in the Class 4A championship on Thursday afternoon. LHP has been the higher-ranked team virtually all season, but don't count out the Panthers: This is the sixth consecutive season David Beckerman's squad has made it at least as far as the state semis.

Terry Parker continues its impressive run and will face Nature Coast Thursday night in the 5A semis, while Lake Wales takes on Plantation American Heritage. In 6A, Wolfson-Leesburg and Winter Haven-Miami Norland are the Friday morning's two semifinal matchups, and in 7A it'll be Oviedo-Oak Ridge and St. Pete-Blanche Ely in the afternoon. Finally, Hagerty will face Vero Beach in one 8A semifinal on Friday night, while Spanish River takes on Hialeah Gardens in the other.

Who are you picking? Let us know in the comments.

Weekly Hoop Rankings: Lay of the land

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
4:11
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As expected, there are some major shakeups in this week's rankings due to the fact that several of the state's top 25 teams played one another during the first two rounds of regional tournaments. Let's jump right in.

Though it might not qualify as a huge upset, West Orange knocking off Dr. Phillips is big news in 8A. After two consecutive years of losing to Austin Rivers and Winter Park in the state finals, it looked like this might be DP's year. It was not to be for the Panthers and junior guard RaShawn Powell. For its part, West Orange chose the right time to peak and is now one of the hottest teams in the state. Led by Murray State signee Erik McCree (18 ppg), the Warriors knocked off Olympia to win the district title and now find themselves in the regional final against Hagerty. That has the potential to be a great game — depending on which Hagerty team shows up. Will it be the team that handed No. 1 Montverde Academy its only in-state loss, or the team that lost to Evans, Seminole, Lake Brantley (twice) and Lake Howell? (In fairness, half of those losses came early in the season when the Huskies were missing key players due to injury.)

Moving over to 7A, No. 2 Blanche Ely took care of business on Tuesday night, but Steve Haney and St. Thomas Aquinas didn't make it easy. Ely is the overwhelming favorite to capture the title — no other team left in the bracket is ranked in the top 25, though Atlantic and Martin County certainly could make a case for inclusion. In 6A, Leesburg won big for the second consecutive game. After an up-and-down season, the Yellow Jackets have finally hit their stride. Our prediction? Leesburg and Miami Norland in the championship.

You have to hand it to Terry Parker, a team that nobody was picking once star guard Solomon Poole was suspended last month for the remainder of the year, per FHSAA requirements, after being ejected from his second game of the season. But Parker is now in the 5A regional finals, where the Braves will face Rutherford. Nature Coast Tech, which lost to eventual state champ Leesburg in 4A last year, also prevailed, while Lake Wales and Tampa Jesuit are set to do battle after winning their respective games. The 5A regional semis also marked the end of the road for Alex Thompson and Jensen Beach, who lost to a surging Plantation American Heritage team five days after knocking off heavily favored Dillard.

In Class 4A, three of the four teams in last week's top 25 prevailed: Godby won easily, Lake Highland Prep pounded Jones (a state finalist last year and a top 25 or bubble team for most of this one) and Pine Crest upset University. Upset may be putting it strongly, however: Pine Crest had beaten University last month, and the Panthers have been to the state final four or farther each of the last five years, capturing two titles when a certain Brandon Knight was on the roster.

Class 3A would be considered the "group of death" if this were the World Cup — the one bracket with no easy outs. In our opinion, 3A has the most difficult field this year top to bottom, tougher than even the largest classifications. Five of the remaining eight teams are in our top 25, where most of them have been all season: Sagemont, Tampa Prep, First Academy, Father Lopez and Providence. (That doesn't even include Summit Christian and Coral Springs Christian, top 25 teams eliminated by Sagemont in the past five days.) While many brackets look different now that the FHSAA has moved to eight classifications, this one has a familiar feel to it; last year, First Academy beat Lopez, Providence and Tampa Prep before falling to Sagemont in the 2A championship.

Finally, favorites Grandview Prep and Orlando Christian Prep won easily in 2A, while in 1A, top contenders Chipley and Malone advanced to face each other in the regional finals. Malone had to go through Holmes County and its star junior, Chris Walker, to get there.

So which teams moved into our state rankings and which dropped out? Click here to see the full POWERADE Weekly Hoop Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 squads.

