Sorry for the delayed post, but being snowed in gave me some time to finally put this up here. Time to ring the changes this week. A loss doesn’t affect the standing of No. 1, the Del Val power gets shuffled and the Central League is a little less confusing. Here we go. (Note: Rankings and records apply to the games through last Wednesday which factored into the print Super 7; other games not considered)
1. Archbishop Carroll (15-3) Last Week: No. 1
The Patriots gave Neumann-Goretti all they could handle, leading into the third quarter. It’s also a much different game if All-Delco Derrick Jones can stay out of foul trouble or if Carroll shoots just 50 percent on its myriad putback opportunities. The loss consigns them to the Western half of the PIAA bracket, which means more travel if nothing else. Hello, Chambersburg
2. Chester (11-4) Last Week: No. 4
Before I get raked over the coals, let me first say that you can consider Chester and Penn Wood as essentially 2A-2B here. I almost gave the benefit of the doubt to Penn Wood, since its win in the series was by a larger margin. But the tiebreaker goes to the Clippers. Why? Because against Penn Wood, when Tyrell Sturdivant was quieted by foul trouble, Conrad Chambers stepped up as a secondary scoring option to Mahir Johnson. That ability is less pronounced, perhaps even absent, in the scoring capacity of Malik Jackson’s supporting cast.
3. Penn Wood (11-4) Last Week: No. 2
The positive is that the bigs like Naeem East, Jeff Padilioni and Amadou Kaba seem to always end up around 20 points per game between them. But it’s like that’s the limit. Only twice this season have they combined for more than 22 points – once thanks to East’s 17-point outburst against Interboro and in the second game of the season against Central when Kaba went off for 23. They get their points consistently, but rarely do they exceed their averages. The guard play has improved lately around Jackson, but there’s still something missing when Jackson isn’t on.
4. Haverford School (14-5) Last Week: No. 4
OK, time to break character here and consider the more recent games. I had my concerns about their recent play, hence why I dropped them to four. Then they come back with that loss to Penn Charter that effectively ends their Inter-Ac title hopes. I don’t see that setback as dropping them next week, but it means their ability to overtake the Del Val duo ahead of them is pretty remote.
5. Penncrest (15-4) Last Week: No. 5
The Lions just keep churning out wins. They’re going to face either Conestoga or Lower Merion in the playoffs next week – I think given the fact that they caught the Aces early on before they caught fire, they’d rather the former – and could spring a surprise.
6. Ridley (11-6) Last Week: No. 6
The reservations keep growing for a team that hasn’t topped 60 points in 2014. They managed to win their last two games with Brett Foster limited to eight points per, which is reassuring, but the offense and ability to dictate their tempo in games remains an issue.
7. Radnor (12-7) Last Week: NR
Haverford and Radnor had to know, with the continuing struggles of Upper Darby, that their game Tuesday was a play-in for the Super 7, right? In any case, the Raiders got the win and the edge. I’m not sure about their postseason prospects, but they’re just a solid basketball team whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Dropped out: Upper Darby (12-6; can’t believe the team that started 9-0 is 3-6 since.)
Also under consideration: Haverford (12-7; their three-game losing streak, albeit to two teams in the Super 7 plus Conestoga, isn’t the way you want to snake toward the season’s end); Episcopal Academy (13-6; you have to admire their effort in taking Germantown Academy to two overtimes. Over their last 13 games, they are 10-3, with the only defeats at the hands of GA and Haverford School. Any other year in the Inter-Ac, maybe you’re talking a title team.)