High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: Anton Gill

NHSI preview: Ravenscroft

March, 22, 2012
Team: No. 7 seed Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 31-3, NR (No. 19 in the Southeast)
Head Coach: Kevin Billerman (12th year at school, 279-70 career record

Key Players:

Madison Jones
Jones initiates the Ravens’ offense and brings a gritty, tough element that becomes infectious as the game progresses. Jones averages 16.5 points, 6.5 assists and 3.4 steals per game and serves as the team’s vocal leader on the floor. “He’s a true point guard and he just controls our team in all areas,” Billerman said. “He’s a great leader.”

Anton Gill
Gill is a freak of an athlete and, at 6-foot-4, will have one of the best high-wire acts at the NHSI. Gill, a Louisville commit, averages 18.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. When the Ravens are in need of a bucket to break a scoring drought, Gill is the player whose number Billerman typically calls.

Marcus Bryan
Bryan, a 6-foot-8 center, is the Ravens’ low post presence and averages 14.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Bryan is versatile enough to step out and consistently knock down the 17-footer, making him a tough draw for most opposing big men.

Road to NHSI:

Ravenscroft knocked off North Carolina powerhouse Christ School (Arden, N.C.) twice in convincing fashion and also won the High School OT Holiday Invitational in December. In that tournament the Ravens knocked off Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.) and United Faith (Charlotte, N.C.). Ravenscroft also knocked off Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) to claim the state title.

“We beat all of the top private school teams in our state,” Billerman said. “The guys really stepped up and met every challenge.”

Inside Scoop:

The Ravens lockup defensively and are almost always hounding the opposition with a suffocating man-to-man set. Offensively, the Ravens remain in attack mode at all times whether it’s pushing the ball up the court in transition or running one of the 16 plays in the halfcourt set.

“With Anton and Madison scoring a lot of points, obviously, we shoot a lot of jump shots,” Billerman said. “Both of them are very smart players and they pick their spots well.”

The Ravens average 71 points per game.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

N.C. Week 12 hoops rankings: Ravenscroft ends Christ School's reign

February, 28, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 26.

In some ways, Ravenscroft has looked a lot like UConn did during last year's NCAA postseason. Like UConn, Ravenscroft had a one-two punch of youth and experience in junior Anton Gill and senior Madison Jones. Like UConn, the Ravens had to knock off several giants along the way, like five-time defending champ Christ School and a solid Greensboro Day squad. And like UConn, the Ravens put it all together to secure the NCISAA 3A crown and a school-record 31 victories.

On the public school scene, another contest a March Madness feel takes place Tuesday when top-ranked Olympic faces defending 4A champ West Charlotte in the 4A regional semifinals. Olympic, the No. 30 squad in the POWERADE FAB 50, won their sole regular-season meeting by three points and has arguably the most talented team in the state, but the Lions appear to be peaking at the right time behind big man Kennedy Meeks and scoring threat Mike Brown. Should be a good one.

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

1. Olympic (Charlotte) 28-1 (1)
Trojans face off Tuesday against defending 4A champ West Charlotte after downing the Lions earlier this season. A win would put Olympic in its first regional final.

2. West Charlotte 26-5 (2)
The Lions' quest for a repeat 4A title will be challenged greatly on Tuesday when they face top-ranked Olympic, a team they lost to by three points earlier this season.

3. Ravenscroft 31-3 (7)
Ravens put together quite the run at season's end, blowing past five-time defending champ Christ School before beating Greensboro Day to win the NCISAA 3A crown and set a school record for wins in a season.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.

NC Week 11 hoops rankings: Harding hands Olympic its first loss

February, 21, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 19

The first two games (one of which went to overtime) were decided by a combined four points, so even though Olympic entered Friday's MEGA-7 tournament final against Harding undefeated at 25-0 and unbeaten in its last 52 conference games, nothing was guaranteed.

Sure enough, the third time proved to be the charm for the Rams, who knocked off Olympic 61-55 in overtime behind Jarvis Haywood's 26 points. The win is a huge momentum boost for Harding as it enters the 3A playoffs as well as a huge motivation tool for Olympic, which remains the favorite in 4A and falls to No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

With the playoffs beginning this week, several other teams enter red hot, including Ravenscroft. The Ravens have won 11 straight, including a victory against No. 5 Christ School, and are riding Anton Gill's impressive recent play.

