|Needham shot up our rankings after a big win over Newton North Friday night.|
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 1/23)
1. Cambridge (11-0; Last Ranking – 1): The Falcons returned from a triumphant trip to Springfield and promptly steamrolled conference opponents Waltham and Lincoln-Sudbury
2. BC High (12-0; Last Ranking – 2): Pushed to the brink in a narrow overtime win at St. John’s Prep last Friday, the Eagles maintained their undefeated season with a hard-fought 12th win.
3. Franklin (10-2; Last Ranking – 7): With top prospect Connor Peterson back in the fold, the Panthers have handled capable conference foes in Mansfield, Attleboro and King Philip to climb our rankings.
4. Everett (9-1; Last Ranking – 3): The Crimson Tide suffered its first loss of the season at Lynn Classical in a classic letdown spot after edging New Mission at the BABC Holiday Classic the day before.
5. Needham (11-1; Last Ranking – 9): Thomas Shaughnessy led the Rockets to an emotional overtime victory over Newton North on Friday to move Needham atop the Bay State Conference standings.
6. Newton North (9-2; Last Ranking – 4): Both of the Tigers' losses this season have come during hard-fought battles in which they showed their inexperience down the stretch, but they’re still unquestionably one of the most dangerous teams in the state.
7. New Mission (6-4; Last Ranking – 5): The Titans bounced back from a loss to Everett by stomping Fenway, but Cory McCarthy’s squad is banged up right now and needs to regroup this week before entering another tournament that features St. John’s Prep and Springfield Putnam next weekend.
8. Mansfield (9-2; Last Ranking – 8): Hornets rebounded from a home loss to Franklin by handling King Philip and Oliver Ames this past week.
9. St. John’s Prep (7-3; Last Ranking – 6): Prep dropped two in a row after a redemptive win over Brighton at the BABC Holiday Classic, but challenging BC High more than any other opponent this year maintains their status as a top 10 team.
10. Brighton (7-3; Last Ranking – 10): The Bengals handled business this past week with a 20-point victory at Boston Cathedral and a blowout win over Fenway.
11. Central Catholic (11-1; Last Ranking – 18): A one-point loss to Bridgewater-Raynham serves as the only blemish on an impressive season for the Raiders, who stand alone atop the Merrimack Valley Large Conference.
12. Catholic Memorial (6-3; Last Ranking – 13): Knights were idle this week but move up in our polls thanks to Xaverian’s defeat of Malden Catholic. They’ll face the upset-minded Hawks this Tuesday.
13. Marlborough (9-2; Last Ranking – 16): Chris Doherty and company have pulled it together with a four-game winning streak over tough regional opponents in Nashoba, Maynard, Leominster and Groton-Dunstable.
14. St. John’s (Shrewsbury) (9-2; Last Ranking – 14): Pioneers were idle this week and will return to action with a home game against Westford Academy this Tuesday.
15. Springfield Central (8-1; Last Ranking – 12): The Golden Eagles suffered their first loss of the season to New Haven Hillhouse (CT), but quickly bounced back with a win over Springfield Commerce.
16. Malden Catholic (8-3; Last Ranking – 11): Stunned at Xaverian in a 59-54 loss, the Lancers now sit at the bottom of the Catholic Conference with a 1-3 record.
17. Lowell (10-1; Last Ranking – 20): Alex Rivera and the Red Raiders are rolling right now and, if they can get past Chelmsford on Tuesday, they’ll have a chance to tie Central Catholic atop the MVC with a win on Thursday.
18. Lynn Classical (10-2; Last Ranking – NA): Already atop the Northeastern Conference with a 7-0 record against their division, the Rams gained a ton of statewide respect by taking down Everett.
19. Bridgewater-Raynham (9-2; Last Ranking – 15): Trojans lost at Brockton in a letdown spot after edging Central Catholic last Sunday.
20. Nashoba (10-1; Last Ranking – 21): Chieftans handed Groton-Dunstable its first loss last week and edged Shrewsbury 44-42 last Tuesday.
21. Boston Cathedral (9-4; Last Ranking – 20): The D4 Panthers predictably failed to match up with Brighton’s size in a 20-point loss, but this dangerous squad will look to prove it’s the class of the Central Catholic League in a showdown at Cardinal Spellman this Tuesday.
22. Brockton (7-4; Last Ranking – NA): The Boxers are always chalk full of talent and a 68-58 win over Bridgewater-Raynham last Friday proves that this year’s squad is coming together at the right time.
23. O’Bryant (8-3; Last Ranking – 25): Rivaldo Soares and a talented class of seniors have the Tigers in good shape to compete for a Boston City League Title.
24. St. Mary’s (Lynn) (8-4; Last Ranking – 24): Spartans handled Bishop Fenwick last Friday and will look to keep rolling through their conference schedule.
25. Marblehead (10-2; Last Ranking – NA): Since dropping two of their first three, the Magicians have reeled off nine consecutive wins and finally earn their way into our Top 25.