For the first time, all 12 teams in the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals are in the Super 25 basketball rankings.
RELATED: Super 25 boys basketball rankings
RELATED: Super 25 girls basketball rankings
While the current No. 1 boys team, Chino Hills (Calif.) is not eligible for the event because of state association rules, the boys field for the tournament includes: No. 2 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.); No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.); No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.); No. 11 St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark); No. 12 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.); No. 17 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.); No. 18 Providence Day (Charlotte); and No. 19 Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah).
The first round and second rounds will be played at Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.). The first-round boys games on March 31 will be on ESPNU: St. Benedict’s will play La Lumiere at noon; Oak Hill will play Wasatch at 2 p.m.; Montverde will play Providence Day at 4 p.m.; and Findlay Prep will play Miller Grove at 6 p.m.
The April 1 boys semifinals will be on ESPN2 and will feature the St. Benedict’s-La Lumiere winner at 3 p.m. vs. the Montverde-Providence Day winner. The 5 p.m. semifinal will feature the Findlay Prep-Miller Grove winner vs. the Oak Hill-Wasatch winner.
The championship will be played on ESPN at noon on April 2 from Madison Square Garden. If the top two seeds prevail, there’s an opportunity for a Oak Hill vs. Montverde matchup for the third consecutive season at the tournament. Montverde has won the event three consecutive seasons.
“From top to bottom, the tournament continues to get stronger,” said Rashid Ghazi, a partner with Paragon Marketing Group, which organizes the tournament. “We also have new teams every year, which creates a greater variety. In addition, the level of teams we are turning down continues to get better, which just shows the attraction of the event.”
According to Ghazi, last year’s championship drew a .51 rating and the 10 total games were up in viewership 36% from the prior year.
The boys first-round games includes one rematch from this season with St. Benedict’s playing La Lumiere, a team the Gray Bees beat 66-63 on Dec. 29.
“We play whoever who is in front of us,” St. Benedict’s Prep coach Mark Taylor. “We beat Blair twice this year. We’re improved from when we played La Lumiere the first time. Preparing for this tournament is difficult because you’re playing back to back to back, if you win.”
The girls field includes four ranked teams: No. 6 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.); No. 13 Seton Catholic (Chandler, Ariz.); No. 16 Ribault (Jacksonville, Fla.) and No. 17 St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.).
Riverdale Baptist, a former DICK’S champion and the 2016 National Association of Christian Athletes champion, will play St. Francis, the Georgia Class A champion, at 11 a.m. on April 1 on ESPNU in one semifinal. The other girls semifinal, between Arizona Division II state champion Seton Catholic and Florida 5A champion Ribault, will be at 1 p.m. on ESPNU. The girls championship, also from Madison Square Garden on April 2, will be on at 10 a.m. on ESPN2.