The O-Zone Power Rankings are compiled by the staff each week based on a team's relative dominance by class. The schools are not compared head to head, but rather by how strong they are against similar competition as well as current momentum.
CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR PHOTO OF THE WEEK
CLICK HERE FOR CLASS 1-3 DISTRICT SCHEDULES
(Last week in parenthesis)
1. Mt Vernon, 19-5 (1) – The ‘Neers remain one of the area’s hottest teams winning 11 of 12, including victories over Nevada and Lamar last week. The win over Lamar also marked Skip Brock’s 400th career win. Just two conference games stand in the way of a perfect Big 8 season, but those won’t be easy against Seneca (5-0) and Carl Junction (4-1).
2. Nixa, 18-4 (2) – The Eagles blasted Carthage, but needed a last second Austin Ruder 3-pointer to edge Republic at home last week. Sophomore big man Jacob Ruder left that game with an early shoulder injury, but should return in one week. Nixa seems to have hit a difficult patch, but that friction could better prepare them for a deep playoff run.
3. Billings, 19-4 (4) – The Wildcats posted an even 100 points in a 30-point thrashing of Hurley last week before holding off SWCL rival Clever 70-57 Friday night. The Cats have a plethora of offensive weapons, including Brady Chastain who scored his 1,500th career point last week, but they’ll need to lock down on defense as they open play in the very deep class 2 district 11 as the top seed.
4. Republic, 19-3 (3) – The Tigers dominated Neosho before almost knocking off Nixa last week. RepMo showed that its steady half-court offense and solid defense can give other teams fits. The next 11 days will provide a nice pre-playoff test with games against class 5 Willard, Ozark, Waynesville and Branson.
5. Strafford, 18-4 (5) – The Indians haven’t even been challenged since falling to Republic in the Rogersville Tournament two weeks ago. They own wins over Pleasant Hope, Stockton, Monett and Skyline by an average of 30 points per game. Junior Jacob Wade is back in the lineup and they’ll need to be at their best in the playoffs where they will likely square off with Mt. Vernon in a sectional rematch in which they were blown out last season.
6. Hartville, 20-3 (6) – The Eagles are another of the area’s hottest teams winning 11 of 12 games since the Blue and Gold Tournament, including a 20-point win over Conway last week. They’ll seek a perfect Summit League season Tuesday night at Gainesville, but it won’t be easy as the Bulldogs are 4 and 1.
7. Hillcrest, 17-5 (7) – It’s that time of year. The Hornets are a perfect 5 and 0 since the Tournament of Champions. In fact, looking back, Hillcrest is 54-6 since mid-January the past four seasons, including their 2010 class 5 state championship run.
8. Fair Play, 17-2 (8) – The Hornets officially captured the Lakeland Tournament championship with a 64-51 win over Osceola in a make-up game from last month. They also easily dispatched Macks Creek 80-64. They’ll wrap up the regular season this week seeking a Polk County League title with home games against Walnut Grove and Weaubleau. That leads into class 1 district 5 action the following week at Willard where they are the top seed.
9. Kickapoo, 16-5 (10) – The Chiefs are heating up at the right time, picking up big wins over Glendale and Joplin last week. The upcoming week features winnable matchups with Rolla and Waynesville before wrapping up the regular season with a February 19th OC showdown against Hillcrest at the Poo.
10. Branson, 16-6 (12) – The Pirates may literally be the hottest team in the area with four straight wins over some really strong competition; Parkview, Nixa, Ozark and Webb City. They’ll look to keep it going this week against Neosho and Carthage before wrapping up the regular season against Marshfield and Republic. The class 5 district 11 tournament should be another doozy this year!
11. Parkview, 18-5 (13) – The Vikings righted the ship this week with comfortable wins over Rolla and Glendale. Still fighting for a district seed, Coach Brown’s boys should run the regular season table with trips to Waynesville and Lebanon before wrapping things up with a home non-conference meeting against Central.
12. Clever, 18-5 (9) – When the Jays lose they seem to do it in bunches. Clever fell by 10 to Hollister on Tuesday before dropping a 70-57 SWCL battle against Billings Friday night. They’ll have one more tune up game at Sparta Tuesday night before entering the difficult class 3 district 12 tournament as the 2-seed next week at Seneca.
13. Crane, 17-5 (NR) – The Pirates work their way back into the mix with wins over Spokane and Blue Eye. They’ll wrap up the regular season with Forsyth and Galena before opening class 2 district 11 action as the 2-seed behind only Billings.
14. Skyline 16-7 (11) – The Tigers have fallen on tough times the past two weeks with Mid-Lakes losses to Fair Grove and Strafford. They remain in great shape however. Remember, Skyline is in class 2 and is actually the top seed in the district 13 tournament at Osceola next week. They’ll wrap up the regular season this week with games against Benton County and Pleasant Hope; a chance to get things going in the right direction heading into the playoffs.
Knocking on the door: Diamond (17-4), Everton (18-5), Webb City (15-7), Fordland (16-6), Ash Grove (17-6), Osceola (17-5), MV-BT/Liberty (18-6), Liberal (17-5), Bolivar (15-7), New Covenant (15-6), Gainesville (17-7), Hollister (17-6)