By: Wells Dusenbury
As we wrap up 2012, the high school basketball season is now in full swing. So far the theme in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast has been parity. Grandview Prep is the only unbeaten team so far and most of the teams in the Top 10 have shown they're capable of taking down one another.
With that being said, here are some of my early takeaways on the first half of the season.
-If I were to hand out an MVP Trophy for the high school basketball season so far, it would hands down go to Grandivew Prep's Ivan Canete. The six-foot-three senior point guard has been the Pride's floor general and has guided them to an undefeated start to the season.
Canete, once an FIU commit, is a dynamic scoring and passing threat for the team and is the number one reason they're a legit title contender once again. No player in the area has put up a better single-game performance than when he scored 40 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 67-45 win over Glades Central.
-Spanish River hasn't won a district title since 1996. Last year, the Sharks made a surprising run all the way to the 8A State Semifinals. However, the team finished the season as runners-up in the district to John I. Leonard
If last year's uber-talented senior group nicknamed the "Four Horseman" (Reggie Love, Evan Kupferberg, Dante Scholl and Coltin Gelb) couldn't capture a district title, you'd figure this year's squad would have no chance.
The 2013 version of the Sharks could very well debunk that theory. Despite having to replace their entire starting line-up, Spanish River is off to a 7-3 start and is in a very winnable district with no elite teams to battle it out with.
-While Spanish River made a Final Four run last year, Palm Beach Lakes looks like the big school with the best chance of making it to Lakeland. The Rams are 9-1 and hold double-digit wins over Top 10 teams such as Jupiter, Atlantic and Suncoast.
With defending 7A State Champion Blanche Ely looking a little down from last year, Palm Beach Lakes could have a good shot at making it past them to the State Seminfinals.
-Last year, Martin County rolled off 18 straight wins during the middle of the season and this year the Tigers are streaking again. Martin County opened up the 2012-2013 campaign with 12 straight wins before falling to perennial Florida power Lake Wales this week.
Despite the graduation of their top player in Justin Simmons (who's currently off playing football at Boston College), Martin County hasn't skipped beat. Five-foot-seven guard Jermohn Queen has stepped into the Tigers' lead role and had given them an explosive scoring option in the backcourt.
-Possibly the biggest x-factor of the the area teams is Wellington. Once again the Wolverines are putting together another consistent season under head coach Matt Colin. Nothing Wellington does really "wows" you, but they're fundamentally sound and always find a way to stick around and have a chance to win at the end of the game.
In the D-Hop Holiday Tournament, the Wolverines went toe-to-toe with Blanche Ely before falling in overtime to the defending state champions. The following day, the Wolverines stuck around within striking distance of Palm Beach Lakes, but couldn't quite make a run at the end. Regardless, they're a team that can't be taken lightly and could make a run in their 8A district.
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There are no games scheduled for today.