These power rankings are based on dominance by class and not a strictly head-to-head ranking.
1. Dora (24-1 – C1)
Dora has won 17 games in a row and is 24-0 against teams from Missouri. The Falcons have a strong starting five led by Isaac Haney and his 28.1 points, 3.4 steals and 1.2 assists per game. There is a strong balance behind him. Bryson Luna adds in 13 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Just behind him is Mason Luna at 12.5 points, 5.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. Auston Luna is at 8 points. 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Waylon Masters rounds out the starting five at 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Mark Feb. 22, 2019 on your calendars. That is when Dora and Eminence will face off for a district title at Cabool if seeds hold. That will be one of the two best boys district basketball championships in southwest Missouri with the winner being the favorite to win the Class 1 state championship.
2. Mansfield (23-2 – C2)
Mansfield ascended to No. 1 in the Class 2 state rankings for good reason. The Lions have just two losses to Class 5 Republic and Class 3 Mountain Grove. They picked up a huge win over Class 5 Ozark on Feb. 2. The fact that they are led by only upperclassmen bodes very well for navigating the rigors of a Final Four run. Dylan Caruso (16.2 ppg) and Payton Watterson (16.0 ppg) lead this team. Caruso dominates in the paint with 9.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game, while Watterson sets things up from the perimeter leading the team with 4.1 assists per game. Hunter Gray (10.9 ppg) and Hesston Gray (10.6) have been two additions to the team that have helped put Mansfield over the top. I mentioned above that Dora-Eminence would be one of the best district title games in the area. Mansfield’s likely district title tilt, if seeds hold, with Summit Conference rival Hartville would be the other in the mix for that title. The Lions’ seniors have seen their seasons end at the hands of Hartville each of their three seasons. The last two Hartville beat Mansfield in the district title game. Three years ago Mansfield fell to Hartville in the state sectional round. Earlier this season, Mansfield beat Hartville by just one point. If seeds hold, Mansfield and Hartville would square off for a district championship on Feb. 21 at 6 pm at Hartville. It will be the only district title game in the area that night.
3. Catholic (23-3 – C3)
Catholic has lost three games since the last power rankings. Two came against nationally ranked teams in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions and the other was to Class 4 Rogersville by six. Catholic has proven without a doubt that they are the area’s best Class 3 team throughout the season. The Irish hold a 15-point win over the No. 2 seed in their district (Strafford). They hold a 13-point win over the No. 1 seed in the area’s other Class 3 district they would cross with for sectionals. They are a strong favorite to make it to the Class 3 quarterfinals. Jake Branham is one of the area’s best guards averaging 19.2 points per game. Charlie O’Reilly averages 12 points per game and is the only other player in double figures for scoring. That is when the depth takes over for the Irish. Mike Manzardo, Will Morrison, Zach Howell, Ben Galligos, Tyson Riley and Wallace Squibb are all averaging between 14 and 20 minutes per game and 3.3 and 9.7 points per game. Hunter Brown and Will Squibb give the Irish a total of 10 players averaging at least 7.8 minutes per game, or almost a quarter of play per game. This kind of depth helps insulate the Irish from foul trouble and keep them fresh for fourth quarter runs.
4. Eminence (20-5 – C1)
The Class 1 defending champions are still here. And they are the reigning champions until someone proves they can beat them in the playoffs. Dora took it to them in the Cabool Tournament back on Dec. 28. Since then, Eminence is 13-1 with the lone loss coming to a Thayer team they were facing for the third time this season. That run included a win over traditional Class 1 power South Iron which was ranked No. 4 in the state poll at the time of that game. Trent McBride and Grant Dyer do it all for the Redwings. McBride is averaging 22.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He is about to eclipse 2,000 points for his career. Dyer, who just passed the 1,500-point mark for his career, is right there with him at 22.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. The likely district title game between Dora and Eminence will be can’t-miss for even casual basketball fans.
