High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Basketball

Final N.J. POWERADE hoops rankings: St. Anthony repeats

March, 27, 2012
3/27/12
2:58
PM ET
After games on Sunday, March 25

Let me throw out some numbers for you in light of St. Anthony's 66-62 win against Plainfield in the Tournament of Champions final:

65: That's how many consecutive wins St. Anthony has posted. The last time the Friars lost was on March 13, 2010 to Trenton Catholic in the Non-Public B championship.

12: Number of Tournament of Champions title won by the Friars in the tournament's 24-year history.

27: Number of state sectional titles won by the Friars after hoisting the Non-Public B trophy this year.

93-1: Kyle Anderson's record in four years of high school basketball (two at Paterson Catholic, two at St. Anthony). Friars legendary coach Bob Hurley calls Anderson the most complete player to ever play at St. Anthony.

That pretty much sums up the Friars' dominance during the past two seasons. Plainfield put up a good fight in the final, pushing St. Anthony for most of the contest despite losing Justin Sears to an ankle injury for much of the game. But it wasn't enough to overcome 26 points and 18 rebounds from Jerome Frink, 14 points and five blocks from Anderson and the suffocating defense that's carried this team all season. St. Anthony remains third in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.

And with that, the 2011-12 season is technically in the books. St. Benedict's plays in this week's NHSI Tournament in Maryland, but regardless of the outcome, the Friars are cemented in the same spot they've been all year: No. 1.

Here are the final state rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 32-0 (1)
Another year, another Tournament of Champions title for the Friars. Jerome Frink had 26 points and 12 rebounds while Kyle Anderson had 14 points and five blocks to push team to 65th straight win, a 66-62 victory against Plainfield.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 34-2 (2)
Gray Bees enter this week's NHSI tournament as the No. 4 seed. They will face Ely (Fla.) in Thursday's quarterfinals.

3. Plainfield 30-4 (3)
Cardinals put up a good fight, but an injury to Justin Sears coupled with St. Anthony's defense was too much in a 66-62 loss in the Tournament of Champions final. Cardinals set a school record for wins in a season.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.
After games on Sunday, March 18

Just like last year, St. Anthony and Plainfield will play in the Tournament of Champions final. But when the two meet Tuesday at the Izod Center, this time it will truly be a battle between the state's top two eligible teams. (The emphasis is on "eligible" since St. Benedict's doesn't compete in the NJSIAA.)

Last year, that matchup came in the Non-Public, North B final when St. Anthony battled St. Patrick, but with the defending champ Friars on a ridiculous 64-game win streak and Plainfield having blown out contenders like St. Joseph (Met.) and Teaneck, this the matchup we've all wanted to see.

A preview of the contest came on Feb. 7, when St. Anthony held Plainfield to a season-low in points during a 43-31 win. The Friars' defense is just as stifling as it was then, meaning the Cardinals will have to find ways to get scorers like Sekou Harris and Jahmal Lane going.

Nationally, St. Anthony remains at No. 3 in the POWERADE FAB 50 while St. Benedict's fell to No. 15 after losing to national No. 13 DeMatha (Md.) in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational in Maryland. The Gray Bees, who were without the injured Tyler Ennis, will look to rebound at the NHSI tournament next week. Finally, Plainfield enter the national list at No. 49.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 31-0 (1)
Friars pushed their win streak to 64 games by blowing out Atlantic City in the Tournament of Champions semifinals. Next up: Plainfield on Tuesday in a rematch of last year's T of C final.

2. St. Benedict's 33-2 (2)
After beating John Carroll (Md.), the Gray Bees fell to eventual champ and FAB 50 No. 13 DeMatha in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational. Gray Bees move on to the NHSI tournament on March 28-31 with hopes that Tyler Ennis, who sat out the loss with injury, will be back to full strength.

3. Plainfield 30-3 (3)
Cardinals surged past St. Joseph (Met.) and into the Tournament of Champions final to face St. Anthony for the second year in a row. Plainfield fell to St. Anthony in February by the score 43-31.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

N.J. Week 12 hoops rankings: State champions crowned

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
1:21
PM ET
After games on Sunday, March 11

The marathon that is the high school basketball season is winding to a close, as the state sectional champions were crowned this past weekend.

