After a fast and furious opening few weeks that saw some county teams play as many as seven games, everyone gets a week off to rest up and celebrate the holidays.
Oakland Mills and River Hill remain undefeated and have established themselves as a clear one-two at the top. The two programs don’t meet until Jan. 8 in what is their only meeting this winter because of the unbalanced schedule.
Atholton continues to pick up victories as well, winning five in a row now after losing its season-opener in double overtime against Centennial.
The rest of the county all has at least two losses and finds itself in a very tightly packed bunch that should make for plenty of exciting games going forward. Christmas tournaments are scheduled to begin Dec. 26 and will run through Dec. 28 depending on each team’s individual schedule.
As always, feel free to tweet at me @BKHoCoSports with comments and/or questions about the rankings.
* Previous week rankings are in ()
1. (1) Oakland Mills (5-0 county, 6-0 overall)
The Scorpions got their first real test of the season on the road against Centennial, holding on in the final minute for a five-point victory. It’s the only time in six games this winter that Oakland Mills hasn’t won by double digits and the experience of winning in crunch time should only benefit the team going forward. Mamadou Ndiaye has officially put his name into the Player of the Year ring, going for 20 or more points in every game for a 24 ppg average. Four other players are also averaging 8.5 or more points a game for the Scorpions, who are scheduled to host their own Christmas tournament next week.
Last game: Beat Long Reach, 64-44. Next game: Oakland Mills Holiday Tournament Dec. 27-28.
2. (2) River Hill (6-0 county, 6-0 overall)
The Hawks kept the ball rolling very nicely on the heels of a monster week, winning both their games by double digits. The team’s ability to control the pace of games has been incredibly impressive. Only one opponent so far has scored more than 53 points against River Hill and they are the only county squad that can boast that achievement. Charlie Thomas went for 30 points against Hammond and now has three games of 26 or more points this winter — last year he only hit that number once.
Last game: Beat Hammond, 71-48. Next game: at Old Mill Holiday Tournament Dec. 26-27.
3. (4) Atholton (5-1 county, 5-1 overall)
It’s amazing to think that the Raiders are a double-overtime loss against Centennial away from being undefeated, and they were actually leading most of the way in that one. Since that defeat, though, Atholton has rolled off five straight double-digit victories. Michael Bernetti had a particularly good week, going for 21 or more points in two straight games and raising his season average to 17.5 points a game. The competition will stiffen considerably after break, but Atholton is arguably the county’s most improved team thus far.
Last game: Beat Wilde Lake, 68-48. Next game: at Old Mill Holiday Tournament Dec. 26-27.
4. (5) Mt. Hebron (4-2 county, 5-2 overall)
If Atholton is the most improved county team from last season, the Vikings are an extremely close second. With a terrific one-two offensive punch of Mark Smith (12.9 ppg) on the perimeter and David Herlihy (14.9 ppg) on the interior, Mt. Hebron is beating teams with versatility and balance. In the team’s two victories this week, the secondary interior options of Mike Duan and Aaren Smith were both terrific. They each averaged in double figures scoring in back-to-back games. After winning just six games all of last winter, the Vikings already have five wins this season.
Last game: Beat Marriotts Ridge, 68-60. Next game: at Northeast Holiday Tournament Dec. 27 and 28.
5. (6) Reservoir (4-2 county, 4-2 overall)
It was a terrific week for the Gators, who really needed to build some momentum heading into winter break on the heels of back-to-back losses. Wins over Howard and Centennial — both with Reservoir’s offense producing at least 75 points — were definitely impressive. Even more encouraging was that senior leader Kyle Reilly got going, including a season-high 26 points against Centennial. The team will face some tough competition in the Laurel Tournament over break and then will host Oakland Mills in what figures to be a real showcase game.
Last game: Beat Centennial, 75-67. Next game: at Laurel Holiday Tournament Dec. 27 and 28.
6. (3) Centennial (3-3 county, 3-3 overall)
From a win-loss perspective, the Eagles struggled this past week with losses to Oakland Mills and Reservoir. But there is certainly no shame in either defeat, especially when you consider that Centennial was in both games until the very end. On the season, the team’s three losses are by a combined 18 points. Isaiah White has been extremely consistent, scoring at least 13 points in every game so far — one of only three county players to do that so far this season.
Last game: Lost to Reservoir, 75-67. Next game: at Liberty Holiday Tournament Dec. 27 and 28.
7. (7) Marriotts Ridge (2-3 county, 3-3 overall)
Robert Davis continues to produce at an unbelievable level, scoring 30 or more points in back-to-back games to help him reach 1,000 points in his career and raise his season scoring average to 29.3. On the year, the senior point guard has literally accounted for half his team’s total points. And while the supporting cast has been solid, the Mustangs are going to need even more from them if they are going to avoid the kind of rollercoaster season they’re currently riding.
Last game: Lost to Mt. Hebron, 68-60. Next game: Winters Mill Holiday Mixer Dec. 27 and 28.
8. (NR) Howard (2-4 county, 2-4 overall)
The Lions make their rankings debut after edging Glenelg in their final game before break. First-year coach Seth Willingham has an extremely disciplined group that has been getting solid production from a number of different guys. The best of the bunch, though, have been Michaud Reyna (12.0 ppg) and Patrick O’Malley (12.2 ppg). O’Malley who is just a sophomore, has been especially impressive — going for a career-high 22 points in the team’s loss to Reservoir earlier in the week.
Last game: Beat Glenelg, 55-52. Next game: Howard Holiday Tournament Dec. 27 and 28.
On the bubble: Glenelg (2-4, 3-4), Hammond (1-5, 2-5), Long Reach (1-5, 2-5), Wilde Lake (0-6, 0-6).