Lake Central hasn't had an easy road through the Class 4A state tournament, and it will get even tougher when the top team in the POWERADE state rankings takes on No. 2 Zionsville on Saturday.

The top teams in Indiana will meet in the 4A semifinals, with the victor advancing to play the winner of Roncalli/New Palestine for the state championship. New Palestine is at No. 4 in this week's rankings, while Roncalli is No. 5.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (30-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Zionsville (28-4) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Greensburg (27-1) — Last week: NR
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
The sectional playoffs were a rough time for most of the teams in last week's POWERADE state rankings, as four Top 10 teams found themselves bounced from the tournament.

No. 1 Lake Central is still alive in Class 4A, but the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams from last week are all out, as Huntington North, New Albany and Cathedral were all upset. With regionals set to begin on Saturday, look for more turnover in next week's edition of the POWERADE rankings.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Jasper (26-3) — Last week: No. 5
  3. Andrean (24-3) — Last week: No. 7
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
It was a fairly uneventful week in terms of the Indiana POWERADE state rankings, as most of the teams in the Top 10 held serve. The result is a list that has few changes from last week -- the top three teams remain in order, and there is only one new team in the Top 10.

Cathedral is on a tear, and the Fighting Irish jump from No. 7 to No. 4 this week. And with Homestead dropping out of the rankings, Crown Point is able to sneak in at No. 10.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (25-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Huntington North (27-2) — Last week: No. 2
  3. New Albany (25-3) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Lake Central's stay at No. 2 was short-lived, as the Indians return to the top spot in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings.

Huntington North, last week's No. 1, drops down one spot after losing to Logansport. A big matchup with FW Carroll looms on Thursday, so Huntington North could be on the move again in next week's rankings.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (22-1) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Huntington North (23-2) — Last week: No. 1
  3. New Albany (21-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@MGrimalaESPN).
Huntington North remains at No. 1 in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings, but that's about the only stability in the top half of the rankings.

Elkhart Central tumbles from No. 2 to No. 6 after a rough week, and Zionsville slips from No. 3 to No. 5 after losing to Westfield. Lake Central takes over the No. 2 spot, while New Albany is now No. 3. Both Lake Central and New Albany have been ranked No. 1 at some point this season.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Huntington North (19-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Lake Central (18-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. New Albany (19-2) — Last week: No. 5
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
With the top two teams in the state both stumbling last week, there are new faces in new places in this week's edition of the POWERADE state rankings.

Former No. 1 Lake Central suffered its first defeat of the season against Chesterton, and No. 2 Cathedral hit a pothole against Center Grove, dropping them to Nos. 4 and 6, respectively. That paved the way for Huntington North to jump from No. 3 to No. 1, while Elkhart Central climbs from No. 4 to No. 2 this week.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Huntington North (14-1) — Last week: No. 3
  2. Elkhart Central (12-1) — Last week: No. 4
  3. Zionsville (15-1) — Last week: No. 5
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Take a quick glance at this week's POWERADE state rankings, and the first thing that jumps out is probably No. 3 Zionsville. The Eagles have leaped all the way from No. 10 to No. 3 this week after winning three games to improve to 6-0 on the season.

The move also reflects Zionsville's climb up to No. 11 in the POWERADE Midwest Regional Rankings.

Lake Central remains at No. 1 this week, and Cathedral is once again right behind at No. 2. Aside from Zionsville, two other teams jumped forward this week -- Huntington North and Marian enter the rankings at No. 8 and No. 10, respectively.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (9-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Cathedral (8-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Zionsville (9-0) — Last week: No. 10
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
For the third straight week there's a new team atop the POWERADE state rankings. Last week's No. 1, New Albany, was upset by North Harrison, opening the door for Lake Central to jump up from the No. 2 spot.

One-loss teams Cathedral and FW Carroll remain in the mix, settling at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. New Albany has dropped to No. 4, just ahead of unbeaten Crown Point and Elkhart Central.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. Lake Central (5-0) — Last week: No. 2
  2. Cathedral (4-1) — Last week: No. 3
  3. FW Carroll (6-1) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Nick McCartyScott KurtzSenior pitcher Nick McCarty went 11-0 with a 1.60 ERA as a junior; he has signed with Notre Dame.
This story originally appeared in the April issue of ESPNHS Magazine.

