La Lumiere, a private school in Indiana, was ranked No. 1 in three different national polls while Nathan Hale topped four.
The final high-school boys basketball poll was released Wednesday, Nathan Hale retaining its top overall spot. It’s not a consensus, but the Raiders, who were 3-18 last year, can regard themselves as the best boys basketball team in the country.
There are seven national polls to comprise this assertion. La Lumiere, a private school in Indiana, and Nathan Hale, a public school in North Seattle, were split at three polls each ranking them No. 1 in the land. HS Hoops Elite, which is operated by the North Carolina-based Jordan Divens, was the deciding vote due to his finalized poll not being released until Wednesday evening.
All seven polls reached a consensus on Nathan Hale as the No. 1 team in the nation in early February.
The next was in 1920 when the Everett High School football team tied for No. 1 in the nation in the National Sports News Service poll, which crowned a national champ from 1910 to 1999. There have been other national titles ranging from Mercer Island’s girls swimming (1995-96) to Mead boys cross-country (1993), but none in boys basketball until Nathan Hale.
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La Lumiere coach Shane Heirman believes his Lakers, who lost once this season, are the undisputed national champs because Nathan Hale opted to not play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals tournament. The event is reserved for elite teams who won a state championship in order to be invited.
Heirman’s team defeated Florida’s Montverde Academy, 70-52, on April 1 to win their first Dick’s tournament title. On Monday, Heirman used his his Twitter account to blast any pollster that gave a nod to Nathan Hale as best in the land.
Nathan Hale coach Brandon Roy said part of the reason his team didn’t play was due to Michael Porter Jr. playing in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 29 in Chicago and the Dick’s tournament starting March 30 in New York. However, multiple other teams with All-Americans faced the same predicament and competed in the Dick’s tournament. Roy also pointed to a few Raiders players needing to focus on their academics and the tournament not being a true national title.
“We feel like we’re the best team in the country,” Roy said recently of his 29-0, Class 3A state championship team. “Even if we would have been able to win Dick’s, we couldn’t say we proved that to every team because California (champions) can’t go. There would still be a lot of unknowns out there even if we went.”
Last year, Chino Hills went undefeated and topped numerous national polls but was unable to play in the Dick’s tournament because California Interscholastic Federation rules forbid participation. The school also wasn’t a consensus national champion for the 2015-16 season.