Monday, December 18, 2017

MIAA Basketball Top 25: Week 2

Senior Jorge Torres has Western Mass power Springfield Central flying high in the season's early goings.
Our rankings of the best teams in the state, as selected by our panel of staff writers and correspondents. (Updated 12/18)

1. Needham (2-0; Last Week - 3) In a tough opener on the road, Thomas Shaughnessy and the experienced Rockets looked every bit a championship contender, running past St. John’s Prep, 72-62.

2. St. John's Prep (1-1; Last Week - 1) Dropping the opener to a Needham team that brings back several key pieces after a state semifinals appearance last year is nothing of which to be ashamed. 

3. Franklin (1-0; Last Week - 5) The Panthers continued to dominate Hockomock League competition with a 55-36 win over Milford, led by a career-high 28 points from sophomore guard Chris Edgehill.

4. Newton North (0-1; Last Week - 2) Still inexperienced and young across the board, the Tigers will apparently go through some early-season growing pains, as they lost to Natick, 74-64, in their season opener.   

5. Lowell (1-0; Last Week - 9) While they had to come from behind late, the Red Raiders did well to earn a tough road win in Andover to open their season.   

6. Central Catholic (0-0; Last Week - 6) The idle Raiders will have extra time to get acclimated under new head coach John Walsh, who led Danvers to three state championships from 2012-2015.  

7. Everett (1-0; Last Week - 7) In hanging 93 points at Saugus last Friday, the Crimson Tide confirmed that the transition from football season to basketball isn’t going to be very difficult.

8. BC High (1-0; Last Week - 4) After an easy win at home over South Boston on Dec. 13, the Eagles welcome an impressive Brockton team for a huge tilt this Tuesday.

9. Cambridge (2-0; Last Week - 10) No issues for the two-time defending champions in wins over Concord-Carlisle and Westford. However, the schedule heats up this week with impressive junior Malachi Hazelton and Bedford coming to Cambridge on Tuesday.  

10. Tech Boston (3-0; Last Week - 15) After defeating three out-of-state opponents by a combined 51 points, the Bears return to the City League to prepare for rival Charlestown on Dec. 20. 

11. Brookline (2-0; Last Week - 14) Even with Chris Camille (knee) out, the Warriors were impressive in wins over BSC rivals Braintree and Wellesley. Junior forward Mark Barrett appears to be making a leap this year.

12. Lynn Classical (2-0; Last Week - 14) Rams held off an improved Somerville team, 59-53, to open Jasper Grassa’s coaching career on a high note.

13. Mansfield (2-0; Last Week - 17) It wasn’t easy, but the well-coached Hornets held off conference rivals Foxboro and Canton for narrow wins. They’ll take on Stoughton on Tuesday before hosting Newton North on Dec. 21. 

14. Brockton (3-0; Last Week - 24) The Boxers made a statement with a 72-51 win at Saint John’s of Shrewsbury last Tuesday and kept rolling with a blowout win over Barnstable and a 66-64 thriller over Marshfield. 

15. O’Bryant (3-0; Last Week - 13) A narrow win at Division 4 program Pope John shows that the Tigers still have a ways to go if they want to contend for a D2 state title this year.

16. St. Mary’s (Lynn) (2-0; Last Week - 16)  Spartans kept rolling this week with wins over Archbishop Williams and Arlington Catholic after stunning defending D2 state champion Brighton (game was excluded from standings) in their opener.   

17. Catholic Memorial (1-1; Last Week - 8) After a typically dominant home win, the Knights fell, 76-73, in a thriller at Bishop Stang last Friday. 

18. Springfield Central (3-0; Last Week - 19) Formidable center Jorge Torres netted 18 points and junior Hason Ward added 13 as the Golden Eagles edged Trinity Catholic, 62-51, for their third win of the year.

19. Arlington (1-0; Last Week - NA) Impressive on the defensive end as well, the Spy Ponders shut down Stoneham in a 52-25 road win to open their season.

20. St. John’s Shrewsbury (3-1; Last Week - 11) The Pioneers demolished Nashoba, 76-46, then wound up on the wrong side of a 72-51 home loss to Brockton, but bounced back by defeating Pittsfield and Leominster over the weekend.

21. Natick (2-0; Last Week - NA) Yet another to watch out for the in the loaded Bay State Conference, Natick needs to be taken seriously after defeating Newton North on Dec. 15.

22. Maynard (2-0; Last Week - 22) Close win for the Tigers over Littleton in their opener, but no such drama in a 54-27 win at Clinton the following night.   

23. Watertown (1-0; Last Week - 23) No issues for John Korte and the Raiders in a 66-49 win over Reading to begin their quest to return to the D3 state finals.  

24. Lynn English (1-0; Last Week - NA) The “City of Wins” appears to have two quality basketball teams that will look to follow up on the successes of their respective football programs.

25. Bishop Stang (1-0; Last Week - NA) Quite the season debut for the Spartans, who held on for a 76-73 win over Catholic Memorial at home last Friday.

Last 10 Out:  Andover (0-1), Bedford (2-0), Burke (1-0), Brighton (0-2), Groton-Dunstable (2-0), Hanover (4-0), Marblehead (1-0), Northampton (3-0), Wellesley (1-1), Woburn (1-0)

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