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Monday, January 13, 2014
Everett makes jump in Top 25 boys hoop poll

By Brendan C. Hall

We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 poll this afternoon. To view it, CLICK HERE.

Updates are typically each Monday during the regular season. But with nine teams in our poll battling in Monday, Jan. 20's BABC Winter Classic, we are moving out next poll update to Tuesday, Jan. 21.

A few notes and observations about this week's poll:

Everett leaps into Top 5: After an impressive win over Greater Boston League archrival Cambridge, Everett catapults seven spots into the Top 5 for the first time in our poll's history. Led by junior Gary Clark and sophomore Ernie Chatman, the Crimson Tide are one of the most physically imposing defenses to deal with, and have a deep arsenal of scorers as well.

Top teams stand pat: Springfield Putnam remains No. 1 for the sixth consecutive week, a spot they've held on to since the preseason, but could be in for a challenge this weekend at the Hoophall Classic, where they'll open the five-day showcase with a battle against archrival Springfield Central (the two schools are separated by less than a mile) Thursday night, then face Woodstock Academy (Conn.) on Saturday.

Mansfield holds on to the No. 2 spot -- also a position they've held since the preseason -- after breezing its way to a 9-0 start. Much has been made of the Hornets' success without three of its starters, but with recent news of reigning Hockomock MVP Brendan Hill now being done for the season, one has to wonder if this all could eventually catch up to them.

Debuts and returns: Leominster finally makes its long-awaited debut in the poll, after beating archrival Fitchburg last week. The Blue Devils delivered one of the year's biggest stunners on the opening night of the season when they knocked off St. John's of Shrewsbury, 66-62. Brookline also jumps back into the poll, at No. 20, after a one-week hiatus, thanks to an upset of Newton North on Friday.

As always, here's how the poll breaks down this week by league affiliation:

Bay State - 3
Catholic Conference - 3
Boston City League - 2
Central Mass. Conference - 2
Eastern Athletic - 2
Greater Boston - 2
Hockomock - 2
Merrimack Valley - 2
Mid-Wach A - 2
Northeastern - 2
Patriot - 1
Valley League - 1
Valley Wheel - 1