Ok, so if you've followed this site over the last couple years you know I like to do team rankings. I've done it for football and I've done it for basketball. And today marks the return of the Power Rankings.
For those who aren't familiar, here's how the rankings work. I look beyond just the won/loss records. I look at how a team is trending, in other words how they are playing RIGHT NOW. So if Team A and Team B are both 6-2 but the 2 losses for Team A were at the beginning of the year and Team B is currently on a 2 game losing streak then Team A will be ranked higher. I also look at strength of schedule, quality of wins and margin victory. I take into account injuries as well. This way the rankings I put out are as close to a TRUE ranking of the teams as possible. So that if 2 ranked teams played each other on a neutral court the team ranked higher would be the favorite.
So without any further ado, here are the current top 20 teams in New Hampshire high school basketball. Girls rankings will be posted later in the week.
1. Trinity - they might have their off games here or there, but over the course of the season the size, depth and talent they have will result keep them at or near the top of the standings. They barely get the nod over Central for the top spot.
2. Manchester Central - the argument could definitely be made for Central to be the #1 team right now. After all they have won 6 in a row, including a win over Trinity. Troy Pelletier has had a really nice start to the season, giving them a tough 1-2 scoring punch along with Gabe LaCount, with Junior Brown and Christian Artiga also playing some good ball.
3. Merrimack - Still a contender even without Dimitri Floras in the lineup. If he was healthy they would be my #1 team right now. But even without him they are VERY tough, as Salem found out on Friday night.
4. Alvirne - Alvirne is 6-2, including wins over Central, West and BG. They've played some pretty darn good basketball so far, which is a scary thought considering they're typically a team that gets better as the season goes on.
5. Manchester West - since losing 3 in a row these guys have now won 4 straight, including wins over Trinity and BG. If you count the QCIBT, West has now beaten Trinity twice, Central once, BG once and only lost by 3 to Merrimack.
6. Pembroke - a team that can run-and-gun with the est of them and flat out shoot the basketball. Since falling to Portsmouth on opening night the Spartans have reeled off 8 wins in a row (11 in a row counting the holiday tournament).
7. Salem - they defend the basketball as well as anybody, they play as hard as anybody. A bunch of blue collar kids who just work hard. Slepian is one of the best shooters in the state, Klecan is THE best defender in the state, Hartman and Felix are both emerging talents. If Ruffen can comeback healthy these guys could really be dangerous.
8. Spaulding - This is a hot team right now, as they have won 5 of their last 6 games, including wins over BG, Pinkerton, South, Dover and Salem. Seems like they have figured out whatever the issue was in the early season losses to Concord and Londonderry.
9. Pinkerton - they're 6-2, but in the loss to Salem they were playing without starting point guard Kevin Colbert. Now that their 'Big 3' of Colbert, Alex Patrikis and Chris Light are all healthy look for this team to really make some noise.
10. Hanover - this is definitely a team that is flying under the radar despite their perfect 9-0 record. They haven't played the toughest schedule so far, but I was very impressed with their defensive effort on Saturday, holding a Lebanon team with some dynamic scoring weapons to just 37 points. Tuesday night they play host to Pembroke in a battle of the 2 best teams in D-II.
11. Nashua North - they're 6-2 and they had to play a few games without 2 of their top their players in Ryan Gauthier and Anthony Farmer. Those guys returned to the lineup on Friday night vs. arch-rival Nashua South. You would have thought the Titans would need time to get back on the same page as a team, but they got the win over a good South team. If they can keep all of their key guys in the lineup this team has the potential to be very dangerous.
12. Nashua South - definitely a team that has hit a little bit of a wall. They have lost 4 of their last 5 games after starting off 4-0 (7-0 if you count the Nashua Holiday Tourney). But to be fair they were without Anthony Muccioli in one of those games and without Jack Preston in one of the other games. Still, they have to figure some things out but have the potential to be dangerous.
13. Bedford - this is a team that's playing as well as anybody right now. The bulldogs have won 6 games in a row since the holiday break. They lost 2 games early on in the year but in the Oyster River game they were playing without 2 of their big guys Collin McManus and Roger Larrivee. And their other loss was to Pelham, but they were able to avenge that loss to beating Pelham a couple weeks ago 60-35.
14. Pelham - these guys have been very streaky so far. They started off very strong, then lost 3 in a row including a blowout loss to a Bedford team they crushed before the holidays. Now they've won 2 in a row including a win over a VERY good Portsmouth team.
15. Portsmouth - they have hit a bump in the road, losing back-to-back games to St. Thomas (who is only 4-4) and Pelham (who is only 6-4). It doesn't get any easier for the Clippers with games this week vs. Coe Brown and Bedford.
16. Souhegan - they continue to play solid basketball. Despite injuries, players leaving for prep school, etc. Brandon Len has played great so far this season. I'm looking forward to covering their game on Wednesday night vs. Lebanon.
17. Bishop Guertin - these guys definitely have some things they need to work out. They were a top 4 team in the preseason, they beat Central opening night and beat Cambridge Rindge & Latin (a tough Mass team) over the holidays. But since then they've 5 of their lost 7 games (6 of their last 8 if you include their holiday tourney loss to St. John's Prep).
18. Conant - the best team in Division III right now. These guys are deep, they're fast and can all shoot the basketball. They would do just fine in D-I or D-II.
19. Manchester Memorial - a good team that is young and will only get better as the season goes on. They've had some really close losses, and also own quality wins over South and Spaulding.
20. Somersworth - the defending D-III champs get the final ranking spot, as they made a statement on Saturday by making the 3 hour bus ride north and beating a Berlin team that was the preseason favorite to win the title. The Hilltoppers have now win 6 in a row.