Cathedral may have come up on the wrong end of the past two state championship games, but the Fighting Irish are determined to make another run at the crown this season.

Though they lost All-State pitcher Dillon Peters to graduation, there’s already another hurler ready to step into the role of team ace — senior right-hander Nick McCarty almost matched Peters’ production last season, going 11-0 with a 1.60 ERA, so the team is more than comfortable handing him the ball in a big spot. McCarty tossed seven complete games and struck out 68 batters in 67.2 innings, so he’s ready to take over as the team’s No. 1 starter.

With McCarty anchoring the rotation, the rest of the team falls nicely into place. Last year’s regular lineup was comprised mostly of underclassmen, so there’s experience and talent returning at nearly every position. Senior shortstop Matt Dauby is one of the most exciting position players in the state, as the Virginia Tech recruit is coming off a season in which he batted .354 with six home runs and 27 RBIs. Senior infielder Austin Boos hit .333 with 21 RBIs in 2011, and junior Brendan Flood and senior Mike Kseniak give the team two more returning .300 hitters. Junior outfielder Luke Cureton is also worth keeping an eye on; a 6-foot-2 athletic specimen, Cureton plays a terrific center field and could emerge as a power threat this season. McCarty, a Notre Dame recruit, also provides a big bat in right field, as he hit .398 with 26 RBIs in 2011.

On the mound, junior right-hander Will Birch figures to get a shot at the starting rotation behind McCarty, as will junior Alex Toneges and senior Jake Mills.
Cathedral is ranked No. 49 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and No. 3 in Indiana.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Not surprisingly, there was a lot of movement in this week's POWERADE state rankings. With baseball season still in its early stages, the rankings are bound to keep shuffling until the state's truly elite teams separate themselves.

There's a new No. 1 team this week, as New Albany rises from No. 5 to No. 1 based on several impressive victories. Lake Central climbs from No. 6 to No. 2 thanks in large part to a great pitching staff.

The preseason No. 1 team, Cathedral, suffered an upset at the hands of Roncalli and subsequently lost its place atop the rankings. The Irish are ranked No. 3 this week. Jeffersonville and Crawfordsville also slipped (to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively) after suffering losses.

POWERADE State Baseball Rankings
  1. New Albany (5-0) — Last week: No. 5
  2. Lake Central (3-0) — Last week: No. 6
  3. Cathedral (2-1) — Last week: No. 1
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
video
Overview

If you like defense, this was the game for you. No. 3 seed Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) used a pressure, trapping D to force fifth-seeded La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) into 19 turnovers en route to a 62-54 win in the opening game of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational.

Montverde, No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50, didn’t need much offense to win this one, but most of the Eagles’ scoring came from the backcourt of senior Michael Frazier and junior Kasey Hill. The duo combined for 35 points and consistently came up with big plays whenever La Lumiere threatened.

On the other end, Montverde’s defensive performance was staggering. The Eagles held La Lumiere to 32.3 percent shooting from the field and totally shut down the Lakers’ top offensive players. La Lumiere scored just six points in the first quarter and never recovered.

Turning Point

La Lumiere came into the NHSI ranked No. 23 in the POWERADE FAB 50 thanks in large part to the frontcourt of senior forwards Rapheal Davis, Hanner Perea and Jay Simpson. But that trio was almost completely neutralized by Montverde, combining for just 35 points (on 32 shots). Davis and Perea averaged 36.5 combined during the regular season.

Montverde senior forwards Michel Enanga, Landry Nnoko and Patricio Garino were dominant on defense. Enanga grabbed 15 rebounds, Nnoko blocked three shots and Garino played solid man-to-man defense on Davis. They set the tone from the opening tip and La Lumiere was never able to effectively run its offense.

“That was absolutely the difference in the game — they took us out of everything we wanted to do,” said La Lumiere coach Alan Huss. “Nnoko is the key to the whole thing. He’s back there protecting the rim, and even when we were able to beat the press we had trouble finishing.”

Key Players

Florida Gators fans are probably still numb after their loss in the Elite 8, but the performances of Florida recruits Michael Frazier and Kasey Hill must have made them feel a bit better. Hill, a junior point guard, scored a game-high 19 points, while Frazier, a senior shooting guard, tallied 15.

Hill shot just 6-of-21 from the floor, but he put in work at the free-throw line, hitting seven of his eight attempts. Frazier shot 5-of-14 from the field and added seven rebounds while playing tough defense.

