The scenario for top-ranked
St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
is simple. A win over Plainfield
on Tuesday in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final means the Friars will celebrate back-to-back national titles.
But the recent play of Plainfield suggests Tuesday's matchup will be far from a coronation for head coach Bob Hurley's squad. The Cardinals have won every postseason contest by double digits, including 22-point wins over previously-unbeaten Teaneck
and one-loss St. Joseph (Metuchen)
St. Anthony isn't exactly showing signs of vulnerability, however. The Friars are surrendering just 33 points per game in postseason play and have won all five outings by 23 points or more.
The teams have already met once this season, a 43-31 St. Anthony victory back on Feb. 7. Plainfield has won 15 in a row since.
The season's final Xcellent 25 presented by the Army National Guard is two weeks away. In addition to St. Anthony, No. 5 Chester (Pa.)
, No. 6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
, No. 12 Dunbar (Dayton, Ohio)
, No. 19 Sexton (Lansing, Mich.)
, No. 20 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia)
, No. 23 Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
and No. 24 Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
will look to close out their 2011-12 campaigns with state titles this weekend.
No. 8 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)
wraps things up Tuesday in the Abe Pollin City Title Game against Coolidge (Washington, D.C.)
No. 14 Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
is the only Xcellent 25-ranked team that will play beyond this week with a trip to the National High School Invitational in Maryland on March 29-31.
Read on for a complete look at this week's rankings.Xcellent 25 High School Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard1. (No. 1 last week) St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (31-0)
The Friars are seeking their 12th Tournament of Champions title and fifth national title under Bob Hurley.2. (2) Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) (39-2)
Season complete. Class 5A state champions.3. (3) Milton (Ga.) (28-4)
Season complete. Class AAAAA state champions.4. (4) Simeon (Chicago) (33-1)
Season complete. Class 4A state champions.5. (5) Chester (Pa.) (31-0)
The Clippers dispatched a proud Coatesville program Saturday in the Class AAAA quarterfinals, 87-46. Chester will meet Wake Forest signee Devin Thomas and Central Dauphin (Harrisburg) on Wednesday for the right to advance to the state championship game.