Our own Champlain Valley Insider Nick Mumley gives you the Top 25 teams in Vermont HS Hoops after four weeks:
Champlain Valley (8-1) Last Week: 1
CVU owns the top spot for the second consecutive week after a thrilling 61-58 win over St. Johnsbury on Tuesday. Ethan Harvey is a special player to watch and went off in this one, dropping 27 points including the game winning triple. The Redhawks dominated most of the game against the fourth-ranked Hilltoppers, leading by as many as 18 points in the third quarter. They did give up an ensuing 18-0 run by the Academy, allowing them to tie the game at 49, but coach Michael Osborne did a great job settling his team down and helping them pick up their eighth win of the year. Tuesday night may have been the coming out party for Harvey’s bid for player of the year.
Ice water in the veins of Ethan Harvey. He cans the deeeeep three to give CVU a 61-58 victory over St Johnsbury. What a finish. #vthshoops https://t.co/nK08NY84t4
Rice Memorial (5-1) LW: 2
Rice remains at #2 this week after they took care of business against #13 MMU by a score of 71-61. Michel Ndayishimiye further helped his case for player of the year by scoring 40(!) points to lead the Green Knights to victory. Their lone loss to CVU earlier this year keeps them from the top spot, though, and as long as the Redhawks continue to play the great brand of basketball they’re playing, it’ll be tough for Rice to get that spot back. But make no mistake- Ndayishimiye is a special talent that is well worth the price of admission.
Fair Haven (8-0) LW: 3
The Slaters stand pat at #3 after a week that saw them play just one game- a 26 point trouncing of D-3 Green Mountain. Fair Haven and U-32 remain the only undefeated teams in Vermont’s top three divisions, and it seems as if they’re in a dead heat for supremacy at the top of the standings. The Raiders lead by just 0.18 average index points at the moment, but Fair Haven gets the higher ranking as they have the more impressive resume. They won’t play in the regular season, but if I had one wish for this year’s high school basketball season, it would be for Fair Haven and U-32 to meet in the D-2 final at Barre Auditorium.
St Johnsbury (6-2) LW: 4
The Hilltoppers will stay at #4 this week, but they certainly impressed me on Tuesday night at CVU, my first time seeing them since last year’s state championship game. Logan Wendell is the flashy, make-a-shot-from-anywhere player that they need to make another deep run, but I think the X-factor on this squad is senior Nick Gukin. Gukin seems like the glue of this year’s team, and he made a clear difference on both ends of the floor. He was a huge factor in sparking St. J’s remarkable 18-0 run in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Even though they came up just short in Hinesburg, I firmly believe that this is a team with the makeup to defend their title.
South Burlington (7-3) LW: 5
SB holds their spot at #5 this week, and look to be making a solid run, as they have won three straight contests. They played at BFA St. Albans on Tuesday, and after not scoring a field goal and facing a 13-4 deficit in the 1st, they stormed back with a 30-point 2nd quarter and ran away from the Bobwhites late. They also handed former top 10 team Burr and Burton a thorough 17-point beatdown this week. And don’t forget- this is the only team to knock off #1 CVU this year, and they did so by a whopping 16 points. The Evan Parker led Wolves are on a tear, and this might just be the best team that Sol Bayer-Pacht has ever had.
U-32 (8-0) LW: 6
If the University of Virginia had a Vermont lookalike, it’d be the U-32 Raiders. They fought through a pair of ultra-difficult tests against Lamoille and Lake Region this week, and their win over #7 Montpelier to open the season looks more and more impressive every week as well. They boast an incredible defense, probably the best in all of Vermont, but their offense needs a little tweaking before they can crack the top five. They’ve yet to score 60 points in a game this year, and that needs to change as we slowly creep up on crunch time in an ultra-competitive D-2 landscape.
Montpelier (7-1) LW: 8
The Solons continue to climb the rankings as they’ve now won seven straight contests since their opening night loss to U-32. They won tight games over two tough D-3 opponents in Williamstown and Thetford this week, and they also boast wins over #11 North Country and #23 MSJ. They’ve got things figured out and are building quite the resume. Don’t expect them to go anywhere either- their lone game this week is against a two-win Harwood squad, and they don’t play against another ranked team until mid-February when they get a rematch with U-32.
Rutland (4-3) LW: 7
Rutland picked up their third straight win this week when they took down Burlington 45-39 on the road. I think we definitely hit the panic button on these guys a little too early, as they seem like a much different team than they were a few weeks ago when they sat at 1-3. That being said, I still think their ceiling this year is a five seed in D-1, a far cry from where they’ve been the last three seasons. It’s a down year for Rutland standards, but this is still a very good team that’s quite capable of 15 wins if they can get hot in the second half of the schedule.
Brattleboro (5-4) LW: 9
The Colonels remain at #9 this week after knocking down a pair of tough D-2 opponents in Otter Valley and #16 Mill River. They’ve got an offense for the ages, scoring 60-plus points in six games already this year. The problem is, though, that two of their four setbacks have been blowouts. They lost to #12 Burlington by 15 early in the year, and lost by 19 to #4 St.Johnsbury on January 8th. It’s okay if they can’t regularly beat metro league opponents in the regular season- they don’t really play those teams enough to make a difference. But that’s a problem they’ll have to figure out if they are to win a playoff game this year.
Essex (5-5) LW: 10
Essex continues to impress, even though they’ve lost three of their last four. Those three losses all came against top five teams though, with setbacks to Rice, St. J, and South Burlington. All five of their losses have come to top 10 teams. They’ve won the games that they should have so far though and that’s the important thing. Wins over #13 MMU and #11 North Country stand out. Essex is an above average team in the metro, and should get a home playoff game and an opportunity to make a run in the playoffs, but they’re not quite on the level of the D-1 bluebloods yet.
North Country (6-2) LW: 15
Burlington (4-6) LW: 12
Mt Mansfield (2-4) LW: 11
Twin Valley (9-0) LW: 21
Hazen (7-1) LW: 18
Mill River (6-2) LW: 17
Missisquoi (6-3) LW: 16
Middlebury (4-3) LW: 20
Rivendell (9-0) LW: 24
Milton (6-2) LW: 14
Danville (5-1) LW: 22
White River Valley (5-1) LW: 23
Mt. St. Joseph (3-5) LW: 19
Burr & Burton (4-5) LW: 13
Proctor (5-1) LW: NR