KSPR Boys Basketball Power Rankings – Week 9
(Teams are ranked by the KSPR Sports Department based on their relative strength to class size. Overall dominance, strength of schedule, quality wins, and momentum are factors in determining the order. Stats and details are based on information submitted by coaches. Feel free to email comments to email@example.com)
(Last week in parenthesis)
1. Nixa (1) – We’ve been saying it for weeks, but the Eagles appear virtually unbeatable, at least in the Ozarks. Coach Osborne’s class 5 top ranked team has now won 23 straight games since a season opening loss to Rock Bridge. Last week included 4 wins, 3 of which are in our top 15; Carthage by 34, Rogersville by 9 and Republic by 34. The real strength comes in their balance. The question is who do you guard? Between Austin Ruder, Jalen Norman, Kameron Bundy and Jordan Epps someone is drawing the opponents 4th best defender. No surprise, the Eagles picked up the top seed in the class 5 district 11 tournament.
2. Billings (2) – Similar to Nixa, the Billings boys have proven a more than worthy opponent for any small school the Ozarks have to offer. Last week the Wildcats beat Blue Eye, Hurley and Clever, and did it with several different players leading the way.
3. Norwood (3) – Since a pair of early December losses the Pirates have been on a roll. Last week they beat Gainesville 53-40 followed by a solid 49-36 victory over state ranked Winona. Senior day is coming up Friday against a tough Conway squad.
4. Hillcrest (6) – With DGB healthy, rested, and focused on basketball there is no question in my mind that Hillcrest could run the table and win a 2nd state championship in 3 years. While there are a handful of losses on the schedule, all have been justified by one variable or another. Last week Coach Schaefer’s crew knocked off Joplin, Central and Lebanon, each in decisive fashion and with Green-Beckham scoring 20+ each game. The Hornets are the 2nd seed in class 4 district 11, but you can bet they’re chomping at the bit for some Blue and Gold payback against top seed Republic if the pair should meet.
5. Morrisville (5) – The Panthers finally jumped into the MBCA rankings at number 7 in class 3 despite only 2 losses, both to larger schools. Coach Hicks’ Cats answered the bell immediately with a solid 7 point win at Fair Play, then closed the week with wins over Walnut Grove and Dadeville on senior night.
6. Fair Play (4) – The Hornets suffered just their 2nd loss of the season last week to visiting Morrisville (no shame there). The road to districts is a bumpy one with 3 games away from the “Hornets Nest”.
7. Glendale (9) – The Falcons seem to be playing their best basketball at the right time. Last week saw key Ozark Conference wins over Camdenton, Kickapoo (1st non-tournament win since 2002) and Parkview, pushing their OC record to 7-0. Coach Williamson’s bunch earned the number 2 seed in class 5 district 11, and while their eyes are on upsetting Nixa, the road to the championship won’t be an easy one.
8. Republic (8) – The Tigers picked up a big 1 point statement win over Carthage to begin the week led by senior Nick Yocum’s 20 points. Following a 21 point blasting of Neosho they were brought down a bit by class 5 powerhouse Nixa. The most important thing that happened last week however was being seeded number 1 in class 4 district 11 which they will host. That’s an accomplishment Coach Stanfield’s hard working squad earned with 3 wins over Marshfield, 2 wins over Rogersville, and a win over Hillcrest.
9. Wheaton (7) – The Bulldogs drop a couple spots after a 6 point loss to Diamond, but regained their form Friday night with a 16 point win over Thomas Jefferson. A big game is coming up February 21st at Southwest.
10. Southwest (12) – The Trojans inch back up the rankings with a couple double digit wins over Purdy and McAuley. As mentioned above, a big one is coming up February 21st hosting Wheaton.
11. Fair Grove (13) – 1st year head coach Tim Brown continues to impress in his debut season with the Eagles. After beating Skyline by 30 they picked up a 15 point win over Pleasant Hope, wrapping up the week with a 28 point thrashing of Marionville. Deric Link had a solid week, while senior Jerrod Harmon scored his 1,000th career point.
12. Carthage (10) – After a tough road loss to Republic the blue Tigers responded with a 66-57 win at Willard to lock up the top seed in class 5 district 12, which they will host. Desmond Buerge continues to lead the way. My bet is if Carthage wins a district title they’ll need to beat Willard again.
13. Kickapoo (11) – Senior Ryan Rippee has been receiving extra defensive attention of late, but it hasn’t seemed to slow him or the Chiefs down. With Rippee’s 33 point outburst Friday night he’s now just 44 points from tying Kyle Kirk for the school’s all-time scoring record. Also credit Tyler Bussell for stepping up big in the Chiefs narrow win over Lebanon, scoring 22 points. The low point of the Chiefs week came Tuesday night at the O’Reilly Center when rival Glendale stormed back in the 2nd half for a crowd pleasing win. The Chiefs drew the 4-seed in the class 5 district 11 tournament, and while they have losses to each of the top 3 (Nixa, Glendale, Parkview), they can beat any one of those teams on any given night.
14. Mt Vernon (14) – The Mountaineers picked up wins over Nevada and Lamar last week. District seeding for the smaller schools don’t come out until next week, but Coach Brock’s club would figure to be the favorite to repeat in class 3 district 12.
15. Rogersville (15) – To steal a line from Seinfeld, “She’s a 2-face.” The Wildcats have been one of the more up and down teams in all of high school hoops this season. Last week was a good week. After dominating wins over Hollister and Reeds Spring (including Joe Young’s 1,000th career point), they fell in a tightly contested game at Nixa. That inconsistent play mentioned before has left Coach Gorman’s gang as the 4-seed in class 4 district 12, which means they will have to beat Bolivar, Hillcrest, and either Republic or Marshfield to win. I for one am not counting them out. That is going to be a fun district tournament to watch!
Knocking on the door: Parkview, Conway, Eminence, Marshfield, Diamond, Strafford, Seymour, Thomas Jefferson, Licking, WinonaCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun