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Wednesday, March 19, 2014
History made in final MIAA boys hoop poll

By Brendan C. Hall

On the heels of Saturday's state championships, we updated our statewide MIAA boys basketball poll for the final time in the 2013-14 season. To view it, CLICK HERE.

With its second straight Division 1 state championship, preseason No. 1 Springfield Putnam makes an historic finish atop the poll. This marks the first time a team has gone wire-to-wire, uninterrupted, as the state's top boys basketball team in the four-year history of ESPNBoston.com's high school section. The Beavers have held the top spot in our basketball poll continuously since March 2013, when they beat Mansfield in overtime for their first of two straight D1 state titles.

Other teams to go wire-to-wire as No. 1 in our statewide polls:

2011: Everett - football; Westwood - girls lacrosse
2011-12: Andover - girls basketball

A few more notes and observations about this final poll of the 2013-14 basketball season:

New Mission a solid No. 2: New Mission slipped into the second spot in our poll during the second half of the regular season, a position they hold tight after winning the Division 2 state championship over Concord-Carlisle, the program's third state title in five seasons. Following a loss to Putnam in late December, the Titans closed out the season on a 21-game win streak, including their first-ever City Championship and the top overall seed in D2 North.

This is the highest poll finish for New Mission since 2011, when they won the D2 state title in their first year of division membership. Head coach Cory McCarthy told members of the Boston media earlier this week that the Titans have applied to move up to Division 1 for next season.

Catholic Central finishes strong: After falling out of the poll just before the end of the regular season, Cardinal Spellman vaults back into the poll at No. 9, after winning the Division 3 state title, the program's first such title since 1984. It was an especially inspired postseason, which the team dedicated to late all-time great Joey Glynn, who died suddenly last June following his freshman season at Bentley University.

With St. Clement taking D4, the Catholic Central League has the unique distinction of having members from its "Large" (Spellman) and "Small" (St. Clement) divisions earning state titles. This is the fourth time in state tournament history that a league has had two state champions.

The other years:

Boys
2000 - Cape Ann (Newburyport - D3; Lynnfield - D4)
1995 - Northeastern (Salem - D2; Winthrop - D3
1992 - Boston City (South Boston - D1; East Boston - D2)

Girls
2011 - Catholic Central (Arlington Catholic - D2; St. Mary's - D3)
2001 - Tri-Valley (Westwood - D3; Hopkinton - D4)
1996 - Catholic Central (Archbishop Williams - D3; Marian - D4)

Making debuts: After reaching its first Division 2 state final in school history, Concord-Carlisle makes its season debut at No. 16. The Patriots won the Central sectional in its first year of district membership, then snapped Longmeadow's 18-game win streak in the Central/West state semifinal.

Elsewhere, making season debuts are D4 state champ St. Clement (17), D2 South champ Milton (18), D3 North champ Watertown (20) and D1 West runner-up West Springfield (22).

Poll breakdown by league affiliation:
Catholic Conference - 3
Bay State - 2
Catholic Central - 2
Central Mass. Conference - 2
Greater Boston - 2
Hockomock - 2
Merrimack Valley - 2
Northeastern - 2
Boston City - 1
Dual County - 1
Eastern Athletic - 1
Patriot - 1
Middlesex - 1
Mid-Wach A - 1
Valley League - 1
Valley Wheel - 1