After games on Monday, Jan. 9
Before this season, Gill St. Bernard's coach Mergen Sina told me with plenty of conviction: "It's a good time to get to the top of the pack...this year, we honestly feel we can win a state title."
The Knights have backed up Sina's claim in the early going by holding their own against some of the nation's best. After posting a 2-2 mark at the prestigious City of Palms in Florida, the Knights earned a huge, 76-73 win in overtime this past Saturday by downing previous national No. 8 Mater Dei (Calif.). Dominic Hoffman led the way with 24 points and 13 rebounds and the Knights showed resolve, bouncing back in the extra period after Mater Dei forced overtime with a three at the buzzer.
The win moves the Knights into the No. 21 spot in the POWERADE FAB 50, seven spots ahead of St. Benedict's Prep and 17 slots behind St. Anthony, which pushed its win streak to 43 games in dominant fashion.
Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):
1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 10-0 (1)
Kyle Anderson had 21 points and eight boards in the Friars' 62-32 win against East Brunswick. They will face a big test Monday against national No. 34 Miller grove at the HoopHall Classic.
2. Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone) 6-2 (3)
Big games from Dominic Hoffman (24 points, 13 boards), Alex Mitola (20 points) and Jaren Sina (19) pushed the Knights to a 76-73 overtime win against Mater Dei (Calif.) on Jan. 7.
3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 11-1 (2)
Miami recruit and Rice senior transfer Melvin Johnson has been huge for the Gray Bees, draining six 3-pointers in a win against Bergen Catholic to match his season average of 24 points.