Some brought little surprise, like when St. Anthony, the third-ranked team in the POWERADE FAB 50, used stifling defense to repeat as Non-Public B champions. The Friars' 67-39 victory against Gill St. Bernard's ran their win streak to a national-best 63 games, secured their 27th group title and earned them the top seed in this week's Tournament of Champions.

Others triggered shock and suspense, like when Plainfield had to storm back from a halftime deficit to beat Neptune in the Group 3 championship — this coming one round after the Cardinals downed previously undefeated Teaneck by 22. Or when Atlantic City had to pull off a similar late run to beat an upstart Elizabeth squad in the Group 4 title game.

And one contest made history. Ewing's 59-50 win against Pascack Hills in the Group 2 final made Shelley Dearden the first female coach in state history to lead a boys basketball team to a state championship.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 30-0 (1)
Friars repeated as Non-Public B champs while running their win streak to 63 games by easily beating Hudson Catholic and Gill St. Bernard's. They enter the Tournament of Champions as the top seed, awaiting the March 14 winner of Ewing and Atlantic City.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 31-1 (2)
The Gray Bees begin a tough two-week stretch, playing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference in Maryland beginning with a contest against John Carroll (Md.). Then they will take part in the ESPNHS NHSI tournament beginning on March 28.

3. Plainfield 28-3 (4)
The Cardinals handed Teaneck its lone loss of the season before rallying back against Neptune to win the Group 3 title. Next up: Asbury Park in Wednesday's opening round of the Tournament of Champions.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

N.J. Week 11 hoops rankings: Sectional titles on the line

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
1:11
PM ET
After games on Monday, March 5.

Championship weekend is underway in the Garden State, as teams are vying for the various sectional titles as well as a spot in the Tournament of Champions.

With that said, it's still somewhat crazy to think a year ago at this time, St. Patrick and St. Anthony were facing off for the Non-Public, North B crown and nation's top ranking. It's also crazy to think that that was the last time the two powerhouses would ever play, as St. Patrick's loss in the Non-Public, South B quarterfinals this past week was likely their last game with the school expected to close in June. Meanwhile St. Anthony, which is ranked No. 3 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and faces a test in Hudson Catholic, is a win away from repeating as sectional champs.

Also, a huge matchup looms Wednesday, as Teaneck puts its undefeated record on the line against a talented Plainfield squad in the Section 3 semifinals.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 28-0 (1)
Friars cruised back to the Non-Public, North B final with wins against Oratory Prep and Dwight-Englewood, as Kyle Anderson totaled 60 points in the two victories. Next up: Hudson Catholic in the March 8 title game.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 29-1 (2)
The Gray Bees rode the momentum from their Prep A title to rout Rise Academy (Philadelphia). Two more games are on tap this week before they compete in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational in Maryland on March 15-17.

3. Teaneck 29-0 (3)
Highwaymen routed Passaic Tech to clinch the North 1, Group 3 title. Next up: a huge matchup with No. 4 Plainfield in Wednesday's Group 3 semifinals.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

N.J. Week 10 hoops rankings: State playoffs get underway

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
2:16
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Feb. 26.

This year's state playoffs begin on a bittersweet note, as St. Patrick announced this past weekend that financial issues have forced it to close its doors at year's end. But before this happens, the Celtics will look to end their storied history with a bang in the Non-Public, South B playoffs.

Joining their quest for section supremacy as well as a spot in the Tournament of Champions is St. Anthony (the POWERADE FAB 50's No. 3 squad and winners of 59 straight), St. Joseph (Met.) (led by Quenton DeCosey, the state's best-kept secret), Teaneck and its 26-0 record as well as a battle-tested Plainfield squad that finished as last year's T of C runner-up.

Not in the mix is St. Benedict's. The Gray Bees are not part of the NJSIAA, meaning last week's easy win against Blair Academy in the Prep A championship signals the end of their season, unless they earn a spot in the ESPNHS NHSI tournament.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 26-0 (1)
Friars pushed win streak to 59 games with three victories to cap the regular season. They begin play in the Non-Public, North B tournament on Friday after a first-round bye.

2. St. Benedict's 28-1 (Newark) (2)
Melvin Johnson dropped 27 points to lead the Gray Bees to an easy win against Blair Academy in the Prep A championship, making for their 19th straight win.