Weekly Hoop Rankings: Districts done, regionals ready

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
9:46
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The district champs have been crowned, and while independent schools await postseason tourneys, FHSAA member schools jump into regional action this week. Two games to watch on Thursday: Dr. Phillips vs. Olympia and Summit Christian vs. Sagemont. While district champs often start regionals with lesser competition, the same can't be said for DP or SC this year.

While Montverde remains at No. 1 — where it's been for all but one week this season — there was some movement in the top 10 and beyond. Arlington Country Day and Dillard moved down while University School moved back up a few slots. All but the bottom two teams remained in the top 25, however, and most won their district tournaments. The odds are good that 23 of 25 won't be the same this time next week.

The top five currently looks like this:

1. Montverde Academy (21-3)
2. Blanche Ely (25-2)
3. Orlando Christian Prep (23-4)
4. Lake Wales (24-4)
5. West Oaks (21-1)


Click here to see the full POWERADE Weekly Basketball Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams.

Florida Weekly Hoop Rankings: Montverde Academy holds court

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
7:24
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Now that the madness of the post-holiday and MLK tournaments have subsided, the landscape is beginning to come into focus. Few of the state's top teams shifted position dramatically this week, though there are some newcomers — like Lake Brantley and Melbourne Holy Trinity — toward the bottom of the top 25. With district tournaments kicking off next week, there are a number of intriguing matchups on the not-too-distant horizon.

Florida now has six teams ranked nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50, with West Oaks the latest to join the party at No. 50. Montverde Academy remains the state's top-ranked team after winning its own invitational tournament. The top five currently looks like this:

1. Montverde (19-3)
2. Blanche Ely (20-2)
3. Orlando Christian Prep (19-4)
4. Arlington Country Day (13-3)
5. Lake Wales (21-3)


To see the full POWERADE Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Weekly hoop rankings: Ely, OCP surging

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
11:56
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More movement than usual this week, as four new teams make an appearance in the top 25. Lake Highland Prep and University School both dropped a few slots after surprising losses, while Lake Wales and Miami Norland are on the rise after big wins. Ely and OCP remain hot, meanwhile, and move to No. 2 and 3 (respectively) in the state.

With districts just two weeks away, we are now beginning to see which teams look poised to make a playoff run and which will struggle to make the postseason. Montverde Academy, which stands at No. 16 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50, will have its own version of the playoffs this weekend when the Eagles host the Montverde Academy Invitational.

Here's how the state's top five shake out:

1. Montverde Academy (16-3)
2. Blanche Ely (20-2)
3. Orlando Christian Prep (17-3)
4. Arlington Country Day (12-3)
5. Lake Wales (18-3)


For the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Lucas O'Neill is a senior writer for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @LucasESPN.

Montverde back atop Florida hoop rankings

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
2:29
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After a week at No. 2, Montverde Academy is back in the top spot with Arlington Country Day losing its first game of the season. Florida now has five teams ranked nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50, with Montverde leading the way at No. 14.

Elsewhere, University School continues its quick ascent and now checks in at No. 6, while Lake Brantley enters the fray for the first time. The state's top five currently looks like this:

1. Montverde Academy (15-2)
2. Arlington Country Day (10-1)
3. Blanche Ely (17-2)
4. Lake Highland Prep (17-2)
5. Orlando Christian Prep (15-3)


To see the full POWERADE Weekly Rankings, including capsules on Florida's top 25 teams, click here.

New No. 1 in Florida Weekly Hoop Rankings

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
6:20
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For the first time this season, a team other than Montverde Academy is ranked No. 1 in the state. Following the Eagles' loss to Hagerty at Saturday's Showdown in O-Town, undefeated Arlington Country Day assumes the mantle of Florida's top squad. The Apaches are also ranked No. 12 in the national POWERADE FAB 50. The state's top five looks like this:

1. Arlington Country Day (10-0)
2. Montverde Academy (13-2)
3. Blanche Ely (15-2)
4. Lake Highland Prep (15-2)
5. Orlando Christian Prep (12-3)


To see the full Florida rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Think we're missing one of the state's top teams? Let us know in the comments.

Florida Hoop Rankings: New Year's Edition

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
5:25
PM ET
Happy 2012!

