Morris Catholic, Randolph force Top 10 shuffle

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball Top 10

1) Mount Olive (16-2) The Marauders have won their last seven games. Mount Olive seems to be in fine form with dominating wins over Vernon and Whippany Park in the Morris County Tournament. They have been getting good balanced scoring. Zach Heeman, Rashaan Spencer, Ryan Traub and Donte Wise have all had double digit performances. Games against Morris Hills and High Point are coming up as well as an interesting MCT contest against Morris Catholic.

2) Morristown (14-1) The Colonials have won eight games in a row. They are coming off a really good week with a solid win against West Morris and superior victories against Parsippany Hills and Morris Hills in the MCT.  Sean Hoehn is without a doubt the offensive leader on the team and in the county. Morristown has a good group of shooters and role players surrounding him. The defense is also improving. Tuesday’s road game at Randolph will be a fun test. Morristown also has a road game against Delbarton on Thursday. West Morris is Morristown’s MCT opponent.

3) Jefferson (17-0) The Falcons continue to set records. It is their longest unbeaten streak to start a season as well as their longest winning streak overall. This week they posted monstrous wins against Hackettstown and Kittatinny and had little trouble topping Roxbury in MCT action. A win against Newton on Tuesday should guarantee an NJAC Freedom Division title. They play Wallkill Valley on Thursday and Chatham is their opponent in the MCT quarterfinals.

4) Morris Catholic (15-4) Do the Crusaders deserve to jump this high? It’s an intriguing question. They do not play difficult teams within their division but the improvement and confidence of sophomores Amir Allen and Wayne Patterson has grown in leaps and bounds. Considering the problems and upsets that some of the traditionally stronger teams have suffered recently, Morris Catholic may deserve such a boost. It is on an eight-game winning streak and had victories over Boonton, Kinnelon and Morristown-Beard in the MCT. The Crusaders have a regular-season game against Mountain Lakes this week. Their MCT game against top-ranked Mount Olive will demonstrate how far the Crusaders have come.

5) Randolph (11-9) They have done it again. Leave it to the Rams to shake things up. After a 2-7 start, Randolph has won nine of its last eleven games. Pat Archer, Barry Lynch, Michael Talbot, Greg Moserowitz have all played on teams the last two seasons that have made runs to the MCT semifinals. Having a quarterfinal round game at home helps, too. Solid wins against Mendham and Chatham have made the Rams worthy of being here. They also took control of their MCT road victory against Hanover Park from the opening tap. They can scramble the top 10 even further when they face Morristown with a home game on Tuesday. Randolph also has games against Roxbury and an MCT contest against Mendham on Saturday.

6) Hanover Park (10-4) I’m keeping the Hornets up because they are still healthy. Hanover Park’s win against Whippany Park keeps them in line for a division title. For the second year in a row, they were upset in opening round MCT play when Randolph beat them on Saturday. The Hornets are a deep and unselfish team and they should bounce back. Division rivals Dover and Morristown-Beard are on the schedule this week.

7) West Morris (10-7) The Wolfpack had a tough loss against Morristown but then rebounded with a narrow win over sister school Mendham and a decisive MCT victory against Pequannock. They need a quality win to bounce back up in the standings. Saturday’s re-match against Morristown in MCT play affords them the opportunity. They also face Chatham and Parsippany Hills in a regular season contest.

8) Chatham (11-6) The Cougars had a solid win against Delbarton and a narrow victory against Montville in Morris County Tournament action this week. They also suffered a loss against a hot Randolph team. The loss of Luke Conrad to injury for the second consecutive year is a disappointing result. The senior guard is one of the few Chatham players who can generate offense on his own and make plays. Without him, the Cougars are focusing more on defense. Chatham has games against West Morris and Mendham this week. Then the Cougars play Jefferson in Saturday’s MCT quarterfinal.

9) Mendham (11-6) It’s a steep drop from fourth place, but Alex Jacobs’ wrist injury is such a devastating loss that it’s tough to think the Minutemen can bounce back right away. Oh, they can retool their team. The well-coached squad can even bounce back enough to give Randolph a good game in the MCT quarterfinals but they don’t have a lot of time. They did lose to the Rams with Jacobs last week. They also lost to West Morris after Jacobs was injured. They had enough firepower to rout Dover in MCT action. Mendham has games against Roxbury and Chatham to make its changes. Expect an even more intense defensive effort.

10) Montville (10-7) What a difference a basket makes. If Jesse Warech’s last second shot finds net in Saturday’s MCT game against Chatham, the Mustangs are up near the middle of the rankings. This week Montville also had a respectable loss to state ranked Pope John and a narrow win against a good High Point team. The tight games might help the Mustangs in the long run. Regular season contests against Morris Knolls and Sparta are upcoming.

Dover (9-6) was dropped out of the top 10. Morristown-Beard (12-5) was also considered for the rankings. Top 10 does not include Monday games.

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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