Jan 19, 2013

Edmonds men lead rankings after top-two tussle

NWAACC Men's Basketball

A wild week is now in the books, a week that saw two of the top three ranked teams in both these very rankings and the coaches polls, falter and take a dip in the numbers. Edmonds and Peninsula, easily one of the biggest matches so far this young season, ended in a double digit win for the now top ranked Edmonds. In the Southern Region, the heavyweight Lane clashed against Chemeketa, who is returning a host of players from a team that made it to the 2012 final against Tacoma. A huge, 24 point win for the Storm was enough to catapult them back into this week's rankings, just one of several shakeups as things continue to get rowdy.  

Be sure to check back in a week's time for Full Court Press, a bi-weekly roundup of NWAACC basketball action to fill in the gaps. Next week, instead of the normal format, it's dark horse week Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record. If you have a question or a comment feel free to leave it below, respond via twitter or send me an email

Full Court Press: Dark Horse Week is now live online! Do you have a dark horse prediction?


1. Edmonds (14-2, 4-0 North)
No. 1 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 3 , No. 2 (tie) coaches

Nearly a month removed from their Dec. 16 debacle against Peninsula, Edmonds finally got their chance at a rematch. Edmonds got an edge, and Peninsula made a run, but was powerless to catch up as the Tritons hit 10-12 free throws, including 18 made at the charity stripe in the second half, and held on to win 104-89 [story] [box]. Shaq McKissic and Riccardo Maxwell came up huge, combining for 58 points, 14 rebounds and 16 assists. Edmonds also beat a Pirate team that didn't make many mistakes, with just 10 turnovers, 40% from  three point range, and 53% over all. Overcoming those numbers and that talent in such a fashion will serve Edmonds well in March.


2. Peninsula (12-5, 3-1 North)
No. 2 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 1, No. 2 (tie) coaches

Peninsula has finally returned to earth, ending their streak as the last team to go unbeaten against NWAACC competition. The RPI ratings have Peninsula at the top, and for good reason. Their 8-1 record against fellow NWAACC schools is impressive, mostly because they have seen the toughest schedule of any team in the league, with their opponents winning 62% of their games. Furthermore, Peninsula did just about everything they needed to against No. 1 Edmonds to win that game except for one: get to the free throw line. The Pirates shot just ten free throws to Edmonds' 30, something that gave Edmonds control of the pace. That kind of control contributes to things like 61% shooting and 48% from long range. We'll see if Peninsula can get those kinks worked out before their next meeting with the Tritons.


3. Lane (15-3, 3-1 South)
No. 3 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 1, No. 1 coaches

Lane was the second of a pair of top three teams to fall on a doomsday Saturday. Coming in, they relied heavily on their star Tyler Coleman, who leads the team in points, assists and steals. Coleman didn't have a bad game, just 2.5 points below his average, but aside from him and Keynan Middleton, whose monster 30 points was just one shy of his season high, Lane got next to nothing in a 95-71 [box] loss. That's coming from a team who has five players averaging double figure scoring. Now you have to wonder, is No. 7 Chemeketa that good, or did Lane simply trip up? Time will certainly tell with Chemeketa, but for now, Lane has lost the top spot in the South with just one slip up.


4. Big Bend (13-4, 2-1 East)
No. 4 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 4, No. 4 coaches

Big Bend didn't have the best of starts to their Eastern Region schedule. Traveling to Spokane, they must have underestimated the challenge that Spokane (11-5, 2-1 East) would bring, forgetting that Spokane has several big wins under their belt, including a stomping of No 2 Lane on December 9th. Whatever the case, Big Bend found themselves down nine at halftime, and although they played better in the second half, the Vikings couldn't slow the Spokane offense and fell 90-77 [box]. BBCC didn't dwell on the loss for too long, however, and picked up a solid win over No. 5 Yakima Valley to retain the top spot in the East. 


5. Yakima Valley (13-5, 3-1 East)
No. 6 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 6, No. 8 coaches

Yakima Valley kept things pretty close with No. 4 Big Bend on Dec. 5th, holding the high-scoring Vikings 14 points below their average in a 76-70 [box] loss. That was their only loss so far in Eastern Region play, and on the road, that's a decent play for facing one of the better teams in the league in a hostile environment. They followed up with a win over a rising Spokane team, and another close victory over Walla Walla. Going forward, Yakima Valley could string together several wins in a row, as they will face some of the bottom teams in the Eastern Region in succession before meeting Big Bend once more on Feb. 2nd at home.


6. Tacoma (11-5, 4-1 West)
No. 8 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 7, NR coaches

A Jan. 12 loss to Highline was the only trip up in an impressive 5-1 streak following Tacoma's loss to Peninsula at the Clackamas invitational. That run included a flattening of Clackamas, an 80-68 [box] defeat of No. 8 Pierce, and a solid thumping of S. Puget Sound. The loss to Highline is particularly puzzling, as the Titans' top two scorers in Jibreel Stevens (12.9 ppg) and Demetrius Smith (12.6 ppg) combined for just 10 points on 4-20 shooting. Darnell Williams and Josh Lord each scored 19 points, but Tacoma's lack of scoring (78.19 ppg, 18th NWAACC) will continue to haunt them in the future, unless they can get their stars going on a more consistent basis.


7. Chemeketa (11-4, 4-0 South)
No. 7 coaches
Previous ranking: NR, NR coaches

Ahh, the glorious return. A team that began the preseason ranked at No. 1, Chemeketa fell on hard times both early in the preseason against non-league opponents, and in late December when they lost a pair of games to No. 8 Pierce and unranked Whatcom. Since then, they've quietly been putting together a fabulous season. The Storm have now made it six straight, including a 95-71 [box] win over No. 2 Lane, who was ranked No. 1 by the coaches. It seems that Chemeketa has finally returned to last season's form. They sit at second in the league in points scored at 91.6 points per contest, and sport a very balanced attack with four players averaging double figures, and six players averaging nine points or more.


8. Pierce (13-4, 5-1 West)
No. 5 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 8, No. 5 coaches

A 12 point loss to No. 6 Tacoma aside, Pierce has put together a rather impressive month of January, going 5-1 so far and winning many of their games in blowout fashion. They have wins of 11, 12, 15, 16 and 44 in that stretch, and might have come away with a victory over Tacoma had they not dug themselves a 42-22 hole after the first 20 minutes. Pierce continues to be the only team in the league that shoots over 50% from the field, and they sit at 5th in the NWAACC in scoring with 86.9 points per game. The Raiders shoot a decent percentage from long range, but most of that damage is done from inside the three point line, as Pierce has shot fewer three point attempts per game than any other team in the top 15 in scoring.


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