1. Panther Creek (19-1): defeated Green Hope 66-43, def. Lee County 74-48
- Nothing to see here. Another week, another pair of wins for the Catamounts - who will have trouble duplicating that feat this week when they travel to Apex and host Athens Drive.
2. Middle Creek (17-3): def. Apex 54-53, def. Cary 66-65
- WOW. Two one-point wins for the Mustangs that ended the same way. In each game the opposing team got an excellent look from three on an out-of-bounds play with less than two seconds on the clock. Each time, however, the opponent's three bounced off the iron and Middle Creek is O.K. for now. Fuquay and Lee County are up next for this team. Win by one-point against either of them, and I'd say it's panic button time for this team.
3. Athens Drive (17-2): def. Cary 60-48, def. Fuquay-Varina 68-48
- Athens takes on Lee County before getting another chance at Panther Creek on Friday. In last year's meetings, each team won on the other team's home floor. The Jaguars certainly hope the trend continues this year after the Catamounts won in Raleigh on Jan. 9.
4. Cary Academy (15-6): lost to Ravenscroft 69-54, def. North Raleigh Christian Academy 75-61
- Much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the Chargers ran into a tornado on Tuesday with Ryan Kelly and Ravenscroft — only to find out it wasn't so bad. Cary Academy didn't wind up on the Yellow Brick Road, but the 15-point defeat shows just how much this team has matured since earlier in the year. When facing a similarly talented Greensboro Day School in the sixth game of the year, the Chargers had lost by 50!
5. Green Hope (7-13): lost to Panther Creek 66-43, def. Apex 53-48
- Watch out for Green Hope. Yes, I know the Falcons are technically in sixth place in the conference (due to a tiebreaker with Lee County) but the worst is behind the Falcons and they seem to be back on the upswing after a great win over downtrodden Apex. The next three games will make-or-break those playoff chances: at Cary, vs. Fuquay, at Lee County.
6. Apex (9-10): lost to Middle Creek 54-53, lost to Green Hope 53-48
- Yikes. The Cougars can't get a break these days. First they lose at home in the final minute to Athens Drive last Friday, then lose at home in the final minute again to Middle Creek on Tuesday. Before that, Apex was undefeated on their home court. The loss to Green Hope was surprising to say the least. One has to wonder what senior will rally his team back to relevancy after suffering from heartbreak time and time again.
7. Holly Springs (6-14): def. West Johnston 64-46, lost to Clayton 58-46
- The Golden Hawks are in sixth place in their conference and a game out of the final playoff spot, behind West Johnston and East Wake. The win over West Johnston was a statement game that said, 'yes, we are much better than you and deserve to be at least fifth in the Greater Neuse.' It's going to be hard to leapfrog East Wake, which swept HSHS this year, so the Golden Hawks will need some help either way to pass these teams.
8. Cary Christian (6-14): lost to Trinity Christian Academy 74-59, lost to St. David's 77-55
- The program at Cary Christian is young and so are the players. They also lack size, which hurts them when going against St. David's center Gabe Rooth, who has dominated the Knights for what seems like five years now to coach Danny Thomas. Until somebody on that team hits a growth spurt, they'll have to rely on the 3-ball to stay in games.
9. Cary (2-17): lost to Athens Drive 60-48, lost to Middle Creek 66-65
- What the heck happened to Cary last week?! They bench three starters yet somehow come within one play (a few inches really) of knocking off the No. 5 team in the state on the road?! Cary had fewer wins than Middle Creek did losses, but the Imps showed a lot of fight — something they'll need to end the season on a high note.
10. Fuquay-Varina (3-16): lost to Lee County 53-47, lost to Athens Drive 68-48
- In the Tri-Eight conference, you need at least one guy capable of getting 20 points on any night to stay in games. The Bengals are one of the few conference teams that don't have that this year — but watch out for sophomore Domonique Byrd in future seasons.