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

1. Olympic (Charlotte) 25-1 (1)
Trojans' bid for an undefeated season ended in an overtime loss to Harding in the MEGA-7 tournament final. But Olympic hangs on to the top spot entering the Class 4A playoffs since they beat Harding twice this year.

2. West Charlotte 23-5 (3)
Lions stretched their win streak to 13 games by beating Mallard Creek for the I-MECK title.

3. Harding (Charlotte) 22-4 (7)
The third time was the charm for the Rams, who knocked off top-ranked and previously undefeated Olympic in the MEGA-7 tournament championship.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.

NC Week 10 hoops rankings: Top 10 matchups lead to shuffle

February, 14, 2012
After games on Sunday, Feb. 12

No doubt the conference and state playoffs will bring some memorable matchups and close games, but last week saw several top 10 teams square off in preparation for the postseason.

Ravenscroft showed its mettle by knocking off Christ School, which has won the last five NCISAA 3A crowns. Behind Anton Gill's 34 points, the Ravens won a 83-73 contest to somewhat avenge a title-game loss in 2009 and create optimism for the weeks to come.

High Point Christian and Greensboro Day engaged in another nailbiter, but the result was the same, as High Point Christian came out on top in an 80-77 overtime battle. Jackson Kent nearly dropped a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in victory. On Tuesday, the Cougars get a chance to avenge their lone loss of the year to Wesleyan Christian.

Debuting in this week's state rankings is New Hanover, which has won seven straight, thanks to a solid week by Mike Hickey and Concord's first loss of the season.

Nationally, Olympic moved up to No. 28 in the POWERADE FAB 50 after securing an undefeated regular season and clinching its fourth straight MEGA-7 crown.

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

1. Olympic (Charlotte) 24-0 (1)
Trojans completed the regular season undefeated with wins against Berry and Charlotte Catholic, earning their fourth straight MEGA-7 title. The conference tournament begins this week.

2. High Point Christian 27-1 (4)
Cougars earned an 80-77 overtime against No. 5 Greensboro Day behind Jackson Kent's 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Tuesday brings the chance to avenge their lone loss of the season against Wesleyan Christian.

3. West Charlotte 20-5 (8)
After an inconsistent start, Lions appear to have found their rhythm by winning nine straight and clinching another I-MECK title.

Click here for the full POWERADE FAB 50 weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.

Olympic takes over the top spot in first hoops rankings

December, 8, 2011
Despite starting 5-0, Olympic coach Ty Baumgardner admits that his team could stand to play better in the first quarter after having to put together multiple rallies. But when it comes to the first state rankings, the Trojans are starting off just fine. With an assist from United Faith Christian's slow start (4-3) and Harding's upset of previous No. 2 West Charlotte, the Trojans have earned the top spot. Allerik Freeman, ranked ninth in the junior class, leads the squad with 17.2 points per game.

"Because of the natural progression, we happen to be the team that's No. 1, which is great, but to be honest, we don't worry about that stuff," Baumgardner said. "It's still yet to be determined if this is the best team I've ever coached, but without question, this is the most talented team I've ever had."

As a result of its big win as well as the impressive play of Jarvis Haywood (23.2 points), Harding makes its debut in the rankings. Likewise, Christ School, which has won the last five 3A crowns in the private ranks, leaps to No. 4. Junior transfer Shannon Hale leads the Greenies with 14.0 points per game.

Here's how the state rankings shake out (preseason rankings in parentheses):

1. Olympic (Charlotte) 5-0 (4)
The Trojans take over the top spot, having beat five tough opponents by an average of 19.4 points.

2. West Charlotte 1-1 (2)
The defending 4A champ Lions were upset by Harding, 67-66, in their second game, but will look to bounce back against Hopewell and at the tough Nike Hoops Festival on Dec. 10.

3. Ravenscroft (Raleigh) 5-1 (6)
Led by star junior Anton Gill, the Ravens are off to quick start, including a win against No. 8 Wesleyan Christian.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina basketball rankings