When the clock's ticking down and the game's on the line, which of your teammates do you trust to sink a winning shot? Sure, you could dish the rock to your resident superstar -- but what if he's playing ice-cold at the moment? So instead, you pass to the guy with the hot hand, the one who'll be deemed en fuego tomorrow on ESPN.

Momentum investors are looking for stocks in a similar state of sizzle. But momentum by itself will only get you so far. I prefer to find high-quality stocks that also have some positive inertia on their side. It's like kicking the ball out to your team's superstars when they do have a hot hand.

To find these league-leading winners, I cross-referenced a simple momentum screen with data from the Motley Fool CAPS investing community. Each of the companies below has risen 30% or more over the past year, now trades within 5% of its 52-week high, and has been rated highly among CAPS players.

Stock

12-Month Change

Percent Below 52-Week High

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (NYSE:POT)

192%

0.2%

*****

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

144%

0.3%

****

GameStop (NYSE:GME)

130%

0.7%

*****

Deere (NYSE:DE)

95%

0.3%

****

Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM)

43%

0.7%

****

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), and CAPS as of Dec. 24.

At first glance, this list sure makes you think you're looking at a high-quality group. But, as always, I highly advise taking a close look before you throw a bounce pass in the direction of any of these stocks.

Investing with Christmas cheer
Santa gave investors a nice string of up days to bring out some Christmas smiles. Though some retailers, such as Target (NYSE:TGT), did feel the pinch this holiday season, early reports show that retailers overall saw modestly higher sales versus last year.

Two of the hottest stocks of the year -- Apple and Stock Advisor pick GameStop -- were touching their highs right before Christmas on expectations that the holiday season had been good to both.

Apple has been kicking butt and taking names all year, and Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) electronics best-sellers list is currently littered with Apple products. And that list doesn't even include Apple's iPhone. Rumors are rampant right now that at the Macworld Conference in mid-January, Apple is going to announce monster sales of the iPhone.

On CAPS, collegeeducated said of Apple on Monday, "In my opinion, it is the best stock to own for 2008 out of any stock." CAPS All-Star davidengi07 rated the stock an outperformer back in April of this year and also had plenty of good things to say:

Apple has carved out a strong market niche in this decade. [It] has excellent brands and customer loyalty [and] has a good business plan and strong management. ... Apple will continue to be an innovator and a winner over the next year or so (and probably longer), beating the S&P 500 significantly.

So does Apple deserve a place on your All-Star team? You can share your thoughts, or check out more of what your fellow Fools had to say about it -- or any of the other stocks we've mentioned here -- by stopping in at CAPS. And while you're there, you can also take a peek at few more of the 5,000 other stocks that users have rated on CAPS.

I think I heard a "booyah" somewhere out there -- thanks, Stuart Scott!

More CAPS Foolishness:

Amazon.com and GameStop are both Stock Advisor newsletter recommendations. You can try out Stock Advisor, or any of our other Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.

When it comes to basketball, Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer might be the guy Ron Shelton was thinking of when he came up with the title White Men Can't Jump. He owns does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy has a 55'' vertical jump and can dunk from half-court. Or so I hear.