Super 8: Kent, Tabor chasing Exeter, Williston rumbling and more

The top three in this week’s Super 8 remains the same with Kent and Tabor snapping at the heels of Exeter, who are still the top squad in the Super 8. However No. 4-8 has been shaken up with Founders League teams climbing and falling in the rankings as bids for the tournament continue.

Still, no new teams have jumped into the Super 8 just yet, and with numerous cancelations over the weekend due to weather, most teams only played one game over the week.

Here’s how it all played out:

No. 1: Exeter (10-2)

Last week’s rank: 1

Past week review: 1/20 @ Buckingham Browne & Nichols W 67-43, 1/22 @ New Hampton (AAA) L 62-75

The Big Red remain the top team in this week’s Super 8 with a Class A-leading record of 10-2. The Lions collected a convincing win on the road against Class A opponent BB&N on Wednesday. They suited up again on Friday night against an extremely-talented (AAA) New Hampton team, and despite Exeter’s efforts to keep the game close, they eventually fell to New Hampton 62-75. However, this is not a bad loss for Exeter as New Hampton is considered as one of the best teams in all of New England.

Dartmouth pledge James Foye ‘16 continues to provide exceptional shooting and playmaking as Exeter’s go-to offensive option. The Lions’ string of Division III-bound seniors are also instrumental to the team’s recent success.

Exeter only has one game scheduled next week where they will have a chance to gain another Class A victory on the road against a struggling Belmont Hill team. Tip-off will be at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, 1/27.

  • Kenneth Wu

No. 2: Kent (10-3)

Last week’s rank: 2

Past week review: 1/20 vs Suffield W 52-47

The Lions continue to roar as their five-game win streak continues. Kent’s most impressive win over this stretch was a tight 52-47 victory at home over a strong Suffield team last Wednesday. Over the five-game stretch, Kent has dropped 325 points (65 ppg) and given up 247 (49.4 ppg). The Lions haven’t lost since January 6th.

Guard Kena Gilmour ‘16 continues to play at a high level and had a visit with D2 Kennesaw State last November while picking up an official offer from Dartmouth.

The Lions will vacate their home court for their next seven games, and this seven-game road trip will be a true test for Kent. Saturday’s clash with Berkshire was called off due to weather.

To start off this long stretch of away games, the Lions will travel to Hotchkiss on Wednesday, then will be in Simsbury on Saturday to take on Master’s (AA). After that, the Lions’ stretch includes AOF, KO, Taft, Westminster, Hotchkiss (home), and TP (home). 

  • Ethan Case

No. 3: Tabor (10-4)

Last week’s rank: 3

Past week review: 1/20 @ St. George’s W 66-49

Tabor logged a 15-point win over St. George’s this past Wednesday. Noah Fernandes ‘19 led the way for the Seawolves as the repeat freshman had 18 points. Senior guard Brandon Beloti continues to play well, as he pitched in 14 points as well in the victory.

Fernandes continues to be a bright spot for the Tabor program and a big get from Old Rochester, a team he led in points, assists and steals per game last season.

The Seawolves remain undefeated in Class A play, and their losses have come to Class B’s elite (Rivers), two AA schools (St. Andrew’s and Cushing), and an independent school (Notre Dame Prep).

Looking ahead, Tabor will host Beaver Country Day on Friday night with a 5PM tip.

  • Ethan Case

No. 4: Taft (8-3)

Last week’s rank: 5

Past week review: 1/20 vs. Berkshire W 75-42

Taft continues to surge up the Super 8 ladder, this week landing at the No. 4 spot. Coming fresh off an overtime victory against arch-rivals Hotchkiss, Taft stayed red-hot as they collected win #8 this week against the Berkshire Bears, who haven’t quite found their rhythm yet.

The Rhinos benefitted hugely from senior forward Ludvig Swanstrom’s return from injury, as the 6’6 Swedish forward has been phenomenal for Taft this year. However, Ludvig’s return did not slow things down for guards Shamir Johnson ‘18 and Darius Chester ‘17, both of whom have been scorching as of late. Johnson once again showed off his offensive prowess, leading the way with 20 points against Berkshire, while Chester followed with 9 points and 5 assists.

After a relatively easy week, Taft has a busy one coming up for them. They travel to Trinity Pawling on Monday (rescheduled from Saturday 1/23) to kick off a string of away games. They then visit the Berkshire Bears on Wednesday and end the road trip on Friday with a tough matchup against a red-hot Canterbury team who are on a four-game win streak. The Rhinos will finish the week off at home with another game against Trinity Pawling.

