The 2022-23 winter high school season is complete, with 16 MIAA basketball and hockey champions crowned at Tsongas Center and TD Garden, respectively.
The Globe’s final Top 20 polls are headlined by state champions Malden Catholic (boys’ basketball), Andover (girls’ basketball), Pope Francis (boys’ hockey), and Shrewsbury (girls’ hockey).
Archbishop Williams senior Charlie Conners has always been associated with winning.
Born during the Red Sox’ fabled 2004 World Series run, he was dubbed “Championship Charlie,” in part because his father, mother, and grandfather also had a long history of success in baseball and softball leagues in the Dorchester area.
As the starting point guard for Archies this year, Conners was the stabilizing force during a 25-1 season, helping the Bishops end their 69-year drought with the Division 3 boys’ basketball state title, while playing in the program’s first championship game since 1954.
Malden Catholic coach John Walsh continued his winning ways by leading the top-ranked Lancers to their second straight Division 2 title with Nick Martinez, Matt Gaffney, and Buckley Moody leading on the court. Walsh is 226-48 with five state championships across 11 seasons at Danvers, Central Catholic, and his alma mater, Malden Catholic.
Wareham alum Stephen Faniel (’00) led his school to a Division 4 state title, with fellow alums Darien Fernandez and Jowaun Gamble on his staff. Both players were on the 2010 Vikings team that won the team’s last state crown.
Worcester North blitzed the field in Division 1 for the team’s first title and Taconic overcame a five-year history of disappointment in the state final by topping previously unbeaten David Prouty for the Division 5 crown.
Andover ended a storybook 26-0 season with a state championship. The Golden Warriors kept the No. 1 spot in the Globe Top 20 from the third week of the season, sailing above the competitive Merrimack Valley Conference, tough nonleague scheduling, and the Division 1 bracket.
Foxborough, meanwhile, rose through the rankings all winter and peaked at the right time. The Warriors beat Walpole and Dracut in their run to the Division 2 title, and with just one loss have proven themselves worthy of the No. 2 billing.
St. Mary’s started atop the rankings and stayed in the upper tier throughout the season, blazing through Division 3 for a repeat championship. Division 1 state finalist Bishop Feehan holds the fourth spot, and Cathedral’s dominant Division 4 title run earns the Panthers the No. 5 spot.
Dracut and Bishop Fenwick used strong postseason performances to surge up the ladder. Winchester, highlighted by its upset victory over Framingham in Division 1, claimed the final Top 20 slot.
Strong schedules seemed to be the key to success in this year’s MIAA tournament.
For top-ranked Shrewsbury (21-2-2), an extremely tough MVC/DCL schedule helped fuel its Division 1 title win over St. Mary’s (25-2), which had been near the top of the rankings all year.
Duxbury (24-1-2) also had a winter chock-filled with tough South Shore contests, and those tests came in handy when the Dragons defeated well-rounded Canton (19-3-4) in the Division 2 title game.
Next season may be even better, with promising underclassmen at Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake (11-7-1) and Billerica/Chelmsford (11-12-1) ready to step up, as shown in their postseason play.
Securing the first outright state title under the Pope Francis name —the former Springfield Cathedral was the Division 1 champion in 2009 — was enough for the Cardinals to climb atop the Globe’s final Top 20, the finishing touch on a 21-2-3 campaign for coach Brian Foley’s squad.
St. John’s Prep, ousted by Pope Francis in the semifinals, settles at No. 2 after spending eight weeks in the top slot.
Canton, Division 2 champion once again, climbed to No. 6, its best showing of the season; ditto for No. 14 Hopkinton, which fell to the Bulldogs in the final at TD Garden.
Norwell, which won its first state championship in an overtime thriller over Sandwich in the Division 4 final, finishes No. 17, while the Blue Knights round out the poll at No. 20.
Globe correspondents Ethan Fuller, Kat Cornetta, and Cam Kerry also contributed to this report.