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By Adam C. Warner

SportsPower Editor

 

Jan. 16

 

1.) Chester Clippers (State PR: 87.97, Rank: 5) vs. Cathedral Prep Ramblers (State PR: 80.02, Rank: 19), McDonald’s Classic

 

This matchup should serve as a good gauge as to where these two teams are at within Class AAAA in the Keystone State. Both teams are currently ranked within the top five in AAAA by BasketballPower. Prep is seeking its fourth state title and first under rookie coach Mark Majewski. The Ramblers are coming off a District 10 Class AAAA title game appearance last season and have won three D-10 titles overall. Expect Rasean Thrower, Andrew Sweny, Bob Spoden and Adam Blazek to make frequent contributions for the Ramblers and cause some matchups problems for Chester.

 

Meanwhile, Chester has six state titles to its resume and two in the last four years. 6-7 standout Rahlir Jefferson, a Temple recruit, is coming off of a 27-point performance against Chichester and will be poised for another dominant output. Laquan Robinson and Maurice Nelson will also provide key support for the Clippers, who are riding a six-game winning streak since losing to Reading, 76-72, in two overtimes on Dec. 17. 

 

2.) Fowler Falcons (State PR: 68.97, Rank: 20) vs. Jamesville-Dewitt Red Rams (State PR: 91.12, Rank: 1)

 

Two Onondaga League Freedom Conference powers clash on Friday night in Central New York. Jamesville-Dewitt is currently at the top of the Freedom National Division standouts and are riding a 30-game winning streak, which is tops in the state. Look for Syracuse recruit Brandon Triche to have a strong performance after his 26-point output against Christian Brothers Academy. Senior guard Alshwan Hymes and 6-8 freshman center Dajuan Coleman are also formidable players and should complement Triche well.

 

On the other side, Fowler is headed by the dynamic quartet of Ron Monroe, Malcolm Jones, Chris Gilkes and Tysheim Barfield – four players capable of putting up double digits every night. The Falcons showed their potential in a 99-point effort against East Syracuse-Minoa on Dec. 11.

 

 

 

 

Jan. 17

 

3.) Rice Raiders (State PR: N/A, Rank: N/A) vs. Pine Crest Panthers (State PR: 84.89, Rank: 1), Big Apple Classic at Baruch College

 

The Raiders (NY) have jumped out to a 6-1 record so far this season thanks to the sensational play by standouts James Stukes and Durand Scott. Rice has already shown the ability to win from behind last week after beating Christ the King despite trailing after three periods.

 

Meanwhile, the Panthers (FL), who are the reigning class 3A state champs, are looking like championship contenders once again behind the steady play of elite guard Brandon Knight, who recently scored 41 points against Dillard. 6-5 forward Ed Waite, Traveon Henry and Billy Thompson, Jr. also round out a talented cast. This should be a terrific matchup of two teams that love to push the basketball down the floor and score points on transition.

 

4.) St. Patrick Celtics (National PR: 84.91, National Rank: 14) vs. Christian Brothers Academy Colts (State PR: N/A, Rank: N/A), Battle at the Boardwalk in Asbury Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fans can expect a close game between these two Garden State powers. St. Patrick is playing extremely well as of late and is coming off an undefeated performance at the Myrtle Beach Ball Classic, which saw them knock off national power Wheeler (GA) to win the tournament. Derrick Gordon, Dexter Strickland and Paris Bennett makeup one of the most formidable trios in the nation and they excel at both ends of the floor. Each player has the ability to take over a game at any given time.

 

Christian Brothers Academy also sports a balanced scoring attack that is known to be aggressive and unrelenting. Junior guard Roy Mabrey, sophomore forward Matt McMullen, senior forward Pat Light and senior guard Brian Neller head his talented unit, which is coming off a 17-8 campaign in ’08. A win against the Celtics will prove that the Colts belong in the same conversation of the best teams in the region.

 

5.) Northland Vikings (State PR: N/A, Rank: N/A) vs. San Diego Cavers (National PR: 67.59, Section Rank: 13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two talented squads from different ends of the country will battle for supremacy in the Flyin’ to the Hoop Tournament in Dayton on Saturday. This showdown will feature two of the most talented players in the nation in Jared Sullinger and Jeremy Tyler.

 

Sullinger, an Ohio State recruit, is the top playmaker for the Vikings and has been carrying the load for his side thus far. The frontcourt force routinely posts double-doubles and will be hard-pressed not to do so this weekend.

 

Meanwhile, at 6-9 and 240 lbs., Tyler is a special player and will command extra attention by Sullinger and the Vikings. The junior averaged 18 points, 15 rebounds and 8 blocks per game last season in leading the Cavers to the California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Section Division I crown for the first time in over 30 years.

