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Boys Hoop Bracket Breakdown: West

Division 1

Favorites: Putnam (21-0)

Contenders: Northampton (16-4), Holyoke (14-6), Leominster (16-4)

Sleepers: Springfield Cathedral (10-10), West Springfield (14-6)

Overview: If there has been but one constant in the Western Mass basketball landscape this winter, it has been the utter dominance of Putnam; aside from scares against Holyoke and Northampton, the Beavers have had little resistance from their Western counterparts, finding their toughest competition against the likes of Cambridge, St. Peter-Marian, New Mission and Nazareth (N.Y.). It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a brand of havoc defense as interminable as the defending D1 state champs, but the question will be their shooting ability – then again, that was their flaw last year, too. The secret is out on big man Jake Ross out in Northampton, but keep an eye on sharpshooter Aiden Hirsch. Elsewhere, Jake Allain and Derek Franks lead Leominster into uncharted territory as newcomers to the West bracket, while Springfield Cathedral is the ultimate wild card – the preseason No. 18 selection got in on the last week of the regular season, but will need big nights out of Darrick Boyd and Edens Baptiste if they are to make a run.

Hall’s Upset Special: Leominster over Holyoke

Hall’s Breakout Tournament Star: Tyonne Malone, Putnam

Hall's Pick: Putnam over Northampton

Bradley's Upset Special: Leominster over Holyoke

Bradley's Breakout Star: Devante Wardell, Sr., Holyoke

Pick a Winner: Putnam

Division 2

Favorites: Longmeadow (18-2), Pittsfield (17-3)

Contenders: Taconic (15-5), South Hadley (14-6), Quabbin (12-8)

Sleepers: Shepherd Hill (12-7), North Middlesex (9-10)

Overview: The team to beat in this field is without question Longmeadow, which hasn’t lost a game since Dec. 18. That loss just happened to be to Pittsfield, letting a 17-point halftime lead slip away thanks to an incredible night from Generals super-guard Amancho Adopo. Still, the Lancers are the deepest team in this field, having proven that with a flawless run through the Suburban League.

Hall’s Upset Special: Quabbin over Taconic

Hall’s Breakout Tournament Star: Amancho Adopo, Sr. G, Pittsfield

Hall's Pick: Longmeadow over Pittsfield

Bradley's Upset Special: Quabbin over Taconic

Bradley's Breakout Star: Griffin Bennett, Jr., Quabbin

Pick a Winner: Longmeadow

Division 3

Favorites: Renaissance (20-0), Sabis (13-7)

Contenders: Mahar (15-5), Hoosac Valley (14-6), Wahconah (13-7)

Sleepers: Greenfield (12-8), Monument Mountain (10-8)

Overview: On paper, the odds favor Renaissance, who are one of three undefeated teams remaining in Massachusetts having blown out every team on their schedule by double digits. Led by junior guard Carlos Gonzalez (23.5 points per game), the Phoenix are one of the state’s highest-scoring offenses at 81.3 points per game. Look for them to overwhelm with their pace at times, but they could be in for a fight with Sabis down the road. In its first season back in Division 3 since reaching the state championship in 2009, the Bulldogs have been hampered by injury, but senior Nelson Zayas has been serviceable.

Hall’s Upset Special: Wahconah over Mahar

Hall’s Breakout Tournament Star: Carlos Gonzalez, Jr. G, Renaissance

Hall's Pick: Renaissance over Sabis

Bradley's Upset Special: Easthampton over Hampshire

Bradley's Breakout Star: Nelson Zayas, Sr., Sabis

Pick a Winner: Sabis

Division 4

Favorites: Quaboag (20-2)

Contenders: Smith Academy (17-3), Granby (16-4), Turners Falls (16-4)

Sleepers: Hopkins Academy (12-8), Lenox (14-6), Monson (11-9), North Brookfield (14-6)

Overview: Like Putnam in D1, Quaboag figures to be the overwhelming favorite in this field. The Panthers screamed through the SWCL and scheduled competitively out of conference, including an early February loss to D1 state title contender St. Peter-Marian. Junior big man Jake Wisniewski is a double-double machine, and arguably the best individual player in this field, but keep an eye on North Brookfield senior guard Corey Heyes, who leads Central Mass in scoring average (23.7).

Hall’s Upset Special: Pioneer Valley Christian over Turners Falls

Hall’s Breakout Tournament Star: Jake Wisniewski, Jr. F, Quaboag

Hall's Pick: Quaboag over Smith Academy

Bradley's Upset Special: Gateway over Monson

Bradley's Breakout Star: Jake Wisniewski, Jr., Quaboag

Pick a Winner: Quaboag