No wonder Tabb ran away with the Bay Rivers District boys basketball championship. It's not just that the Tigers are the best team, they've put their top seven on the court pretty much every game.

That increasingly is not the case with most of the teams battling for the places right behind the Tigers.

YORK York coach Jeff Slade said he does not expect Brandon Harvell to play tonight in the Falcons (9-6 district) second-place showdown with Lafayette (9-6) because of the after-effects of an injury sustained in last week's win over Smithfield. Harvell, a sophomore guard, leads the Falcons at 14 points per game. Heck, the Falcons might be battling for first rather than second had high scoring guard Branson Tew (13.0 ppg) not been sidelined for three losses with an injury to start the season.

LAFAYETTE Lafayette has been without forward Thomas Smith since game seven and, though he's not injured, it appears he won't be returning. Smith gave the Rams more than just 7 points and 7 rebounds per game. Coach Tony Traver said his toughness, athleticism (Smith could very well become a Division I-A football prospect) and whistle to whistle competitiveness is unmatched on the roster.

JAMESTOWN Forward Kenneth Fields, at 10.5 points per game, was one of just two Eagles averaging double figures. He's no longer with the team. Instead of battling down the stretch for a place in the top five, the Eagles (7-8) will trying to hold off New Kent (6-9) for the No. 7 seed in the tournament when they play tonight in New Kent. The Eagles have also lost J.T. Castner, who was contributing more consistently, but recently hurt his shoulder. Coach Lee Underwood said the personnel losses disrupt the rotation and have prompted to use players who heretofore got little playing time.

POQUOSON The Islanders (8-6 district) were the favorite to finish second before district-leading scorer Eric Dahl (18-plus points per game) and three-year starting point guard Tee McConnell departed the team less than two weeks ago. The Islanders have battled gamely since their departure, but two losses this week to Bruton dropped them from second to sixth place, allowing Tabb to clinch the title earlier than expected.