5. Rogersville (18-5 – C4)
Rogersville has not lost to an area team since falling to Greenwood on Dec. 20. Their two losses since the last power rankings have come to fellow Class 4 foe Helias Catholic and one of the Midwest’s best teams in Blue Valley Northwest (Kan.). The most impressive win in that stretch was beating Catholic on the road. It is the Irish’s only loss to a Missouri team this season. The Wildcats won the Big 8 Crossover Championship on Tuesday night over Nevada thanks to a balanced attack the Tigers tried to take away Luke Vandersnick. Vandersnick got 16 points, but Cade Blevins (22), Josh Linehan (15) and Kanon Gipson (14) all scored in double figures with Ryker Strong just outside of that threshold at nine points. On the year, Vandersnick is averaging 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Blevins (13 ppg) and Strong (10 ppg) are both averaging in double figures with Linehan sitting at 9 ppg.
6. Greenwood (22-3 – C2)
For Greenwood, it all starts with Aminu Mohammed. Mohammed is averaging 35.1 point and 17.2 rebounds per game for the Blue Jays and holds the Springfield record for points in season (842 and counting) and single game scoring with 53. Grant Harper and Tommy Pinegar have been strong in supporting roles. Harper is averaging 7.7 assists per game with 187 total. Pinegar has been a knockdown three-point shooter with 92 makes at a 42% clip. He will be one to watch long term if he continues that pace for his high school career. Greenwood has an interesting path as a No. 1 seed in their district tournament. Their likely semifinal opponent would be a Spokane team they lost to on Jan. 10. The range of potential postseason outcomes is very wide for this team. The Blue Jays could definitely win a state title, or they could lose in a district semifinal, as Spokane has proven a formidable foe already once this season. What they have going for them is each time they play they will have the no-doubt best player on the court. In no other team sport does that matter more than basketball.
7. Crane (22-3 – C2)
Crane is the third Class 2 team on this list. Mansfield has a strong inside-out presence with Caruso and Watterson with balance around them. Greenwood has the area’s best player dictating each game. Crane is going to attack you with a barrage of three-pointers. The Pirates, who have losses to Class 5 Willard and Class 3 Mt. Vernon and Strafford, have five different players who have knocked down at least 25 three-pointers. Tyler Campbell, Isaiah Smith, Wes Branstetter, Bryston Branstetter and Brecken Vaught are all a threat from the perimeter at any time. Campbell leads the team at 19 points per game with Smith at 15 points per game. Jacob Woodward does strong work in the post leading the team with 6.1 rebounds per game. The Pirates are the No 1 seed in Class 2 District 11. A potential district title tilt with Verona would be a lot of fun with both teams possessing strong offensive attacks.
8. Kickapoo (16-4 – C5)
Kickapoo has begun to separate from the pack in Class 5. The Chiefs avenged their lone in-class loss in the Nixa Invitational semifinals with a 59-56 victory over Ozark before picking up another Class 5 win the next night by six over Willard. They lost their lone conference game by four to West Plains. Now the Chiefs need a win on Friday over Waynesville and a Tuesday senior night win over Hillcrest to take a share of the conference title. Kickapoo is the No. 1 seed in Class 5 District 11. The district also includes Nixa, Ozark, Branson and Glendale.
9. Republic (18-6 – C5)
Republic is the final remaining unbeaten team the Central Ozark Conference standings. The Tigers are 9-3 since the New Year with two of those losses coming to Kansas schools and the other coming at the hands of Catholic. The Tigers are currently undefeated in conference. Broc Smith leads the team with 17.5 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. Drew McMillin is just behind him at 14.3 points per game while shooting 51.2% from 3-point range. Tucker Thomas (9.7 ppg), Race Looney (7.8 ppg) and Trent Rackley (7.2 ppg) all give coach Tim Brown a stable of options to choose from on the offensive end. The margin overall has been thin for the Tigers this year averaging 58.9 ppg while yielding 50.2 ppg. Republic will look to close out an unbeaten run through the COC with games against Webb City on Friday and a season-finale at Ozark on Tuesday.