Florida squads traveled across the state and, in some instances, across the country to participate in a variety holiday basketball tournaments over the past two weeks, and most of the state's top teams played well enough to keep their slots in the fourth installment of the POWERADE Weekly Basketball Rankings. Montverde Academy, which fell short at the City of Palms but prevailed at the Kingdom of the Sun, remains No. 1 in the state. The Eagles also move up to No. 9 in the national POWERADE FAB 50 — one of six Florida teams to make the list.

To see the full Florida rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Think we're missing one of the state's top teams? Let us know in the comments.

Florida Hoop Rankings: Holiday Edition

December, 28, 2011
12/28/11
5:59
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Holiday tournaments are giving Florida's best teams a chance to show what they've got against top squads both in state and out. Northeast captured the 22nd Annual Hawk Kreul Classic in Coral Springs in impressive fashion, while Montverde, Ely and Lake Wales all had strong showings at the 39th Annual City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers. (For more on City of Palms, click here to read Jason Jordan's coverage.)

Six Florida teams are now ranked in the POWERADE FAB. Heading into tonight's games, the state's top 5 looks like this:

1. Montverde Academy (7-1)
2. Arlington Country Day (8-0)
3. Ely (10-1)
4. Lake Wales (6-2)
5. Lake Highland Prep (11-0)


To see the full POWERADE Weekly Basketball Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Five Days of List-Mas: Week 2 Florida Basketball Rankings

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
7:55
PM ET
5

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The best basketball teams in Florida.

With holiday tournaments like City of Palms approaching, the rankings are likely to be shaken up over the next couple weeks. For now, though, Montverde Academy still stands at the top of the heap. The Eagles, who were already stacked, recently picked up transfer D'Angelo Russell, Kentucky's top sophomore. Montverde is now ranked No. 9 in the nation in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Blanche Ely remains the state's top public school (No. 5), with Dr. Phillips two spots behind. West Oaks, which already has 12 wins on the young season, leapt from No. 11 to No. 6 this week.

For today's list, we present the state's top squads:

1. Montverde Academy (5-0)
Win over Olympia keeps Eagles perfect on the season. Next up: City of Palms.

2. Arlington Country Day (6-0)
The Apaches romped past Florida Christian of Cape Coral 100-64 in their only outing of last week.

3. Lake Highland Prep (8-0)
Highlanders should roll until Jan. 4-5, when they play First Academy and Dr. Phillips back to back.

4. Orlando Christian Prep (6-2)
After losing two of their first three, the Warriors have won five straight.

5. Blanche Ely (5-0)
Tigers' 5-0 start includes convincing wins over Dillard, Boyd Anderson and Northeast.

Click here to see the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Basketball rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams.

Tomorrow: Florida's all-time greatest NBA players.

Lake Highland Prep jumps to No. 3 in state hoop rankings

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
2:00
PM ET
In our preseason poll, we had Lake Highland Prep listed as a bubble team. Our bad. The Highlanders look terrific so far, with wins over Orlando Christian Prep and West Orange. Sophomore sensation Joel Berry is averaging 30 points per game, while classmate Jay Henderson is adding nearly 20 per contest. As a result, LHP jumps all the way to No. 3 in our state rankings.

Undefeated Montverde Academy and Arlington Country Day remain 1-2 in the poll, and both are ranked among the nation's top 16 teams in the POWERADE FAB 50. Here's how the state's top 5 shapes out (records through Dec. 7):

1. Montverde Academy, 4-0
2. Arlington Country Day, 5-0
3. Lake Highland Prep, 7-0
4. Orlando Christian Prep, 3-2
5. Blanche Ely, 4-0


To see the full Florida Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the state's top 25 teams, click here.

Montverde Academy tops Florida preseason hoop rankings

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
2:05
PM ET
The pros may be locked out, but the preps are ready to ball. With hoops season fast approaching, we present the preseason Florida basketball rankings. Montverde Academy and Arlington Country Day are the state's two top squads — no surprise there — and both are ranked in the top 25 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50. Dwyer, with its UNC-bound big man Joel James, is the top-ranked public school at No. 4.

The top five look like this:
1. Montverde Academy
2. Arlington Country Day
3. Orlando Christian Prep
4. Dwyer
5. Dr. Phillips

To see the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, including capsules on the top 25 teams in the state, click here.

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