Here are the updated CoBL-area Division III Power Rankings for Jan. 2, 2017:
Others to Watch: Arcadia (6-6, 1-2 MAC Commonwealth), Bryn Athyn (6-5, 3-0 NEAC), Cairn (4-4, 1-2 CSAC), Dickinson (6-4, 3-1 Centennial), Eastern (5-6, 0-0 MAC Freedom), Haverford (4-6, 1-3 Centennial), Immaculata (4-5, 1-2 CSAC), Lancaster Bible (8-3, 4-0 NEAC), Penn State-Harrisburg (5-6, 1-3 CAC), Rosemont (6-3, 1-2 CSAC), Susquehanna (4-6, 1-0 Landmark), Ursinus (5-5, 2-2 Centennial), Widener (6-5, 1-3 MAC Commonwealth)
Keith Blassingale (above) and Cabrini are back in the rankings after dropping out in our previous update. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
10. Cabrini Cavaliers (Last Week: OTW)
Record: 7-2 (2-1 CSAC)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Chapman (W, 83-79), vs. Eastern Connecticut State (W, 87-76)
Star Watch: Keith Blassingale (Soph./SG)
Update: After dropping out of our rankings last time, the Cavaliers are back following a pair of wins at the Eastern HoopMIA D3 Holiday Shootout in Miami. Led by performances of 25 and 26 points from Blassingale, who’s averaging 16.8 ppg this season, Cabrini was able to knock off two one-loss teams and snatch some much needed momentum heading into the holiday break. Senior forward Tyheim Monroe, a contender for some serious postseason honors, has yet to go a single game without a double-double, and leads the team with 22.9 ppg and 17.2 rpg (best in D-II). The next two weeks are packed heavily with games, but three of five opponents have losing records, so this would be the ideal opportunity for Cabrini to heat up heading into the middle portion of the CSAC schedule. The trip to Rosemont is always a tough one, however.
Next Two Weeks: @ Centenary (Jan. 3, 7 PM), vs. Keystone (Jan. 6, 3 PM), @ Rosemont (Jan. 9, 8 PM), vs. Marywood (Jan. 11, 8 PM), @ Clarks Summit (Jan. 13, 3 PM)
9. Lebanon Valley Dutchmen (6)
Record: 9-4 (3-1 MAC Commonwealth)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Dickinson (W, 86-55), vs. Gwynedd Mercy (L, 96-81), vs. Hamilton (@ Moravian, L, 102-83), vs. Bryn Athyn (@ Moravian, W, 91-55)
Star Watch: Sam Light (Sr./G)
Update: Lebanon Valley has dropped three of its past six games, which has cost it five spots in these rankings over the last month. But of its four losses on the season, two have come to teams above it in these rankings, and a third came to a Hamilton team that’s unbeaten this season. The team’s two high-scoring seniors, Light and Andy Orr, both had very strong weeks; Light scored at least 19 points in all four games, topped off by a 34-point outing against Dickinson; Orr had a nine-point outing against Bryn Athyn, but otherwise went for 17, 25 and 27 points in the other three games. Scoring clearly won’t be a problem for these Dutchmen, but the defensive end continues to present some issues.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Lycoming (Jan. 3, 6 PM), @ Albright (Jan. 6, 2 PM), vs. Arcadia (Jan. 10, 6 PM)
8. Moravian Greyhounds (5)
Record: 9-3 (1-0 Landmark)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Widener (@ Miami, Fla., L, 78-73, vs. Eastern (@ Miami, Fla., W, 100-96), vs. Bryn Athyn (W, 87-66), vs. Hamilton (L, 98-94)
Star Watch: Jimmy Murray (Jr./SG)
Update: Even though Justin Potts’ Greyhounds suffered their second and third defeats of the season since our last rankings, it’s not that bad; Widener is a tough team battling through some injury woes, while Hamilton (N.Y.) is a perfect 10-0 on the season. Murray, a Plymouth-Whitemarsh alum, is now Moravian’s leading scorer on the season (17.0 ppg) after dropping 22 points on Eastern and then 24 on Hamilton, going 6-9 from the floor and 11-13 from the foul line. Junior forward Oneil Holder (16.8 ppg) went for 27 against Hamilton after scoring 15 and grabbing 14 rebounds in the loss to Widener. The Greyhounds get this week off before an always-intense game against Susquehanna restarts league play on Saturday.
