Wake Hoops Sweet 16 Week 4, Explained.

We are nearing very close to the halfway point of the regular season and resumes are starting to take shape. With most teams playing 0-1 games this coming week, the coming Christmas tournaments will have a big impact on future rankings and playoff positioning. You can see our full rankings in the tweet below.

Wake Hoops @WakeHoops

Wake Hoops Week 4 Sweet 16 @AFHSPatriotsMBB uses the upset of the year to jump up 12 spots @GMHSBBALL uses their 4-0 week to move up 5 spots into the top 3 @AthensMBB uses their 2-0 week to move up 5 spots and back into the Sweet 16

Tier One

  1. Holly Springs (7-1)

A dominant win over Cary and a solid showing against Apex Friendship keep the Hawks in the top spot once again. They play a back-to-back against Leesville Road and Topsail before getting ready to play Farmville Central in the first round of the John Wall. Their slew of offensive weapons has only improved as they have 5-6 guys that would be the first options on most teams.

  1. Millbrook (6-2)

Millbrook beat the breaks off of Broughton before suffering a 17-point loss to Northwood in the Dexter Cooley Showcase. Jayan Walker’s offensive role has adapted a lot since the fall, emerging as the go-to guy for this team. They have a huge matchup with John Marshall this week, a team that top-ranked Holly Springs lost to by 3. Regarding taking the top spot, a win in that game would play a huge part.

Tier Two

  1. Garner (7-1)

A rare 4-0 week in which Garner knocked off previously undefeated Enloe as well as talented Fuquay-Varina and Cardinal Gibbons teams. After getting blown out by Millbrook last Friday, the Trojans rallied and turned their game up to a new level. They’re deep, balanced, and have a ton of youth. They have one game against South Garner before they play Don Bosco Prep (NJ) in the John Wall Invitational. I wouldn’t expect them to beat Don Bosco but a strong performance outside of that would warrant state-wide attention for the program.

  1. Enloe (9-1)

A one-point loss to Garner dropped them out of the top 3 but this team is still very dangerous. Ethan Montague has blossomed into one of the few offensive engines in high school basketball and college coaches should be taking action sooner or later. Their Monday night game against Clayton is a game they need to win and one they should handle pretty easily. This team can still beat anyone in the area and continue to be dangerous.

  1. Green Level (8-0)

Green Level profited from a depleted Wake Forest roster and capped off their 3-0 week with a 20-point blowout win. Outside of the O’Donnell twins, every rotation player is a junior or sophomore. They’ve had just one single-digit win so far against some solid teams and they’re a fun team to watch. Their next four games are all losable and against solid teams, so they will be more than tested over the next few weeks.

  1. Panther Creek (6-1)

The Catamounts took the most surprising loss of the season so far in their 6-point road loss to Apex Friendship. They were averaging about 75 PPG as a team and only score 49 against the Patriots. Despite that loss, they still made quick work of Leesville Road and Green Hope earlier in the week. It would be nice to reiterate now that Panther Creek has the deepest team in the state and has 12-13 legitimate starters in their rotation. I’m not ready to sound the alarm after this loss but anymore like it might be cause for concern.

  1. Leesville Road (7-2)

Leesville Road suffered a bad loss to Panther Creek early in the week but took care of business outside of that. Their overtime win over Wake Forest still holds a lot of weight and they have some of the best losses in the county. They have a great chance to move up with a rematch against Holly Springs coming on Tuesday.

  1. Wake Forest (5-4)

Wake Forest was missing AJ Smalls, Dashaun Grant, and Nigel Lucas were out for the Cougar’s loss against Green Level on Saturday. Regardless, the team that played looked disorganized and disinterested. I’m not a fan of punishing teams for results when they aren’t full-strength but those games have to count for something. The losing skid isn’t something to worry about in the long term and this team will bounce back. They have a confidence-boosting game against Vance County this week before gearing up for their Christmas tournament games.

  1. Sanderson (9-0)

Sanderson continues to win against one of the lightest schedules in the county. I’m confident that they can be a top-10 team in the county for the course of the season, but I’m not confident that they can beat many of the teams ahead of them. Nathan Fife has been putting up very strong counting stats on very poor shooting efficiency. Nathan is the key to their success and how he plays against the top teams in their conference will determine their fate this season. The Spartans don’t have any games until after Christmas.

