We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 boys basketball poll this afternoon. To view it, CLICK HERE.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This will be the final boys basketball poll update of the regular season. The next poll update will be on March 18, following the MIAA state championships in Worcester.
A few notes and observations about this week's poll:
Bulldogs bite heavyweights: Two state title contenders, Springfield Central and St. John's Prep, were upset on consecutive days by Lynn English in the IAABO Board 130 Classic, at Central Catholic's Memorial Gymnasium. In the championship game over Prep, junior guard Freddy Hogan sank a 10-foot runner at the buzzer to send the place into a frenzy. With the win, the Bulldogs have now won 11 of their last 12, and make their season debut at No. 12 in our poll.
Big shifts: A number of upsets to ranked teams made for quite the interesting shuffle. Follow along:
*** Central Catholic drops one spot for its loss to St. John's Prep in the IAABO 130 semifinals, but avoids dropping further on account of an impressive win over Springfield Central, thrashing the Golden Eagles by 25 in the consolation game.
*** North Andover takes a drop six spots to No. 11 following its loss to Westford Academy on Monday. Hard to drop the Scarlet Knights much further, on account of their record in the Merrimack Valley Conference -- the Knights have a win each over Central (4), Lowell (8) and Andover (21).
*** Danvers drops five spots to No. 9 following losses to Brighton and Newton North in the Comcast Tournament. The previously-unbeaten Falcons lost point guard and Northeastern Conference MVP Eric Martin to an ankle injury in the second half of the Brighton loss, and his presence was sorely missed in a 58-42 North thrashing the following day.
*** Mansfield and St. John's Prep each suffered a loss this week -- the Hornets in overtime to rival No. 23 Franklin, and Prep to Lynn English in the IAABO 130 final, at the buzzer. Considering the scenarios, everybody else losing, each team following up with a win over a Top 25 squad, and both teams holding wins over No. 3 BC High, we decided to keep Mansfield and Prep at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots respectively.
*** Two Western Mass. powers stumbled. Putnam fell six spots to No. 14 following its first loss of the season, to West Springfield. Springfield Central took the most dramatic drop of any team this week, plunging 12 spots to No. 22.
Debuts and returns: In addition to Lynn English, North Reading is also making a season debut in the polls, at No. 25. The 19-0 Hornets are one of two remaining unbeatens in Massachusetts, along with No. 5 Melrose (19-0). Westford (19) and Franklin (23) make returns to the poll this week after extended absences.
Here's how the poll breaks down this week by league affiliation:
Merrimack Valley - 4
Boston City League - 2
Catholic Conference - 2
Hockomock - 2
Mid-Wach A - 2
Northeastern - 2
Valley Wheel - 2
Bay State - 1
Big Three - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Central Mass. Conference - 1
Dual County - 1
Dual Valley - 1
Middlesex - 1
South Coast - 1
Valley League - 1