COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Nearly halfway through the season, here is the newest batch of Division II Power Rankings.
1. South (4)
Record: 8-0 (3-0)
Last week: Defeated #11 Jonathan Adler, 45-42. Defeated #20 (D1) Lancaster, 75-71.
This week: Friday at Marion Franklin. Saturday vs. Westland.
Outlook: Rising to the No. 1 ranking in this week's power rankings, South has done everything it's been asked to do this season thus far. With notable wins over Cincinnati Aiken, Johnstown, Walnut Ridge, and Africentric, South has proven to be a force in Div. II. Led by rising sophomore guard Treohn Watkins, look for South to keep the train rolling through this week and to maintain their No. 1 ranking.
2. DeSales (1)
Record: 7-1 (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Barberton, 70-57. Defeated Washington Court House, 58-48. Defeated Bishop Rosecrans, 40-38.
This week: Friday at #7 Hartley, Saturday at East.
Outlook: After losing the first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion to familiar foe No. 3 Johnstown, DeSales hasn't looked back. Following a close win at Coach Bills' alma mater, DeSales looks to keep the seven game win streak going as they face off Friday against No. 7 Hartley on the road to probe themselves as No. 1 in D2.
3. Johnstown (7)
Record: 5-3 (2-0)
Last week: Defeated #2 (D4) Wellington, 49-39. Lost at #3 (D3) Grandview Heights, 58-54. Defeated Westerville Central, 54-44.
This week: Wednesday at #8 Heath, Saturday vs. Utica.
Outlook: Following a win over Westerville Central in their last game, senior Kyle Matoszkia and the Johnnies look to keep moving forward as they prepare for a tough road test at conference foe No. 8 Heath on Wednesday night. Johnstown has had wins against No. 2 DeSales and No. 4 (D4) Wellington this year, so look for the Johnnies to not shy away from the red hot Bulldogs.
4. Fairfield Union (9)
Record: 7-1 (3-0)
Last week: Defeated Unioto, 52-49. Defeated Independence, 60-43.
This week: Friday vs. Liberty Union, Saturday vs. New Lexington.
Outlook: With the Falcons having only four more road games for the remainder of the season, Fairfield Union looks to stay hot as they face off against Liberty Union and New Lexington this upcoming weekend. Winning at home will be crucial for Fairfield Union if they want to win the Buckeye division of the Mid-State League.
5. Hartley (3)
Record: 4-2 (1-1)
Last week: Defeated Marlington, 58-45. Lost at NDCL, 69-62.
This week: Tuesday at Fairfield Christian, Friday vs. #2 DeSales, Saturday vs. New Hope.
Outlook: Following a 69-62 loss to Norte Dame Cathedral Latin a week ago, Hartley looks to get their team back on track on the road against Fairfield Christian and a tough home test against No. 2 DeSales on Friday night.
6. Whitehall (6)
Record: 4-4 (3-0)
Last week: Lost at Hiland, 61-53. Defeated John Glenn, 53-50.
This week: Friday vs. #3 (D3) Grandview Heights.
Outlook: After facing quite the wake up call of Canton McKinley, Cincinnati Moeller and Gahanna, Whitehall suffered another tough loss to Hiland before the end of 2016. Whitehall looks to leave the bad taste in their mouth in 2016, as they face off against conference rival No. 3 (D3) Grandview Heights on Friday night.
7. Bloom Carroll (8)
Record: 7-2 (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Independence, 68-62. Defeated Canal Winchester, 74-51.
This week: Friday at Amanda Clearcreek.
Outlook: Bloom Carroll looks to keep their current four game win streak alive as they face off against conference foe Amanda Clearcreek on Friday night. The Bulldogs have been playing tough with help from the senior trio of Gavin Brown, Matt Smith, and Jared Laski. Look for the Bulldogs to make some noise as they begin their tough conference stretch.
8. Heath (NR)
Record: 8-2 (3-1)
Last week: Defeated East Knox, 95-54. Defeated #9 Linden, 53-50.
This week: Wednesday vs. #3 Johnstown, Saturday vs. Coshocton.
Outlook: Currently riding a six game win streak, the Bulldogs have become the team to beat in the Licking County League. Sitting at the top of the LCL, Heath looks to continue their success going as they face off against No. 3 Johnstown Wednesday night.
9. Linden (10)
Record: 5-2 (3-0)
Last week: Defeated River View, 66-28. Lost at #8 Heath, 53-50.
This week: Friday at #7 (D1) Northland.
Outlook: After suffering a tough loss to red hot Heath, Linden looks to get back on track with a huge road test against the top team in the City League North in Northland on Friday night, as in one of the two teams has to bite and will then suffer their first conference loss of the year.
10. Beechcroft (2)
Record: 4-4 (1-2)
Last week: Lost at Brooklyn B&G (NY), 70-62. Defeated Springfield Garden, 73-64.
This week: Friday vs. International, Saturday vs. #8 (D1) St. Charles.
Outlook: Losing two out of their last three games, Beechcroft needs to refocus and find their groove again as they prepare for International on Friday and then a tough home game against the senior-led No. 8 (D1) St. Charles. If the Cougars can manage to knock off the Cards on Saturday night, look for Beechcroft to make a rise in the rankings.
(rest of article goes here)