 

This will be a fun game to watch as both teams hope to lean on their

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan. 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.) DeMatha Stags (National PR: 97.47, National Rank: 3) vs. Neumann-Goretti Pirates (National PR: 80.03, Class Rank: 9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two of the region’s premier teams battle in a nonconference matchup over the weekend. – a showcase of multiple future NCAA recruits. Josh Selby and Naji Hibbert lead an impressive cast for DeMatha. The Stags are arguably one of the deepest teams in the nation, which has been evident in wins against Whitney Young and Paul VI.

 

While the Stags have been dominating most of their competition, they will likely be facing one of their toughest tests of the season in Neumann-Goretti. The Pirates are led by Wake Forest recruit Tony Chennault, Lamin Fulton, Mustaffa Jones and Dan Stewart. This poses as a great matchup of inside/outside talents. Stewart is monster on the boards, as evidenced by his 22 point, 17 rebound performance vs. St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH). Meanwhile, Chennault is an explosive force on both ends and especially on transition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan. 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.) St. Anthony Friars (State PR: N/A, Rank: N/A) vs. Putnam City Pirates (National PR: 81.87, Class Rank: 4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two unlikely powers go head-to-head in the eighth annual Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. at Blake Arena. More than 40 squads will be participating in the annual event, which will represent 16 states and Washington D.C.

 

St. Anthony (NJ) -- headed by great talents Jamee Jackson and Dominic Cheek – is currently off to a great start thanks in part to team defense. The Friars have been holding many teams so far in the 30s and 40s.

 

Meanwhile, the Pirates (OK) are headed by Oklahoma signee Kyle Hardrick and Memphis recruit Xavier Henry, who has already scored 40 points in a game this season. With the addition of Hardrick this year, who transferred from Norman, the Pirates are title favorites in Oklahoma and now recognized as one of the midwest’s top teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan. 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.) Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets (State PR: 95.69, Rank: 1) vs. Belleville Tigers (State PR: 92.11, Class Rank: 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A pair of Michigan heavyweights take to the hardwood in one of the premier matchups of the year in the state. The Yellowjackets face several talented Ohio squads before they face the Tigers, so to come out on top, the unit will likely need a top performance. Detroit is led by Ray McCallum, Jr. and sharpshooter Jordan Dumars, who is lights-out from beyond the arc. Bennie Fowler is also a key contributor and has double-digit scoring ability.

 

On the other side, the Tigers have been flying under the radar this year in Michigan and hope to have a breaking out party against DCD. The Tigers are headed by sharp-shooter DeShon Dobbins, Booker Stoudmire, Mohamed Conte and Kourea Hayes, who all form a talented lineup that can hit you in a variety of ways.

 

9.) Kiski Area Cavaliers (State PR: 69.17, Class Rank: 60) vs. Latrobe Wildcats (State PR: 90.69, Class Rank: 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last time these two conference rivals met back on Dec. 16, Latrobe pulled out a thrilling 62-61 victory on the road. This time, Kiski is looking to pull of a road win against the top team in the conference. Kiski was once a pushover, but not anymore as evidenced by the first battle between these two. The Cavaliers are led by 6-2 senior guard Brady Pacific, who averaged 18 points per game last season, and Zack Barker, who is a major three-point threat.

 

Jeff Yunetz leads Latrobe and can put up 30 points on any given night. The Wildcats are currently in the drivers seat in the conference at 6-0, but Kiski has a major opportunity here to gain ground. Latrobe will need to be at the top of its game. The squad has impressive wins over Penn-Trafford and Hempfield, in addition to Penn Hills earlier in the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan. 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.) St. Frances Academy Panthers (National PR: 85.25, Region Rank: 10) vs. Mount St. Joseph Gaels (National PR: 85.25, Regional Rank: 9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This should be a great matchup of Mid-Atlantic powers. St. Frances is in the drivers seat of the Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA Class A conference thanks in part to the play of top scorer Terrell Vinson and 6-9 forward Greg Lewis.

 

Mount St. Joseph is led by the trio of senior Gerald Hill and juniors Eric Atkins and Ryler Beaumont, all tremendous scoring threats that can also back it up defensively. St. Frances is 7-1 in the conference and MSJ is 9-2.

 

This is the second of two regular season matchups between these conference rivals. Back on Jan 2, St. Frances pulled out a 49-40 win which saw Vinson score a game-high 19 points. Mount St. Joseph needs one of its best performances of the year to come out on top this time around.                                                                               

To contact editor Adam C. Warner, send an e-mail to adam.warner@activenetwork.com.

 

 

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