YAIAA boys' basketball power rankings, Dec. 21 (plus bonus notes)
Packed slate of games on the schedule tonight, but first we have to get into another edition of the power rankings. Two new teams crack the boys' top five. I'll have the girls' rankings up later this morning.
A quick plug: I'll be at Central York on Wednesday to watch the Panthers hosts William Penn in a Division I showdown. I'll post updates on Twitter.
Last week's power rankings here. As always, don't hesitate to chime in using the comments.
1. William Penn (1) -- Yes, the Bearcats lost Monday night, 85-77, to Harrisburg. But that's not a bad loss by any means, especially to a very good Cougars team. (You'll remember, William Penn lost to Reading in its second game last season.) This team has a ton of scorers, and it plays a loaded schedule. Besides having to brave a very deep Division I, William Penn (4-1) plays in J.P. McCaskey's holiday tournament next week and has a neutral-site game against Penn Wood scheduled for later this season. Still think this group has the most upside of any team in the YAIAA.
2. South Western (NR) -- They're one of just two unbeaten boys' teams left in the YAIAA, so we have to give the Mustangs (4-0) some props. Included in South Western's four victories are a win over an impressive Dover squad and an overtime triumph against West York. Juniors Parker Bean (19.3 ppg) and Mike Duffy (14) have lived up to their billing so far, while Jamahn Lee and Rafe Sanders have also looked solid. Great to see success for Lee, who missed all of last season while battling Leukemia. Not willing to take the Mustangs long-term over William Penn just yet, but this team is definitely a contender.
3. Dover (4) -- The Eagles' (4-1) picked up a really strong win Monday, squeaking past Central York, 42-39. Jerell Figueroa led the way and continues to headline a very impressive Dover backcourt. The Eagles' lone loss so far was a two-point setback on the road at South Western -- in other words, nothing to sneeze at. Really interesting matchup on tap for Wednesday, when the Eagles visit a pesky West York team (more on them below).
4. Central York (2) -- Monday's loss aside, still a lot of positives for this Panthers squad. They added another quality victory on Saturday at home against Cumberland Valley -- Central's third win over a Mid-Penn team this season. You have to think that sort of experience could pay off come the postseason. Senior Tremaine Bowman (16.4 ppg) leads the team in scoring, and to me he's the player than can take this team from good to great. If he's efficient with his shot selection and not forcing things, he's the sort of long-range shooter than can stretch defenses and free up space for Central's quick guards its talented center, Spencer Ortmyer.
5. York Catholic (NR) -- The Fighting Irish are perfect so far, albeit only through three games. Still, we've seen enough to peg this team as a definite contender in Division IV. Michael Sperring has started his season strong; he averaged double-digits over his first three games and supplied the key points in the Fighting Irish's win over York Suburban. Sperring missed all of last season after undergoing emergency brain surgery last November. I profiled his story last January.
In the hunt (alphabetical order): Dallastown (4-1), Delone Catholic (3-2), New Hope (6-0), Red Lion (4-1), Susquehannock (3-2), York Suburban (4-2)
Other stream-of-conscious thoughts...
- You might not find a better 1-3 team than West York. All three of the Bulldogs losses have come in overtime to quad-A teams (Hempfield, Red Lion, South Western). West York's four games have been decided by a combined 15 points. Talk about the cardiac kids.
- One player to watch: Susquehannock's 6-5 junior Richard Grant. The lanky, explosive forward notched 26 points and 10 boards in a win over Hanover last week. With him in the fold, the Warriors could give York Suburban a run in Division III.
- They aren't in the YAIAA, but it's worth keeping an eye on New Hope. The Mighty Ants are 6-0, and look like they could figure into the District 3 Class A title picture. Rasuan Mosley and Anthony Morgan are two parts of a solid core of players.
- Say this much about the Northeastern boys: After a maddening, 0-3 start, the Bobcats at least appear to be making progress. They played Dallastown close in a loss, then steamrolled a struggling Spring Grove side. Still a lot of work to do, but there's too much talent here for Northeastern not to win games. But Divisions I and II are both looking rather treacherous this season. The Bobcats will need to keep improving.
- Mentioned this on Twitter ... Anyone want to take a stab at the YAIAA's leading scorer through a week and a half? If you guessed Dover's Jerell Figueroa, give yourself a pat on the back. The senior guard is averaging 21.3 points per game, thanks largely to his 30-point outburst against Central York on Monday.