The first two weeks of Boys TVL Basketball games could lead one to believe that league champions and playoff berths won’t be determined before the final week of games in February. To illustrate the frenetic start to the year, the teams atop the standings at the quarter-pole (Norton leading the Large, and Bellingham and Dover-Sherborn are 1-2 in the Small) combined for a total of 15 wins all of last year, while the three teams that led the league last year (Medway, Westwood, and Holliston, winners of more than 15 games apiece in 2016/17) are struggling to stay in the hunt this year. And Millis, who many predicted to be the best team in all of the TVL this year, may have succumbed to a Super Bowl hangover–after winning their second straight small schools football Super Bowl in early December, the basketball squad has started the season 0-4.
For these few remaining days of 2017 all TVL coaches can turn their attention away from planning to defend Dedham’s size, figuring out how to stop yet another Feinberg in Ashland, and preparing for the big youth movement that’s taken hold in Hopkinton. While no league games are planned until January 2 and 3, much of the league is taking its talents on the road to face a bevy of non-league foes. These tourneys and one-offs will go a long way toward seeing how well TVL teams will stack up in the state tourney once draws are released in March. Below is a look at the non-league schedule for the next few days.
Medfield (2-2) travels to Hanover to take on the 2-1 Norwell Clippers. Medfield has good wins against Holliston and Ashland early in the season and tough losses to Westwood and Small leader Bellingham, in overtime on Friday. In the consolation or championship game of the Hanover tourney on Thursdsay, Medfield will face either defending Division 3 state champion Hanover or Somerset-Berkley.
Ashland (1-2) will face 1-2 Hudson in the first game of the Auburn tourney. In the consolation or championship game on Thursday, the Clockers will play either host Auburn or Northbridge.
Norton (4-1) will host undefeated Old Rochester on Wednesday at 6:30. The Lancers are coming off their first loss of the year at home to Dover-Sherborn and will hope to get their offense back in gear against the Bulldogs.
Dover-Sherborn (3-1) plays at 1-1 Millbury at 6:00 Wednesday, then plays at 1-1 Nipmuc in an early 11am Friday tip-off. Over the past few years D-S has defended as well as anyone in the TVL, but the addition of freshman Evan Skeary and improvement of the offense overall has sparked the Raiders’ early season successes. They’ll hope to continue their hot start against these two Worcester County foes.
TVL newcomer Dedham (3-2) travels to Attleboro to take on the Leprechauns of Bishop Feehan. Both teams sport 3-2 records, and the Marauders will hope to survive this key early season challenge before resuming league play with a big visit to D-S on Jan. 5.
Bellingham (4-1) is hosting its own tournament and will play winless Hopedale in the opener on Thursday. Bellingham is surely hoping for a rematch on Friday with Coyle & Cassidy, which gave the Blackhawks their only loss, an 80-56 shellacking on Dec. 8. Wayland will be seeking its first win and hopes to spoil the plans for the host team rematch.
Westwood (1-3) also hosts its own tourney, with play starting on Friday with the Warriors hosting 3-1 Hingham. In the consolation or championship game on Friday, Westwood will face either 0-3 Sharon or 1-3 Walpole, both of whom also compete in the Division 2 South sectional. Sitting at 1-3 in this young season, Westwood will seek to depart the friendly confines of their home gym Friday evening with a .500 record.
Hopkinton (2-3) travels to Mid Wach B foe Westboro (1-1) for what could be a Division 2 Central sectional preview. The junior-led Rangers, last year’s Clark Tournament runners up, will be a good test for the young Hillers. Hiller senior Zack Sisitsky captains a defensive attack that hopes to lead Hopkinton back to the state tourney after a one-year absence.
Millis (0-4) caps off TVL holiday non-league action with a trip to Boston to play Fenway High School (2-1). The Mohawks’ first three league games are against TVL small elite, so they’ll use the trip to Fenway to get their basketball legs under them.