The holiday and the massively busy tournament schedule mean no notebook this week, though we’ve got plenty of columns and game coverage to fill the hours (plus, of course, new stat leaders). While there wasn’t any place in the paper for this week’s Super 7, why break with the schedule of weekly rankings, especially after such an eventful and informative week? Here’s the latest hierarchy. (Records through Jan. 1.)
1. Archbishop Carroll (5-3) Last Week: No. 1
Of the Patriots’ three losses, one has come to the team MaxPreps has ranked 15th in the nation (Villa Angela-St. Joseph of Cleveland, Ohio) and one is to the 21st-ranked team (Sierra Canyon, Calif.) which has a national-TV date Friday. While that game is happening, the Patriots will take on Indiana’s La Lumiere, which is ranked 18th in the nation, in West Virginia. Putting the Patriots’ record into local terms, which includes a win over reigning PIAA Class AA champ Constitution plus a 20-point drubbing of Haverford School, scales what they are capable of.
2. Chester (5-3) Last Week: No. 2
Let’s not mince words: Chester’s loss to Neumann-Goretti was ugly, one of the worst in Larry Yarbray’s tenure. The Clippers’ proclivity for giving up 3-pointers – nine for Plymouth Whitemarsh in a 72-70 loss Monday before 13 to the Saints – is alarming. They get a little benefit of the doubt with Tuesday being their first game without Khaleeq Campbell, one of the glue guys in the backcourt who was injured vs. PW. But with Campbell hobbling on crutches, looks like Chester will have to learn how to play without him sooner rather than later.
3. Penn Wood (7-2) Last Week: No. 4
The Patriots don’t just move up so that we can have matchups between teams 2 and 3 (next Tuesday at the Clip Joint) and 4 and 5 (Saturday at Philly U). Other than the Malik Jackson-less loss to Bartram, the other setback was to Martin Luther King, which will be playing deep into March in Class AAAA. Penn Wood won three games in consecutive days this week. I’d assume that Jackson, one of the best 3-point shooters in the county if not the state, will be salivating looking at Chester’s recent deficiencies defending the 3-point line.
4. Haverford School (6-7) Last Week: No. 3
The loss to Carroll needs to be taken with a grain of salt: While Cameron Reddish played, he only attempted three field goals, a day after injuring his knee against Our Savior New American. It’s the first game Reddish hasn’t scored in double figures all season. The Fords get a few days to rest and plot how to replace Derek Mountain – Micah Sims’ eight points (total this season) isn’t doing it, and most of Jack Marshall’s offense comes on putbacks. While they’ve lost five of six, consider who the losses have come to: Hill School, Phelps School (both featuring sought-after post-grads), Roselle Catholic of New Jersey (ranked No. 9 nationally by MaxPreps), Our Savior (which will be on ESPNU Friday and is ranked 10th by MaxPreps) and Carroll. Let’s not forget that the Fords were within a basket of Our Savior when Reddish got hurt and were only separated by Roselle by 16 points thanks to an uncharacteristic 11-for-25 day from the line.
5. Episcopal Academy (9-4) Last Week: No. 6
The Churchmen keep chugging along, winners of five straight. Three of their losses come to programs catering to post-grads. Against PIAA opposition, they are 5-0, including the only setback for Academy Park (which makes their relative placements this week very straightforward) and handling Boys’ Latin, which leads its division of the Public League. With the Churchmen and Fords squaring off Saturday, we could very easily see these teams flip places in next week’s Super 7.
6. Academy Park (9-1) Last Week: No. 5
The Knights continue their climb up the Central League standings, sitting at 4-0 after topping Haverford in the final of the Steve Juenger Tournament. (They also beat Cardinal O’Hara, which beat Springfield, so can we count that as another?) All joking aside, the Knights have proven an ability to beat some decent teams, including Church Farm, a likely player in the PIAA Class AA picture. The only potentially alarming aspect is that Travis Smith has averaged just 10.5 points per game over the last four outings. His ability to knock down shots consistently will determine how far the Knights progress.
7. Penncrest (7-3) Last Week: NR
Glen Mills slots down a place (through no fault of their own) because of Penncrest’s ability to win six of the last seven. The only loss in that stint was an overtime setback to Haverford. They are coping better with the absence of AJ Taylor, thanks largely to Chandler Henry averaging 9.7 points per game the last three games. Seeing Mike Doyle explode for 33 points to beat Henderson and claim the Penncrest Holiday tourney title is a pertinent statement that the Lions have a take-over-the-game type player.
Dropped out: Glen Mills
Honorable Mention: Glen Mills (5-2, the Battlin’ Bulls, who last played Dec. 20, have a 14-day hole in their schedule that resumes Saturday at Cheltenham); Ridley (6-2, winners of four straight, the Green Raiders will prove what they’re made of next week with a visit to Upper Darby Saturday, followed by hosting Marple and a trip to Conestoga); Marple Newtown (6-4, despite Nick Giordano averaging 32.8 points per game over the last four, the Tigers have just one win in that space. A little more from the post players like Marcus Weathers (3.1 ppg over his last 7) may help restore balance); Chichester (5-4, a win over Pottsgrove is a nice nonleague coup, and while there’s no shame in losing to Downingtown West, shooting 8-for-24 from the line in the process isn’t how you want to do it); Haverford (4-6, the Fords can grind out games in the Central League, but a 1-4 mark outside of a not-particularly-strong Central League isn’t ideal); Springfield (5-5, the Cougars were on thin ice in this spot after blowing a 22-point lead to O’Hara last week, but a bounce-back week against Wilkes Barre GAR redeems them); Upper Darby (5-4, behind the shooting of Jaris Fisher and Kahleel Henry, the Royals have found more consistent offense lately, though they’ve yet to string together two straight victories).