Next Two Weeks: vs. Susquehanna (Jan. 6, 2 PM), @ Drew (Jan. 10, 7 PM), vs. Catholic (Jan. 13, 2 PM)
Tyaire Hudson (above) is the leading scorer for a Neumann squad that was off the last three weeks. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
7. Neumann Knights (9)
Record: 7-2 (2-1 CSAC)
Last Three Weeks: N/A
Star Watch: Tyaire Hudson (Sr./PG)
Update: The only team in the area that hasn’t played a game since early December -- Dec. 8, to be exact -- the Knights still move up a couple spots. Can’t say the Knights have the toughest five games ahead; other than a trip to Gwynedd, which will indeed be a challenge, Neumann plays the four teams currently at the bottom of the standings. Hudson, as expected, has been the team’s best player so far, it’s leading scorer (20.7 ppg) and passer (4.1 apg) and second-leading rebounder (5.7 ppg). The Knights have also gotten terrific production from a pair of newcomers, Aaron Johnson-Chavis (15.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and Raquon Brown-Johnson (14.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), as well as senior guard Billy Cassidy (12.1 ppg, .431 3PT).
Next Two Weeks: vs. Immaculata (Jan. 3, 8 PM), vs. Clarks Summit (Jan. 6, 3 PM), @ Gwynedd Mercy (Jan. 9, 7 PM), vs. Cairn (Jan. 11, 8 PM), vs. Centenary (Jan. 13, 3 PM)
6. DeSales Bulldogs (3)
Record: 9-2 (0-0 MAC Freedom)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Gettysburg (W, 72-49), vs. Drew (L, 94-76)
Star Watch: Tracy Simsick (Soph./SG)
Update: The only league in the area that hasn’t started conference play is the MAC Freedom, but that finally changes this week; the Bulldogs will alternate road and home games over their first eight in league play. The loss to Drew snapped an eight-game win streak, but DeSales got what it deserved with 19 turnovers while Drew shot over 50 percent from the floor and 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from 3-point range. Simsick, a 6-4 wing guard out of Souderton (Pa.), had a career game in the loss to Drew, setting new marks in minutes (30), points (23), shot attempts (17) and makes (10) and 3-point attempts (10) and makes (3); on the season, he’s third on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg). His classmate, Kweku Dawson-Amoah, led the Bulldogs with 19 points and six rebounds in the win over Gettysburg.
Next Two Weeks: @ Eastern (Jan. 3, 6 PM), vs. Del-Val (Jan. 6, 3 PM), @ Manhattanville (Jan. 10, 6 PM), vs. FDU-Florham (Jan. 13, 3 PM)
5. Gwynedd Mercy Griffins (8)
Record: 9-1 (4-0 CSAC)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Rosemont (W, 87-83), @ Lebanon Valley (W, 96-81), @ Kean (W, 103-85)
Star Watch: Will Davis (Sr./F)
Update: The Griffins graduated a lot of talent from last season, but they have proven they are still a very strong group, and are now winners of eight straight. Davis, after putting up 29 points in three of the past four contests, is averaging a team-high 20.2 ppg and 7.4 rpg in just 23.8 minutes per outing. The 6-7 playmaker’s 64.3 percent field goal shooting has set the bar high for Gwynedd Mercy, which has collectively shot 52.7 percent from the floor this season. Those numbers certainly gave head coach John Baron something to dance about in New Year’s Day’s Mummers Parade, and they will be important to keep up as a tough matchup with Neumann approaches.
Next Two Weeks: @ Immaculata (Jan. 6, 3 PM), vs. Neumann (Jan. 9, 7 PM), @ Clarks Summit (Jan. 11, 8 PM), @ Cairn (Jan. 13, 7 PM)
4. Franklin & Marshall Diplomats (4)
Record: 10-1 (4-0 Centennial)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Randolph (W, 78-53), vs. Delaware Valley (W, 89-62)
Star Watch: Matthew Tate (Sr./PG)
Update: The Diplomats had three full weeks to stew on their first loss of the year -- to Albright, on Dec. 8 -- and responded with force, winning two games by a combined 52 points to enter the New Year. Senior guard Brandon Federici continued to score the ball at a torrid pace, dropping 20 on Randolph and then 25 on Del-Val, but they also got strong play from Tate, who had 10 points and eight assists against Randolph followed by a 16-point, six-rebound, four-assist, three-steal performance against Del-Val; J.C. McGrath came off the bench to chip in 18 as well in the win over the Aggies. The main stretch of Centennial play starts with games against three of the bottom four teams in a row, but co-leader Swarthmore rounds out the next two weeks.
