Our rankings of the best teams in the state during the 2016-17 basketball season, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 1/17)
1. Cambridge (9-0; Last Ranking – 1): The defending champions were always expected to run the table against conference foes and in-state competition, but a 46-36 win over Santa Monica Crossroads (CA) at the Hoophall Classic asserts that Cambridge could be a team for the ages.
2. BC High (11-0; Last Ranking – 2): Despite playing arguably the toughest schedule of any team in the state, Carl Pierre and the Eagles remain undefeated, without really being tested of late.
3. Everett (8-0; Last Ranking – 5): The Crimson Tide came up with a season-defining win on Monday morning when they came back to defeat New Mission, 67-66, at the BABC Holiday Classic.
4. Newton North (8-1; Last Ranking – 6): They’re not necessarily blowing the doors off opponents, but Paul Connolly has this young Tigers squad playing very well around superstar Ethan Wright.
5. New Mission (5-4; Last Ranking – 3): Hamstrung by injuries and shorthanded down the stretch, the Titans finally dropped a game to an in-state opponent with a narrow loss to D1 power Everett.
6. St. John’s Prep (7-1; Last Ranking – 12): Since their blowout loss to D4 program Boston Cathedral in late December, the Eagles are flying with wins over Malden Catholic, Catholic Memorial and Brighton.
7. Franklin (8-2; Last Ranking – 9): For the second consecutive season, the Panthers went into rival Mansfield’s gym and out-worked the Hornets for a hard-fought victory.
8. Mansfield (7-2; Last Ranking – 3): Offensively, it simply was not the Hornets night last Friday, as they barely cracked 40 points in a decisive loss to rival Franklin.
9. Needham (9-1; Last Ranking – 10): Rockets handled business with a win over young Brookline. Now they’ll have to get past upset-minded Milton before a huge showdown with Newton North this Friday.
10. Brighton (5-3; Last Ranking – 8): With another win over a talented program from New Jersey, the Bengals' narrow loss to D1 power St. John’s Prep becomes easier to overlook.
11. Malden Catholic (7-2; Last Ranking – 13): The Lancers edged Catholic Memorial, 76-70, but simply couldn’t hang at BC High during a blowout loss last Friday.
12. Springfield Central (7-0; Last Ranking – 15): Led by 6-foot-5 junior Jorge Torres and a talented senior class, the Golden Eagles continued to assert their dominance out west with a 66-59 win over Springfield Putnam at the Hoophall Classic.
13. Catholic Memorial (6-3; Last Ranking – 7): The Knights are in free-fall mode with 3 losses surrounded by a relatively close win over Xaverian over the past couple of weeks.
14. St. John’s (Shrewsbury) (9-2; Last Ranking – 17): Pioneers continued to roll this past week with wins over Holy Name and Worcester North. This talented team is starting to figure out how to play in the absence of graduated star Adham Floyd.
15. Bridgewater-Raynham (9-1; Last Ranking – 24): Trojans came up with a huge resume-building win when they defeated Central Catholic 60-59 last Sunday.
16. Marlborough (7-2; Last Ranking – 22): After dropping consecutive road games to Algonquin and Shrewsbury, the Panthers produced impressive wins at Nashoba and over Maynard to right the ship.
17. Metheun (8-1; Last Ranking – 19): While they’ve yet to face the meat of their conference schedule, the Rangers are 5-0 and sit atop the Merrimack Valley Large Conference. They’ll have a chance to silence any doubters when they host Lowell this Friday.
18. Central Catholic (6-1; Last Ranking – 11): A one-point loss at Bridgewater-Raynham ends the Raiders' undefeated run, but they’re still very much in the mix for a conference title.
19. Lowell (6-1; Last Ranking – 20): The proximity of these three MVC powers in our rankings reflects their similar potential on the court. The Red Raiders are right there with Methuen and CC in terms of competing for a division crown up north.
20. Boston Cathedral (8-3; Last Ranking – 18): As per usual, the Panthers mixed in an impressive win over Dorchester with a loss at St. Mary’s (Lynn) to highlight their inconsistency last week.
21. Nashoba (8-1; Last Ranking – 16): The Chieftans magical undefeated season came to an end when Marlborough came to town with revenge on its mind and earned a win over a conference rival.
22. Attleboro (8-2; Last Ranking – 14): The Bombadiers gave everything they had in a 54-49 loss at Mansfield, and apparently became exhausted to the point that they dropped a second consecutive decision with Oliver Ames visiting last Friday.
23. Arlington (8-0; Last Ranking – 23): Spy Ponders are on an incredible 24-game winning streak at home, but they showcased their talent on the road with a win at Lexington last Friday, and have their sights set on another road win at Somerville this Tuesday.
24. St. Mary’s (Lynn) (7-4; Last Ranking – NA): With a narrow 59-55 win over Boston Cathedral all the way back on January 9, the Spartans re-enter our rankings.
25. O’Bryant (6-3; Last Ranking – NA): The Tigers took down conference rivals Dorchester and Charlestown before predictably receiving a thrashing at the hands of BC High at the BABC Holiday Classic.
Last 10 out: North Andover (8-3), Brookline (5-3), Lynn Classical (9-2), Cardinal Spellman (6-2), Dorchester (6-2), Maynard (6-2), O’Bryant (4-2), Brockton (5-4), Marblehead (9-2), Weston (8-2)