A look at the NH Notebook's NHIAA boys basketball top 10 statewide power rankings, as of this afternoon. Injuries, strength of schedule, head-to-head meetings and other variables were all taken into account.
3. Manchester Central
7. Manchester West
8. Bishop Brady
9. Manchester Memorial
Briefly, here's why we ranked them that way...
1. Pelham - Pelham and Londonderry are both undefeated. Yes, Londonderry obviously plays a tougher regular season schedule, but Pelham beat Londonderry head-to-head in the Greater Lowell Christmas tournament in an overtime thriller.
2. Londonderry - Clearly there's not much separating #1 from #2 here, just the 2 points that was the difference when Pelham beat Londonderry over the holidays.
3. Manchester Central - Pretty simple here. Central has just 1 loss on the season - to Londonderry. Central is ranked below Londonderry, but they're ahead of Portsmouth because Central beat Portsmouth in the NH Sportspage preseason jamboree. Yes, I know it was just a scrimmage. But both teams were playing to win. Central was missing some key players, whereas Portsmouth had all of theirs.
4. Portsmouth - Portsmouth lost to Central in the preseason jamboree, but clearly you can't justify them being any lower on the list than this considering the Clippers are 15-0 in the regular season.
5. Pinkerton - Pinkerton gets the slight nod over Spaulding here. Yes, Pinkerton has lost 3 games compared to just 2 losses for Spaulding. But one of Pinkerton's losses was an overtime defeat when they were playing without standout point guard Geo Baker (injury). Plus, Spaulding still has to play 2 other teams in the top 10 (Memorial & Londonderry) whereas Pinkerton does not.
6. Spaulding - see Pinkerton.
7. Manchester West - West can certainly make a case for the #5 spot, since the only team they've lost to all year is #4 ranked Portsmouth (plus a loss in the QCIBT to Central). We have them here though, just because Pinkerton and Spaulding have played a tougher schedule, and because we're not convinced West would have beaten Bishop Brady if the Giants hadn't been missing 2 of their 'Big 3' that game.
8. Bishop Brady - Brady is ranked just slightly behind West here. Both Brady and West have lost to Portsmouth. And while we're not convinced Brady would have still lost to West if they were healthy that game, the fact is the Giants did lose to a non-ranked Merrimack Valley team whereas West did not.
9. Manchester Memorial - as they have been all year, Memorial is certainly a wild card team. Yes they're only 7-7, but scoring machine Trevon Maughn just returned to the team a couple games ago and versatile wing Wade Gop just returned a few games ago as well. Maughn and Kabongo Ngalakulondi give the Crusaders arguably the most dynamic duo in the state. If they had the team they have now all year I think we can all agree their record would be different. This is a dangerous team come playoff time.
10. Lebanon - A strong 12-3 record in D-II, with some quality wins. But they have lost to a non-ranked Goffstown team, and still have to play Bishop Brady next week.
For anyone who asks the question, why is Pelham in D-III when they're good enough to beat the best team in D-I?
"The nhiaa has put us in D3 for the last 4 years based on school enrollment" Pelham High Athletic Director Todd Kress told the NH Notebook. "We have petitioned up each of the past 4 years, only to have to run into schools twice as big as us. We have around 25 total kids tryout for basketball every year. That makes us a small program. So this time when the NHIAA again put us in D3, we decided to play in the division that we have been put in based on school enrollment."
The fact that Pelham currently sits atop the list of the state's top 10 teams with an enrollment so low is a great story and a testament to their program.