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News-Herald boys basketball Top of the Crop for Feb. 8

TOP OF THE CROP

Boys basketball

1: (1) Richmond Heights (10-8)

2: (2) Mentor (10-6)

3: (3) Brush (11-7)

4: (6) Hawken (14-3)

5: (4) Geneva (14-4)

6: (5) Gilmour (11-6)

7: (7) Madison (12-5)

8: (9) Kirtland (12-5)

9: (NR) VASJ (12-6)

10: (NR) Fairport (13-4)

Dropped out: NDCL (9-8), West Geauga (13-6)

Watch List, NDCL, West Geauga, Perry (9-8), North (12-6)

Crop comments: Richmond Heights reached double digit wins on the season with six players in double figures against Buchtel. The Spartans continue to find their rhythm and have averaged 76 points per game in their five-game win streak. They close the regular season with games against Maumee Valley and St. Edward. … Mentor recovered from its first two conference losses with two commanding victories over East Tech and Euclid. With a rematch against Brunswick and games with Lutheran East and Glenville still on the docket, the Cardinals look to carry the scoring diversity they’ve found in the latter half of their four-game week the rest of the way. … Brush’s defense has continued to guide the season and its last two games have had that on full display. The Arcs held John Adams and Bedford below 35 points and the offense is starting to build on the defensive showings. The biggest test the rest of the way will be a trip to Canton McKinley on Feb. 13. … Hawken has also continued its strong defensive showing as the Hawks have held opponents to 42.7 points in its 10-game win streak. But the offense has also been a difference maker in the streak with six games where they have scored more than 60 points. The Hawks also have clinched at least a share of the CVC-Chagrin division and a win at Orange on Feb. 9 will give them the title outright. … Geneva followed up two strong offensive performances against Conneaut and Lakeside with a challenging night on the boards against Perry. The Eagles are able to play strong on both ends of the court but still look for a complete game at both ends to win a conference title. … The Lancers got back in the win column with a last-second overtime bucket by Tim Lee over St. Charles. Gilmour has a difficult stretch of three straight games at home with VASJ, Warren JFK and Hoban on tap. … Madison responded to two straight CVC-Lake losses with strong offensive showings, guided by JP Dragas. The Blue Streaks are a part of a three-way tie at the top of the conference and have big games with Harvey and Geneva on the horizon. … While Kirtland has dropped its last two games, they played two teams with regional round expectations tight. If the Hornets continue the strong play down the stretch and into the postseason, they will be a tough out. … After a 3-5 start, VASJ has come back firing, having won nine of their last 10 with victories over Riverside, North, Lake Catholic and NDCL. The Vikings have a closing stretch that includes trips to Gilmour and Walsh Jesuit as well as a home game against Hawken. … Since Fairport had a pair of one-point defeats to Pymatuning Valley and Bristol, the Skippers have won eight straight with six of them on the road. An overtime win over Badger also has major postseason implications for the streaking Skippers, who are averaging 70.5 points per game.