We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 boys basketball poll for the final time in the 2012-13 season today. To see it, CLICK HERE.
A few notes and observations about the final poll:
Putnam finishes at the top: Following its dramatic 50-48 overtime defeat of Mansfield on Saturday night for the Division 1 state championship, its first in school history, Springfield Putnam elevates 13 spots to the top of the poll. It's the second year in a row a Springfield public school has won the D1 state title and finished No. 1, following Putnam's archrivals Springfield Central a year ago.
It's an historic accomplishment for coach William Shepard's troops on a multitude of fronts. The Beavers lost just once in the state of Massachusetts, to rival West Springfield in February, shortly before the D1 West tournament started. When they returned the favor to West Side in the playoffs, it marked the first time since 1984 they had reached the sectional final. Putnam's win also marks the first time in nearly a decade that Western Mass. has gone back-to-back as Division 1 state champions since the period from 2002-04, when Cathedral, Amherst and Commerce won in succession.
Mansfield (2), Brighton (3), Danvers (4) and Central Catholic (5) round out the top five.
Brighton stands alone: In a continued gradual decline of the Boston City League, Brighton is the only team remaining in the poll, finishing No. 3 after winning its first Division 2 state title in school history. At one point in late December, the Boston City League had a record six teams in the poll -- the aforementioned Bengals, along with New Mission, East Boston, Madison Park, Charlestown and Dorchester -- but that number dwindled quickly. Of the 12 City teams that qualified for postseason, only Brighton and Snowden won more than two tournament games. Close to half of the City teams were eliminated in the first round.
Handful of debuts, returns: As one would expect in such an unpredictable tournament, a number of teams are either returning to the poll or making their debut. The most significant return is Milford, which catapults in at No. 8 after winning its first Division 1 Central title in 15 seasons. The most significant debut is Martha's Vineyard, which comes in at No. 9 after winning Division 3 South and taking state champion Danvers to the wire in the Eastern Mass. Final.
The other teams making debuts are D2 South champ Scituate (15) and D1 South semifinalist Brookline (23). Making returns to the poll are North Quincy (18), Everett (20) and Rockland (25).
MVC reigns supreme: As it has all season long, the Merrimack Valley Conference remains represented by four teams in the final poll, more than double any other league across the state. Central Catholic comes in at No. 5, followed by North Andover (6), Andover (10) and Lowell (22). Also getting mention in the "Last 10 out" is Haverhill, champion of the MVC's second tier. The Hillies scored one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when they beat No. 4 seed Westford Academy in the first round of the D1 North tournament.
Here is how the final poll breaks down by league affiliation:
Merrimack Valley - 4
Bay State - 2
Hockomock - 2
Mid-Wach A - 2
Northeastern - 2
Patriot - 2
Valley Wheel - 2
Boston City League - 1
Catholic Conference - 1
Central Mass. Conference - 1
Eastern Athletic - 1
Greater Boston - 1
Middlesex - 1
South Coast - 1
South Shore - 1
Valley League - 1
We thank you again for following along with us this winter. Be sure to check back with us throughout the rest of the week for more postseason accolades and final polls.