1. Southeast – The top team to start the Power Rankings has been a bit shaky in the first half of their first two CS8 games. Coach Lawrence Thomas admitted after the SHG game on Tuesday that the offense isn’t quite where it needs to be yet. That being said, Southeast beat a very good Eisenhower team and a confident SHG team that is quickly moving up this list. Anthony Fairlee continues to show the growth in his game, which is so scary considering he’s only a sophomore.
2. Lanphier – The undefeated Lions are making their case to jump Southeast. They’ve won their first two CS8 games handily and won the Adam Lopez Country Financial Turkey Tourney over very good teams. Yaakema Rose, Aundrae Williams and Cardell McGee will welcome Eisenhower to Lober-Nika on Friday and then we’ll have a common opponent between the Lions and the Spartans.
3. Eisenhower – Speaking of the Panthers…they matched Southeast blow for blow for 47 minutes at the Showcase on Saturday. If we’re judging teams off losses, Ike jumps Jacksonville. Eisenhower is long and athletic and makes teams play an ugly brand of basketball. The black and gold can shake up the standings on Friday with a road win and don’t forget, the Lions needed overtime and a buzzer beater from Xavier Bishop to beat the Panthers on the North Side last year.
4. Jacksonville – Lanphier had plenty of motivation on Saturday against the Crimsons in Jacksonville’s only loss so far this season. It wasn’t necessarily pretty. Cliff Cameron has time to get everything clicking and he’s got the pieces with Brady Hays, who could be the best scorer in the conference, Brandon McCombs and James White. On Friday, the Crimsons host the Railsplitters, which is another great test to see where Jacksonville stacks up this season.
5. Lincoln – Make all the excuses you want about the Rockets, but Lincoln looked really good. The shots were falling, the defense was hounding and Lincoln was in complete control. The Railsplitters have just one loss this season and that’s to a 4A ranked Danville team. A road trip to the Bowl will be a good chance for Lincoln to jump in our rankings. Let’s just hope Hayden Sanborn brings the right game plan Coach Alexander drew up and Bryson Kirby and Isaiah Bowers execute it.
6. MacArthur – The Generals seem to be who we thought they were. A very talented team led by the Brummett brothers. They will win a lot of games in the CS8 this season based on talent alone. That being said, the Generals struggled to put away the Senators who Lanphier ran out of their own gym very early on. Amir was banged up on Saturday, so we’ll give them a pass.
7. SHG – We flipped a coin last week to decide if SHG should be 9 or 10 in the rankings. The coin told us 9 and that proved to a good sign. The Cyclones make the jump to 7 this week after an impressive showing at the Showcase, beating Glenwood by double digits. Kyle Krager has the Cycs believing they can be competitive in the CS8 again and that showed on the road against Southeast. Freshman guard, Jaden Snodgrass is going to be a player teams have to deal with for the next four years.
8. Glenwood – The Titans are going through some turmoil but the talent is still there. Matt Bahlmann, Karson Aherin and Will Hanlon have shown the ability to score and freshman guard Jason Hansbrough will continue to improve but a double digit loss to SHG at the Showcase put their issue on display. A trip to Springfield High on Friday will show where this team really is.
9. Springfield High – It may look like the new year, same issues for the Senators but we’re going to give Joby Crum the benefit of the doubt to start the season. The trouble this program is in doesn’t change overnight and the talent on the basketball court is certainly there. If Trevor Minder can get up 20 shots a game, the Solons will be in good shape.
10. Rochester – The Rockets struggled to score against Lincoln, but a lot of teams do that. Rochester went on the road Tuesday and lost to Pleasant Plains. Collin Stallworth is one of the best hoopers in the conference but needs to get up more shots and he needs some help doing so. The young talent will take some time to get up to speed, maybe a trip to Belz Gym against another young team in SHG will do them some good.
1. Athens – The Warriors lost all-time leading scorer, Matt Wendling to graduation, but they still return five experienced and talented players, who saw a ton of crunch time minutes last year. All are all now healthy, coming off one of the best season’s in program history. Nick Hanner, Drayton Davis, Hunter Maxwell, Devin Richardson and Ethan Chavis are all extremely athletic and have a ton of big game experience throughout their high school careers. Their length on both ends will certainly cause opposing clubs headaches.
2. Williamsville – The Bullets have had to tweak their offense a tad following the departures of Harrison Creswell and Matt Watson, but the bread and butter for Williamsville is its defense. The Bullets are still pesky in that category. Senior Jake Pennell, a steady shooter last year has taken on the point guard role. Stepping into that shooters role, is Casey Tuttle, who scored 31 points in the Bullets season opener against North Mac. The pieces are certainly there for Williamsville to compete for a Sangamo title. A one-point loss to Athens on a last second pull up by Hunter Maxwell on Tuesday night doesn’t harm the resume at all.
3. Pleasant Plains – First year Cardinals coach and former Riverton head man, Kyle Weber didn’t get a chance to ease into his new gig. Plains started the season in the Crimson Classic, playing mostly 3A and 4A teams and didn’t fare all too well, winning just one game, but playing against steep competition will bode really well for the Birds. They beat Rochester on Tuesday night and although Daulton Nibbe and Austin Finley are gone, the trio of Cole Greer, Isaac Collins and Nik Clemens is as good as any three man crew in the conference.
4. PORTA – PORTA is out to a 7-0 start, but not against crazy good competition. What the Blue Jays have, though, is one of thefts players in the area in Max Muller. That right there, will have PORTA in the mix all year.
5. South County – New Berlin was in the running for the fifth spot. Would you have believed that a year ago? Probably not. The Pretzels are off to a pleasant start under the direction of Blake Lucas, but the Pretzels have lost two daggers to South County. One in double overtime, the other at the buzzer. Lets see if the Vipers can stay in the area rankings.