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The 2002-2003 high school basketball season is over, and LeBron James' St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) squad finishes as the top team in the final SchoolSports National Basketball Top 25. Mater Dei (Calif.) and Pike (Ind.) follow SVSM in the rankings.



Final 2002-2003 Rankings

1. St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) – (25-1) *1
LeBron James had 25 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two blocks to lead SVSM to a 40-36 win over Kettering-Alter in the Division II state finals, giving the Irish their third state title in the past four years. The win completed an unbeaten season on the court for the Irish, who beat teams such as No. 2 Mater Dei (Calif.), No. 8 Westchester (Calif.), No. 13 Oak Hill (Va.) and No. 15 Brookhaven (Ohio) and whose only loss came via forfeit during "throwback jersey-gate." A national championship is a fitting way for the nation's best prep basketball player to end his career. And allow us to pat ourselves on the back by pointing out that while everyone has the Irish at No. 1 to finish the season, SchoolSports.com was the only national ranking that had SVSM in its preseason top five.
Preseason Ranking: No. 4

2. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) – (35-2) *2
The Monarchs, who began the season in the No. 1 spot, will end it at No. 2 after beating Roseville Woodcreek, 70-49, in the Division II state title game. Minnesota-bound guard Wesley Washington scored 12 in the title game, while Maryland-bound guard D.J. Strawberry chipped in with 11 points, 12 boards and four steals to give Mater Dei its fifth state title under coach Gary McKnight. Mater Dei's only losses this season came to No. 1 SVSM and Rice High (N.Y.), which was ranked as high as No. 2 earlier this year.
Preseason Ranking: No. 1

3. Pike (Indianapolis, Ind.) – (29-0) *3
Pike not only won the Class 4A state title with a 65-52 victory over DeKalb in the state finals, but the Red Devils also served notice that they should again be among the top teams next year. Leading the way for Pike in the state championship game were junior forwards Robert Vaden and Courtney Lee, who combined for 36 points in the victory. The Red Devils won their third state title in the past six seasons and became just the eighth boys' squad in Indiana to finish a season unbeaten since the state tournament began in 1911.
Preseason Ranking: No. 21

4. Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) – (20-1) *4
Montrose Christian closed its season with a 43-34 victory over Towson Catholic in which power forward Linas Kleiza, who had a phenomenal senior season, capped his career with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Montrose's only loss this season came against nationally ranked Fairfax (Calif.), and the team also beat national power Oak Hill (Va.).
Preseason Ranking: No. 9

5. McQuaid (Rochester, N.Y.) – (27-1) *5
After winning the Class A state public schools title, the Knights fell just short in their bid for a perfect season, losing to No. 16 Lincoln, 57-44, in the New York Federation Tournament of Champions. Although the Knights ended their season with a loss, McQuaid still finishes in the Top 10 thanks to a strong schedule that included wins over several nationally ranked teams. Among those was a victory against No. 6 White Station (Tenn.), which is why McQuaid ranks No. 5.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked (Best of the Rest)

6. White Station (Memphis, Tenn.) – (36-2) *6
White Station knocked off Bradley Central, 55-39, in the Class AAA state championship game, as Dane Bradshaw was named MVP of the state tournament after scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the finals. However, White Station finishes behind No. 5 McQuaid (N.Y.) in the rankings after losing to McQuaid earlier this season.
Preseason Ranking: No. 15

7. Dunbar (Fort Worth, Texas) – (37-1) *7
It was a fantastic year for Dunbar, as legendary coach Robert Hughes passed Hall of Famer Morgan Wootten as the winningest boys' basketball coach in high school history earlier this season. Dunbar then capped its season by winning its first state title since 1993 with a 66-54 victory over then-No. 5 Beaumont Ozen in the Class 4A state title game. Junior forward Jeremis Smith was named tournament MVP after scoring 26 points in the finals. The Wildcats' only loss this season came against Class 5A state champ DeSoto early in the year.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

8. Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) – (32-3) *8
Despite losing four Division I recruits from last year's state title team, the Comets repeated their state championship this season with a 73-63 victory over Oakland Tech in the Division I state title game. The only returning starter from last year's squad, UCLA-bound power forward Trevor Ariza, outplayed McDonald's All-American Leon Powe and scored 30 points in the state finals. Westchester's three losses all came against teams that were nationally ranked at the time, including a setback against No. 1 SVSM.
Preseason Ranking: No. 23

9. Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) – (32-1) *9
Dillard won its fourth straight Class 6A state title by knocking off then-No. 8 Edgewater, 61-59, in the state finals. Senior point guard Kevin Thomas calmly knocked down two free throws with one second remaining to give Dillard the win. Senior shooting guard Jimmy Tobias was named tourney MVP after scoring 14 points in the title game.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked (Best of the Rest)

10. Kickapoo (Springfield, Mo.) – (30-1) *10
Kickapoo capped a great season by routing Raytown South, 65-42, in the state finals to win the Class 5A state title. Kickapoo's only loss this season came against No. 6 White Station (Tenn.).
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

11. Woodlawn (Baton Rouge, La.) – (39-0) *11
Led by RoShon Jacobs and Darnell Lazare, Woodlawn disposed of Brother Martin, 80-63, in the state finals to repeat as Class 5A state champs. Woodlawn finished the season having won 54 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

12. Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) – (26-3) *12
Rainier Beach defended its state title and finishes in the Top 25 for the second year in a row thanks to a 65-56 win over Issaquah in the Class 3A state championship game. Lodrick Stewart was named tournament MVP, while twin brother Rodrick Stewart was named All-Tournament. Both are headed to USC next year.
Preseason Ranking: No. 6

13. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) – (31-4) *13
Oak Hill concluded its season with a 73-65 setback against No. 4 Montrose Christian (Md.), giving the Warriors four losses on the season, the most for Oak Hill since 1997. For a program that won the national title two years ago and finished No. 2 in the country last year, this was a disappointing campaign for Oak Hill, which began the season at No. 2.
Preseason Ranking: No. 2

14. St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) – (27-4) *14
After winning the Parochial B state title, St. Patrick followed by winning the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions by beating Camden Catholic in the finals. The 61-38 win over Camden Catholic was the second-most lopsided victory in TOC finals history. Villanova-bound guard Mike Nardi earned MVP honors after scoring 17 points and dishing six assists in the finals. Because St. Pat's lost to No. 13 Oak Hill (Va.) earlier this season, St. Pat's finishes behind Oak Hill in the rankings.
Preseason Ranking: No. 3

15. Brookhaven (Columbus, Ohio) – (26-2) *15
Brookhaven came within one game of winning its second straight Division I state title before losing to Cincinnati Moeller, 73-65, in the state finals. We had a tough time deciding where to rank Brookhaven, but we finally decided that an early-season overtime loss to No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary — in which McDonald's All-American Andrew Lavender missed a free throw that could have won the game in regulation — proves this team still belongs among the nation's best.
Preseason Ranking: No. 7

16. Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – (31-4) *16
Lincoln was nationally ranked earlier in the season, and the Sebastian Telfair-led Railsplitters finish in the Top 25 after winning the New York Federation Class A state championship. Lincoln upset then-No. 3 McQuaid, 57-44, before holding off former nationally ranked Christ the King, 75-73, in overtime in the finals. Telfair, a superstar junior point guard, earned MVP honors after scoring 18 points in the finals despite fouling out in the fourth quarter. But when he was awarded the MVP plaque, Telfair handed it straight to sophomore forward Tone Pena, who scored eight of his 18 points in overtime.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked (Best of the Rest)

17. Rufus King (Milwaukee, Wis.) – (25-0) *17
King completed an unbeaten season and won the Division I state title with a 57-46 win over Appleton West in the state finals. King senior center Mike Gutter helped keep McDonald's All-American center Brian Butch of Appleton West in check and give King its first state title since 1995.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

18. Cheyenne (Las Vegas, Nev.) – (31-1) *18
Cheyenne capped its season with a 63-53 win over Palo Verde in the Class 4A state title game. Cheyenne had previously knocked off Hug in the quarterfinals and Rancho in the semifinals to get to the title game.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

19. John Carroll (Birmingham, Ala.) – (36-0) *19
Carroll won the Class 6A state title with a 76-71 overtime win over Bob Jones in the state finals. Junior point guard Ronald Steele led the Cavaliers with 25 points in the state title game.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

20. Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) – (30-2) *20
Wheeler defended its Class AAAAA state title with a 63-56 win over Jonesboro in the state finals. Wheeler was led in the championship game by Tramaine Aaron's 18 points and Jermareo Davidson's 16 points and six rebounds. It was Wheeler's third state title in the past 10 years.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

21. Horizon (San Diego, Calif.) – (32-1) *21
After knocking off then-nationally ranked Garces Memorial in the SoCal championship, Horizon completed its season with a 77-62 win over Hercules in the Division IV state title game. Horizon, which suffered its only loss this season to No. 8 Westchester, won its second straight state title.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked

22. Beaumont Ozen (Beaumont, Texas) – (33-1) *22
After a fantastic season that saw Ozen climb as high as No. 5 in the national rankings, the team lost in the Class 4A state title game for the second year in a row to a nationally ranked squad. This year, Ozen suffered a 66-54 loss to No. 7 Fort Worth Dunbar in the state finals, ending a fabulous prep career for senior center Kendrick Perkins, who must now decide whether to attend Memphis or head straight to the NBA. Despite not winning a state title, Ozen finishes in the Top 25 because they proved all season long they belong. One loss to a ranked team doesn't change that.
Preseason Ranking: No. 18

23. Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.) – (34-2) *23
Like No. 22 Ozen, Edgewater watched its hopes for a state title and a Top 10 national ranking vanish with a loss in the state finals to a nationally ranked opponent. Edgewater lost a 61-59 heartbreaker to No. 9 Dillard in the Class 6A finals despite a game-high 23 points from junior point guard Darius Washington. But also like Ozen, Edgewater proved throughout the season that it belongs in the Top 25, having beaten No. 16 Lincoln (N.Y.) earlier this year.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked (Best of the Rest)

24. Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.) – (28-4) *24
Yes, Fairfax lost to No. 8 Westchester, 43-41, in the Southern California Division I title game, so its season ended with a defeat. But considering three of the team's four losses came against Westchester, Fairfax finishes in the Top 25. Not to mention, Fairfax handed No. 4 Montrose Christian (Md.) its only loss and also beat Westchester once this year. That proves this team still belongs among the elite.
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked (Best of the Rest)

25. St. Raymond's (Bronx, N.Y.) – (26-4) *25
After beating Christ the King the previous week, St. Ray's turned around and lost to Christ the King, 71-54, in CHSAA Class A title game. That posed a difficult dilemma: Do we rank CTK (which was nationally ranked earlier this season) ahead of St. Ray's? A case could be made either way, especially considering the tough schedules both teams played. But with CTK having eight losses and all four of St. Ray's losses coming to top teams, we decided to give St. Ray's the nod. In addition to beating several tough NYC teams throughout the season, St. Ray's only losses this year came to Christ the King, No. 2 Mater Dei (Calif.), No. 6 White Station (Tenn.) and No. 14 St. Patrick (N.J.). Tough to argue with a schedule like that.
Preseason Ranking: No. 11


Dropped Out: None

* previous ranking



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