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HS HOOPS: Introducing the area’s top five boys, girls teams

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

It’s officially tournament season, folks. The best time of the year.

We’ve already had multiple sectional champions crowned inside of Divisions II and III and more will be crowned later this evening.

That is, if this snow and ice would just go away. At this rate, we’ll finish basketball season around my birthday — June 17.

But either way, as long as games are played, that’s good enough for me.

Here are the final SOSA Power Rankings of the season.

NOTE: Thank you to everyone who read and reacted to this column. It’s been a lot of fun hearing from all of you. We’ll do it again once football season rolls around.

BOYS

1. Eastern Brown (21-1)

Previous ranking: 1 … —

The Warriors end the regular season as our top team, the same way they did in the SHAC conference, earning their second straight Gold Ball in the process. They’ve made it look rather easy throughout the season and now aim to do the same in the tournament as a No. 3 seed. A district final against Wheelersburg would be amazing to see, but that district semifinal against Piketon could be tricky.

2. Wheelersburg (18-1)

Previous ranking: 2 … —

With back-to-back wins over South Webster and Northwest on consecutive days, the Pirates are once again SOC II conference champions and end the regular season on a high note. Now it’s very possible that the Pirates face SOC II teams all the way to a potential district final matchup with Eastern Brown. Mental challenges await the Pirates.

3. Hillsboro (17-2)

Previous ranking: 3 … —

For the first time since 1998, Hillsboro can call itself a conference champion. The Indians earned at least a share of the FAC after surviving Miami Trace in overtime on Saturday. They now enter tournament play as a No. 3 seed, which is a little dicey. A possible rematch with Jackson in a district semifinal awaits, then it could be either Logan Elm or Unioto in a district final. Tricky, but not impossible.

4. Adena (19-2)

Previous ranking: 4 … —

I said the Warriors would claim a share of the SVC last week. Then Westfall did them a huge favor by knocking off Unioto and giving Adena the outright title for the first time since 2006. That also made 10 straight victories. The Warriors drew the No. 4 seed and avoided Wheelersburg and Eastern Brown, while getting Fairland in a district final, should the seeds work out. I like Adena’s chances.

5. Waverly (17-3)

Previous ranking: 5 … —

11 straight wins for Waverly after defeating Valley on Friday. While the Tigers weren’t able to win or share the SOC II title this year, they did receive quite possibly the best deal of any team in Division II, drawing the No. 4 seed. Avoiding Unioto, Logan Elm and Hillsboro while matching up with Marietta, Fairfield Union again and a rematch with Warren, should seeds work out, in a district final. This could be the year.

ON THE RISE: New Boston (17-2), Piketon (16-5). West (16-5)
Notre Dame’s Annie Dettwiller has helped the Titans go 20-1 this season.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

GIRLS

1. Peebles (15-1)

Previous ranking: 2 … +1

Peebles’ girls were on ice this week — no pun intended — and had their rematch with Fairfield for the SHAC title postponed for the fifth time this season. In a rare situation, it’s very possible the Indians will win a sectional title before a conference title. And we thought 2020 was bizarre. Either way, Eastern awaits the Indians in a sectional final on Saturday to kick off tournament action.

2. Wheelersburg (18-2)

Previous ranking: 2 … +1

Death, taxes and Wheelersburg winning a sectional title. While it doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly, it still remains a near guarantee every single year. Now the Pirates are back in district action and await New Lexington. The Panthers score in bunches and Aubri Spicer can play. But they turn the ball over a lot, which is what you don’t want against a seasoned team like Wheelersburg.

3. Notre Dame (19-1)

Previous ranking: 2 … +1

Just for clarity, I’m calling Notre Dame the ‘Evil Stepsisters’ every time I see the Titans play for the rest of the season. Once again, thank you Ava Hassel and Claire Dettwiller for that. The Titans ended their regular season with a solid victory over a talented Paint Valley team. Saturday begins Division IV tournament action, and their quest to make it back to regionals.

4. Eastern Brown (21-2)

Previous ranking: 2 … +1

The Warriors started their quest for back-to-back district titles in tournament play with an easy victory over West Union. And now they’re just waiting for Oak Hill, and vice versa. Should they win that matchup, they’d be well on their way to a district championship game. They have to play like themselves, but if they do, very few teams in the district can beat them.

5. Adena (17-3)

Previous ranking: 2 … +1

Welcome back to the top five, Adena. And more so, congrats on winning the SVC and a sectional title for the first time since 2013. What’s scarier is that every single player for the Warriors is back next season with a year of experience under their belts. Now the Warriors enter district semifinal action playing with house money at North Adams. Upset in the making?

ON THE RISE: North Adams (17-4), Miami Trace (13-5), McClain (15-4)

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