Ok, so I know I said I would be putting these rankings out last week. But I just had to wait until after Tuesday night's games. After all you had 4 match ups with where teams ranked in my top 12 played each other. There was Winnacunnet crushing Memorial, Bishop Guertin beating Dover, Pinkerton over Nashua North in a nail biter and Coe-Brown with yet another statement win, this time beating Windham. Those are 4 HUGE games, all on one night. It was possibly this season's biggest night of regular season girls basketball.
On Thursday night you have another big game with Memorial taking on Londonderry. The NH Notebook will be there covering that game, but first let's reveal our latest rankings of top 20 girls basketball teams in the NHIAA.
Once again, these are statewide rankings so any team in any division can be considered. I look at the standings but look beyond just won-loss records and take into account strength of schedule, quality of wins, point differential, injuries, and put more emphasis on a team's most recent performances as opposed to games played way back in December. This way you can really get a more accurate depiction of how the teams are playing RIGHT NOW.
Well, without any further ado, here they are.
1) Bishop Guertin (14-0 in D-I)
Is there anyone who wouldn't have BG ranked #1 right now? That's right, I didn't think so. Just think how good they would be if Paige Parkinson was eligible. By the way congrats to Meghan Green for picking up her second Division I scholarship offer. This one comes from UNH, and the first one came from Hartford.
2) Winnacunnet (12-1 in D-I)
The Warriors made a statement on Tuesday night by not only running Memorial out of the gym, but that was the same Memorial team that BG came THIS close to losing to. BG and Winnacunnet play one more time in the regular season and they will likely play each other again in the title game. So while the Cardinals won the first meeting, don't be surprised if the Warriors win the next 2.
3) Hollis-Brookline (14-0 in D-II)
Hollis is clearly the top team in D-II right now, although Coe-Brown and Lebanon are right there with them. When Hollis has their 4 star guards (Stopera, Berry and the Gillis twins) all healthy they are scary good because they are all fast, they can all handle the ball, shoot it, defend and they have EXCELLENT chemistry together.
The Lancers only 2 losses are to BG and Winnacunnet. And they lost by 17+ points in both of those games, so it is tough to see them making the title game. Still, they have won 8 of their last 9 games, including double digit wins over Dover and Pinkerton.
5) Coe-Brown (11-3 in D-II)
They've won 9 of their last 10 games including wins over Souhegan, Lebanon and Windham. This is a red hot team, and outside of Hollis they are playing better than anyone in D-II right now.
6) Lebanon (12-1 in D-II)
Take out their loss to Coe-Brown and it would be a tossup between Lebanon and Hollis for the #3 spot. This is a team that ran Bedford, Kearsarge and Hanover out of the gym and they've also beaten Souhegan and Windham. That's not too shabby. Still, all of those wins (except for Kearsarge) were at home, and then when they went on the road to Coe-Brown they lost 78-65.
7) Manchester Memorial
After they came THIS close to beating BG it looked like D-I was a 3 team race with BG, Winnacunnet and Memorial all having pretty much an equal shot at the title. But since then the Crusaders have struggled a little bit, as they lost to Dover and got slammed by Winnacunnet. Still, they get the nod in the #7 spot due to a 13 point win over Pinkerton and also they beat Lebanon over the holidays which is an impressive win.
8) Pinkerton (10-3 in D-I)
They're 10-3 and they have beaten Dover and North in their last 2 games.
9) Dover (8-5 in D-I)
This was a team on a roll, as they won 7 of 8 games including a big win over Memorial. But since then they have lost 2 in a row. Still, those 2 losses were a 1 point loss in overtime to Pinkerton and a loss to #1 ranked BG where the Green Wave gave them a very tough game. Dover's early season losses to Trinity and Timberlane seem like a VERY distant memory now.
10) Bedford (11-3 in D-II)
McKenzie Brown is back from her ankle injury, Rachel Collins emerged as a dominant scorer in her absence and Haley Driscoll is one of the state's most improved players. Scary thing is all 3 are only sophomores! Bedford has won 6 games in a row, including a 20 point win over Portsmouth.
11) Nashua North (9-4 in D-I)
With a bounce here or there Ricky Oliver's team could easily be 12-1 right now. They're just 2-3 in their last 5 games, but in those 3 losses they only lost by 4 to Memorial, by 3 to Pinkerton and by 3 to Londonderry. That being said, they still have games left vs. BG, Winnacunnet and Dover so unless they start winning these close games they could slip a little in the standings.
Similar to Souhegan, Portsmouth, MV and Kearsarge in that they have beaten the teams they're supposed to beat but have lost when they have had to play any of the 'Big 4' in D-II. That 'Big 4' is Hollis, Coe-Brown, Lebanon and Bedford.
See Windham. Ironically, Souhegan and Windham play each other on Friday night, which should tell us a little more about where each team is at right now.
14) Portsmouth (10-3 in D-II)
Portsmouth checks in right behind Souhegan as they lost to the Sabers head to head. They also lost by 20 to Bedford last week. However they did beat Coe-Brown right after the holidays and that was with 3 of their starters out with a suspension.
15) Campbell (15-0 in D-III)
It's hard to tell exactly where Campbell should be on this list. Yes they are 15-0 on the season, but they have played exactly ZERO teams ranked in the top 14. Still, they have simply DOMINATED in D-III so far, winning most of their games by 20 or more points. Their closest game was a 50-33 win over a Bow team that is 15-1.
16) Keene (7-6 in D-I)
Keene gets the nod over Central, because they beat Central head-to-head a couple weeks ago. True, they only won by 1 point, but they did have to make the long bus ride to Manchester which makes the win more impressive.
17) Manchester Central (7-5 in D-I)
Central and Keene might have more losses than MV and Kearsarge, but look at the difference in strength of schedule!
18) Merrimack Valley (11-3 in D-II)
They're a pretty even match with Kearsarge, but MV did beat them head-to-head last week. An while Kearsarge has fewer losses, MV has played a tougher schedule. Both teams have lost to Leabnon, but MV has also had to play Windham and Portsmouth.
19) Kearsarge (12-2 in D-II)
They are 12-2, but they haven't beat one team with a winning record all year. The only times they've played winning teams they lost (to Lebanon and Merrimack Valley). Still, they did beat Hanover, and they also beat Bow over the holidays, so Kearsarge is ranked right where they should be.
Tough call here, but Hanover gets the nod because their best win was against Coe-Brown (#5 ranked team in entire state), while Bow's best win was way back on December 9 vs. Somersworth (10-5 in D-III).
Their loss to Campbell was definitely closer than the final score indicated. This is a good team, and along with Dina Pitsas from Milford, Bow's Lindsey Nerbonne are the 2 most underrated players in the state. Bow would be even better, but starting shooting guard Savanna Stanley transferred to Concord and forward Sunday Swett decided not to ply and risk re-injuring her knee. If those 2 are in the lineup they are just as good as Campbell.