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Games on ESPN2 (Eastern time)
2:30 p.m. — Sunrise Christian Academy vs. IMG Academy
4:30 p.m. — Montverde Academy vs. AZ Compass Prep
Saturday, April 3
Game on ESPN
Noon — Championship
By Dave Krider
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound superstar always had pictured himself as a basketball player first, with football definitely in the background. The summer before his sophomore year, in fact, he was oh-so-close to leaving home to specialize in basketball at
“I was probably a couple days from flying down,” Pryor told MaxPreps.
That’s when Jeannette head football coach Ray Reitz and quarterback coach Roy Hall came up with their best sales pitch. There was no pressure, but Reitz said simply, “We don’t care if you play basketball, but give yourself a chance in football.”
Pryor admits, “If they wouldn’t have said (talked to him), I probably wouldn’t be here now.”
Even though Pryor was convinced to stay and play both sports, he made a basketball commitment to the
The rest is history as Reitz noted happily, “His junior year he exploded and his senior year was incredible.”
Last fall the brilliant quarterback was named the nation’s No. 1 offensive player by every major publication, including MaxPreps. His statistics were mind boggling. He ran 143 times for 1,899 yards (13.3 average) and 33 touchdowns. He completed 87-of-130 passes for 1,889 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also scored on one pass reception and one interception return of 100 yards. Roughly, he accounted for a touchdown once every four times he ran or completed a pass.
The bottom line is that the 2007 Jayhawks won
Pryor joined – and perhaps passed – such
Asked where Pryor ranks in state history, Reitz replied quickly, “Remember Frank Merriwell (legendary fictional hero)? He (Pryor) had a story-book career. The way he matured and became a leader was so special. Not only does he have the ability, but he puts the time in, too. The greatest thing is that he’s very unselfish and for the total team. He’s one of the best athletes ever to come out of
Reitz stresses that Pryor is a true quarterback – not just a great athlete playing quarterback. But he also used him at times at linebacker, defensive end, safety and receiver. He also could see him starring in track as a sprinter (he has run 40 yards in a blazing 4.35 seconds and ran 200 meters in 22.4 seconds as a freshman), high jumper, long jumper or triple jumper. Reitz added, “He could be a great volleyball player. I don’t think there’s any sport he couldn’t be great at.”
You can add baseball (where he used to hit long home runs in Little League) and golf (where he can drive the ball 280 yards with little practice).
Coach Reitz then paused and acted as if he had found a single flaw: “He might have trouble with bocce.” Asked what that is, he answered, “Italian bowling.”
Despite his huge success in football, Pryor continued to star in basketball. During his senior year, he averaged 21.9 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Jayhawks posted a 25-4 record and won the Class AA state title. He finished his career with 2,285 points – No. 8 in
Basketball coach Jim Nesser told MaxPreps, “I call him a point forward. He handles the ball and passes like a guard, but rebounds like a forward. As a senior he really matured and did whatever it took to be successful. He became very well rounded. He never worried about his stats – only about winning. He is one of the most competitive people I ever have been around. He’s really smart and mentally sharp about athletics. He is one of the athletes who lived up to the hype and really surpassed it.
“He’s a legend performance-wise. He was like a rock star, man. The media. Fans. Autographs before games. We sold out most of our home games (capacity 1,500). One playoff game they turned away 1,000 people at
Asked if playing dual sports helped or hurt Pryor. Nesser replied, “I think it helped him. The weight room really helped him (he can bench press 320 pounds). It was a good 1-2 punch for him. Could he have been better (in basketball) if he had been in the gym 12 months a year? Sure.”
When he was asked the same question, Pryor said, “Of course, it can make you better if you play only one. But basketball helped my legs (for football) and football (competitiveness) helped me in basketball when we were down 10 points in the fourth quarter.”