  • Kenneth Wu

No. 5: Williston (8-4)

Last week’s rank: 7

Past week review: 1/20 vs Salisbury W 59-39

The sleeping giant has awoken! After starting the season at .500, the defending champs have won their last four games and each by a wide margin. In the Wildcats’ four game win streak, Williston has beat their opponents by an average of 22.75 points. Jamal David ‘16 and Sam Geschickter ‘16 (Bentley) have both been consistent throughout the season and have been reliable scorers.

After blowing out Salisbury, Williston sits at 8-4 and now has a three-game week including Wednesday @ Canterbury, Friday @ Deerfield, and Saturday @ Hotchkiss. With three games in four days, and all of them coming on the road, we’ll see how if Williston can keep their recent streak alive.

  • Ethan Case

No. 6: Avon Old Farms (8-4)

Last week’s rank: 8

Past week’s review: 1/18 @ Hotchkiss W 83-70, 1/20 vs Trinity-Pawling W 70-56

Avon has started to regain its swagger after dropping two tough games in the previous week. In the Winged Beavers’ win over Hotchkiss, Isaiah Nichols ‘16 dropped 33 points with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Rodney Henderson ‘16 has been playing very well too as he had 17 points in Avon’s win over Hotchkiss and 19 in the win over TP.

Avon’s ability to score the basketball is remarkable as they have averaged exactly 70 points per game this year.

The Winged Beavers have a three-game week coming up with games Monday at home vs Suffield, Wednesday at Trinity-Pawling and Saturday at Westminster.

  • Ethan Case

No. 7: Suffield (7-4)

Last week’s rank: 4

Past week review: 1/20 @ Kent L 47-52, 1/23 vs. Macduffie (AA) W 73-55 (In Springfield, Mass.)

Although Suffield started the season off strong, the last two weeks have been rough for the Tigers as they continue to struggle, this week slipping to No. 7 in the Super 8 standings.

Suffield suffered another Class A loss this week to Kent, who has been absolutely on fire lately after a cold start to the season. However, Suffield’s big win over double-A team Macduffie at the Spaulding Hoop Hall Classic can be considered a bright spot to their week.

Junior power forward Garrett Stephenson has been outstanding for the Tigers this season and Saturday was no exception as he put up 21 points to help Suffield snap out of a losing streak against Macduffie. Guard Elijah Wilson ‘16 also contributed 21 on Saturday. Yale bound post-grad wing Miye Oni also continues to provide solid play for the Tigers.

Suffield will have a chance to rebound off their recent losses with two Class A games scheduled for the next week. A tough road game against Avon on Monday is on tap and a game at home versus a struggling Choate team on Saturday.

  • Kenneth Wu

No. 8: Hotchkiss (7-5)

Last week’s rank: 6

Past week review: 1/18 vs. Avon L 70-83, 1/20 vs. Canterbury L 94-97 (OT)

Hotchkiss is also going through a little bit of a rough patch, sliding down another 2 spots to No. 8 this week. The Bearcats could not snap out of their losing skid as they fell to the surging Avon Winged Beavers on Monday.

The matchup between Hotchkiss’ Elijah Bailey ‘16 and Avon’s Isaiah Nichols ‘16, two of the best guards in Class A, was the highlight of the game. Nichols capped the game off with 33 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists while Bailey finished the game with 30 points.

Hotchkiss then clashed against another strong team in reigning Class B champions, Canterbury, on Wednesday, and the Bearcats once again came up just short in a tight, high-scoring, overtime thriller as their potential game-tying 3-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer. This tight-margined overtime loss is Hotchkiss’ second in as many weeks.

Starting guard Elijah Bailey ‘16 had a career-high 39 points against Canterbury on Wednesday, and in this past week, he averaged an incredible 34.5 points. We should continue to see Elijah perform at a high level in the upcoming weeks.

Hotchkiss will play three games this next week. They will play Monday at Westminster (rescheduled from Saturday 1/23), Wednesday at home against Kent, and Saturday at home against defending champs, Williston. Kent and Williston are both playing incredible basketball lately, and they will be tough tests for Hotchkiss as they look to work their way back up the Super 8 ladder.

  • Kenneth Wu

On the cusp: Loomis Chaffee (7-5), and Hopkins (9-3).