Chances are that we’ll look back at January 12 as the day the Tri Valley League boys basketball season truly began. Nearly everything up to this point could be considered preseason, as even though most teams have gotten through nearly half of their league schedules, only one TVL team, Millis, finds itself more than two games out of first place. To add to the intrigue, all five league contests pit a Large division team against a Small division team, with Westwood being the only Large school going on the road.
TVL Small co-leading Bellingham travels to Hiller country coming off two straight league losses. Hopkinton led wire-to-wire in topping a tough Medfield squad in their last game, and the Hillers look poised to ride their youth and go on a roll. Bellingham will have other ideas and hope to keep pace with Dedham atop the Small race.
Dedham will host a Westwood squad coming off a one-point win over Holliston. While Dedham’s two league losses were to Small co-leader Bellingham and Large leader Norton, they may be the league’s best team at the season’s one-third-pole. A Westwood win over the Marauders would inch them closer to the top of the Large Division.
Norton hosts Millis in a clash that’s likely to be much closer than their records suggest. Millis has lost tough league games to D-S, Hopkinton, Medway, and Dedham, and a gritty first league win over Ashland has the Mohawks going in the right direction. After starting off the year winning four straight, Norton has dropped three of four, with a win on Jan. 2 over Ashland being their only bright spot. A Millis win in this one would tighten up both the Small and Large races considerably.
Though they’ve lost two tough games to Millis and Norton in the past 10 days, Ashland may be the league’s best turnaround story. In games Friday and Tuesday against Small stalwarts Bellingham and D-S, Ashland had little trouble cruising to two league wins. The Clockers’ team bus travels up Chestnut street tonight to pay a visit to a Holliston team that will be very hungry for a win. The veteran Panthers have lost four of their last five league games and sit at the bottom of the Large standings. The winner of this one will stake a claim to be considered back in the race for the League title.
Medfield hosts D-S in a rematch of their January 3 tilt, which Medfield won 60-51. D-S started the season on a tear by winning three of their first four league games, but they’ve gone 0-3 since. Medfield’s ability to score is as potent as any team in the league, and they hope to continue to roll against D-S’s otherwise stout defense. With both of these teams sitting in the middle of their division standings, tonight’s winner could find themselves right back at the top of the standings.
And Medway is continuing this season’s TVL tradition of taking on a top-notch non-league foe. The Mustangs host 7-2 Wellesley, which has lost only to D1 stalwarts Braintree and Brookline.