So does anyone want to be No. 2 in the Super 7 this week? Doesn’t seem like it from the play on the court. Let’s try and make sense of this. (Records and writeup through Wednesday, Feb. 5. Plus stat leaders are updated.)
1. Archbishop Carroll (17-3) Last Week: No. 1
Carroll limited O’Hara to 17 points in a game this weekend. So, yeah.
2. Haverford School (15-6) Last Week: No. 4
Here’s where it hits the skids. When Nos. 2 and 3 lose in the Super 7 lose and No. 4 has a win as impressive as the Fords’ over Germantown Academy, playing for their Inter-Ac life (although possibly just forestalling the inevitable), they get the benefit of the doubt.
3. Chester (15-4) Last Week: No. 2
At the risk of re-stoking the fires of Interboro anger, I must say this: While it was a great, gutsy, season-defining win by the Bucs, the elite Chester teams of the past do not lose games like this (or to Interboro over the last 36 years). Let’s not forget that Chester didn’t lose on a freak last-minute shot; Interboro got the JV guys in at the end. If there was any doubting that this year’s version of the Clippers was a step below some of those in the past, this banishes those misgivings.
4. Penn Wood (13-5) Last Week: No. 3
The loss to Great Valley isn’t all that bad, and they’re two teams that could run into each other down the road in Districts. But again, Malik Jackson scores five points and Penn Wood loses. In only three of the Patriots 13 wins this season has anyone other than Jackson been the leading scorer. I don’t think many teams will find it much of a mystery how to defend the Patriots in the postseason.
5. Penncrest (15-6) Last Week: No. 5
A streak of 10 wins in 12 games came to a screeching halt with back-to-back losses to Haverford and Ridley. That locks the Lions into the third seed in the Central League playoffs and a third shot at beating Conestoga this season.
6. Radnor (14-7) Last Week: No. 7
The Raiders go into Friday’s battle for the fourth and final Central League playoff spot (a tall task heading into Lower Merion) riding a five-game winning streak. When you look at this team, they have really only one bad loss (Marple Newtown) in the Central League slate, and they counteract it with wins over Ridley and Haverford.
7. Ridley (12-8) Last Week: No. 6
The team that beat Penncrest by 14 points is more like the one I’ve expected to emerge at some point. They got a big boost with the return of Andrew Murphy from a three-game absence to score 14 points. Against the Lions, they had three guys in double figures, and they got seven points from Pat O’Neill and eight from Julian Wing. That’s the kind of balance that they need to find night-in and night-out.
Also under consideration: Interboro (11-9; beating Chester will always get you consideration for the Super 7); Haverford (13-8; their schedule – Conestoga, Ridley, Radnor, Penncrest, Garnet Valley – has been murderous. Just when you try to get excited about the Fords beating Penncrest, they get waxed by 20 by Garnet Valley); Academy Park (12-6; don’t look now, but this could end up as a 14-win AP team. That’s historically significant, and their athleticism, swarming press and long-range shooting (if it’s on) makes them a tough out in districts); Upper Darby (13-7; they hit 60 points against Marple Newtown last week. I can’t fathom that playing games in the 30s is their preference); Garnet Valley (10-11; I’d love to see this Garnet Valley team sneak into the postseason. They’ve certainly responded down the stretch to adversity); Episcopal Academy (14-7; a win Friday night vs. Haverford School would muddy the Inter-Ac picture and give them a share of third. Top half of this league in this year is a solid accomplishment.)