Next Two Weeks: vs. McDaniel (Jan. 6, 1 PM), @ Muhlenberg (Jan. 9, 8 PM), @ Washington (Jan. 11, 6 PM), vs. Swarthmore (Jan. 13, 3 PM)
3. Albright Lions (7)
Record: 10-1 (3-0 MAC Commonwealth)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Wilkes (W, 72-65), vs. PSU-Harrisburg (W, 91-85), vs. TCNJ (W, 69-64)
Star Watch: Fred Rowles (Soph./SF)
Update: Albright’s rise up the rankings has been swift; a month ago, the Lions were unranked, now they’re suddenly in the top three. But it’s been quite a ride for Albright; at 10 wins, the Lions are already within three of their total from a year ago. This is by far the program’s most successful start since 2012-13, when the Lions began 11-1 and went 22-7 (13-5 MAC Commonwealth), losing in the ECAC South championship after being upended by Lycoming in the conference quarterfinals. Rowles, a 6-5 wing out of Capitol Christian (Md.), showed off his versatility with an 18-point, five-rebound, six-assist effort against Wilkes and then had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four dimes against PSU-Harrisburg; on the season, he’s averaging 13.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 3.4 rpg, second on the team in scoring but first in the other two categories. Albright will be tested plenty in the next two weeks, with the “easiest” game a trip to a Hood team that’s 5-7 but gaining momentum after losing its first four games.
Next Two Weeks: @ Hood (Jan. 3, 6 PM), vs. Lebanon Valley (Jan. 6, 2 PM), @ Lycoming (Jan. 10, 6 PM), vs. Messiah (Jan. 13, 4 PM)
2. Swarthmore Garnet (1)
Record: 9-1 (4-0 Centennial)
Last Three Weeks: @ York (L, 83-79), vs. Framingham State (W, 80-48)
Star Watch: Nate Shafer (Soph./F)
Update: The national No. 15 Garnet suffered their first setback of the season on Dec. 13 when they traveled to York in a battle of the top two teams in our previous rankings. So there’s been a change at the top for the first time this year. Swarthmore took out its anger on Framingham State, handing the Rams their worst defeat of the year by a good margin, even without the services of senior guard Zack Yonda. Shafer, a 6-6 forward, scored 31 points over the two games to bring his scoring average up into double figures (10.2 ppg), his fourth and fifth double-digit scoring efforts of the year; he also grabbed 17 rebounds in the two games. One final non-league game comes tonight against No. 2 Middlebury before the Centennial slate re-starts with some big-time games looming in Hopkins and F&M.
Next Two Weeks: @ Middlebury (Jan. 2, 6 PM), vs. Gettysburg (Jan. 6, 1 PM), @ McDaniel (Jan. 9, 3 PM), vs. Johns Hopkins (Jan. 11, 7 PM), @ Franklin & Marshall (Jan. 13, 3 PM)
1. York Spartans (2)
Record: 11-0 (4-0 CAC)
Last Three Weeks: vs. Swarthmore (W, 83-79), @ Dickinson (W, 66-63), vs. Middlebury (@ Washington & Lee, W, 90-87 OT), @ Washington & Lee (W, 118-110 OT)
Star Watch: Blayde Reich (Sr./F)
Update: The nationally 25th-ranked Spartans dethrone Swarthmore atop our rankings following a four-point win over the Garnet, but that wasn't even the most impressive victory for York over the past two weeks. After another close win at Dickinson, York took down the 2nd-ranked team in the country, Middlebury, with a huge overtime win at the Washington & Lee Holiday Tournament. York snatched the tournament title over the Generals the next day, again in OT, behind explosions from Reich (44 points, 19 rebounds) and Dalton Myers (35 points), giving the Spartans the first 11-0 start in the program’s 49-year history. Reich is putting up 20.6 ppg and 9.0 rpg to lead the team in both categories, while Myers is scoring 19.1 ppg. The first couple weeks of 2018 shouldn’t be as hectic for the Spartans as December was, but they won’t be a cake walk either; Salisbury and Christopher Newport are right behind in the CAC, both at 3-1 in-conference, and should provide an ample challenge for this rolling York squad.
Next Two Weeks: @ Salisbury (Jan. 3, 7:30 PM), @ Southern Virginia (Jan. 6, 3 PM), vs. PSU-Harrisburg (Jan. 10, 8 PM), vs. Christopher Newport (Jan. 13, 3 PM)