(Last week's ranking in parentheses; games through Wednesday)
1. Bloom Township 14-2 (1)
Two straight losses followed the Blazing Trojans' run to the McDipper championship, but they got back on track Tuesday night by defeating Joliet Central rather easily. Bloom meets No. 2 Crete-Monee tonight in a rematch of McDipper finalists, and it should again be a defensive struggle. The Blazing Trojans prevailed 52-45 previously.
2. Crete-Monee 11-3 (2)
The Warriors narrowly escaped Thornwood on Tuesday night, doing so only after getting pushed into a third overtime. Michael Orris continues to search for his lost shooting eye, although he did sink a clutch 3-pointer to give Crete a big boost in the last OT. Marius Hopkins, who had a double-double versus the T'birds, is becoming an X factor.
3. Seton Academy 14-2 (3)
Fourth place at the McDipper may have been disappointing to Sting players, but that doesn't change the fact Seton is tops in Class 2A. It breezed past St. Laurence last Friday, and Seton's quality depth is what separates it from most teams. The steady diet of big-school competition will make the Sting even tougher come playoff time.
4. Homewood-Flossmoor 10-4 (4)
The Vikings have pretty much owned the SWSC Blue since they've been a member, but a road date with Sandburg tonight could present a serious challenge. The Eagles have enough size to counter Homewood-Flossmoor's big men and more than one legitimate scoring threat. A solid win might give the Vikings a big dose of momentum.
5. Thornwood 10-5 (NR)
Losing doesn't usually elevate a team, but the Thunderbirds return to the top five this week after a brief absence despite falling at No. 2 Crete-Monee on Tuesday. Thornwood battled the Warriors through three overtimes after coming agonizingly close to triumphing in regulation. The T'birds are better than their record indicates.