Monday, January 28, 2013

Girls Basketball Statewide Power Rankings - 1/28

Today we take a look at the top 10 girls basketball teams in New Hampshire high school basketball. If you have been following this site then you know how I rank teams by now. It's a ranking of the top teams in the NHIAA, regardless of division. Injuries, strength of schedule, point differential, Holiday tournament games. All of it is taken into account. Also a team's more recent performances weigh more heavily then a game from a month and a half ago. If two teams on the list played each other on a neutral court right now, the team ranked higher would be the favorite.

Here is the list, followed by my reasoning for why each team is ranked there.

1. Bedford
2. Bishop Guertin
3. Lebanon
4. Pinkerton
5. Londonderry
6. Nashua North
7. Alvirne
8. Winnacunnet
9. Salem
10. Windham

Here's the rationale behind the rankings...

1. Bedford - yes, they have 2 losses, but one of them was an early season loss to BG, which they avenged a couple weeks later when they beat Guertin by 17 over the holidays. In their other loss they were playing without Haley Driscoll, who is arguably their best player. Driscoll was out with an injury and the Bulldogs still only lost to Nashua North by 3. If Bedford was at full strength they win that game. Right now this is the best team in the state.

2. Bishop Guertin - ever since their loss to Bedford on New Year's Eve Eve the Cardinals have been simply destroying everybody they have played. They have won 6 games in a row, and have won each of thsoe games by 25 points or more. Included in that streak was a 78-32 demolition of Londonderry and 72-47 win over a tough Alvirne team. Coach Hazelton definitely has this team re-focused and playing the kind of basketball they are capable of.

3. Lebanon - what a story this team is! Before the season they made headlines because two of their best players decided not to play so they could focus on other sports. Now they are the #3 ranked team in the entire state. Lebanon is undefeated and they have won every one of their games by 23 points or more. That is simply unheard of! Windham, Merrimack Valley and Goffstown are all teams who have a legit shot at making the Final Four in D-II - Lebanon has beaten those teams by a combined 73 points! If the Raiders don't win the D-II title it will be an absolute shocker, and if Moriah Morton doesn't win D-II Player of the Year it will be a travesty. Morton is playing outstanding all-around basketball, Emily Kehoe and Heather King are both having all-state caliber seasons. And Samantha MacDonald is having a breakout junior year.

4. Pinkerton - this spot was a VERY tough call. On one hand, Pinkerton hasn't played any of the other 'Big Boys' in D-I yet (BG, Bedford, North, Londonderry), so they're perfect 10-0 record is a little deceiving. But the two best teams the Astros have played so far are Alvirne and Winnacunnet, and they have certainly had their way with both teams. Pinkerton beat #7 ranked Alvirne by 15 and they ran #8 ranked Winnacunnet out of the gym in a 29 point win.

5. Londonderry - The Lancers get the nod for this spot over North, since they just bat the Titans 65-48 on Friday night. However I can't justify ranking the Londonderry any higher than this since they lost to BG by over 40 points.

6. Nashua North - North is clearly better than anyone else ranked below them. Nearly all of their wins have been by double digits, and they beat Bedford (albeit with no Driscoll in the lineup). Even more impressive is that North's best player is only a sophomore (Taylor Choate) and they also start 2 freshmen.

7. Alvirne - the Broncos are 8-3 in D-I play. Their only losses were to Pinkerton, BG and Bedford, and they beat Keene by 25 and Memorial by 17. Alvirne also gets the nod over Winnacunnet because when you look at common opponents, Alvirne lost to Pinkerton by 14 but Winnacunnet lost to that same Pinkerton team by 29.

8. Winnacunnet - the Warriors get the nod over Salem by virtue of their 60-58 win over the Blue Devils a couple weeks ago.

9. Salem - they're 6-4 in D-I play so far, and have won 6 of their last 7 games. If they keep this up they will get a home playoff game. I'm not sure when the last time the Salem girls have accomplished that, but I do know it's been quite a while.

10. Windham - there is definitely a big dropoff from Lebanon to the next bst team in D-II. Windham is the second best team in the division if you ask me. Their 'Big 3' of Bernadette Connors, Kelsey Schiebel and Clairee Putnam have been playing some great basketball, and Coach Mason always gets the most out of his team. In the preseason I actually had Merrimack Valley ranked just barely ahead of Windham in D-II, but the Windham beat them 59-48 back in December.

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