Posted: 6:58 pm Monday, February 6th, 2012

Boys’ hoops: Inside the final top 10 of the season 

By Jeff Greer

Let’s take the weekly look at the boys’ hoops top 10, which is printed every Tuesday in the Post.

With signing day and football recruiting taking up so much of January, and the football season ending so late, it feels like basketball season is so short. But we don’t have time to catch our breath now. The post-season is upon us. There are a few teams — Summit Christian, Grandview Prep, St. Andrew’s, Dwyer, Spanish River and others — that have state-tournament aspirations. A few others can make some noise in the district and region playoffs. Handicapping this all, though, I’d really say Summit Christian is the only team I consider a lock to make Lakeland.

Here’s the entire rundown of the district tournaments in our area. And here’s this week’s top 10, which you can also view here. I’ve listed each team’s upcoming games.

1. Summit Christian (23-2): vs. Yeshiva/American Heritage winner, Fri., 7:30
2. Spanish River (19-2): vs. Park Vista/Seminole Ridge winner, Weds., 7:30
3. St. Andrew’s (21-2): vs. Inlet Grove/Lincoln Park winner (at Lincoln Park), Fri., 7
4. Grandview Prep (17-4): vs. Wellington Christian/Boca Christian winner, Tues., 7
5. Dwyer (17-6):  vs. Wellington/Palm Beach Central winner (at Jupiter), Fri., 6
6. Martin County (21-3): vs. lowest seed to advance (at Port St. Lucie), Fri., 5:30
7. Jupiter (18-7): vs. Palm Beach Gardens, Fri., 7:30
8. John I. Leonard (15-6): vs. Boca Raton (at Spanish River), Weds., 6
9. Suncoast (17-5): vs. Fort Pierce Westwood (at Boynton Beach), Weds., 7
10. Royal Palm Beach (16-8): vs. Santaluces (at Forest Hill), Tues., 6
Also considered: Jensen Beach, Lake Worth Christian, Palm Beach Lakes.

Instead of breaking down the entire poll, I’ll take the temperature of area hoops as I see ‘em. We may disagree, so let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. (As always, keep it respectful.)

State title contenders

Before the season started, it was Summit Christian and Grandview Prep, and then everyone else. Summit still has a great shot at repeating as state champs — if the Saints stay healthy — but Sagemont could be a problem in the regions. Grandview has slumped toward the end of the season, albeit against some tough competition. The Pride still has a good shot at making Lakeland, but it’ll need to get some confidence back before the region playoffs.

I’m also ready to toss in Spanish River and St. Andrew’s into this conversation, too. River will have it tough in 8A. The region quarters and semifinals next week could feature any combination of Dwyer, Jupiter and Gardens and likely Leonard, River’s district rival. All four of those teams — particularly Dwyer, Jupiter and Leonard — could send River home on a good night. Plus, whichever team emerges from the region semifinals will likely play either Deerfield Beach or Cypress Bay. That won’t be a picnic.

St. Andrew’s will benefit from not being in the same region as Pine Crest, North Broward Prep and friends. Instead, the Scots will allow Tampa Berkeley Prep, Tampa Catholic and Avon Park to beat up on each other in the opening two rounds. Whoever  comes out of that group will be tough, but St. Andrew’s would have to deal with Fort Myers-Bishop Verot.

Wave-making potential

Mentioned them above, but Dwyer, Jupiter and Leonard will be tough outs in the post-season. If Gardens surprises Jupiter on Friday in the district tournament, the Gators would be a tough contest, too. Suncoast, Jensen Beach and Martin County will all be challenges for whoever gets them in the regions. This week, district tournament time, these teams should advance to the real post-season, the region tournament.

Crash or climb

A few unpredictable teams can be stashed into this category: Royal Palm, Lakes, Atlantic, Lake Worth Christian and even Gardens all have shots to get hot and get Ws. But they could just as easily lose unexpectedly. Keep an eye on these teams.