Pryor’s amazing career has been chronicled closely by veteran Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Mike White, who started covering prep sports in 1979. He believes that Pryor’s all-around ability can best be compared to Tom Clements, who graduated from Pittsburgh Canevin in 1971. He chose Notre Dame football (quarterback) over
There were other great multi-sport athletes, such as Dan Marino (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) and Lavar Arrington (Pittsburgh North Hills), but White is convinced that “From a high school standpoint, I’d put him (Pryor) No. 1. I talked to a Division I college coach and he said if he wanted to, he could play in the NBA. He has enough size, athletic ability and talent.
“He’s one of those guys who, when you go see them play, there are moments that you just go, “What?” And your jaw drops, both in football and basketball.”
White still is amazed by Pryor’s performance in the district championship against
Because White wrote so much about the Jeannette superstar, he became closely linked to him from a public perception. “It became a zoo at the end of this year,” he described. “I never saw a recruiting saga quite like his. It got so ridiculous that everywhere I went, people would come up and ask, ‘Where’s Pryor going?’ My own personal opinion: it was
Pryor’s maturity is quite evident. He admitted, “I didn’t really work hard except last year and this year. I just woke up, went out and played (on pure athletic ability).”
So, Terrelle Pryor – who will play no more basketball – studies the
Asked if he’ll ever see another Terrelle Pryor, coach Reitz quipped, “Maybe if I live to be 150. I hope I don’t have to coach against someone like him.”
Coach Nesser, who is going to miss those electric dunks the most, predicted, “I don’t think in my lifetime there will be an all-around athlete like him. I’ll be honest – he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. It’s going to be scary.”
MaxPreps lists the Top 10 active win streaks to start the 2021 season, along with the addition of Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.), which has already started its season and has moved up among the top 10 active win streaks.
1. Webster (Wis.) — 37
Led by former MLB pitcher Jarrod Washburn, the Tigers have won back-to-back state championships, but haven't played since 2019. Webster won 30 games in 2019 and the last seven games of the 2018 season to build a 37-game win streak. Webster had the third-longest win streak entering last season behind Silo (40) and Blanchard (39), both of Oklahoma. Webster doesn't play until April, but it returns all-state selection Owen Washburn, the coach's son, who batted .561 as a sophomore in 2019.
2. Andrean (Merrillville, Ind.) — 35
The Fighting 59ers won the 3A championship in 2019, losing the second game of the season and then winning 35 in a row. Coach Dave Pishkur went over 1,000 career wins during the 2019 season and also became the all-time winningest coach in Indiana. Andrean doesn't open its season until late March.
3. Center Moriches (N.Y.) — 32
Like Webster, the Red Devils have a winning streak that extends into the 2018 season. They won their final five games of the 2018 season to win the Class B state championship. They then went 27-0 in the 2019 season to win the crown again. Center Moriches did not play in 2020.
4. Colonel Richardson (Federalsburg, Md.) — 24
Last year was supposed to be another stellar season for the Colonels as they returned half of the starting lineup from a club that went 24-0 in 2019 and won the Maryland Class 1A state championship. They never took the field, leaving it up to the 2021 team to extend the nation's fourth-longest active win streak.
5. (tie) Elkhart (Kan.) — 22
The Wildcats edged Marion 3-2 in the Kansas Class 2-1A state championship game. Elkhart finished the season 22-0, but it did not play in 2020. The Wildcats are scheduled to begin their season on March 29.
5. (tie) Appoquinimink (West Middletown, Del.) — 22
The Jaguars went 22-0 and captured the 2019 state championship. They were one of the favorites again in 2020 with Gatorade State Player of the Year Lorenzo Carrier leading the way at shortstop. He returns for his senior season 2021 to help the Jaguars extend their streak.
7. Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) — 21
The Tigers won their final eight games of the 2019 season to a capture a Florida state championship. Jesuit started the 2020 season with a 9-0 record and is the only team on this list that played in 2020. The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps to start 2021, is off to a 4-0 start. The Tigers take on Venice, the team Jesuit beat to start the streak in 2019.
