Here are some interesting tidbits in boys basketball right now:
1. Lowell, North Andover fighting for second behind Central Catholic -- No. 2 Lowell will make the short trip up 495 (well no trip on 495 is ever short) to meet Merrimack Valley foe North Andover on Friday night in the game of the week. The Red Raiders began a perfect 8-0, but things haven’t come as easy recently. Lowell stormed through their first three games winning by an average of 43.3 points-per-game, but the last two have been won by an average of eight points. After blasting New Bedford 93-39 on Dec. 21, the second contest on Sunday was decidedly closer at 57-51. Meanwhile, the No. 11 Scarlet Knights started 6-1 with their only loss to Andover in December. Both teams are looking up at No. 1 Central Catholic.
2. New Mission’s daunting schedule not getting easier -- No. 12 New Mission’s schedule has had a little bit of everything to this point. The Titans opened the season in the Empire State at Roosevelt High School, faced back-to-back tough tests against city foes Charlestown and No. 15 Brighton, then had three games in three nights against New York power Christ the King, No. 4 Mansfield and Windsor, Conn. The squad has managed to go 4-3 thus far, but the schedule will get no easier as No. 13 East Boston visits tonight and a gritty Madison Park squad awaits on Friday. Coach Cory McCarthy’s team is as tested as they come at this point.
3. Danvers dominant, but yet to be challenged -- How good is No. 5 Danvers? We know they’re at least 23 points better than any team they’ve met thus far. The Falcons have comfortably dispatched every opponent, but haven’t faced the caliber of competition others in the Top 10 have. The reigning Div. 3 champs are 6-0 but remain somewhat of a mystery right now. They have the talent to be a top five team, but won’t get an opportunity to prove it against the elites until the tournament.
4. Rockland rock solid -- One of the surprise teams this year is No. 16 Rockland, which was a perfect 8-0 entering Tuesday play and had won six games by at least 16 points. The Bulldogs’ top dog is 6-foot-6 senior Tyler Gibson, a UMass-Lowell commit who turned in 22 points and 20 rebounds against Wellesley Dec. 28. After last night’s test at similarly unbeaten Mashpee, Rockland shouldn’t be challenged until travelling to Cohasset Feb. 1. It’s hard not to imagine this group as the top contender out of the South Shore League.
5. Judson Jumpstarts St. John’s Prep -- For No. 3 St. John’s Prep, no player has been as instrumental in the program’s 8-0 start as sophomore Ben Judson. The 6-4 sharpshooter impressed me on Friday night when he drilled five 3-pointers in a 67-58 defeat of No. 10 BC High. The Eagles have strong senior captains in Drex Costello, Tyler Dooley and John Syska, but Judson could determine how far Prep advances in March.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.