Posted: 2:12 pm Monday, January 14th, 2013

Boys’ hoops: Inside the Top 10, and a look ahead to this week 

By Jeff Greer

Lake Worth entered the 2012-13 season as an intriguing outsider, with a new coach (Murray Smith) and a new star (Aaron Horne) and the potential to surprise some people.

Murray Smith already has Lake Worth exceeding expectations.

Surprise may be an understatement at this point. Lake Worth is 14-2 and possesses the area’s leading large-schools scorer in Horne. More importantly, the Trojans sit in first place in District 14-7A, no small feat considering their chief rival, Atlantic, was considered one of the area’s elite teams before the season.

Tuesday night changed that perception, with Lake Worth edging Atlantic in the first of two planned meetings this regular season. Now Lake Worth is the team to beat, and the team that appears most likely headed for a big-time second-round regional playoff matchup against Palm Beach Lakes. Last season it was obvious 7A would be the most fun to watch this winter, especially come regional-playoff time, with Lakes, Atlantic and Royal Palm Beach all expecting good seasons. Throw Lake Worth into the mix and there’s potential for three very, very good playoff games if those four teams make it out of districts.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Lake Worth has a rematch against Atlantic on Friday, a revenge game for the Eagles, who lost in an overtime thriller at Lake Worth this past week. There’s a chance these teams could play each other four times this season.

Friday’s matchup is just one of several huge games that will go a long way toward establishing our postseason outlook. But first, here’s the new boys’ basketball Top 10, which will be in Tuesday’s newspaper with our weekly stats leaders.

Post Top 10
1. Grandview Prep (16-0)
2. Palm Beach Lakes (12-1)
3. St. Andrew’s (14-2)
4. Lake Worth (14-2)
5. Summit Christian (14-5)
6. Suncoast (14-3)
7. Jupiter (10-4)
8. Atlantic (12-5)
9. Wellington (14-5)
10. Royal Palm Beach (10-4)
Also considered: Park Vista.

Big-time matchups

Jupiter at Wellington, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Wellington big fella Arthur Strappazzon will be charged with covering Jupiter’s FAU-bound center Grant Pelchen, who above all else is a 6-foot-10 rebounder who is tough to move. After that the matchups get even better. Wellington’s guards Dondre Duffus and Alex Peavler will be tough for Jupiter’s wings, but Jupiter’s most explosive player, Mike Edgely, presents his own challenges for defenses, especially in transition. Stephon Gordon emerged in recent weeks as a major player for Wellington, with his ability to get points in the paint and burst past his man, and he’s the X-factor.

Palm Beach Lakes at Suncoast, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Some of the best guard play in the area will take place at this one. It’s not a district game. No playoff ramifications. But this is a bragging-rights game. It should be an exciting up-and-down contest, with Lakes holding a slight advantage because of depth. Suncoast guard LaTarence Butts is having a breakout season, and Lakes has a shot at states. This is a must-watch game for area hoops fans.

Lake Worth at Atlantic, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
See above. What a big matchup, and it has all kinds of meaning. This week’s booked solid with great games.