“I just tried to play hard,” said Frazier. “My shot wasn’t falling, so I tried to contribute in other ways.”

Key Stat

Montverde Academy coach Kevin Boyle recognized that La Lumiere was lacking in quality ball-handlers, so he applied a pressure defense from the opening tip. The result was 19 turnovers for La Lumiere, which led to 15 points for MVA.

“Whenever they got close, we were able to force a couple turnovers and get easy baskets,” said Boyle.”

Up Next

Montverde Academy will take on the winner of the Ravenscroft-Montrose Christian game. Boyle is hoping for a better performance from Frazier, who was unable to practice for more than three weeks before Thursday’s game because of an illness.

“He missed some shots that he normally makes,” said Boyle of his leading scorer. “If he makes those, this is a completely different game. Hopefully he knocked the rust off and we get his normal results tomorrow.”

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 16

March, 27, 2012
3/27/12
2:10
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With the IHSAA state tournament complete, the POWERADE state rankings are almost finalized. Once No. 1 La Lumiere finishes up its season at the NHSI tournament this week, we'll be able to lock in the final version of the rankings.

Carmel did everything it could to make a case for the top spot by winning the Class 4A state championship. The Greyhounds beat Pike, 80-67, in the title game to finish the season with a 23-4 record. A poor showing by La Lumiere at NHSI could leave the door open for Carmel to jump to No. 1 in the final rankings next week.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. La Lumiere (25-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Carmel (23-4) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Park Tudor (25-2) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

NHSI preview: La Lumiere

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
10:45
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Team: No. 6 seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 25-2, No. 23 (No. 4 in the Midwest)
Head Coach: Alan Huss (48-11 at La Lumiere, 109-49 career record)

Key Players:

Raphael Davis
The 6-foot-5 wing makes La Lumiere go on the perimeter. A Purdue recruit ranked No. 90 in the ESPNU 100, Davis is averaging 22.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Huss mentioned Davis as the team's rock; they struggle when he's not in the lineup. When La Lumiere needs a bucket, they look for Davis. He plays well in transition and also excels in the half court game La Lumiere prefers.

Hanner Perea
The Columbia native has improved by leaps and bounds since he first arrived at Culver Academics (Culver, Ind.) to get an American education and learn the game. Perea, ranked No. 70 in the ESPNU 100, is 6-foot-8, 220 pounds and especially tough to knock off his base defensively. His offensive skills are coming along, but he's still enough of a scoring threat to put down 14 points to go along with 11 rebounds per game. Perea's scoring numbers were 2-3 points higher two-thirds of the way through the season, but he battled nagging injuries down the stretch. The time off might be a hindrance, but a healthy Perea could be the difference if La Lumiere advances past the first game.

Antonio Drummond
This two-year starting guard is the quarterback for La Lumiere's offense. In a lineup that changed more than once during the season, this Southern Illinois recruit was the steady performer. Drummond is not the most athletic guard around, but he tends to make clutch plays when La Lumiere is in need. Averaging 13 points per game, Drummond could be the catalyst to get the Lakers over the hump in that all-important first game.

Road to NHSI:

The Lakers successfully beefed up their schedule in their quest to take the program to a national level. In early December, La Lumiere took on Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Kentucky and lost 77-59. Davis wasn't 100 percent in that game. He attempted two field goals and finished with zero points.

Huss makes no excuses for the loss: "They were better than us that day, they didn't turn the ball over."

Right before Christmas the Lakers lost to Elgin (Elgin, Ill.) 40-34 after opening the game completely flat. La Lumiere fell behind 15-2, Elgin slowed the game down and the Lakers never recovered. At that point, they weren't on the FAB 50 map, but that changed when they defeated top seed Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) in their next game, 67-66.

La Lumiere hasn't lost since, ending the season with 20 consecutive wins, including victories over Farragut (Chicago) and Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.). La Lumiere's resume looks even better when you consider Findlay Prep hasn't lost since and Elgin advanced to the Illinois Class 4A sectional championship.

Inside Scoop:

La Lumiere is typical Midwest-Big Ten type basketball team. They like to grind it out inside with 6-foot-7 Jay Simpson, a Purdue recruit, and 6-foot-10 sophomore Johnathon Wilkins, the son of former NBA player Jeff Wilkins. The Lakers go eight deep, but rely heavily on Davis to score. "If we lose him, we don't score well and if he struggles we don't play well," Huss said.

