|St. John's Prep celebrates after ending Catholic Memorial's four-year home winning streak|
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 2/6)
1. Cambridge (13-0; Last Ranking – 1): Another comfortable win for the Falcons in Dual County League play, as they handled Acton-Boxboro 76-51 on the road last Friday.
2. BC High (15-1; Last Ranking – 2): Eagles dropped their first dud of the season with an 80-58 home loss to Catholic Memorial, yet they’ve played arguably the toughest schedule in the state, and had a sizable lead as the second-best team in our rankings prior to that first loss.
3. Everett (10-1; Last Ranking – 3): The idle Crimson Tide will get back to work following the Patriots Super Bowl win with a huge home game against Salem on Monday evening.
4. Mansfield (14-2; Last Ranking – 4): Hornets have won seven in a row since losing at home to Franklin and look capable of running the gauntlet in the D1 South Sectional next month.
5. St. John’s Prep (11-4; Last Ranking – 7): These Eagles beat New Mission, snapped Catholic Memorial’s four-year home winning streak and held off conference rival Xaverian before falling flat at the end of their busy week with a loss at Central Catholic on Super Bowl Sunday.
6. New Mission (11-5; Last Ranking – 9): The Titans are getting healthier, stronger, and remain the favorites to repeat as Division 2 State champions.
7. Franklin (13-3; Last Ranking – 10): Bouncing back nicely from a stunning road loss at Canton, the Panthers scored nice wins at Sharon and Oliver Ames. They’ll host Mansfield in a huge rematch this Friday.
8. Needham (14-2; Last Ranking – 5): Slow down superstar Thomas Shaughnessy and the Rockets are beatable, as proven by a streaking Braintree team in a 67-58 road win last Friday.
9. Central Catholic (13-3; Last Ranking – 8): Another team with a tumultuous week, the Raiders lost at the buzzer to Haverhill and fell to rival Lowell at home, but bounced back with a huge home win over St. John’s Prep on Sunday.
10. O’Bryant (13-3; Last Ranking – 11): Tigers might have something to say about the assertion that New Mission could roll through the Boston City League and Division 2 North Sectional once again this year.
11. St. John’s (Shrewsbury) (13-2; Last Ranking – 12): Pioneers will have all week to rest and prepare for a heated rematch with Marlborough at home this Friday.
12. Newton North (12-4; Last Ranking – 6): With star guard Ethan Wright (ankle) inactive, the Tigers dropped consecutive games to Brookline and Framingham, but there’s little doubt that this team will be back in the ranks of elite once Wright returns.
13. Springfield Central (12-1; Last Ranking – 13): Flying under the radar a bit out west, the Golden Eagles dropped 104 points in a win at Pope Francis and took down a talented Holyoke squad last week.
14. Catholic Memorial (9-5; Last Ranking – 16): There is no rest for the weary in Catholic Conference play, which is apparently how the Knights like it, as they immediately recovered from a heartbreaking home loss to Prep with a thrashing of No. 2 BC High.
15. Lowell (11-3; Last Ranking – 17): Red Raiders fell to Andover last Tuesday but exacted their revenge with a signature win at Central Catholic three nights later.
16. Brighton (10-4; Last Ranking – 14): A matchup at Brockton last Tuesday was postponed due to weather before the Bengals got back to their high-scoring ways with a 96-68 win at Burke.
17. Braintree (9-5; Last Ranking – 25): Don’t look now, but the Wamps have won six in a row behind the superb play of Nick Timberlake, as he most recently outplayed Thomas Shaugnessy to hand Needham its’ first conference loss this season.
18. Marlborough (12-3; Last Ranking – 18): It’s been anything but easy, but the Panthers managed to edge Algonquin, 61-60, and scrape past Nashoba, 54-50, both without star junior Chris Doherty last week.
19. Bridgewater-Raynham (11-3; Last Ranking – 20): Trojans demolished Dartmouth, 71-43, in their sole contest over the past week. Their challenging nonconference schedule should prepare them for the upcoming state tournament.
20. Dorchester (12-2; Last Ranking – NA): The Boston City League is as deep as it’s been in years and the Bears will look to prove just that when they host Brighton this Wednesday.
21. Marblehead (14-2; Last Ranking – 23): The only undefeated team in the Northeastern Conference has won an incredible 13 straight games.
22. Boston Cathedral (11-5; Last Ranking – 21): Panthers will look to avenge one of their two conference losses this season with a win over St. Mary’s (Lynn) this Monday.
23. Lynn Classical (14-3; Last Ranking – 15): Classical took a step backwards with a home loss to Revere, but the Rams will be eyeing another upset when they travel to Marblehead this Friday.
24. Weston (13-2; Last Ranking – 24): Wildcats have rattled off seven consecutive victories since losing badly at Cambridge. They’ll take on another rising DCL team at Bedford this Friday.
25. Brookline (10-4; Last Ranking – NA): The young Warriors re-enter our rankings with a win over shorthanded Newton North last Tuesday.
Last 10 out: Amherst (11-3), Andover (10-5), Brockton (7-5), Bedford (10-4), Cardinal Spellman (8-4), Malden (10-4), Maynard (12-3), Metheun (12-4), Nashoba (12-2), St. Mary’s (Lynn) (10-5)