The tough question Dan and I were forced to ponder this week: What to do with Iona Prep? This was once clearly one of the area’s best teams, but injuries have sent the season into something of a tailspin.
Let’s take a look at where the Gaels and others fell in our latest Top 10s:
JOSH THOSMON’S TOP 10 — (file complaints/critiques here: @lohudinsider)
1. Mount Vernon (10-1): It will be interesting to see how the Knights gear up for White Plains on Friday. If they can regroup and deliver a big effort, it will say a lot about the team’s character. As of now, Mount Vernon does not appear a lock to win the gold ball.
2. Spring Valley (11-3): The Tigers continue to dominate in Rockland County. They are just too talented, and, in my opinion, have a real chance to win the section.
3. White Plains (12-1): Traveling to Mount Vernon on Friday won’t be easy. White Plains will need to get its shooters free and make jumpshots, but this team is capable. They also have a group of winners who won’t be afraid to compete on the road against the section’s best.
4. Fox Lane (12-1): Fox Lane survived a bit of a scare last week against Greeley, but it was really this team’s only off night yet. I still like the depth and shooting. Next week will bring a rematch with Harrison and possible a date with Woodlands, but the Foxes should be more than ready.
5. Eastchester (11-2): Don’t forget about what the Eagles have done in the last few weeks. Seriously, this is a deep, talented team that is among the area’s best, regardless of class. Knowing some folks from Eastchester, the whole thing seems like something of a dream to them.
6. Clarkstown South (13-1): What can South do to maintain its level of play in the rematch against Spring Valley? Last time, the Vikings were plenty good enough for three quarters, but they collapsed down the stretch. It will take their best, but you have to imagine they can keep the rematch closer.
7. Iona Prep (10-8): What to do with the Gaels? Based on the entire season, this team deserves a spot in the top 10. Having said that, they could legitimately be 25 points (or more) worse right now without Matt Ryan and Ty Jerome. If that sounds harsh, just look at their recent results. Ryan won’t return, so if Jerome remains out for several more weeks, Iona must find other ways to score. The experience will help younger Gaels like Patrick Fleming and Qaadir Sheppard, but can they mature in time to reverse this team’s momentum?
8. Harrison (12-1): The Huskies took command early and did not relent against rival Rye last Saturday. That shows how far they’ve come in itself. Harrison was shorthanded and struggled to score in its first meeting with the Garnets. No more. This team just continues to round into form.
9. Mahopac (13-1): The Indians survived a major scare Wednesday against rival Carmel, but showed plenty of grit in doing so. That’s one of the big things Kevin Downes has done with this program: He’s made the players believe not just that they can win, but that they should. That mentality can make the sum better than its parts, which aren’t too shabby in their own right.
10. Arlington (9-4): The Admirals have won seven straight since their rocky start and now find themselves back in the race for a spot at the County Center. This team has been so close in recent years. Imagine if its County Center drought ends at a time few expected it to?
On the bubble: Pearl River (10-4), Stepinac (7-12)
DAN DEFRANCESCO’S TOP 10 — (file complaints/critiques here: @lohud_defran)
1. Mount Vernon (10-1): The wins haven’t come easy, but the Knights continue to win. This team certainly has its fair share of weaknesses, but at the end of the day they still find a way to win.
2. Spring Valley (11-3): The Tigers are going to give up their fair share of points, but that doesn’t matter as much when you’re scoring with the ease that Spring Valley does. Friday’s game against Clarkstown South will be huge as the Vikings have the shooters to keep up.
3. White Plains (12-1): The Tigers will get their chance at redemption against Mount Vernon on Friday. You get the feeling those two teams will meet again at some point in sectionals, but a win at the Knights’ home court will serve as quite the confidence booster going into the playoffs.
4. Fox Lane (12-1): I got a chance to see the Foxes last week and could not have been more impressed with senior guard James Morales. Fox Lane is also legitimately deep with a second unit that brings big-time energy, a key component come playoff time.
5. Clarkstown South (13-1): The Vikings get their chance to avenge their one loss of the season Friday when they head to Spring Valley. The offense has really been clicking the last few games (91 against Ramapo and 81 against Clarkstown North), which spells good things for their match up with the high-powered Spring Valley offense.
6. Eastchester (11-2): Take away one bad 48-hour stretch at the County Center and the Eagles are undefeated and probably even higher in my rankings. In a very confusing Class A, Eastchester is the clear favorite as they continue to cruise down the stretch.
7. Harrison (12-1): The Huskies continue to win despite not having a defined “star”. That’s not meant to be a knock on any of Harrison’s players, who are the perfect example of a true team. The fact the Huskies are getting their scoring from all over makes them a matchup nightmare.
8. Iona Prep (10-8): Did one loss against Stepinac really drop the Gaels all way down to the No. 8 spot? No, the reason for Iona’s fall from grace is due to the fact their offense is nowhere near where it was at full strength. Unless Iona can find some scoring, it will likely continue to drop.
9. Mahopac (13-1): The wins have been anything but pretty, but the talent is there. They have a dominant big man (Ryan Simone), a very good guard (R.J. Martinez) and the pieces to potentially surprise some people come sectionals.
10. Pearl River (10-4): The Pirates entrance into the Top 10 is not only a testament to their big wins last week, but the play of Kevin Degnan. The Pearl River big man is potentially the best player in the section and has the talent to carry the Pirates to the County Center.
On the bubble: Arlington (9-4)
CLASS-BY-CLASS RANKINGS —
Every week, Dan and I will put our heads together and compile our rankings by class. Here’s our Top 5 in each class:
Class AA: The Top 5 somehow will remain the same but, in my eyes, also got a whole lot tighter this week.
1. Mount Vernon
2. Spring Valley
3. White Plains
4. Fox Lane
5. Clarkstown South
Class A: Tappan Zee dropped out of the Top 5 after last week’s bad loss to Pearl River. TZ will have a chance to regroup next week at home against Pearl River.
4. Our Lady of Lourdes
5. Pearl River
Class B: As I’ve said before, Palisade Prep is a strong No. 6. Valhalla proved it might be a threat as well by nearly beating Rye Neck.
2. Putnam Valley
3. Blind Brook
5. Rye Neck
Class C/D: Watch out for MLK, which played Palisade Prep very tough on Wednesday night.
4. Children’s Village
Catholic/Private: Iona still holds the top spot based on its complete resume, although that’s getting harder to consider as the injuries pile up.
1. Iona Prep
4. Rye Country Day
5. Sacred Heart