CINCINNATI -- As January concludes, the area high school boys’ basketball scene starts to focus on the remaining few regular-season games before the sectional tournament starts Feb. 20.
Moeller (Division I) and Summit Country Day (Division III) are the only area boys’ basketball teams who remained undefeated at the start of this week. The Silver Knights (16-0) earned a significant win over Taft on Saturday night.
There was also a shuffling as Mason earned a big win over Oak Hills and Hughes continues its win streak.
Let’s take a closer look at the “Power 9” rankings this week:
Last week’s ranking: No. 1.
This week’s schedule: At La Salle Friday.
The Crusaders moved up to No. 22 nationally by MaxPreps this week and will travel to La Salle Friday night in what could be their last serious challenge to an undefeated regular-season record.
Moeller defeated visiting La Salle 49-39 Jan. 13 but that game was played without La Salle standout guard CJ Fleming (shoulder). La Salle has won the past two home games against Moeller the past two seasons. Moeller defeated Elder 52-46 Friday as sophomore guard Miles McBride (13 points), senior forward Riley Voss (12 points) and junior point guard Isaiah Payton (10 points) had 35 points on 12 shots. McBride had 12 points, six assists and five steals on Saturday night in a 60-34 win at Wilmington.
Last week: 4
This week’s schedule: Versus Princeton Tuesday.
The Comets were very impressive at Oak Hills Friday night in a 76-54 win over the Highlanders. Mason junior forward Noah Pedelty came off the bench to score a career-high 25 points, including four 3-pointers to help spark the Comets, who avenged an early season loss to Oak Hills. Senior guard Eddie Puisis had 23 points, three rebounds and three assists. Senior point guard Carlos Lewis had nine points, six rebounds and six assists.
Watch for Mason as the tournament approaches. If the Comets play the way they did Friday, few teams have the ability to stop them in this area.
3. La Salle
Last week: 3
This week’s schedule: At McNicholas Tuesday. Versus Moeller Friday.
The Lancers earned two solid road wins last week. La Salle defeated St. Xavier 58-38 Friday and Walnut Hills 64-50 Saturday.
Three players scored in double digits against Walnut Hills including senior guards Da’Meak Brandon (18 points), CJ Fleming (18) and Tre Crigler (14). Senior forward Joe Hartmann had a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Lancers go on the road for a third consecutive game Tuesday before returning home Friday for a showdown against Moeller.
4. Summit Country Day
Last week: 5
This week’s schedule: Versus Clark Montessori Friday. At Woodward Saturday.
There is an abundance of basketball success at Summit this winter. The boys’ and girls’ teams are undefeated for the first time entering February in at least 15 years. The boys’ team, ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Division III state poll, earned a significant win over Division II power Taft on Saturday night. Senior guard Sam Martin had 16 points and six assists. Senior forward TJ Walker had 14 points and six rebounds. The Silver Knights may be punching a ticket to Columbus in March.
5. Oak Hills
Last week: 2
This week’s schedule: At Sycamore Tuesday. At Middletown Friday.
Oak Hills coach Mike Price didn’t mince words late Friday after the Highlanders lost to visiting Mason. The Comets played confidently. Oak Hills didn’t execute on either end of the floor.
“We didn’t guard,” Price said. “I don’t know where our minds were defensively.”
The past three games Oak Hills hasn’t implemented the game plan offensively from the outset. That caught up to the Highlanders Friday night. But, as Price said, Oak Hills still has a chance to tie for the Greater Miami Conference title if it wins out. The remainder of its schedule seems favorable so it will be interesting to see how the team responds.
Last week: 9
This week’s schedule: Versus Glen Este Tuesday. Versus Taft Friday.
Hughes has won 11 consecutive games and has been one of the most consistent teams all season. Hughes had four players score double digits Friday in an 86-54 win over Western Hills. Junior guard Giovanni Santiago had a team-high 17 points and six assists while senior guard Corry Long, a Stony Brook signee, had five rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Long had a game-high 21 points and eight assists in a 55-54 win over Indian Hill earlier in the week.
Last week: 8
This week’s schedule: At Mariemont Tuesday. At Madeira Friday.
Wyoming lost last week for the first time this season, but it may have been a blessing in disguise for the Cowboys, according to coach Tim Edmonds.
Wyoming started 13-0 for the first time since the 1963-64 season and heard plenty of hype leading up to each game. The Cowboys rebounded well with wins over Taylor (73-20) and Mount Healthy (80-55). This team should be in good shape when the Division II sectional tournament arrives.
Last week: 7
This week’s schedule: At Hughes Friday.
The Senators defeated Woodward 58-47 on Friday and lost at Summit Country Day 54-50 Saturday. Taft plays at Hughes this week in a significant opportunity to tie the Big Red for a Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference title. Hughes defeated Taft 57-42 Dec. 16.
9. Roger Bacon
Last week: 6
This week’s schedule: At Elder Tuesday. At Fenwick Friday.
The Spartans lost to visiting Chaminade Julienne 57-48 Friday. Roger Bacon sophomore guard Alec Pfriem has scored in double digits for five consecutive games and continues to show why he’s one of the area’s top players in the 2019 class. He had a team-high 15 points Friday.