Posted: 1:36 pm Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Boys hoops: Inside the top 10, and a look ahead at this week’s action 

By Jeff Greer

Jupiter lined up an arduous week to prepare for the District 9-8A playoffs.

Grant Pelchen (50 in white) and Jupiter have high hopes for the postseason.

The fourth-ranked Warriors take their 14-5 record on the road Tuesday night to sixth-ranked Lake Worth, where Murray Smith’s squad regrouped after a disappointing loss to Atlantic two Fridays ago. Then on Wednesday, No. 5 Atlantictravels north to Jupiter.

Call it a tour of District 14-7A.

Next week presents another intriguing challenge for Jupiter, the top seed in the perilous 9-8A five-team bracket. The semifinal, next week’s only must-win game, could be against scrappy Palm Beach Central or archrival Palm Beach Gardens. If Gardens beats Central, which hasn’t happened yet this season, there’s major trap game potential.

Jupiter, loaded with seniors, doesn’t want a repeat of last year, when it stumbled in the regional quarterfinals to eventual state semifinalist Spanish River. The Warriors have good point guard play, some wing talent and a big interior group. The experience is huge, and so are the expectations. Yet even if they lose both games this week, the Warriors will be better for it next week. At least that’s what Andersen hopes.

To the Top 10:
1. Grandview Prep (22-1)
2. Summit Christian (17-5)
3. Palm Beach Lakes (17-3)
4. Jupiter (14-5)
5. Atlantic (18-5)
6. Lake Worth (20-3)
7. St. Andrew’s (17-3)
8. Suncoast (18-4)
9. Wellington (17-7)
10. Royal Palm Beach (15-5)
Also considered: Cardinal Newman, Spanish River.
Best of the T-Coast: Martin County, Treasure Coast, Jensen Beach.

Summit Christian rises up to the second spot thanks to an impressive 14-1 run since Dec. 10. The Saints’ only loss came against Blanche Ely, one of the top teams in the state, at the D-Hop Classic. Summit surpassed Lakes, which lost two games last week and already has a loss to Summit. Lakes is the best of the big schools, with Jupiter, Atlantic and Lake Worth nearly inseparable. We’ll get a better idea of the latter three teams after they play this week. Lakes gets a reprieve from Atlantic and Lake Worth until the regional playoffs.

St. Andrew’s remained in the rankings despite a close loss to Cardinal Newman. I thought about putting Newman in this week’s Top 10, but none of the teams the Crusaders would replace lost. Suncoast, Wellington and Royal Palm Beach each had perfect weeks last week, and even piled up some very good wins. Royal Palm Beach is a serious dark horse in the projected four-team pod for this area’s 7A playoffs, which should also feature Lakes, Lake Worth and Atlantic.

Best games this week

Tuesday
(4) Jupiter at (6) Lake Worth
Dwyer at (3) Palm Beach Lakes
Pahokee at (10) Royal Palm Beach

Wednesday
(10) Royal Palm Beach at John I. Leonard
Boca Raton at (1) Grandview Prep
(5) Atlantic at (4) Jupiter

Thursday
Dwyer at (8) Suncoast

Friday
(6) Lake Worth at John I. Leonard
Cardinal Newman at (10) Royal Palm Beach

Saturday
Pahokee at Glades Central