2017-18 BOYS’ BASKETBALL | TEAMS TO WATCH
JOHN BLANDING/GLOBE STAFF/FILE
(Teams listed alphabetically, and with last year’s final record)
■ Arlington (20-1) — After falling to eventual state champion Brighton in the Division 2 North semis, the Spy Ponders graduated vital point guard Colin McNamara. But in his stead rises impressive sophomore Bensley Joseph, who will lead the way alongside junior forward Dominic Brown.
■ Brookline (13-8) — Under new coach Courtney Valentine, the Warriors have the look of a contender in the loaded Bay State Conference. Mark Barrett leads a talented junior class that features 6-foot-5 forward Chris Camille, who is expected to return from a knee injury during winter break.
■ Cambridge (24-0) — The two-time defending state champions graduated eight seniors, including stars Jakigh Dottin and Dimon Carrigan. Yet with senior cocaptains Jonathan Cenescar and Aidan Keefer, there is leadership hope to find enough leadership to compete for another state title.
■ Central Catholic (20-6) — John Walsh, who guided Danvers to three state titles from 2012-15, takes over for Rick Nault on the bench. He has Bret Edwards running the point and senior forward Colin Bradanese coming off a stellar junior campaign.
■ Everett (19-3) — The Crimson Tide dropped a 68-65 thriller to Central Catholic in the D2 North semifinals last season, marking Everett’s fifth consecutive season-ending loss in that round. In John DiBiaso’s last year patrolling the sidelines, the Tide is determined to get over the hump.
■ Franklin (22-3) — With several key pieces back from last year’s run to the D1 state final, the Panthers have a very good chance to compete for another title by navigating the Central bracket. Sophomore Chris Edgehill is running the point while senior Paul Mahon provides valuable experience on the wing.
■ Lowell (17-6) — With reigning Merrimack Valley Large MVP Alex Rivera leading the way , the Red Raiders survived Andover in a 69-66 road win to open their season. Head coach Bob Michalczyk is one of the best in the state.
Lynn Classical (23-4) — Jasper Grassa takes over for his father, Tom, who had a 31-year run on the Ram bench. Prolific scorers Edwin Solis and Jaylen Johnson return from a squad that gave Brighton quite a scare in the D2 North final last March. But the Rams have moved up to Division 1. .
Needham (20-5) — Reigning Bay State Conference MVP Thomas Shaughnessy deservedly gets plenty of attention. But returning standouts Will Cooper and Brandon Monheimer highlight the depth on a Rockets team that is coming off its first D1 South title.
Tech Boston (16-6) — Elite point guard Maurice Works transferred in from Lawrence Academy to bolster a roster that features returning stars Walter Dew-Hollins and Shamar Moore. Consider the Bears a D2 contender.
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