Undefeated Raiders headline four newcomers; Top 15 matches on tap to start new year


Loch Raven basketball coach Brandon Thomas (center) talks to his team during a timeout in the Red Division title game at the Carver Vo-Tech Christmas Holiday Classic Saturday. The Raiders won the title, improving to 7-0 and capturing a spot (No. 16) in this week’s VSN Boys Basketball Top 20.

by Derek Toney

For the first time since March 2013, Loch Raven High has a spot in VSN’s Boys Basketball Top 20.

The undefeated Raiders (7-0) won the Red Division title at the Carver Vo-Tech Christmas Holiday Classic, defeating reigning Class 2A state champ and then-No. 11 Patterson in the opening round. After winning 19 games in 2012-13, the Baltimore County school won 17 total over the next five seasons.

New Era Academy makes its inaugural appearance. The Baltimore City school won its bracket at the Governor’s Challenge in Wicomico County, defeating then-No. 16 Havre de Grace in the final. Anne Arundel County squads Annapolis and Southern enter after successful holiday tourney showings.

Poly is No. 1 followed by St. Frances Academy, Edmondson, City College and Mount St. Joseph. City and Edmondson, the only undefeated squads in the area, meet Friday on The Alameda in Baltimore City.

Saturday, six Top 20 teams will be at St. Frances for the Baltimore Hoops Festival, featuring City against 14th-ranked Gilman School. St. Frances, Edmondson, No. 6 New Town and No. 8 Mervo will be in action.
 
Here is the entire VSN Boys’ Basketball Top 20 for week 4:

VSN BOYS BASKETBALL TOP 20 POLL – WEEK 4

1. POLY (6-1)

Previous rank: #1

Last week: The Engineers defeated Arizona’s Millenium, 71-51, in the consolation semifinals at the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina after a 62-56 loss to St. John’s College (D.C.) in the quarterfinals and 56-46 victory over California’s Harvard Westlake in the first round.

This week: vs. Coronado (NV), 5th place consolation final, Beach Ball Classic at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Convention Center, Dec. 31; at ACCE, Jan. 3 

2.  ST. FRANCES ACADEMY (14-1)

Previous rank: #2

Last week: The Panthers defeated then-No. 11 Milford Mill Academy, 94-57, and Delaware’s Salesianum School, 104-40, at St. Frances Holiday Showcase

This week: at No. 14 Gilman School, Jan. 3; vs. New Hope Academy, Baltimore Hoops Festival at St. Frances, Jan. 4

3. EDMONDSON (7-0)

Previous rank: #3

Last week: The Red Storm defeated Crisfield (73-56; final) and New York’s New Dorp (53-26; first round) to win the Bracket #9 title at Governor’s Challenge in Wicomico County.

This week: at No. 4 City College, Jan. 3; vs. Calvert Hall College, Baltimore Hoops Festival at St. Frances Academy, Jan. 4

4. CITY COLLEGE (8-0)

Previous rank: #5

Last week: The Knights defeated Randallstown, 66-56, and Woodlawn, 59-46, at St. Frances Holiday Showcase

This week: vs. No. 3 Edmondson, Jan. 3; vs. No. 14 Gilman School, Baltimore Hoops Festival at St. Frances Academy, Jan. 4

5. MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH (11-2)

Previous rank: #6

Last week: The Gaels won the Junior Orange Bowl Classic title in Florida, defeating Florida’s Mater Academy, 64-50, in the final after victories over Pennsylvania’s Mount Lebanon (50-48; semifinal) and Florida’s North Miami (81-56).

This week: at Boys’ Latin School, Jan. 3; vs. No. 12 John Carroll School, Jan. 5

6. NEW TOWN (3-1)

Previous rank: #7

Last week: The Titans did not play

This week: vs. St. Maria Goretti, Baltimore Hoops Festival at St. Frances Academy, Jan. 4

7. LAKE CLIFTON (5-3)

Previous rank: #4

Last week: The Lakers lost New York’s Albany Academy, 62-43, and Delaware’s Sanford School, 53-44, at Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament in Delaware

This week: at Forest Park, Jan. 3

8. MERVO (5-2)

Previous rank: #9

Last week: The Mustangs lost to New Jersey’s Wildwood Catholic, 58-54, in Frank McAlamen Memorial bracket final at Boardwalk Classic in New Jersey after a 66-53 victory over Florida’s Wildwood in the first round.