3. Teaneck 26-0 (3)
After downing Indian Hills, the Highwaymen will put their undefeated record on the line Wednesday against Jefferson Township in the second round of the North 1, Group 3 tournament. Chris Jones leads the way with 21.3 points per game.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

Quenton DeCosey: N.J.'s best-kept secret

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
3:54
PM ET
Dave Turco gets it. He realizes his prized player isn't quite on the same level as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Kyle Anderson, the undisputed top high school ballers from New Jersey over the past two years. The St. Joseph (Met.) hoops coach also admits he's a bit biased when it comes to evaluating Falcons senior Quenton DeCosey.

But if there's one thing Turco does know, it's that when it comes to discussing the state's best players, the one they call Q has to be part of the conversation.

DeCoseydribble
Courtesy of Marlo Williamson PhotographySenior swingman Quenton DeCosey is averaging 21.1 points and 9.5 rebounds for St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.), which begins play in the state playoffs this week.
"Kyle's a great, great player and so was Gilchrist, and I know I'm spoiled because I get to see Q everyday," Turco said. "But Quenton is a phenom who can do just about anything on the basketball court. And he just turned 17 last August."

DeCosey's age isn't the only impressive number on his resume. The 6-foot-5 swingman led his team to its third straight Greater Middlesex County title on Friday, tallying 24 points and 12 rebounds in the title game to earn tournament MVP honors. For the year, he's averaging 21.0 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, making the 25-1 Falcons a serious contender as the state playoffs begin Monday. They enter the Non-Public, South A bracket as the No. 1 seed and riding a 24-game winning streak.

Three years ago, however, not even Turco knew who DeCosey was. That's because his parents had him try out for the freshman team so he would have more time to get acclimated academically to high school. But with Turco in the stands during one freshman game, DeCosey's athleticism and potential were impossible to miss.

"The ball got stuck between the rim and the backboard, so you know, in a freshman game, the refs and kids are looking for someone to go get another ball to get it out," Turco recalled. "But then Q goes up, taps the ball and dunks it, all in one motion. I got pretty excited when I saw that."

For DeCosey, the move was just a taste of what he'd gleaned from countless hours watching His Airness.

Around the age of 6, DeCosey discovered the movie "Space Jam." At first, the idea of aliens playing basketball against some of his favorite cartoon characters drew in the wide-eyed DeCosey. But the more he watched ("probably two to three times a day," according to his mother, LaWanda), the more he grew to admire Michael Jordan. Soon, "Michael Jordan: Come Fly With Me" was added to his daily dose of films and the journey to be like Mike officially began.

"I would watch it every day when I came home and just study the little things Jordan did," DeCosey said. "The way he took control and how competitive he was. I still watch it now to find things to put in my repertoire."

It shows, especially in the eyes of AAU coach Ed Bright. The founder and coach of Sports U/Team Izod couldn't believe his eyes when DeCosey came out for his squad two years ago.

"There was nothing he couldn't do in terms of his skill set," Bright said. "He could handle the ball, the shooting touch was there and when you see him in person, you realize how long of a player he is.

"His game compares to Kobe. I know some people will say, 'Shut up, that's holy ground.' But if you watch Q, he's that graceful out there on the court. He can literally do whatever he wants to do when he wants to do it."

True to form, DeCosey did exactly that as a junior for the Falcons. With the team hit hard by graduation, DeCosey exploded to average 23.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.4 blocks per game.

"Sometimes I'm probably unfair to him because we expect him to do so much that he never really comes out of the game," Turco said. "He's just that good."

DeCosey also did it for Team Izod this past summer. During the quarterfinals of the Las Vegas Fab 48 against a tough Grassroots Canada squad, he dropped 25 points to keep his team close during an eventual loss.

DeCoseytrophy
Courtesy of Marlo Williamson PhotographyQuenton DeCosey, a Temple commit, earned MVP honors in leading the Falcons to their third straight Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament crown on Feb. 24.
And there's little doubt DeCosey will do it next year when he puts on a Temple uniform. In fact, Turco says some of the high-major programs that ignored him initially have been pushing for him to change his mind after realizing what a steal the Owls got.

But for a teenager who takes just as much joy in talking about basketball as he does business and accounting, Temple is right where DeCosey wants to be.