Tier Three

  1. Wakefield (5-4)

Wakefield has been one of the steadiest teams so far this year, playing better teams close and beating the teams that they should beat. The big three of Jalen Yancey, Khi Benjamin, and Cameron Spencer have emerged as the team’s production leaders, with Jalen making a legitimate push for All-County honors. Wakefield has a road game against Apex this week and should go into Christmas break with their sixth win.

  1. Apex Friendship (3-4)

After a huge win over Panther Creek and a solid fight against Holly Springs, the Patriots are the highest risers of the season. Mous Diop had his breakout game and that form should look to continue. As the Patriots get more and more comfortable within Coach Lowman’s famous system, expect them to get better and better. They have a game against Topsail on Monday night that this team a month ago would have had a hard time winning. A dominant showing would solidify the arrival of this team.

  1. Broughton (5-4)

The Caps had their first winless week and their toughest week as far as SOS goes. Manning Lasso, Hayes Carlin, and James Parrish are a solid big three and they have a very balanced supporting cast. The eventual emergence of McCallum Wright, who was one of their best players last season, will help this squad take the next leap. A huge non-conference game at Fuquay-Varina can tip the scales either way for both teams.

  1. Fuquay-Varina (4-4)

The Bengals were down two starters, including leading scorer Dylan Setzer, in their loss to Athens Drive. That loss exposed a big scoring issue with the team as they mustered just 41 points without their most prolific scorer. That issue was sort of cleared up on Friday when Jake Hart and Andrew Schneider combined for 39 points in a 6-point loss to the newest top-three Wake County team in Garner. Setzer’s return is still TBD and their game against Broughton would be a huge game to win without him. Also, look forward to their rivalry game against cross-town Willow Spring.

Tier Four

  1. Athens Drive (4-5)

Athens Drive beat a shorthanded Fuquay-Varina team and also beat Heritage by 14 en route to an undefeated week. The Jaguars play a slow-paced game and most of their final scores see both teams under 50 points. If they’re able to convincingly beat Cleveland on Monday then they would solidify their Sweet 16 spot through Christmas.

  1. Cardinal Gibbons (2-6)

Five of the Crusaders’ six losses are by eight points or less. These unfortunate results should eventually change in their favor as the season goes on, but blowing a 22-point lead against Garner really doesn’t help morale. Aiden Smalls is currently running away with the County Freshman of the Year award and Connor Higginbotham is finding his footing after battling injuries earlier in the year. A win over Ravenscroft would do a lot to inspire confidence in this program going into Christmas.

  1. Knightdale (4-6)

Knightdale got absolutely ran against Enloe after giving Sanderson a good fight earlier in the week. They have a very balanced attack with a handful of players that can lead them in scoring. They’re very similar to Wakefield in that they’re very steady, just not as successful at the moment. They have two winnable games this week against East Wake and SE Raleigh. A 2-0 week would solidify their spot firmly in the Sweet 16 as a handful of teams have been challenging for this 16th spot.

Outside Teams to Monitor

The Bottom of the SWAC (Part 2)

Last week I talked about how the bottom five teams in the SWAC should be paid some attention and the week, Apex Friendship, Green Hope, and Cary are all trending up (read about AF above). Green Hope got a tough conference win over Middle Creek and last week’s win over Apex Friendship looks even better now. The Falcons are playing like a playoff team right now and this could be some seriously positive momentum. Cary’s win over Apex was impressive considering we had the Imps finishing last in the conference in the preseason. Definitely should be a team to monitor a little more closely.

Southeast Raleigh

The Bulldogs were one of six teams to have an undefeated week four. The other five teams are all ranked in our Sweet 16. They are currently tied for first in the GNRC at 2-0 and this first week is a promising start for them pushing for a playoff berth. Immanuel McClain is a budding star and Xavier Stroud is one of the best freshman guards in the state. They have games against Clayton and Knightdale this week that should put into perspective how good this team really is.