Jan 3, 2013

Peninsula men lead rankings heading to league play

NWAACC Men's Basketball

The Clackamas Holiday Invitational proved to be fantastic yet again, with a host of solid teams facing off and providing good insight for this week's rankings. Peninsula looked dominant outside of the tournament opening overtime victory over No. 6 Yakima Valley, and No. 7 Tacoma finally saw all of their starters on the court at once. Also, it seems that the Northern Region is back again this year, with three teams in the JOWARD Rankings, and four teams in the coaches poll, Whatcom having made the cut. As region play begins this week, we'll get to watch the battle for playoff spots start - the top four of in each region make the 16-team tournament in Tri-Cities, Wash. in the first weekend in March.

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. If you have a question or a comment feel free to leave it below, respond via twitter or send me an email


1. Peninsula (9-4, 0-0 North)
No. 2 (tie) coaches
Previous ranking: 3 , No. 7 coaches

Whatever questions might have been had about Peninsula with their lack of NWAACC opponents have definitely been answered. A dominant 22 point victory over No. 3 Edmonds, who was on track to top the Power Rankings, has been followed up with three straight victories, over No. 5 Tacoma and No. 6 Yakima Valley, and then Centralia to claim the Clackamas Holiday Tournament championship. Peninsula is now the only team to have gone undefeated against NWAACC competition so far. The Pirates are second in rebounding with just over 54 boards per contest, and third in assists with 17.


2. Lane (12-2, 0-0 South)
No. 1 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 2, No. 1 coaches

Lane has only played once since the last set of rankings, a 73-62 [box] win over Linfield JV, so it seems unfair to move them too far from their position from two weeks ago. The Titans' win streak has now been pushed to five ever since falling to Spokane on December 9th, a game in which Lane's point's leader Tyler Coleman was held eight points below his seasonal average. T. Coleman's numbers have been down as of late, but Lane has gotten contributions from a number of different sources, including Alex MacNeil, who has been netting 14.5 ppg in the last four, up from just under nine points through his first five games.


3. Edmonds (10-2, 0-0 North)
No. 2 (tie) coaches
Previous ranking: No. 4, No. 3 coaches

Edmonds has had a few chances to recover from getting embarrassed by Peninsula on December 16th, and so far they've come through. While their opponents - Lower Columbia (2-8), NW Indian (1-4 vs. NWAACC) and EDCC Alumni - haven't been all that impressive, those games will hopefully serve as tune ups and momentum builders going in to what will be a very tough regular season in the NWAACC North. The Tritons are lead by Shaquille McKissic, whose 22.4 points are good for third in the league.


4. Big Bend (11-3, 0-0 East)
No. 4 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 5, No. 6 coaches

Following their narrow 80-79 loss [box] to Treasure Valley, Big Bend has rebounded with three straight victories to take the Big Bend Holiday Classic title, defeating Douglas, Blue Mountain (6-6) and Skagit Valley (7-6). In those three contests, the Vikings averaged 92.6 points, the first run of games that actually backs up their seasonal average of 92.14 points per contest, largely distorted by their 143 points in the preseason opener. Throwing out that first contest and re-working the numbers, and the latest stretch is four points above their seasonal average. That's red hot and rollin' heading in to Eastern Region play. 


5. Tacoma (7-4, 0-0 West)
No. 9 coaches
Previous ranking: NR, NR coaches

As head coach Carl Howell was quick to point out, Tacoma is finally close to full strength. They have several of their big guns back, with all five of their starters playing at the same time against Clackamas in the final game at the Clackamas Holiday Invitational. Tacoma won that game 85-64 [box], just a night removed from getting steamrolled by No. 1 Peninsula by 22 points. Josh Lord, who has played in just five games so far, had his best contest of the season with 20 points and four rebounds, and will factor in greatly going forward into the regular season.


6. Yakima Valley (10-4, 0-0 East)
No. 8 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 7, NR coaches

The Yaks performed well at the Clackamas Holiday Invitational, taking No. 1 Peninsula to overtime before falling 83-74 [box]. YVCC then turned around and flattened Linn Benton 87-64 [box] and on the following night turned on the afterburners to outscore Walla Walla 103-100 [box] behind 22 points from Joel Yellow Owl. As Clackamas head coach Clif Wegner put it, there wasn't a bad team at the Clackamas Holiday Invitational, and Yakima Valley was a victim of just that. They played Peninsula closer than just about everyone else, and are probably underrated at the No. 6 spot.


7. Bellevue (8-4, 0-0 North)
No. 7 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 6, No. 5 coaches

One of the few teams that sat out of the holiday action, Bellevue hasn't seen much of the court in the last two weeks. One of their two games, an 85-75 [box] loss to No. 6 Yakima Valley, came despite a huge game from sophomore Jeff Kimmel, who exploded for a season high 17 points in 23 minutes, more than 12 points over his seasonal average. Bellevue flattened Highline 68-46 [box] nine days later, a fitting platform to trampoline into an extremely competitive Northern Region regular season, with three teams from the division making the rankings.


8. Pierce (9-3, 1-0 West)
No. 5 coaches
Previous ranking: No. 1, No. 4 coaches

After taking more than two weeks off following a 98-83 win [box] over Chemeketa, Pierce came out strong, knocking off a reeling Grey's Harbor team that had already lost their last three. Wait... strong? Oh. Well, a win is a win, but beating GHC isn't much to brag about, especially since Pierce was looking to prove themselves after losing to Bellevue in the second round of the BC Crossover in mid December. However, despite that loss, Pierce remains stubbornly one of the best offensive teams in the league, averaging 90.83 points (3rd) and 19.85 assists (1st) per ballgame, and is one of the most efficient squads as well, with a nearly 4:3 assists to turnover ratio.


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