The local 6A boys basketball regular season came to an end Tuesday night. Before the OSAA rankings freeze at 10 p.m. Wednesday to set the playoff field, our high school sports champion Nate Hanson posts his power rankings of the top ten Portland-area boys basketball teams going into the playoffs.
1.) West Linn (20-4, 13-1), Three Rivers League champion
The two-time defending champions had just one slip up in league play this season against a quality opponent in Lakeridge. They have the best player in the state and a ton of depth. That’s a lethal combination. They have to be the favorites to win it all this year.
2.) Jesuit (20-4, 14-0), Metro League champion
The Crusaders aren’t going to wow anyone when they walk into the gym. But, they’re consistent and don’t make mistakes. Jesuit won’t beat themselves, which can’t be said for a lot of teams throughout the state.
3.) Central Catholic (20-4, 12-2), Mt. Hood Conference champion
The Rams went 10-2 after the suspension of all-state guard Deante Strickland in arguably the toughest league in the state. Similarly to West Linn, the Rams are deep and have lot of guys who can step up on any given night.
4.) Jefferson (18-4, 15-1), PIL champion
The Democrats put together one of the best performances I saw this season in their 76-55 win over Lincoln. The Democrats could easily be ranked higher and I wouldn’t argue. They have a realistic shot of winning the championship. The gap between four and the top is that slim. Jefferson wasn’t helped by the lack of competition in the PIL though.
5.) David Douglas (20-4, 10-4), Mt. Hood Conference second place
The Scots beat the teams they were supposed to beat, but failed to pick up a win against Central Catholic, their toughest competition. The emergence of Dwight Dew at the end of the season could be the key to getting the Scots over the hump in the postseason. At the very least, it should lighten the load for Charles Jones.
6.) Lakeridge (17-7, 10-4), Three Rivers League second place
The Pacers will come into the playoffs as one of the hottest and battle-tested teams in the state. Lakeridge won eight of its final nine games with the largest margin of victory being eight points. You can look at that two ways: 1.) They close out games. 2.) They are skating by against average competition. I’ll side with the former. Plus, the Pacers have the win over No. 1 West Linn on their resume.
7.) Southridge (20-4, 12-2), Metro League second place
The Skyhawks were dominant in the Metro League against every team not named Jesuit. However, their postseason success will heavily rely on whether their top scorer and rebounder, Peyton King, returns from an ankle injury. If he returns healthy, the Skyhawks could be a dark horse to reach the semifinals or beyond because of size other teams lack.
8.) Clackamas (17-7, 9-5), Mt. Hood Conference third place
After a difficult 2-4 stretch, the Cavaliers finished the season with three straight wins, including Reynolds and David Douglas. The Cavaliers also beat Central Catholic earlier this season, showing they can play with anybody.
9.) Reynolds (16-8, 9-5), Mt. Hood Conference fourth place
The Raiders won eight of their final ten games. They have a win over Central Catholic on their resume, as well as a one-point loss to Metro League champion Jesuit and a four-point loss to South Salem, the Greater Valley Conference champion. With Oregon State bound 6-foot-10 center Drew Eubanks, the Raiders will be a difficult out.
10.) Lake Oswego (15-9, 10-4), Three Rivers League third place
The Lakers’ best win came against South Eugene, the Southwest Conference champion, in non-league play. Besides that December win, it’s hard to find a marquee victory for Lake Oswego, who was swept by Lakeridge and West Linn in conference play. Give the Lakers credit though for taking care of business against the rest of the competition. Perhaps they will finally breakthrough in March.