"I love basketball, but academics are first and foremost for me," said DeCosey, who stands to join a prestigious St. Joseph alumni list that includes Andrew Bynum and Jay Williams. "My main goal is to graduate with a diploma. I want to major in sports management and maybe one day be a coach or recruiter."

For now, though, DeCosey will stick to torturing opposing coaches in hopes of capturing the school's fourth sectional title and first state crown.

"To have a guy like Q who can carry a team is huge," Turco said. "However we end up, though, I know there are a lot of coaches who will not be sad to see Q leave."

Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

St. Patrick to close its doors

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
3:54
PM ET
Basketball powerhouse St. Patrick will close its doors this June due to dwindling enrollment and financial issues.

Just a year ago, the Celtics were country's top-ranked hoops team before facing St. Anthony in a rare matchup of the nation's top two teams for the Non-Public, North B championship. The school's alumni include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kyrie Irving, Al Harrington and Dexter Strickland.

Click here to read more from ESPN New York.

Brandon Parker covers high school sports for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

NJ Week 8 hoops rankings: St. Anthony knocks off Huntington Prep

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
5:50
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Feb. 12

A month ago, Bob Hurley surprised many when he called his undefeated St. Anthony squad "a work in progress" just hours after winning at the HoopHall Classic in front of a national TV audience.

On Tuesday, Hurley gave another reason for opponents to worry when he told me that his Friars squad, fresh off beating national power Huntington Prep by one to push their two-year win streak to 53 games, still hadn't played its best.

"We've gotten better, but we still haven't played our best basketball" Hurley said of the No. 3 team in the POWERADE FAB 50. "Saturday was great and now we'll see if we can keep using that experience to grow more. Kyle [Anderson] is really the only returning starter at his same position. Jerome Frink started, but he played center last year and now he's a forward. So with all these new players and positions and with how much Kyle likes to pass, he's still trying to figure out where to get them the ball.

"It's like a chef working on a new recipe. You keep working with ingredients to see what turns out the best."

The PrimeTime Shootout wasn't so kind to Gill St. Bernard's. The Knights lost to a New Jersey team for the first time this year when Plainfield knocked them off in a 78-77 overtime contest. The Cardinals were coming off an eight-point loss to St. Anthony, which also beat them in the Tournament of Champions final last year. Could a rematch be in store?

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 20-0 (1)
Friars won a 51-50 thriller against national powerhouse Huntington Prep (W. Va.) at the PrimeTime Shootout behind Kyle Anderson's 18 points. The No. 3 team in the FAB 50 will again be tested against Jefferson (N.Y.) and Bishop Eustace this week.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 26-1 (3)
Gray Bees blew out Solebury, Lakewood and St. Patrick by an average of 35 points.

3. Teaneck 20-0 (4)
Highwaymen remain undefeated and move up a spot after a statement win against No. 10 Paterson Eastside. Next up: Bergen Tech and Paramus Catholic.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

NJ Week 7 hoops rankings: St. Anthony moves to third in FAB 50

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
2:51
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Feb. 5

Conference tournaments are starting up for some teams while many of the state's top squads will descend upon Roselle this weekend for the PrimeTime Shootout. Nothing beats the postseason, but there are some great appetizers on tap this week.

St. Anthony, which pushed its win streak to 48 games and is now third in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings, will be put to the test Tuesday when it faces No. 6 Plainfield. The Cardinals are hungry for a big win after seeing their 14-game win streak snapped against St. Patrick last week. St. Anthony will then take on West Virginia power Huntington Prep at the PrimeTime Shootout on Saturday.

Tuesday will also feature a big matchup between No. 4 Teaneck and No. 10 Paterson Eastside. Teacneck has yet to lose this season but the Ghosts are riding a 12-game win streak.

On a side note, big ups to Kavon Stewart, who had 20 dimes in Hudson Catholic's blowout win against University Charter Academy.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 15-0 (1)
Friars pushed their win streak to 48 games with blowout victory against Ridgewood last week. Multiple tests are on the horizon versus No. 5 Plainfield on Tuesday and West Virginia power Huntington on Saturday.