10. West Plains (20-4 – C4)
The Zizzers have won 11 in a row and are a victory over Central on Friday night away from wrapping up at least a share of the Ozark Conference title. West Plains has been tough to gauge with a 20-point loss to Rogersville and a four point loss to in class Bolivar. They avenged that Bolivar loos by beating the Liberators by 11 in their home tournament title game. They also avenged a loss to Parkview turning an 11 point defeat in the Blue & Gold around for a 13-point win in the conference game. West Plains will likely have to avenge at least one more loss to make the Class 4 state tournament. Rogersville is the No. 1 seed in Class 4 District 11 while the Zizzers are the No. 2 seed.
11. Licking (22-3 – C3)
The Licking boys sit at No. 10 in the latest Class 3 rankings. They are 9-2 since the last power rankings. Those two losses were to Class 5 Waynesville by 10 and a 13-point loss to fellow Class 3 school Strafford. The Wildcats are the No. 1 seed in the Class 3 District 2 tournament at Mountain Grove
12. Hartville (18-6 – C2)
Hartville is 8-2 since the last power rankings. The two losses came to Class 4 Marshfield and Class 1 No. 1 Dora. The Dora loss was by just three points. A win over Verona by 27 points was the most impressive amongst those eight victories. Coach Brett Reed has spot started seven different players this year that are all averaging between 9 and 14 points per game. The Eagles have won four consecutive district titles and made the state quarterfinals in three straight seasons. They will have the luxury of playing their district tournament at home, but will likely have to get through rival Mansfield, the state’s No. 1 ranked Class 2 team, to keep that streak alive.
13. Thayer (20-5 – C2)
Here is our fifth Class 2 school in the top 15. Thayer would have a state tournament path that would avoid any of the area’s other Class 2 programs until a potential state title game. The Bobcats picked up a big win on Tuesday night by beating Mountain Grove for the first time in four years. The victory snapped Grove’s 33-game conference winning streak and gave Thayer at least a share of the SCA title for the first time since 2013-14. Four players are averaging in double figures for the Bobcats in Ayden Stone (11.6 ppg), Jordan Andrews (10.8 ppg), Braden Hufstedler (10.6 ppg) and Dylan Spencer (10.0 ppg). Jayce Haven is just behind them at 8 ppg. Stone also leads the team in rebounds (8.2) and assists (2.8) per game. Spencer and Hufstedler each are pulling down 7.6 and 5.0 rebounds per game. Haven and Andrews are adding in 2.6 and 2.0 assists per game. Dillon Poulette may not show up in the stat leaders, but he is the key to a Bobcat defense that is allowing 43.2 points per game. Thayer will look to complete an undefeated SCA season with a win over Willow Springs on Feb. 15 before starting district play the next day as the No. 1 seed in Class 2 District 2.
14. Lakeland (22-2 – C1)
Lakeland has lost just two games all year. Both came to undefeated Class 2 Adrian by seven and nine points. Otherwise, the Vikings have played just one game within single digits and are outscoring opponents 74-45.3 this season. They have a sophomore leading way in Rafe Kalberloh who is averaging 18.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Senior Ryan Taylor (15.7 ppg) and Landon Dull (11.7 ppg) are also scoring in double figures. Dull leads the team in assists at 4.4 per game.
15. Willard (15-8 – C5)
There is a lot of parity on the boys basketball scene this year and that is especially true in Class 5. I gave Willard this final spot on the strength of a 69-65 overtime win over Ozark Tuesday night. Daniel Abreu has been one of the breakout stars on the area basketball scene this winter. He set the Blue & Gold tournament scoring record in December and has just continued to be a one-man wrecking crew. Willard is averaging 66 points per game and Abreu is accounting 29.8 of those points per game to go with 8.4 rebounds per game. He can also shoot it with a 44.1% average from three-point range. He has three 40-point games this season including 40 points against Ozark on Tuesday night. A wide group of teams could represent the area in the state quarterfinals from districts 11 & 12 in Class 5. Willard is definitely one of those teams thanks to Abreu.
ALSO CONSIDERED: Ozark (15-8 – C5), Rolla (15-7 – C4), Verona (20-5 – C2), New Covenant (19-4 – C2), Halfway (19-5 – C1)