St. Anthony Moves To No. 1; Other State Champs Make Their Moves In National Rankings

High School March Madness Blank

St. Anthony of New Jersey is the new No. 1-ranked team in every national poll, as expected. Teams that made big jumps are Marcus of Texas, Heights of Kansas, Mater Dei of California, Boys & Girls of New York and Miller Grove of Georgia.

St. Anthony, the Catholic school that beat St. Patrick in a New Jersey showdown of the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams last week, is two victories from clinching a national title.

Does any other team have a shot?

Probably not, as St. Patrick is expected to roll through its state's Tournament of Champions. Next game is a semifinal Friday. Adam Zagoria has been following St. Anthony's quest on SB Nation.

But several teams made leaps in the rankings this week after winning state titles.

Here are some of them:

Marcus of Flower Mound, Texas, is the No. 2 team behind St. Anthony in MaxPreps' new Xcellent 25, released Monday. Marcus (39-1) defeated Lakeview Centennial, previously ranked in the top 10 of several national polls, 40-38 for the Texas Class 5A title. That was the game in which Marcus Smart (offers from Baylor, Kansas State, Marquette) had 16 points and 11 rebounds. This is a team whose top three players are juniors, so look out in 2011-12. Marcus also jumped 16 spots to No. 3 in the The National Prep Basketball Poll. Marcus is No. 10 in USA Today and No. 6 in ESPN.  (Click links for natonal rankings.)

Mater Dei (30-3) of Santa Ana, Calif., was very impressive in a 72-55 victory last week over Long Beach Poly, previously ranked No. 5 in USA Today, in the Southern California regional semifinals of Division I. Mater Dei's top players are Katin Reinhardt, a junior guard expected to sign at Southern Cal, and Xavier Johnson, another Pac 10 recruit. Next for Mater Dei is Centennial of Corona, another nationally ranked team. Mater Dei, unranked in some polls last week, now is ranked No. 12 by MaxPreps, No. 13 by USA Today, No. 12 by ESPN and No.7 by The National Prep Basketball Poll.

Boys & Girls High (24-6) of Brooklyn won the New York public schools title last week with a victory over Lincoln in Madison Square Garden and rose to No. 9 in The National Prep Basketball Poll after being unranked. New York teams don't get a lot of respect in other polls, however. Boys & Girls is ranked No. 24 in the ESPN rankings but not at all with MaxPreps or USA Today. This team's top players are Mike Taylor (signed with Rutgers) and 6-6 forward Malik Nichols (bound for Hofstra).

Norcom of Portsmouth, Va., won Virginia's Group AAA title last week, clinching a unanimous Top 10 season nationally. Norcom moved up to No. 6 in the Natonal Prep Poll, No. 3 in MaxPreps, No. 6 in USA Today and No.  4 in ESPN. Norcom's star player is Dorian Finney-Smith, a Virginia Tech signee.

Heights of Wichita, Kan., is the only nationally prominent unbeaten team outside of St. Anthony, but national pollsters must not like the strength of schedule. Heights won its third straight Kansas Class 6A title last week and ran its winning streak to 44. Its rankings are No. 10 by the National Prep Poll, No. 5 by USA Today, No. 11 by ESPN and No. 9 by MaxPreps.Heights is led by Perry Ellis, a junior who is rated among the top 10 power forwards nationally for his class.

Norcross and Miller Grove each made big leaps in the rankings after winning state titles in Georgia, and Class AAAAA runner-up Milton - which had been in every top five nationally until losing to Norcross on Friday - didn't fall that far.

Norcross, a team that won 17 straight after starting 7-9, is No. 16 in the National Prep Poll despite its nine losses. Hoopniks has Norcross rated No. 29.  Norcross has three Division I signees and a junior, Chris Bolden, who has committed to Miami. Injuries and the challenge of blending two key transfers conspired to make for a slow start for this program that has four state titles in six seasons. (Norcross-Milton game story.)

Miller Grove, meanwhile, finished 31-1and won Georgia's AAAA title. The Wolverines, who just captured their third straight state championship, have a win over Milton. Miller Grove is No. 11 in ESPN, No. 9 in USA Today, No. 8 in the National Prep Poll and No. 8 in MaxPreps. The team's top player is junior Tony Parker, who has several ACC and SEC offers.

Milton, the team with four Division I signees that lost in the AAAAA final to Norcross, is still No. 11 in the National Prep Poll, No. 16 in MaxPreps, No. 22 in USA Today and No. 13 in ESPN. Milton is led by Shannon Scott (signed with Ohio State), Julian Royal (Georgia Tech) and Dai-Jon Parker (Vanderbilt). The team generally is the highest-ranked team besides St. Patrick that won't win its state title.

St. Patrick fell only a little ways in the state rankings. The team is ranked No. 2 by ESPN Rise, USA Today and The National Prep Poll and No. 4 with MaxPreps.

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