This week: at Carver Vo-Tech, Jan. 3; vs. Boys’ Latin School, Baltimore Hoops Festival at St. Frances Academy, Jan. 4

9. DULANEY (4-3)

Previous rank: #8

Last week: The Lions lost to North Carolina’s Olympic, 82-75, and Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast (PA), 73-68, in DMVElite Showcase at Governor’s Challenge at Wicomico Civic Center

This week: Off; next game – vs. Milford Mill Academy, Jan. 8

10. GLENELG COUNTRY SCHOOL (6-4)

Previous rank: #10

Last week: The Dragons lost to Monsignor Scanlan (N.Y.), 63-50, and defeated Seton Hall Prep (N.J.), 50-49, in DMVElite Showcase at Governor’s Challenge at Wicomico Civic Center

This week: vs. Calvert Hall College, Jan. 3

11. FRANKLIN (6-1)

Previous rank: #13

Last week: The Indians defeated Edgewood, 60-58, and Northwestern-Prince George’s County, 72-69, at Overlea Invitational

This week: Off; next game – at Chesapeake-Baltimore County, Jan. 8

12. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL (8-2)

Previous rank: #14

Last week: The Patriots won the Pinecrest Academy Christmas Invitational title in Georgia, defeating Pinecrest Academy (57-40; final) and Georgia’s Prince Avenue Christian School (67-28; first round)

This week: at McDonogh School, Jan. 3; at No. 5 Mount St. Joseph, Jan. 5

13. LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD (10-4)

Previous rank: #15

Last week: The Dons went 3-0 at Strake Jesuit Tournament in Texas, defeating Strake Jesuit (65-52), Washington’s Bellarmine Prep (60-35) and Florida’s Belen Jesuit (48-47)

This week: vs. St. Vincent Pallotti, Jan. 3

14. GILMAN SCHOOL (7-4)

Previous rank: #18

Last week: The Greyhounds placed third in Bracket #15 at the Governor’s Challenge in Wicomico County, defeating New York’s Eagle Academy, 58-55, in consolation after an 81-70 first round loss to Landon School, and defeated New Jersey’s Linden, 58-54, in DMVElite Showcase at Governor’s Challenge

This week: vs. No. 2 St. Frances Academy, Jan. 3; vs. No. 4 City College, Baltimore Hoops Festival at St. Frances Academy, Jan. 4

15. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING (7-5)

Previous rank: #19

Last week: The Cavaliers defeated Friendship Collegiate (D.C.), 59-57, and Clinton (TN), 76-68, at James Chapman Holiday Tournament at North Point

This week: at Gerstell Academy, Jan. 3

16. LOCH RAVEN (7-0)

Previous rank: Not ranked

Last week: The Raiders won the Red bracket title at Carver Vo-Tech Christmas Classic, defeating Coppin Academy, 59-56, in final, and then-No. 11 Patterson, 70-66, in the opening round.

This week: vs. Western Tech, Jan. 2

17. NEW ERA ACADEMY (7-2)

Previous rank: Not ranked

Last week: The Jaguars won the Bracket #12 title at Governor’s Challenge in Wicomico County, defeating then-No. 16 Havre de Grace, 67-57, in final, and Snow Hill, 65-41, in opening round.

This week: Off; next game – vs. Forest Park, Jan. 6

18. HAVRE DE GRACE (5-2)

Previous rank: #16

Last week: The Warriors lost to New Era Academy, 67-57, in Bracket #12 final at Governor’s Challenge in Wicomico County, after a 72-52 victory over Glasgow (DE) in opening round.

This week: Off; next game – vs. North East, Jan. 8

19. ANNAPOLIS (6-1)

Previous rank: Not ranked

Last week: The Panthers defeated Takoma Academy, 68-56, and Chesapeake Math & IT Academy, 71-30, at Cap City Classic at Annapolis

This week: at Broadneck, Jan. 3

2o. SOUTHERN (7-1)

Previous rank: Not ranked

Last week: The Bulldogs defeated Crossland (58-31; final) and Patuxent (71-20; first round) to win Gray Division title at the Northern Patriot Holiday Tournament in Calvert County.

This week: at South River, Jan. 3