If you crossed the four-time defending Division IV state champion Mount St. Joseph girls basketball team off your list of contenders after that awful 53-13 loss at West Rutland back on Jan. 2, put them back on.
The Mounties made their case Monday night with a resounding win over Proctor, 42-26.
Now, Proctor gets a second chance. The Phantoms will try to make their own case Thursday night at West Rutland.
West Rutland, MSJ and Proctor are all in in the top four in D-IV in this week’s Rutland Herald / Times Argus power rankings. The interloper is Blue Mountain, and it will be interesting to see what happens when the Bucks finally get to play one of Rutland County’s “Big Three” in the playoffs, something that is nearly guaranteed to happen.
Mount Abraham, a team that has hardened itself against a schedule sprinkled liberally with Division I teams, tops the D-II rankings.
CVU has stamped itself as the gold standard in girls basketball and the Redhawks are the easy choice at No. 1 in Division I. Hazen and West Rutland occupy the top spots in their divisions.
Only one team has challenged CVU and that is St. Johnsbury. CVU outlasted the Hilltoppers 49-40 in the Kingdom.
It is on Feb. 7 that St. Johnsbury pays a visit to Hinesburg for the rematch. This is the biggest hurdle that stands between the Redhawks and an unbeaten season.
1. CVU 12-0 (1) Even when the Redhawks play decent teams they blow them out, like the 73-27 win over Essex the last time out.
2. St. Johnsbury 11-1 (2) Hilltoppers will try not to look ahead to Feb. 7. They had better not, because the test against Rice on Feb. 4 will be tough enough.
3. Rice 9-4 (4) Green Knights just went through the gauntlet. They went 3-2 in last five games with the losses coming to CVU and St. Johnsbury.
4. BFA-St. Albans 10-3 (3) Comets’ losses are to Rice, St. Johnsbury and CVU. If there is such a thing as a good loss...
5. Mount Abraham 10-2 (6) The Eagles are the first Division II team to crack our top five this season. Six of their wins have come against Division I opponents.
6. Rutland 7-5 (6) Injuries hurt the Raiders in a loss at Brattleboro.
7. Essex 7-6 (7) Hornets have lost three of their last four. Hard to hold it against them. They have come against CVU, St. Johnsbury and Rice.
8. Fair Haven 8-3 (UR) Slaters earned two quality wins in a row against West Rutland and Springfield.
9. Lamoille 8-4 (UR) Lancers are serving notice with four straight wins and they have come at the expense of good teams like Lake Region and Harwood.
10. Springfield 8-4 (8) Those two recent wins over a tough Green Mountain team and a narrow loss to Fair Haven should have Cosmos fans excited about the possibilities in the Division II playoffs.
The top fives:
Division II: 1. Mount Abraham 2. Fair Haven 3. Lamoille 4. Springfield 5. Harwood
Division III: 1. Hazen 2. Windsor 3. Green Mountain 4. Thetford 5. Peoples
Division IV: 1. West Rutland 2. MSJ 3. Blue Mountain 4. Proctor 5. Mid-Vermont Christian