TOP 10 PREP POLL

As the season begins to wind down, the race for the Top 8 spots - which will earn invitations to the National Prep Championships March 4-6 at Fordham University - has started to heat up. One school makes it first appearance in the Top 10.

1.  PATTERSON SCHOOL (N.C.)
Record:30-0; 59 Points (5)
Comments:Chris Chaney's team came up north for the National Prep School Invitational and swept all four games. The backcourt of Courtney Fortson, Darius Johnson-Odom and Varez Ward have been consistent on the perimeter and the team's strength of schedule is what has Patterson at No. 1
2.  HARGRAVE MILITARY ACADEMY (VA.)
Record:22-0; 53 Points
Comments:Kevin Keatts and his team haven't won by fewer than 18 points since November, but they haven't played as difficult a schedule as many of the elite teams since coming to Massachusetts in November. Hargrave is led by its backcourt as well.
3.  FINDLAY PREP (NEV.)
Record:23-0; 50 Points
Comments:The boys from Vegas earned a first-place vote this week after blowing out Brewster, 95-57. Junior forward Clarence Trent has been strong in the paint and Florida State commit Deividas Dulkys and Curtis Dennis (New Mexico) have been deadly from long distance.
4.  AMERICAN CHRISTIAN (PA.)
Record:16-4; 39 Points
Comments:Tyreke Evans, the nation's top uncommitted senior, continues to dominate. However, Tony Bergeron's club has slipped up a few times lately - largely because Evans has struggled with an ankle injury.
5.  BREWSTER ACADEMY (N.H.)
Record:23-3; 36 Points
Comments:Despite its disappointing performance against Findlay, Jason Smith's team remains the team to beat in the NEPSAC. Mark Lyons (Xavier) has put up impressive numbers in the backcourt and Charles Abuou has been playing his best basketball of the season of late. Emmanuel Negedu (Arizona) will need to display more consistency.
6.  NOTRE DAME PREP (MASS.)
Record:20-6; 25 Points
Comments:Kimmie English (Missouri) and Melquan Bolding continue to be the team's most consistent scorers and guards Johnny Higgins (Duquesne) and Sean Crawford are a formidable backcourt. Louisville-bound big man Terrence Jennings has stepped up lately and begun to dominate games.
7.  ST. THOMAS MORE (CONN.)
Record:20-9; 18 Points
Comments:Jere Quinn's group may not be as talented and as deep as many others, but they are disciplined and dangerous. They also have Devin Ebanks (Indiana) back in the fold, who is basically a double-double each and every night.
8.  HARMONY SCHOOL (OHIO)
Record:22-1; 16 Points
Comments:Harmony was impressive this past weekend at the NPSI, knocking off Bridgton and Lee Academy without much opposition. These were the most significant wins all season, though, for a team that is difficult to judge because of their schedule.
9.  APEX (N.J.)
Record:24-2; 12 Points
Comments:The New Jersey-based school cracks the Top 10 for the first time following a win over Winchendon this past weekend. The twins - Marcus and Markieff Morris (Kansas) - lead APEX.
10.  WINCHENDON SCHOOL (MASS.)
Record:16-9; 12 Points
Comments:You can't accuse Mike Byrnes of ducking anyone. They play a difficult schedule and that's part of the reason for their nine losses. Recent setbacks to St. Thomas More and APEX have come without big man John Riek, who is injured. Larry Anderson and Anthony Raffa have stepped up in Riek's absence.

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