8. (tie) Lisbon (Lisbon Falls, Maine) — 20
The Greyhounds went undefeated in winning the Class C state championship in 2019. Lisbon did not take the field in 2020 and is not expected to play again until April.
8. (tie) Gateway Christian (Roswell, N.M.) — 20
The Warriors simply dominated in 2019, winning games by an average score of 14-1. Twice, Gateway scored over 30 runs in a game. The Warriors won the Class A state championship, but they did not play in 2020.
8. (tie) St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) — 20
The Eaglets actually started the 2019 season with a 7-9 record, but they won 27 of their final 29 games with two ties. Thus St. Mary Prep has a 29-game unbeaten streak with 20 straight wins in a row. St. Mary Prep did not play in 2020, but is ranked by MaxPreps as the top team in Michigan for the 2021 season.
11. White River Valley (Royalton, Vt.) — 18
The Wildcats have the distinction of never having lost a baseball game in the school's history. That's because the school began play in 2019 and went 18-0 with a Division 3 state championship. White River Valley lost one starter from the 2019 team, but did not play in 2020.
Avery Shewell (443 kills) leads a quartet of hitters returning for the Pioneers. Senior Macey Faddis (185 assists) must fill in the setter role vacated by Eliza Gibson. Libero Bailee Holland added 295 digs for Lehi last season.
Such is the state of high school basketball in the season of COVID-19, which has only added to the challenge of putting together these rankings.
So should an unbeaten team with 10 games be ranked ahead of an unbeaten team that's played 30? After all, every game is a chance to lose, and the 10-game team clearly had fewer opportunities to pick up a loss. But then again, it's certainly not the fault of the teams that they've played fewer games than expected, or didn't have a chance to get that big intersectional win that would have put them on the map.
Which means that this year, more so than any other, the talent on the roster — as measured by individual rankings and recruiting interest — has an impact on where a team is placed. Edison has played four games, but sits at No. 5 thanks to a horde of top-shelf talent that was just as likely to be 24-0 as 4-0.
Is this the way we normally do it? Not at all, but a lot of things aren't normal in the 2020-21 girls basketball season — and like most of these teams you just have to play the hand you're dealt.
NOTE: Coaches and team personnel are encouraged to update schedules and results on MaxPreps – especially those in the mix for MaxPreps Top 25 consideration. For assistance or questions, please reach out to [email protected]
Note that there are two American Heritage high schools in Florida, and the one in the other 4A semifinal — the one Lake Highland Prep might have to face this weekend should it get by Bishop Kenny — is not the American Heritage that's ranked No. 24.
2. Westlake (Atlanta)
Record: 15-0 | Last week: 2
Westlake has waited nearly a month to play a game as opponents were hard to come by, but the AAAAAA postseason begins this week. The first serious test likely will come next week from 23-3 Kell in quarterfinals.
3. Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati)
Record: 23-0 | Last week: 3
The Cougars won their first two Division 1 playoff games by an average score of 82-7 but it's possible, if not likely, that 21-2 Centerville — which only lost to host Mount Notre Dame by nine earlier this year — will be the semifinal opponent. We're guessing that game will be a lot closer than 82-7.
4. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 4
Hopkins easily disposed of Minnetonka, which gave the defending state champs a tough game the first time around. So the next focus will be on the March 5 game at No. 20 Chaska.
5. Edison Academy (Detroit)
Record: 4-0 | Last week: 5
Edison downed perennial rival Renaissance 68-59 on Saturday.
6. Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis)
Record: 18-0 | Last week: 6
There are two games left in regular season for the Show Me State's best, and neither should pose much of a challenge.
7. Cypress Creek (Houston)
Record: 28-0| Last week: 7
Cypress Creek will play 24-4 Heights on Wednesday, and that record is impressive. But Cypress Creek already played Heights and won by 31.
8. Norman (Okla.)
Record: 13-0 | Last week: 8
Norman has had a long break, but plays Thursday against Grant — and is expected to move on to the 6A Area playoffs, which begin March 4.
9. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)
Record: 9-0 | Last week: 9
St. John Vianney's comfortable home in the Top 10 will be threatened Friday by 8-0 Trenton Catholic — but luckily the game will be in the friendly confines of Holmdel.
10. Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 10
11. DeSoto (Texas)
Record: 22-2 | Last week: 12
DeSoto continues to advance in 6A District play, but down the road must deal with rival Duncanville and No. 7 Cypress Creek.
12. Newark (Ohio)
Record: 24-1 | Last week: 13
Hilliard Darby, Wednesday's opponent in the Division 1 playoffs, is the 25th seed — 16-2 Watkins Memorial, the likely Friday opponent, will be a tougher test.
13. Grandview (Aurora, Colo.)
Record: 9-0 | Last week: 14
There are some very good teams in Colorado, but Grandview won't face any of them until postseason, which begins the week of March 8.
14. Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 17
Princess Anne completed its abbreviated unbeaten season by winning its eighth straight state title, and 12th overall.
15. Fremont (Plain City, Utah)
Record: 22-0 | Last week: 15
The 6A playoffs begin Thursday, but Fremont is the No. 2 seed, behind once-beaten Herriman, which did play a tougher schedule. We might find out how much that matters if both reach the March 6 finals.
16. Anderson County (Lawrenceburg, Ky.)
Record: 17-0 | Last week: 18
Sometimes it takes a little luck. Anderson County got a banked-in, 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds to left to take a 69-68 lead over Sacred Heart — and then had to watch as Sacred Heart's desperation heave spent some time on the rim before bouncing out.
17. Ponchatoula (La.)
Record: 30-0 | Last week: 22
Ponchatoula is three games away from an unbeaten season, a Top 20 ranking (or higher), and most important, a Louisiana 5A state title.
18. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Record: 21-2 | Last week: 11
Montverde lost by one in the first round of the Independent School National Championships, but bounced back to win its last two and retain a spot in the Top 25. The other loss was to No. 1 Lake Highland Prep, and Montverde has a handful of impressive wins over strong Florida opposition.
19. Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.)
Record: 7-0 | Last week: 19
Rutgers Prep has two games left before a limited postseason, and a loss anywhere along the line would be considered a major upset.
20. Chaska (Minn.)
Record: 10-0 | Last week: 20
Chaska was on no one's radar in preseason — but now you can bet No. 4 Hopkins is already gathering intel for the March 5 matchup.
21. Hazel Green (Ala.)
Record: 32-1 | Last week: 21
Should Hazel Green get past Hartselle Wednesday — and Hazel Green won by 19 back in November — McGill-Toolen would be the 6A semifinals foe. Hazel Green beat McGill-Toolen by 25 in December.
22. New Hope Academy (Landover Hills, Md.)
Record: 10-3 | Last week: NR
New Hope returns to the rankings after winning the Independent School National Championship over a strong field. And if you think three losses are too many for a Top 25 team, think again — all three came against elite opposition.
23. Bearden (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Record: 25-1 | Last week: 23
Oak Ridge is 20-4 and the likely opponent in Monday's Class AAA Regional semifinals, but Bearden should be favored, if not heavily favored, until the state tournament starts March 10.
24. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.)
Record: 23-2 | Last week: 24
It's not going to be easy for American Heritage to hold on to this ranking, as Florida is very strong this year, and the 5A Final Four is impressive. First up is 24-4 Clearwater, which hasn't lost since Dec. 11, and the other side of the bracket has 26-1 St. Augustine and a fully healthy, and very talented, 22-3 Palm Bay.
25. Pius X (Lincoln, Neb.)
Record: 20-0 | Last week: 25
Pius X must get past either 12-win Benson or 12-win Bellevue West on Thursday to get to the Class A state tournament, which starts next week. And it would be unwise to bet against the No. 25 team in the country.
Dropped out: No. 16 Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.).