1. Malden Catholic (14-2-2): No surprise here. The Lancers have run the table atop these rankings, and will finish up with games at the Cathedral (Springfield) Tournament.
2. St. John’s Prep (12-5-1): The Eagles are as hot as any team in the state, having won seven of their last eight, including six wins over teams under consideration for the tournament.
3. BC High (12-4-3): It’s a good time to be an Eagle in the Catholic Conference, it seems. Over the last two weeks, BC High has toppled No. 7 Catholic Memorial, No. 15 Xaverian, No. 6 Hingham, and No. 14 Austin prep.
4. Weymouth (17-2-2): The Wildcats solidified themselves as a top-six team Monday with a 2-0 win over CM. Seniors Tyler Piacentini and Riley Flanagan can skate with –– and perhaps by –– anybody in the state.
5. St. Mary’s (12-5-3): The Spartans’ are just 5-5 out-of-conference, but you don’t go undefeated in the Catholic Central on luck alone. St. Mary’s will roll as far as goaltender Don Hesse carries them.
6. Hingham (12-5-4): The Harbormen responded big time from a 4-0 loss to BC High last week, knocking off Duxbury 6-0 in the second-round of the Cape Cod Classic. Hingham holds down the last automatic-qualification spot for now, but the teams behind it still have a chance to sharpen their resumes.
7. Catholic Memorial (8-8-2): A Super 8 without the Knights? There’s no way that could happen, right? Historically, CM has played well against Wednesday opponent, Fairfield College Prep (Conn.). If the Knights lose that game, their Friday showdown with St. John’s Prep becomes a must-win just to qualify for the tournament.
8. Woburn (15-3-1): As the teams around them continue to falter, it looks like the Tanners are destined for at least a play-in game. Somebody has to represent the Middlesex, and Woburn owns at least a share of the conference crown.
9. Billerica (10-1-7): The Indians weren’t on anybody’s radar at the beginning of the year, but should lock up the Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League title against Westford Academy Wednesday.
10. Cathedral (Springfield) (12-7-1): The final spot is 100 percent up for grabs with four days of games left. Cathedral gets the nod for now with recent wins over St. John’s Prep and St. Mary’s, but Central Catholic, Needham, and even Reading could slide by the Panthers if they slip up.
Looking in from the cold:
11. Central Catholic
14. Austin Prep
16. St. John’s Shrewsbury
17. Arlington Catholic
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail email@example.com.