2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone) 16-2 (2)
Knights secured the top seed in the Somerset County Tournament with easy wins against Rutgers Prep and Watchung Hills.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 22-1 (3)
Gray Bees have now won 13 straight. This week, they play Solebury (Pa.) before playing Lakewood and St. Patrick at the loaded Primetime Shootout.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

NJ Week 6 hoops rankings: Paterson Eastside enters top 10

January, 31, 2012
1/31/12
2:30
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Jan. 29

After a slow start to the season, Paterson Eastside is off and running, winning its last nine games and vaulting into the top 10 this week. DeAndre Noble-Haywood and Ky're Jackson have led the way, with Jackson dropping 20 points in the Ghosts' win against Paterson Kennedy on Saturday. The Ghosts stand to make a big jump in the rankings in the near future, should they be able to knock off No. 5 Teaneck next Tuesday.

Hudson Catholic also moved up the rankings after downing then-nationally ranked Lincoln (N.Y.). It wasn't the best showing for either team, but Reggie Cameron's 16 points helped the Hawks secure a 58-50 victory.

Top-ranked St. Anthony has had to fight off rust after having the weather and rules have cancelled three of their games in the past two weeks. The Friars still pushed their win streak to 47 games and remain fourth in the latest POWERADE FAB 50 rankings. (St. Anthony beat a solid Newark Tech on Monday, after these rankings were done.)

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 13-0 (1)
Friars have had some time to rest after the SNY Invitational was cancelled. In just their second game in two weeks, they easily handled East Orange, 68-28. Next up: Ridgewood on Wednesday.

2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone) 13-2 (2)
Knights easily took care of Franklin and St. Peter's Prep last week. Contests against Rutgers Prep and Watchung Hills loom this week.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 19-1 (3)
Gray Bees pushed their win streak to 10 by capturing the Newark National Invitational with a 66-64 victory against Blair Academy behind Melvin Johnson's 20 points. Next up: Lawrenceville on Wednesday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

NJ Week 5 Hoops Rankings: Gray Bees keep rolling

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
5:01
PM ET
After games on Sunday, Jan. 22

On some days, St. Benedict's players and coaches must wonder what could have been. Despite catching defending national champ and rival St. Anthony on a "terrible" day (Bob Hurley's words; not mine), the Gray Bees fell one point short of the upset.

But with the way it's have played since then, St. Benedict's must be thinking of what could be. Having won their last seven games by an average of 54 points, the Gray Bees appear to be a strong contender for the state title, along with St. Anthony and Gill St. Bernard.

Nationally, both St. Benedict's and Gill St. Bernard's moved up two spots to Nos. 19 and 23, respectively, in the latest POWERADE FAB 50 rankings while St. Anthony still sits at No. 4.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 12-0 (1)
The Friars' scheduled game against CBA was cancelled due to the weather, making their next contest a Tuesday tilt versus East Orange.

2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone) 10-2 (2)
Cruised to 87-60 win against Hillsborough. Up next: at Hunterdon Central on Tuesday.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 15-1 (3)
After easy victories against Trent Internationale (Texas) and NIA Prep, the Gray Bees have won their last seven games by an average of 54 points.

Click here for the full POWERADE New Jersey weekly hoops rankings.
After games on Tuesday, Jan. 17

They're the defending POWERADE FAB 50 CHAMPS, boast the nation's No. 5 recruit in Kyle Anderson and have won 45 straight games, but St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley says the Friars are far from peaking.

"I hate to tell you this because I don't think you're going to believe this, but this is an absolute work in progress," Hurley said Monday after the Friars' impressive 60-48 win against Miller Grove (Ga.) at the Hoophall Classic. The Hall of Fame coach cited the Friars' effort against St. Benedict's Prep, a game in which they won by one point and "left there very confused offensively."

But with Anderson facilitating the team and a lockdown defense that's held opponents to 27.8 points per game (!), Hurley feels confident that his work in progress will evolve into another masterpiece season.

"This is as good a St. Anthony defensive team as I've had," Hurley said of his fourth-ranked POWERADE FAB 50 squad. "We follow the scouting report pretty good and we have real good length, so we don't give up a lot of easy stuff."

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 12-0 (1)
Friars ran their win streak to 45 games with an impressive win against Miller Grove (Ga.) at the HoopHall Classic. Next up: Life Center Academy.

