Dec 18, 2012

Pierce ranked No.1 after crossover weekend

NWAACC Men's Basketball

With the preseason Crossover tournaments now behind us, things are a little clearer. The Northern Region is strong as ever, with six teams at .500 or better, and four teams with seven wins or more. The East, too, is on sure footing with five teams above .500 and two teams with eight wins. The West and South, however, aren't faring so well. We'll see come tournament-time, but in inter-region play the Southwest won only one tournament, with Lane cruising to a victory at Green River. The South is particularly convoluted. With the absence of Mt. Hood, and the slow start of Chemeketa, there doesn't appear to be a dominant team outside of Lane, who has run out to a league best 11-2 record. Many questions will be answered this coming weekend at the Clackamas Holiday Invitational, where the invitees have a combined record of 48-27, making for some excellent basketball ahead.

Be sure to check back in a week's time for Full Court Press (last week | this week), a bi-weekly roundup of NWAACC basketball action to fill in the gaps. Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record, and will be posted when they are made available.


1. Pierce (8-3, 0-0 West)
No. 6 coaches
Previous ranking: NR , No. 3 coaches

The Raiders may be one of the best offensive-defensive packages in the league. They average 91.27 points per contest, good for third in the NWAACC, but only give up an average of 69.6. The league doesn't keep defensive stats like that, but if they did, it's sure to be in the top ten if not higher. While they're not leading in average points, they've managed to score 100+ in four regulation games, none of which were against old ex-college players or alumni squads. In their three losses, their one Achilles heel seems to be lack of opportunities at the free throw line. They were badly outshot from the charity stripe by both Bellevue and SW Oregon.


2. Lane (11-2, 0-0 South)
No. 1 coaches
Previous ranking: NR #, No. 6 coaches

Lane is a difficult team to rank. They sit at 11-2 which looks impressive, but then you have to slow down and look at their games. They squeaked by Blue Mountain (4-5) and Shoreline (1-8), and beat a couple of JV squads. They lost to Bellevue early on and got blown out by Spokane [box], but have also beaten No. 7 Yakima Valley and crushed Green River (7-3). Their victory at the GRCC Crossover may be telling, but something still just doesn't sit right. Is Lane for real yet? 


3. Peninsula (6-4, 0-0 North)
No. 8 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 7, NR coaches

Coming off a preseason in which they played hardly any NWAACC teams, opting for nationally ranked NJCAA schools instead, Peninsula's 6-4 record doesn't exactly reflect how good this team is. They more than kept pace with some of the best Juco squads in the nation, and to add a cherry on top of the Pirate sundae, they dominated No. 4 Edmonds in the championship of the Umpqua Crossover Tournament. They're fourth in points and first in assists, and if they can come out the other side of the Clackamas Holiday Invitational unscathed, it will be an almost done deal to put them in the top sp


4. Edmonds (7-2, 0-0 North)
No. 3 coaches
Previous ranking: NR, No. 2 coaches

After finishing the 2011-12 season at a dismal 3-21 overall, Edmonds has definitely bounced back. In their six games, they have only lost to North Idaho and Peninsula, and are beginning to rack up some impressive victories. They knocked off now No. 2 Pierce on Nov. 28 (box) and defeated Spokane in a reasonably close match on Dec. 2 (box). Edmonds is one of those odd situations where a team has average stats across the board, and yet is able to go out and win just about every time they step on the floor. They're middle-of-the-pack in nearly every category but wins: 6-1 against NWAACC competition in what looks to be a tightly contested Northern Region race. The 22 point loss to Peninsula stings, but Edmonds will get a chance at a rematch on Jan. 9th.


5. Big Bend (8-3, 0-0 East)
No. 5 coaches
Previous ranking: NR, No. 4 coaches

Big Bend's stats are a little wacky, as their 143 point game vs. BBCC Alumni somehow counts towards their average points, but that said, the Vikings are still a solid offensive team. They average 87 points per game outside of their initial contest, which is good for 5th in the league. Probably BBCC's biggest win so far was their victory over Clackamas where they withstood a furious rally that sent the game into overtime, during which Big Bend outscored Clackamas 19-14. However, time will tell if Big Bend can keep pace with their early season frolic. If not for a last second turnover in their 80-79 loss to Treasure Valley on Dec. 16th, Big Bend could very well be leading these power rankings.


6. Bellevue (7-3, 0-0 North)
No. 4 coaches
Previous ranking: NR, No. 4 coaches

One of the few teams with better defensive numbers than Pierce, Bellevue is holding opponents to just 66.4 points per game. While they're not the strongest on the offensive side of things, averaging a fifth-worst 71 ppg, they have several notches in their belt with which to build on going forward. Firstly, they have a close victory over a talented but inexperienced Clackamas team early in the season (box). They also held the high scoring Big Bend Vikings to just 72 points in a 75-72 win (box).


7. Yakima Valley (6-3, 0-0 East)
NR coaches
Previous ranking: No. 6, No. 1 coaches

Before the Green River Crossover this last weekend, Yakima Valley had things rolling rather nicely. They picked up an important win over Spokane (box), forcing the Sasquatch into 22 turnovers and just 32% shooting and were leading the NWAACC in blocks with five swats per contest. Then they ran into the buzz saw that is No. 2 Lane, and lost 82-75 [box] despite five blocks from freshman Joel Yellow-Owl. The following night, they came back to send the game against Everett to overtime, but ended up losing 91-89 [box]. That aside, YVCC still seems to have a good chance of challenging for the Eastern Region title, especially as they now average 5.55 blocks per game.


8. Green River (7-3, 0-0 West)
NR coaches
Previous ranking: NR, No. 8 coaches

Humbled in their crushing loss to Lane in the championship of the GRCC Crossover, it can be easy to forget how well Green River had done prior to that contest. They pushed a rebuilt Clackamas team to 21 turnovers in a 75-69 [box] early season victory. A few weeks later, they beat Spokane (8-4) and then Everett (7-3) before getting dominated by Lane 68-46 [box]. Green River is another one of those teams that gets by on the intangibles, the stats that don't get recorded. They're in the bottom half of nearly every category with the exception of steals, yet they've done impressive work so far.



  1. Oh man not this joker again. How many teams does he actually watch before he "ranks" them?!

  2. How would you have ranked the teams? I'd like your input, if you think I'm so wrong.

  3. I enjoy reading up on your column.
    Don't let one piece of fruit ruin the crop.

  4. It's nice to see a poll that doesn't have the 8 voting coaches vote only for themselves and the teams that beat them.

  5. How do you have Lane... who is one of the hottest teams in the NWAACC ranked #2. IDK but it seems as if they deserve to be ranked #1 right now because they're the best team... right now. It can definitely change though. Based on your rankings shouldn't Edmonds be ahead of Pierce because they beat them? Why is Pierce #1?

    1. I agree with you about Pierce. Why are they #1? They can't win a tournament. I seen them play a few games and I also seen all of the teams at the treasure valley tournament. All of those teams with the exception of one or maybe two teams would beat Pierce. SOCC proved that already and they went third in that tourney. Big bend, Treasure Valley, even Centralia are all good teams. Spokane is one to watch as well. SOCC doesn't pass the eye test but they shoot it well on a good day. Should be a fun season for everyone.

  6. Pierce lost to SWOCC. Watched them and not sold on them.