Lucas hanging on to top spot in Richland County Boys Basketball Power Poll
MANSFIELD — For at least one more week, Lucas will stay atop the Richland County Boys Basketball Power Poll.
But there are several teams waiting to pounce if the Cubs slip. Seven of the 11 teams in Richland County are above .500 with one more sitting just a game back, making the power poll an impossible task to get right.
But, here we go.
1. Lucas (14-3)
The Cubs hang on to No. 1 for another week still riding high from a 34-point win over Crestview a couple of weeks ago. They handled business with a 60-34 win over Loudonville last week to clinch at least a share of their fifth consecutive Mid-Buckeye Conference championship. Aidan Culler has been playing like a madman lately as he led the way with 17 points with Andrew Smollen adding 12 to give the Cubs a boost. When teams focus on Logan and Corbin Toms, the Cubs have several other players who will hurt them, and Culler and Smollen proved that. Lucas welcomes in Mansfield Christian on Friday for a rematch of what turned out to be a close game the first time around. A win would give the Cubs the outright MBC title. Then they head to Willard on Saturday.
2. Lexington (15-2)
The Minutemen jump up to No. 2 this week after two very nice wins since the last power poll and probably deserve some major consideration for No. 1. Lex beat Mansfield Senior 57-54 last week to remain atop the Ohio Cardinal Conference standings behind Hudson Moore, who had a team-high 15 points and added 11 rebounds as Lexington piled up 20 offensive boards and owned a 22-2 second-chance points advantage. The Minutemen didn't seem exactly thrilled after the win, but in late January and early February winning is all that matters. They followed that up with an offensive explosion on Tuesday night, beating Galion 94-79 as Moore was sensational again with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Baden Forup had 19 points, Elijah Hudson added 15 and Gavin Husty scored 13. It was their best offensive performance of the year and one that could put a charge into the team as it turns its focus to Friday night for its final home game of the season against Mount Vernon.
3. Shelby (14-2)
The Whippets come in at No. 3 this week after going 1-0 since the last power poll with a 74-40 win over Galion. Alex Bruskotter flirted with a triple-double again with 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, Brayden DeVito added 12 points and Carson Brubaker had 10. The Whippets found their offensive groove again after losing it for a brief moment against Marion Harding when they scored the second-lowest point total (48) this season. The Whippets have two key MOAC games this week with Highland coming in on Wednesday and a trip to River Valley on Saturday. They are tied with RV atop the standings and could take a commanding one-game lead with two to play if they can win both this week.
4. Ontario (9-7)
The Warriors make a nice little jump in the standings up to No. 4 this week thanks to two gritty wins. First, they beat upstart Clear Fork 70-60 in overtime last week before picking up their second OT win in a row by beating Crestview 65-62 on Tuesday night. Gage Weaver led the way with 18 points, Brady Zehe had 12 and Braxton Hall added 11 in the win over the Cougars. The Warriors have won three straight and seem to have turned a corner at the perfect time with the tournament quickly approaching. They host Galion on Thursday and Pleasant on Saturday for a chance to earn two more wins and maybe make another jump in the power poll standings.
5. Crestview (16-2)
The Cougars were a bucket away from being considered for the No. 1 spot again, going 2-1 since the last power poll. They started out with a 70-65 win over Monroeville behind Jarek Ringler (24 points), Justice Thompson (16) and Heath Kash (15). Then they clinched at least a share of their first Firelands Conference championship in 23 years with a 73-30 win over New London, with Thompson leading the way with 11 points and Ringler and Dylan Bruner scoring 10 apiece. The Cougars then fell 65-62 in overtime to Ontario on Tuesday night, but their showing against a big Division II school was honorable considering they played three games in the span of five days. Thompson had 18 points, Jarek Ringler 14 and Tyson Ringler 10 in the loss. But, the Cougars move on with valuable experience and a chance to clinch the outright FC title Friday night at New London.
6. Mansfield Christian (12-4)
The Flames come in at No. 6 this week after picking up a 69-37 win over St. Peter's last week behind Amarr Davis's 29 points. Without a doubt the Flames deserve a higher spot in the power poll standings, but they also need a signature win on their resume. They have that opportunity this week when they travel to Lucas on Friday night. With a win, they would move into a tie for first place in the Mid-Buckeye Conference standings. They would still have to beat Central Christian next week, but if they can pull off two MBC victories in their final two games they can grab a share of their first league championship since the 2013-14 season. They have to get that first one at Lucas Friday. If they do, they won't be at No. 6 next week. It will also help to beat Tree of Life on Saturday.
7. Mansfield Senior (10-6)
The Tygers take a bit of a tumble this week after losing 57-54 to Lexington in their only game since the last power poll. Normally a team that thrives on second-chance points and offensive rebounds, the Tygers were beaten at their own game by the Minutemen, allowing 20 offensive boards and getting outscored 22-2 on second-chance opportunities. Kyevi Roane was great in that game with a game-high 21 points and Nathaniel Haney added 12. The Tygers did outscore Lexington in three of the four quarters, but the second quarter was a 23-11 advantage for the Minutemen and that ultimately was the story of the night. The Tygers will rebound with home games against Madison on Friday and Sandusky on Saturday in what could be a district tournament preview.
8. Madison (8-9)
Led by Jayden Jeffries's 25 points, the Rams picked up a nice 59-47 win over Mount Vernon last week to snap a four-game skid that featured two overtime losses and all four by 10 or fewer points. It seems Seven Allen will be shut down for the season with a lingering knee injury, so that will be a major blow for the Rams, but maybe they can rally around that and use it as motivation. They head to Mansfield Senior on Friday before hosting Norwalk on Saturday.
9. Clear Fork (6-11)
The Colts were very close to really shaking up the power poll rankings but lost 70-60 to Ontario in overtime in their only game since the last power poll. Victor Skoog led the Colts with 15 points, Grant Spencer added 12 and Kaden Riddle had 11 for some very nice balance. They travel to Pleasant on Thursday and host Marion Harding on Saturday, and two wins would inch them closer to .500 and really give them momentum heading into the tournament.
10. Plymouth (4-13)
The Big Red earned two nice victories last week, beating New London 49-37 and St. Peter's 60-30. But those were two wins over teams with one win apiece, so the Big Red will continue searching for a signature victory. That could come this week at Mapleton on Friday night or at home against Hillsdale on Saturday.
11. St. Peter's (1-18)
The Spartans dropped two games since the last power poll. First, they lost 69-37 to Mansfield Christian despite 15 points by Feree Kent and 11 by Angelo Gasper. Kent then scored 14 points against Plymouth in a 60-30 loss. St. Peter's is back in action on Friday at Loudonville and at home against Temple Christian on Saturday.
Last Week's Rankings
This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Lucas still in top spot in Richland County Boys Basketball Power Poll