2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone) 9-2 (2)
Knights remain perfect in the new year, downing North Hunterdon, Immaculata and Ridge this past week. Next up: Hillsborough on Friday.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 15-1 (3)
Gray Bees had their way with Upper Room Christian (N.Y.) and Patterson (Md.), pushing their win streak to five games and their scoring average to more than 100 points during this string. Tyler Ennis had 14 points and 10 assists in the win against Patterson. Next up: NIA Prep on Friday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

Gill St. Bernard's downs Mater Dei, moves into POWERADE FAB 50

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
2:07
PM ET
After games on Monday, Jan. 9

Before this season, Gill St. Bernard's coach Mergen Sina told me with plenty of conviction: "It's a good time to get to the top of the pack...this year, we honestly feel we can win a state title."

The Knights have backed up Sina's claim in the early going by holding their own against some of the nation's best. After posting a 2-2 mark at the prestigious City of Palms in Florida, the Knights earned a huge, 76-73 win in overtime this past Saturday by downing previous national No. 8 Mater Dei (Calif.). Dominic Hoffman led the way with 24 points and 13 rebounds and the Knights showed resolve, bouncing back in the extra period after Mater Dei forced overtime with a three at the buzzer.

The win moves the Knights into the No. 21 spot in the POWERADE FAB 50, seven spots ahead of St. Benedict's Prep and 17 slots behind St. Anthony, which pushed its win streak to 43 games in dominant fashion.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 10-0 (1)
Kyle Anderson had 21 points and eight boards in the Friars' 62-32 win against East Brunswick. They will face a big test Monday against national No. 34 Miller grove at the HoopHall Classic.

2. Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone) 6-2 (3)
Big games from Dominic Hoffman (24 points, 13 boards), Alex Mitola (20 points) and Jaren Sina (19) pushed the Knights to a 76-73 overtime win against Mater Dei (Calif.) on Jan. 7.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 11-1 (2)
Miami recruit and Rice senior transfer Melvin Johnson has been huge for the Gray Bees, draining six 3-pointers in a win against Bergen Catholic to match his season average of 24 points.

Click here for the full POWERADE New Jersey hoops rankings.

Stock is rising for Aaman, Harris and Bembry

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
1:51
PM ET
It's time to see which players ended 2011 with a bang and/or started 2012 off right.

You know the drill — each week, we'll take a look back at our New Jersey preseason All-State basketball team and update you on how some of those players are faring this year. There will be a Prime-Time Player (PTP), an Other Top Player (OTP) and an Under the Radar (UTR) player who is making his case as one of the state's top ballers.

PTP: Mike Aaman, Raritan, Senior
The Wagner commit has been even more dominant, averaging 22.6 points and 10-plus rebounds while leading the Rockets to their first two wins of the year.

OTP: Sekou Harris, Plainfield, Senior
The Cardinals have shown why they finished second in the state last year and are major contenders again this season. Much of the credit goes to Harris, who averaged 16.7 points across three games in three days and dropped 11 in a big win against No. 8 Hudson Catholic.

UTR: DeAndre Bembry, St. Patrick, Junior
In the South, Bembry is a known star after holding his own for Rocky River, and it hasn't taken long for the junior forward to make a name for himself up north. Bembry is averaging 20.8 points to lead the decimated Celtics to a 2-2 record, including an impressive overtime win against Linden in which he had 29 points.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Close calls highlight New Year's Jump Off and Week 2 NJ hoops rankings

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
5:45
PM ET
After games ending Jan. 2

For years, two of the state's perennial powers in St. Anthony and St. Benedict's never faced off, as father and son preferred not to do battle on the court. But when Danny Hurley left St. Benedict's for the NCAA in 2010, the Friars became fair game.

The two made up for lost time with a classic contest during an eventful New Year's Jump Off Classic. St. Benedict's led most of the game, but the defending national champs wore down the Gray Bees behind Kyle Anderson's 13 points and 10 rebounds and pulled out a 51-50 win. The 7-0 Friars are now fourth in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Last year's state runner-up also engaged in a close battle, as No. 4 Plainfield held on for a 59-57 win against No. 8 Hudson Catholic. Ahmid Williams free throws in the final seconds proved to be the difference.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 7-0 (1)
Friars survived their first test of the season, overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit to beat No. 2 St. Benedict's Prep, 51-50.

2. St. Benedict's (Newark) 9-1 (2)
Gave top-ranked St. Anthony all it could handle in 51-50 loss at New Year's Jump Off.

3. Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone) 3-2 (3)
Knights have been idle since City of Palms. Return to action this week against Bridgewater-Raritan.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

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