Developments off the court were the biggest story impacting this week's MaxPreps Top 25 high school basketball rankings. Tip-off in New Jersey brings the total number of states in-season to 40 while good news was announced Friday in both Illinois and New York.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that regions reaching Phase 4 of COVID-19 mitigations can play all sports, including basketball, football and wrestling, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. While no official start date has been targeted, the outlook is positive.
New York is taking a similar approach with local health officials authorizing play based on case numbers and other forms of monitoring.
The news brings hope that MaxPreps Top 25 contenders like Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.) and Simeon (Chicago), among others, will have an opportunity to get on the court at some point this season.
On the court last week, a pair of teams dropped out of the rankings after heartbreaking losses. Previous No. 15 Lawrence North (Indianapolis) and No. 21 Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) both fell short Saturday.
Lawrence North was knocked off by 2015 Class 4A state champion Homestead, which got a big effort from junior star Fletcher Loyer. The Spartans have put up 90 points or more four times this season, including 107 on Friday against Fort Wayne North Side.
Looking ahead, a loaded weekend at the Montverde Academy Invitational includes games involving No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kansas), No. 5 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Virginia), No. 8 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah), No. 10 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Arizona) and No. 19 La Lumiere (La Porte, Indiana).
MaxPreps Top 25 High School Basketball Rankings
1. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Record: 17-0 | Last week: 1
Scheduled to host No. 5 Oak Hill Academy, No. 10 AZ Compass Prep and No. 19 La Lumiere this week at the Montverde Academy Invitational. The Eagles are riding a 42-game winning streak.
2. Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)
Record: 12-1 | Last week: 2
Slated to face No. 8 Wasatch Academy, No. 10 AZ Compass Prep and No. 19 La Lumiere. There's also a rematch with Montverde Academy scheduled for Feb. 5.
3. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Record: 14-2 | Last week: 3
After narrow losses to the top two teams in the nation, the Ascenders rebounded nicely with a 65-31 victory over Oldsmar Christian (Oldsmar, Florida.) paced by Jett Howard (13 points), Eric Dailey (12 points) and Tamar Bates (10 points).
4. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
Record: 4-0 | Last week: 4
Junior guard Rodney Rice Jr. scored a team-high 20 points with five 3-pointers to pace a 73-56 win Saturday over top-50 foe St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio).
5. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
Record: 13-1 | Last week: 5
Following a 10-day layoff, the Warriors return to the court this week with showdowns against Montverde Academy, Wasatch Academy and AZ Compass Prep.
6. Camden (Camden, N.J.)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 6
NJSIAA season begins Tuesday.
7. Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Record: 3-0 | Last week: 7
MaxPreps National Player of the Year contenderChet Holmgren continued his impressive start with a game-high 21 points in a 77-36 win over Duluth East.
8. Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)
Record: 15-3 | Last week: 8
Has an opportunity to avenge two of its losses at the Montverde Academy Invitational this week, scheduled to face Sunrise Christian Academy and Oak Hill Academy, along with No. 19 La Lumiere.
9. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 9
Scheduled to begin play Jan. 29 against Lansdale Catholic.
10. AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.)
Record: 17-0 | Last week: 10
Creighton-bound point guard TyTy Washington has emerged as a National POY candidate, averaging 21.6 points, 6.2 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game.
11. Waxahachie (Texas)
Record: 14-2 | Last week: 11
Win streak stretched to 10 games with a 103-43 victory Friday over Midway. The Runnin' Indians are outscoring opponents by over 20 points per contest.
12. Duncanville (Texas)
Record: 17-1 | Last week: 12
A pair of games against sub-.500 opponents precedes an opportunity for the Panthers to avenge their only loss of the season at No. 11 Waxahachie on Feb. 2.
13. Ypsi Prep Academy (Ypsilanti, Mich.)
Record: 5-1 | Last week: 13
The first-year program picked up a pair of wins without star Emoni Bates over the weekend, knocking off SPIRE Institute (Geneva, Ohio) 52-40 and First Love Christian Academy (Washington, Pennsylvania.) 73-46. Junior guard Javaughn Hannah shined the two victories.
15. Milton (Ga.)
Record: 16-2 | Last week: 16
Defending Class AAAAAAA state champion Wheeler (Marietta) is on the schedule Saturday.
16. Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Record: 16-0 | Last week: NR
Knocked off previous No. 15 Lawrence North (Indianapolis) 65-60 in an overtime thriller behind 27 points, four rebounds and four assists from junior guard Fletcher Loyer.
17. Pace Academy (Atlanta)
Record: 15-1 | Last week: 17
A big opportunity against No. 15 Milton was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
18. Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.)
Record: 22-2 | Last week: 18
After dropping out of the rankings early in the year, the Crew established themselves as a GEICO Nationals contender by closing the regular season with 15 consecutive wins.
19. La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)
Record: 3-4 | Last week: 19
Following a 10-day layoff, the Lakers return to the court this weekend at the Montverde Academy Invitational facing Montverde Academy, Sunrise Christian Academy and Wasatch Academy. La Lumiere needs to escape with at least one win this week to keep its GEICO Nationals hopes alive.
20. Atascocita (Humble, Texas)
Record: 15-0 | Last week: 22
Survived a furious late comeback attempt that erased a double-digit advantage against Summer Creek (Houston) to come away with a 54-52 win.
21. Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
Record: 3-2 | Last week: 20
The Panthers have a lull in their schedule until future games are confirmed.
22. Christian Brothers (Memphis)
Record: 13-0 | Last week: 23
An opportunity to bolster their resume awaits this week as the Purple Wave take on two-loss Memphis University on Friday.
23. Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)
Record: 15-3 | Last week: 24
The Rams fell just shy of capturing the GHSA Class AAAAAAA state title last season, losing 60-59 in overtime in the state title contest.
24. Westtown (West Chester, Pa.)
Record: 0-0 | Last week: 25
Season is expected to begin in early February.
25. Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
Record: 19-0 | Last week: NR
AJ Brown (15.8 points per game), Omar Figueroa (13.7 points) and Ven Allen Lubin (12.8 points) are the catalysts for the unbeaten Warriors.