Here are the top eight teams for each league so far heading into the new year:
1. Seattle Prep (9-1): The Panthers have shown time and again that they are a serious threat for the Class 3A title this year. D.J. Fenner is one of the best scorer’s in the area, and the rest of the Panthers fit nicely around him.
2. Franklin (9-1): The Quakers lost their first game of the year to 4A Union in the final of the Tournament of Champions, but Franklin is a well-coached team that will only get better as the year goes on. The Quakers top three post players are underclassmen, and guard Darnell Berry is set to return from injury.
3. Rainier Beach (6-3): Don’t let Beach’s record fool you. The Vikings are still one of the top threats – and maybe the top threat – to win Class 3A this year. Rainier Beach lost to two really good teams in the MaxPreps Holiday Classic, but the Vikings are deep and talented enough to beat any team in the state.
4. Lakeside (8-1): Lakeside has quietly taken care of business since a season-opening loss to Seattle Prep. The Lions are led by Tramaine Isabell, one of the area’s best point guards, but also get steady scoring from D’Marques Tyson (around 14 points per game).
5. Eastside Catholic (7-4): Just won three of four games against teams from California.
6. Chief Sealth (5-5): Seahawks have lost four straight games but have the guard play to challenge teams.
7. Nathan Hale (5-6): Dropped three of last four games.
8. West Seattle (4-5): The Wildcats are a respectable 4-4 since interim coach Keffrey Fazio, including two wins in Vegas against California teams and a win against Chief Sealth.
1. Bothell (10-0): Cougars have played in only two games decided by less than 10 points; Zach Lavine is averaging close to 30 points per game.
2. Garfield (8-1): The Bulldogs are a deep group that have rattled off eight straight wins, including winning the Lake City Tournament, since a one-point loss to Beamer in the season-opener.
3. Mercer Island (10-1): The Islanders won three of four games in the VisitMesa.com Basketball Challenge, and all four games came against quality out-of-state teams. Joe Rasmussen, Nick Nordale and Kaleb Warner have taken turns putting in big scoring nights.
4. Newport (9-2): The Knights dropped two of their first four games – to Ballard and Garfield – but have since started rolling. Forward Isaac Dotson missed much of the first part of the season with an injury but has since returned and was named the tournament MVP of the Champions of Oregon Holiday Hoopfest. The Knights beat two ranked Oregon teams in the field.
5. Issaquah (7-3): The Eagles are a young team, but they’ve shown they are a true threat in KingCo 4A. Their only losses this year? Two against Bothell and the other against Garfield.
6. Bellevue (6-3): The Wolverines didn’t play their first game until Dec. 14 because football ended so late, but they’ve played well since then. They lost one game to Bothell and two to talented teams from California in the MaxPreps tournament.
7. Eastlake (7-4): The Wolves have won six straight games and just won a tournament in San Francisco.
8. Ballard (6-4): Have won three straight since losing three straight.
1. Jackson (10-0): Jackson has played the part of a top-five team all season. Jason Todd and Dan Kingma both averaged more than 20 points in Jackson’s last two wins.
2. Glacier Peak (9-2): Holds impressive wins against Chief Sealth and Mountlake Terrace and just won the Coeur d’Alene Holiday Invitational. Zach Pederson, Dreu Vader and Ramsey Rosales are a nice trio.
3. Mountlake Terrace (9-2): The Hawks own impressive wins against Shorewood, Eastlake and Mark Morris, a ranked 2A team. Their losses – to Glacier Peak and top-ranked Lincoln in 3A – don’t look too bad either.
4. Arlington (10-0): The Eagles have flown a little under the radar but 10-0 is hard to argue with. A Jan. 11 showdown with Jackson (10-0) is looming.
5. Shorewood (8-3): Since losing two of three, Shorewood has played far better basketball, including beating Glacier Peak and winning the Archbishop Murphy Christmas Tournament. Josh Hawkinson scored 22 points in the final.
6. Stanwood (7-4): Spartans have lost two straight after rattling off four wins.
7. Shorecrest (7-4): Have won three of last four and have been competitive in losses to good teams.
8. Oak Harbor (7-3): Best win came against Nathan Hale.
SPSL 4A/3A/2A and Seamount:
1. Federal Way (9-0): The Eagles are above and beyond the best team in the SPSL – and are making a case for the best team in Class 4A.
2. Renton (11-0): The Indians have speedy guards who attack the basket in waves, and they’ve held their own against all teams from bigger classifications this year.
3. Curtis (9-1): The Vikings only loss came against Federal Way, and they gave the Eagles a decent test.
4. White River (9-2): The Hornets beat Tumwater by 18, Clover Park by 11 and Auburn Mountainview by 16.
5. Mount Rainier (7-3): Beat Tahoma by 14 and beat Kentwood by 12. Best two wins of the season.
6. Lakes (8-4): Holds impressive wins against Shorewood and Clover Park.
7. Beamer (6-2): Beat Garfield to start the year, the only team to do so thus far.
8. Kennedy Catholic (6-2): Finished second to Ballard in the Les Schwab Christmas Classic.