The one thing consistent is La Lumiere's defense, especially on the interior with Perea. "He played well against Anthony Bennett (of Findlay Prep) and we match up well with big teams," Huss said.

La Lumiere like their chances to make an impact in this tournament if they can keep turnovers to a minimum. "When it gets to a point where you have to win three games in three days, it comes down to guts, toughness and execution. We like to think we can execute well," Huss said.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Findlay Prep gets No. 1 seed for NHSI

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
11:36
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ESPNHS has announced the seedings for the eight boys' teams that will compete in the fourth annual ESPNHS National High School Invitational.

The year's event, which features six POWERADE FAB 50-ranked teams, will be March 29-31 at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md. The championship game is set for 2 p.m. ET March 31 on ESPN.

As expected, two-time NHSI champion Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) was awarded the top seed and will face No. 8 seed Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) March 29. Coolidge (29-7) will have its hands full with the No. 2 team in the country. In three years, only Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) has played the top seed in the No. 1 versus No. 8 game down to the wire, and that came in 2010 when Montrose lost to Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) by two points.

This year, FAB 50 No. 9 Montrose Christian (20-2) snagged the second seed and opens the tournament with seventh-seeded Ravenscroft (Ravenscroft, N.C.). The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 3A champions come in with a 31-3 mark, but they didn't venture too far from home this season and are decided underdogs against the defending NHSI champions.

Returning from last year's championship team is emotional leader Justin Anderson, a Virginia recruit, and Michael Carrera, who averaged a record 12.7 rebounds in Montrose Christian's three victories. Stu Vetter's club has to show its backcourt is capable without reigning tourney MVP Tyrone Johnson (now at Villanova), but Ravenscroft has even more to prove. The last two years, the NCISAA entrant has been routed in its opener.

After missing last year's event because of key early season losses, No. 12 Montverde Academy is back in the fold as the third seed. Kevin Sutton coached the team in 2010 when they advanced to the finals, but this year the 21-3 Mustangs have a new coach in Kevin Boyle. He turned St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) into a national power but his program never had the opportunity to compete at the NHSI.

Boyle now gets the opportunity against No. 6 seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), a newcomer on the national scene with a big and talented roster. Montverde not only faces the challenge of a hungry 25-2 team ranked No. 23, they also face the challenge of idle time. Montverde had not played another high school since Feb. 4.

One team that certainly won't have any problems with idle time is fourth seed St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.), which competed in the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational last weekend. Gray Bees lost only their second game of the season (33-2) to eventual tournament champion DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) in the semifinals.

Had St. Benedict's won that tournament without its point guard (Tyler Ennis) and sixth man (Jordan Forehand), there's a strong possibility they would have been seeded second. They only dropped five spots in the FAB 50 to No. 15 (two spots behind DeMatha) and will open the NHSI against fifth-seeded Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.), the FHSAA Class 7A state champ ranked No. 16. If Ennis and Forehand are not healthy for St. Benedict's, they could have trouble stopping the backcourt of Ely, which has proven its scoring ability in big games this season.

If St. Benedict's situation is any indication, this could be the most balanced NHSI field yet. Findlay Prep wants another crack at La Lumiere to avenge its only loss, but in order for that to occur both teams have to advance to the championship game. If history is any indication, La Lumiere might have a good shot at the semifinals (where defending champion Montrose Christian could be waiting) since the No. 6 seed has won in the opening round the past two years.

"You play 30 games for a seeding, but when the ball goes up, everyone is 0-0," said Findlay Prep coach Michael Peck. "We're blessed to be able to participate, as these games give the competing teams some closure."

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 15

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
5:10
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With the state championship games set for this weekend, we have a pretty clear view of the POWERADE state rankings. No. 1 La Lumiere is once again off for the week, but the rest of the Top 10 is made up of IHSAA teams, and most of them will be in action on Saturday.

No. 2 Carmel will take on No. 3 Pike for the Class 4A championship, while No. 4 Park Tudor will play No. 5 Bowman Academy for the Class 2A crown. In Class 3A, No. 8 Norwell and No. 10 Guerin Catholic will clash for the title.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. La Lumiere (25-2) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Carmel (22-4) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Pike (18-7) — Last week: No. 6
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

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