Through the early portion of the season, the Southwestern Conference appears to be controlled by Butler. The Bulldogs, winners of 13-straight, are the only unbeaten team in conference play, and one of just two teams with a better than .500 overall record. After a fast start to the regular season, Porter Ridge has stumbled after the Christmas holiday, dropping five of six games since in boys competition.
On the girls side of the conference, Myers Park remains the top-ranked team, with a 12-1 overall record, 4-0 in conference play. Independence is still looking for its first win, and Rocky River is quietly keeping pace with Myers Park near the top with seven consecutive victories.
4A Southwestern Boys Standings
1. Butler (15-2, 5-0)
2. Porter Ridge (8-6, 3-1)
3. Rocky River (5-11, 3-1)
4. Independence (6-10, 2-2)
5. East Meck (1-14, 1-2)
6. Myers Park (5-8, 1-3)
7. Garinger (1-15, 0-5)
Rocky River (5-11) at Independence (6-10)
Rocky River comes into Friday’s contest on the heels of two tough losses at the hands of Concord and Butler. The Ravens have been the picture of inconsistency over their last eight games, putting up a 4-4 record in those games. Rocky River has talent and size to match up with nearly anyone they face, but have been unable to put a string of games together that gives their fans confidence in the young team.
After an ugly 0-7 start to the season, Independence has started to pick it up, winning five of its last eight games. The Patriots struggled offensively their last time out, scoring just 37 points in a loss to Myers Park. Indy’s Marcus Thomas has been a bright spot for the Patriots, averaging 14 points per game. Thomas is finding his stride when it matters most, scoring a season-high 26 last week against Garinger.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Independence 60, Rocky River 58
Myers Park 67, Garinger 52
Porter Ridge 71, East Mecklenburg 59
4A Southwestern Girls Standings
1. Myers Park (12-1, 4-0)
2. Rocky River (13-2, 3-1)
3. Butler (11-6, 3-2)
4. Porter Ridge (9-5, 2-2)
5. East Meck (3-11, 2-2)
6. Garinger (2-11, 1-4)
7. Independence (0-16, 0-4)
East Mecklenburg (3-11) at Porter Ridge (9-5)
After winning its conference opener, East Meck is in a bit of a tailspin lately, losing four of five. The Lady Eagles showed their mettle last Friday, picking up a 23-point victory over Garinger. East Meck’s leading scorer is junior Zhamya Wills, who averages 7.6 points per game. Fellow junior Miya Bull is the team’s leading rebounder, pulling down an average of 8.2 rebounds per contest.
Porter Ridge has been hovering around .500 after a 3-0 start to the season, going 6-5 over the last 11 games. The Pirates dropped last Friday’s game against Butler, and Ina Thompson’s team knows they can’t afford to lose any more ground if they want to keep pace with Rocky River and Myers Park.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Porter Ridge 56, East Meck 38
Rocky River 71, Independence 19
Myers Park 78, Garinger 19