Deron Powell Power Rankings: CS8 And Area Rankings For Dec. 23rd

CS8 Power Rankings
1) Lanphier – If for some reason you questioned our reasoning for putting the Lions at the top of the Power Rankings, go ahead and watch the highlights from their game last Friday night at MacArthur. The back-court of Xavier Bishop, Yaakema Rose and Cardell McGee was straight eatin’. Coach Blake Turner’s boys haven’t lost to a team in the state of Illinois yet this season and are headed to the Pekin Tourney as the four seed… seems like some motivation right there.
2) Jacksonville – Without Brady Hays, arguably their best player, the Crimsons got a statement win on Friday with an overtime thriller at Southeast and then took care of business Saturday in their showcase against Ike. While we wait to see what the damage is to Hays’ shoulder, we still think the Crimsons may have figured things out after suffering back to back losses to Pleasant Plains and Lanphier two weeks ago.
3) Southeast – Suffering a home loss without your starting point guard to a clutch Crimson squad doesn’t drop the Spartans too far. Coach Lawrence Thomas’ team got a great rebound victory over a Glenwood team that just doesn’t go away. Freshman Anthony Fairlee is one to watch for as Southeast looks some noise in the Collinsville Christmas Tourney, where they were seeded third behind Belleville Althoff and Lincoln.
4) Lincoln- Speaking of the Railsplitters, they just continue to rise in our rankings. They haven’t played top tier talent in the conference up to this point with the exception of a loss to Jacksonville at the PCCC to start the conference season, but Coach Neil Alexander’s team is looking pretty impressive. Garrett Aeilts has emerged as a very viable second option to the scoring abilities of Aron Hopp. Aeilts now has the green light from downtown according to Alexander. If they both win two games, Lincoln and Southeast could have a date on Tuesday in Collinsville, a late Christmas present for Central State Eight fans who are curious about these two. 
5) Glenwood – Three games last week resulted in a 2-1 record and their first conference loss of the season. The Titans struggled but survived against Rochester and then caught Southeast at the wrong time Saturday when they couldn’t afford back to back home losses. Parker Allen continues to lead the way scoring-wise, but the Titans could use some other options as they head into the State Farm Christmas Classic. Ethan Hunt got hot on Friday. He'll be the guy they're looking for in this role. 
6) MacArthur – You can’t give up 100 points at home to a conference opponent. Yeah, we know Lanphier was on a mission, but the Generals have the athleticism to stop the Lions and they couldn’t. Mac then gave up 68 to SHG on Saturday. A six spot seems about right, for now, for the Generals.
7) Eisenhower – The Stephons continue to put up points, but the Panthers couldn’t hang with the Crimsons on Saturday and their only conference win came against a Senators team that is in bad shape. If Ike can make some noise in Collinsville, look for them to move up.
8) Rochester – Defensively, the Rockets can stay with just about every team in the conference. Offensively, they can’t stay consistent. Rochester dropped back to back CS8 games to Glenwood and Lanphier last week. Headed to the Taylorville Christmas Tournament, Coach Mike Steers’ squad can get back in the win column and gain confidence before returning to the CS8.
9) Sacred Heart-Griffin – Losing to Lincoln and MacArthur on the road last weekend doesn’t hurt the standing of the Cyclones in the rankings. Albert Okwuegbunam continues to develop as a promising big man, but it’s time for the athleticism of the rest of Carey McVickers’ men to put it together and get a conference win.
10) Springfield High – It looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better at Springfield High. We’ll leave it at that.
Area Power Rankings
1) Pleasant Plains – Isaac Collins is nasty. The numbers that the Cardinals' three point sniper is putting up are Steph Curry-like. The Bash Brothers (Finley and Clemens) continue to bang the big boys who dare come in the lane and the Cardinals have passed every conference test so far this season. Tuesday night, Collins was off and the big boys didn't score with ease. That didn't matter because Daulton Nibbe and Cole Greer stepped up. This team is solid. Only a three seed in the Williamsville Holiday Tournament should be motivation for Cliff Cameron’s crew.
2) Williamsville – The Bullets showed how good the Sangamo is last week, beating two non-conference opponents quite handily. Mt. Pulaski and Piasa Southwestern found out how good Harrison Creswell and the rest of the Bullets are playing right now and when they host their own holiday tournament, we might see a Plains-Williamsville rematch in the title game next Wednesday.
3) Athens – The Warriors are quickly gaining on Williamsville in the Power Rankings. Coach Jeff Johnston is getting guys healthy and back on the floor and frankly, the Warriors just look solid. Nick Hanner back healthy means Matt Wendling can be off the ball to get buckets and Drayton Davis looked like a solid scoring option against the Hilltoppers on Friday. Can Athens make a return trip to the Waverly Holiday Tournament title game? If they win that tourney, they might move up the rankings.
4) Auburn – We just talked about how good Athens is and the Trojans pushed them into overtime last week. Coach Scott Bacon’s boys responded to that tough loss by beating a pesky Illini Central team and then started a winning streak by beating North Greene at The Bowl on Saturday. It seems like Auburn has plenty of scoring options to keep them in any game and they could get a rematch with the Warriors on Monday in Waverly.
5) South County – We’re looking for someone to take ownership of this fifth spot in the power rankings and frankly, that honor falls on the boys from Franklin and Waverly this week. The Vipers handled Lincolnwood with relative ease last week and sit at 7-3 heading into the Waverly Holiday Tournament as the nine seed. They beat West Central on Tuesday, who is the four seed. A tough draw facing the one seed Carrollton, but we’ve seen stranger things happen and the Vipers are playing really well right now.
Honorable Mention
PORTA – The Bluejays maybe aren’t as good as we thought…yet. But the pedigree is there and Max Muller has shown spurts of being able to score at will. PORTA can get back into the top five with a good showing at the Williamsville Holiday Tournament. 
Pawnee – We were cautious when the Indians needed overtime to deal with the Calvary Saints at the PCCC and now a road loss at Riverton has us wondering if Austin Galloway and Garrett Gillette can get it done for this team. A five seed at the Waverly Tourney can make a run, if they do that, they’ll surely be back in the top five rankings.
Riverton – We had them in early and now they’re back. We finally got a camera out to spy on the Hawks and they delivered a nine point win over Pawnee last Friday. Ryan Roscetti is a great guard with plenty of potential, and Zak Merchant had a huge game on Tuesday night. The Hawks have started their holiday tournament already and have won both games. Riverton is rallying for a spot in the top five.