Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Final MIAA Boys' Basketball Top 25 for 2016-17 Season

Maynard wasn't even ranked in our final regular season poll. Where will the Tigers end up after capturing a Division 4 state championship? Photo by Brendan C. Hall.
Our rankings of the best basketball teams in the state at the end of 2016-17 season, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 3/21)

1. Cambridge (24-0; Last Ranking  –  1): There never seemed to be a doubt as Cambridge rolled to a second consecutive D1 state title and an undefeated season.

2. Brighton (23-5; Last Ranking  –  6): We can speculate as to whether Brighton would’ve challenged Cambridge in a battle of champions, since the end of the Bengals' run to a D2 state title was nearly as impressive.

3. Needham (20-5; Last Ranking  –  6): Paul Liner pulled off an incredible coaching job while Thomas Shaughnessy played his heart out to upset BC High and Mansfield for the first sectional title in school history

4. BC High (20-3; Last Ranking  –  2):  If not for a nail-biting loss to Needham in the sectional semifinals, who knows how far Carl Pierre and Travis Evee might have carried the Eagles.

5. Maynard (24-4; Last Ranking  –  NA): Say what you will about their division or regular season performance, but the Tigers put on the third-most impressive showing of state finals Saturday by exacting their revenge with a 20-point drubbing of St. Mary’s (Lynn), bringing home the school’s first state title in the process. 

6. Mansfield (23-3; Last Ranking  –  3): As well coached as ever, the Hornets avoided Catholic Memorial and edged Bridgewater-Raynham in a slugfest to return to the D1 South final.

7. Franklin (22-3; Last Ranking  –  9): Panthers pulled off an incredible last-minute comeback to stun Springfield Central and make the state finals, where they unfortunately stood little chance against the Cambridge juggernaut.

8. Central Catholic (20-6; Last Ranking  –  11): A 20-win season and sectional finals appearance is a great start for a young Raiders team that will bring plenty back under veteran coach Rick Nault. 

9. Everett (19-3; Last Ranking  –  4): The Tide simply couldn't get past the sectional semifinals, suffering a fifth consecutive loss in that round to end their season.

10. Hanover (23-3; Last Ranking  –  NA): It’s been quite a school year thus far for the six Indians players who won a D3 Super Bowl during football season and clinched the school’s first basketball state title a few months later.

11. Arlington (20-1; Last Ranking  –  12): Depth seemed to sink the Spy Ponders when they fell to eventual state champion Brighton in the sectional semifinals.

12. Springfield Central (19-3; Last Ranking  –  17): The Golden Eagles hung on to edge Amherst, 61-60, in the D1 West final, but collapsed late against Franklin in the state semifinals. 

13. St. Mary’s (Lynn) (17-3; Last Ranking  –  NA):  Coming back from a 19-point deficit to down Boston Cathedral in the D4 Eastern Mass Final earned the Spartans a second consecutive trip to Springfield.

14. St. John’s (Shrewsbury) (19-4; Last Ranking  –  14): Like Western Mass power Springfield Central, the Pioneers also suffered a heartbreaking loss to Franklin in overtime, as they fell 67-64 in the D1 Central final.

15. Boston Cathedral (18-5; Last Ranking  –  15): Panthers suffered another heartbreaking loss to St. Mary’s, after losing to the Spartans in overtime at the TD Garden during last year’s state semifinals.

16. Lowell (17-6; Last Ranking  –  16): Alex Rivera was transcendent as the Red Raiders made a run to the sectional semifinals and gave Cambridge a scare.

17. Lynn Classical (21-4; Last Ranking  –  21): The Spartans took Brighton to the brink in the D2 North final, effectively waking the Bengals up before their stretch run to a state championship.

18. Whitman-Hanson (19-4; Last Ranking  –  NA): Playing in front of a rabid crowd at Brockton High, the Panthers stunned O’Bryant to make a second consecutive appearance in the state semifinals at TD Garden.

19. Bridgewater-Raynham (17-6; Last Ranking  –  19): Trojans took down Catholic Memorial to assuage the fears of Mansfield, but couldn’t get past the Hornets in the next round.

20. St. John’s Prep (16-6; Last Ranking  –  5): Prep consistently played close games throughout the regular season, and wound up on the wrong side of a 61-59 thriller against Lowell in the second round.

21. Catholic Memorial (16-6; Last Ranking  –  8): These Knights always seemed a year or two away from returning to the mountaintop and competing for another state title.

22. O’Bryant (16-5; Last Ranking  –  18): Tigers were stunned in the D2 South final by a Whitman-Hanson team that played a nearly perfect game.

23. New Mission (15-6; Last Ranking  –  13): This battle tested team still fell short at Arlington High in a 64-61 classic. Will legendary coach Cory McCarthy really hang up his whistle?

24. Nashoba (21-4; Last Ranking  –  NA): Chieftans did well to navigate a tough D2 Central bracket, but were unable to hang with the deep and talented Bengals in the state finals.

25. Watertown (21-3; Last Ranking  –  NA): The Raiders ran out of offensive firepower in a tough shooting day at TD Garden, but still deserve recognition for taking down Bedford in the D3 North final.  

Last 10 out:  Amherst (17-6), Bedford (17-7), Concord-Carlisle (16-6), Hopkins Academy (21-3), Malden Catholic (15-8), Marblehead (20-2), Newton North (16-7),  Newton South (13-9), St. Peter Marian (15-7), TechBoston (16-6)

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