Lanphier – The Lions performance against MacArthur at home last Friday was awfully impressive. Lanphier shot 53 percent from the floor and got monster contributions from Aundrae Williams, Cardell McGee and Yaakema Rose. If Lanphier’s “big three” can stay on the floor and out of foul trouble (like they did against Southeast at City, like they didn’t do in their only two losses of the season to MacArthur and Peoria Manual) Lanphier could make a deep postseason run.
Southeast – Since losing the City championship game to Lanphier, the Spartans have won three games in a row against Jacksonville, Lincoln and Springfield. Southeast still has to go on the road to Rochester, Lincoln and Lanphier, while hosting Glenwood in the middle of that swing. You think that loss to Lanphier hasn’t been drilled into the minds of Southeast? We can assure you they’re ready for that challenge, but still wary of finishing the CS8 slate strong. Like Lanphier, Southeast is also capable of making a dent in the playoffs, given the 3A bracket being open this year.
Lincoln – The Railers host Lanphier on Friday night at Roy S. Gymnasium for the final time as CS8 foes. Lanphier enters the game as the No. 1 team in 3A. Remember the last time that happened? In 2014, the Lions went to Lincoln and got spanked by Lincoln, when they were the No. 2 team in the state at the time. Lincoln isn’t that caliber of a team here in 2017, but they’ll play anybody tough and Roy S. is one of the toughest places to play for a road team when the house is packed.
Jacksonville – The Crimsons are a dangerous team as we enter the final stretch of the regular season. They’ve won five of their last seven games and if James White and Brady Hays are hitting threes, allowing Brandon McCombs to get some space down low, look out.
Eisenhower – For Springfield area basketball fans, who aren’t familiar with the Decatur basketball scene, the Panthers head to MacArthur on February 21. If you want to see an entertaining, intense game, mark your calendars and make the trip.
MacArthur – The Generals got waxed by Lanphier as we mentioned at the top of the CS8 power rankings. Three first half technical fouls didn’t help the cause. MacArthur is dangerously scary with the Brummett brothers, but in tight, hostile environments and in big games, MacArthur can’t afford to let its emotions get the best of them.
Tier Three: The rest of the rest
1. Pleasant Plains – The Cardinals and PORTA sit atop the Sangamo standings with just one conference loss a piece. Pleasant Plains edged the Blue Jays during the Williamsville Holiday Tournament, though, and its recent play is a proving point as to why Plains remains at No. 1 in our power rankings. Cole Greer’s 15 point, 17 assist performance against Auburn on Tuesday night was simply ridiculous. Lets take a look into the future for a moment. Kyle Weber has two talented freshman that we saw get significant minutes for the first time in that win against the Trojans. Remember the names, Nick Savage (6-foot-2 guard) and Joel Niermann (6-foot-5 forward). Those two youngsters are contributing now and have potential to be very good once this senior class departs.
2. PORTA – The Bluejays have just been steady and because of their lack of “flash” they’ve kind of flown under the radar this year. With a week and a half left in the regular season, though, PORTA has just one conference loss and a Sangamo title split could be in the works between the Jays and Cardinals. PORTA’s remaining Sangamo schedule: at Auburn, at North Mac, vs. Maroa. Plains: vs. Athens, at New Berlin, vs. Riverton.
3. Williamsville – Like the top two teams, Williamsville has been playing good ball of late. We said this last year around this time: Give credit to the Bullets for scheduling a tough non-conference schedule. That might stress out coach Nick Beard when he’s trying to prepare for some of those non-conference opponents, but playing tough, competitive teams from around state helps prepare Williamsville for the playoffs and you know the Bullets will be a tough out in the big dance.
4. New Berlin – Let us present you with this: If you’re apart of Pretzels nation, would you have been alright with New Berlin being 17-8 on the season in the second week of February, with two holiday championships on the resume, and a third place County finish? The answer is yes, unless you’re a hot take artist.
5. Nobody has earned it. We’re not about that “everybody gets a ribbon and participation trophy” life.