Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON — A shuffling occurred in the USA Today Super 25 boys basketball ratings announced today, but not enough to help the Muskegon Big Reds.

The Big Reds, Michigan’s only unbeaten boys’ prep team this season at 28-0, stayed in the 20th spot in the national poll for the third week in a row.

Seven of the eight teams, which had played in a three-day national tournament in New York City, did some shuffling but none of the four first-round losers dropped down past Muskegon.

The top two choices in the poll, now in its 15th-week, stayed the same. Montverde Academy, of Montverde, Fla., remained the highest-rated team when it won the Dick’s Sporting Goods National TournamentSaturday for a final 28-0 record.

Also staying the same was the number two team, Mater Dei High School of Santa Ana, Calif., which finished the season 35-0. Mater Dei did not play in the New York tournament.

After that, the changes started. Huntington Prep, of Huntington, W.Va., jumped into the third spot from the fifth position after advancing to the semifinals of the New York tournament and losing 56-51 to Montverde. Huntington Prep had a final 28-5 record.

Moving up from the seventh spot to the fourth position was Oak Hill Academy, of Mouth of Wilson, Va. Oak Hill finished 41-4 in record and reached the finals of the national tournament before losing 71-62 to Montverde.

La Lumiere High School, of La Porte, Ind., finished 23-3 after losing its first game in the tournament. The loss moved La Lumiere up to the fifth spot from its previous rating of sixth nationally.

Findlay College Prep, of Henderson, Nev., advanced to the tournament semifinals and jumped from eighth to sixth in the poll. Findlay had a 31-5 season record.

Northside Christian Academy, which had been rated fourth in the poll, dropped to seventh with its 28-2 record after losing a first-round game in New York.

Rainier Beach High School, of Seattle, Wash., had the biggest slide when it went from third before the tournament to eighth after losing to Findlay Prep 67-59 in the first game for both teams. Rainier Beach wound up its season with a 30-1 record.

The Sagemont School, of Weston, Fla., also dropped in the polls. Sagemont went from 17th before the tournament to 19th after losing 81-63 to Montverde in the tournament’s first-round. Sagemont had a 34-1 season record.

Muskegon had a chance to benefit indirectly from the tournament, but none of the teams ranked above Muskegon in the March 31 poll dropped far enough to allow the Big Reds to move up.

The overall computer listings for the week had Montverde tabbed for the top spot; Mater Dei second; Huntington Prep 19th; Oak Hill 21st; La Lumiere 100th; Findlay College Prep 10th; Northside Christian Academy 12th; Rainier Beach fifth; the Sagemont School eighth; and Muskegon 68th for the third week in a row.

The rating of 20th marked Muskegon’s 14th week in the listing and third in a row at that spot. Muskegon moved up to that spot after winning the Class A state tournament title on March 22.

The Big Reds moved into the poll in its second week with a rating of 49th. Muskegon landed that spot after beating highly regarded Chicago Curie, 73-66 in overtime, in early January. Curie, rated eighth at the time, had its best player sidelined for one game because of a suspension that night.

Curie later beat then top-ranked Montverde 73-69 in a tournament in late January. The victory boosted Curie to 19-1 and moved Curie to the number two spot in the Jan. 28, poll, the fifth of the season. Montverde slipped back to the number three ranking in the same poll. 

Curie’s record improved to 24-1 with the only loss to Muskegon when academic irregularities with its team forced the school to forfeit all of its victories in late February. The forfeits did not affect the Muskegon game because Curie had lost to Muskegon.

After the forfeits, Montverde went back to the top spot with a 25-0 record at the time in the March 4 poll and stayed there the rest of the season.

Muskegon’s rankings in the poll included three in the 40s, five in the 30s and the last six in the 20s, including the last three weeks at No. 20.

The USA Today poll is put together by a member of the paper’s sports staff. The 15th poll of the boys basketball season will be published inTuesday’s edition of the paper.