Gators capture first preseason No. 1 ranking in VSN Boys’ Basketball Top 20 poll


Two seasons ago, Perry Hall High won its first boys’ basketball region title. Last season, the Gators won their first Baltimore County title and state championship.

It’s been an epic run for Perry Hall, which finished No. 1 in the VSN Boys’ Basketball Top 20. The Ebenezer Road school has another first as the top-ranked team in VSN’s preseason poll.

The Gators, the first Baltimore County school since 1963 (Towson; AA) to win a title in the state public association’s largest classification, return three starters from a squad that only losses last season was to Patterson and Prince George’s County Largo, which hit a half court shot at the buzzer. Perry Hall will test its No. 1 mantle against seven VSN preseason Top 20 squads including defending state champs Poly (3A) and Patterson (2A) and matchup with Prince George’s County perennial powers Eleanor Roosevelt and Riverdale Baptist School.

Defending MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League champ Mount St. Joseph is No. 2 with Poly, John Carroll School and St. Frances Academy rounding out the Top 5.

 

Pictured above:  The “Twin Towers” duo of Anthony Higgs (left) and Laquill Hardnett has led Perry Hall to new heights. The Gators are No. 1 in VSN’s Boys’ Basketball Top 20 preseason poll.

Here is the entire 2017 Preseason VSN Boys’ Basketball Top 20:

VSN BOYS BASKETBALL PRESEASON TOP 20

1. PERRY HALL GATORS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: #1

Final 2016-17 record: 26-2

Player to watch: Anthony Higgs, Sr., forward

In the paint: Higgs, an University of Mississippi commit along with 6-foot-8 point forward Laquill Hardnett and steady do-it-all Tyler Holley look to make history again with a second straight Class 4A state title.

 

2. MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH GAELS


Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank:
#2

Final 2016-17 record: 37-4

Player to watch: Jalen Smith, senior, forward/center

In the paint: Led by University of Maryland recruit Smith, last year’s VSN Player of the Year, the Gaels look to defend their MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League crowns.

 

3. POLY ENGINEERS


Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank:
#4

Final 2016-17 record: 21-7

Player to watch: Demetrius Mims, senior, guard/forward

In the paint: With the city’s top player in Long Beach State recruit Mims, talented sophomore point guard Raheem Ali and Calvert Hall College transfer Justin Lewis, the Engineers aim to reclaim city Division I title and repeat as Class 3A state champions.

 

4. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL PATRIOTS

Final 2016-17 rank: #14

Final 2016-17 record: 21-12

Player to watch: Immanuel Quickley, senior, guard

In the paint: The Patriots will challenge for MIAA A and Baltimore Catholic League crowns with one of nation’s best backcourt duos in Kentucky recruit Quickley and Rutgers signee Montez Mathis.

 

5. SAINT FRANCES ACADEMY PANTHERS


Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank:
 #13

Final 2016-17 record: 16-18

Player to watch: Adrian Baldwin, sophomore, guard

In the paint: After rare losing season, Panthers have talented core ready to rebound.

6. PATTERSON CLIPPERS


Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank:
#2

Final 2016-17 record: 25-3

Player to watch: Gerard Mungo, Jr., guard

In the paint: Despite losing scoring machine Marvin Price (transferred to West Virginia’s Huntington Prep), Patterson has enough pieces for another run at city Division I and Class 2A state crowns.

7. MOUNT CARMEL COUGARS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: #5

Final 2016-17 record: 29-11

Player to watch: Jordan Jones, senior, forward

In the paint: Cougars hoping addition of Lake Clifton transfer Rasheed Brown to veteran backcourt put them back in MIAA A and Baltimore Catholic League title hunt.

8. DUNBAR POETS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: #7

Final 2016-17 record: 19-7

Player to watch: DaShawn Phillip, senior, forward

In the paint: The Poets expect to have a say in Baltimore City Division I title battle with one of league’s top performers in Phillip.

 

9. MCDONOGH SCHOOL EAGLES


Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank:
#6

Final 2016-17 record: 20-10

Player to watch: Noah Locke, senior, guard

In the paint: The Eagles will rely on Florida signee Locke, arguably the area’s best shooter, to put back them into MIAA A playoffs.

10. LAKE CLIFTON LAKERS


Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank:
#8

Final 2016-17 record: 19-5

Player to watch: Steven Parker, senior, guard

In the paint: Laker seniors hope to breakthrough with city Division I and Class 1A state championship this season.

11. OLD MILL PATRIOTS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: #18

Final 2016-17 record: 22-3

Player to watch: Avion Robinson, junior, guard

In the paint: With experienced cast back, defending Anne Arundel County champs aiming for Class 4A state final four berth.

12. WOODLAWN WARRIORS


Final 2016-2017 VSN Top 20 rank:
#9

Final 2016-2017 record: 20-5

Player to watch: Demauri Warren, senior, forward/guard

In the paint: The Warriors could be Perry Hall’s biggest threat in Baltimore County.

 

 

13. BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL LAKERS


Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank:
#11

Final 2016-17 record: 20-12

Player to watch: Jaylin Andrews, senior, guard

In the paint: The Lakers will be again a tough out in MIAA A with Andrews, an all-league performer last season, leading the way.

 

14. SAINT PAUL’S SCHOOL CRUSADERS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: #15

Final 2016-17 record: 19-8

Player to watch: Ziggy Reid, Jr., forward

In the paint: Crusaders have solid nucleus back for MIAA B title defense

15. DULANEY LIONS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2016-17 record: 18-6

Player to watch: Che Evans, sophomore, forward In the paint: The Lions could be the dark horse in Baltimore County with Evans and Calvert Hall transfer Josh Cornish.

16. SEVERN SCHOOL ADMIRALS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2016-17 record: 19-10

Player to watch: LJ Owens, senior, guard

In the paint: The Admirals will challenge St. Paul’s for MIAA B crown with William & Mary recruit Owens.

17. MILFORD MILL ACADEMY MILLERS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2016-17 record: 17-6

Player to watch: Ugo Obasi, senior, guard

In the paint: Experienced cast will put Millers in Baltimore County title chase.

18. RIVER HILL HAWKS

Final 2016-17 rank: Not ranked

Final 2016-17 record: 17-7

Player to watch: Jaden Martin, senior, guard

Outlook: Hawks primed for a repeat in Howard County with entire starting cast back.

19. ANNAPOLIS PANTHERS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: #16

Final 2016-17 record: 17-8

Player to watch: Chris Jones, senior, guard

In the paint: Panthers look to challenge for Anne Arundel crown this season after run to Class 4A state final four last March.

20. JOPPATOWNE MARINERS

Final 2016-17 VSN Top 20 rank: Not ranked

Final 2016-17 record: 19-5

Player to watch: Montrell Horsey, senior, guard

In the paint: The Mariners will be the team to beat in UCBAC Chesapeake, led by Drake recruit Horsey.