012216-qct-spt-pv north scott02

Pleasant Valley's John Czarnecki applies the defensive pressure against North Scott's Bailey Basala earlier this season. Czarnecki has drawn the defensive assignment of most teams' top perimeter player this season.

John Schultz, Quad-City Times

We have reached the halfway point of the Mississippi Athletic Conference boys basketball race. Pleasant Valley has a two-game cushion over North Scott and Davenport Central.

Don't see anybody catching the Spartans in the next three weeks. PV might have one stumble, but I don't envision two with the schedule it has remaining.

Here is a look at Quad-City Times sportswriter Matt Coss’ weekly power rankings. These are determined by win-loss record and current form. Rankings will fluctuate weekly throughout the season:

1. Pleasant Valley (13-0, 8-0, Last ranking: 1)

Just one of two unbeaten teams left in Iowa Class 4A, the Spartans have won 11 of their 13 games by 11 points or more. Will Carius, averaging a league-best 20.5 points per game, is closing in on 1,200 points and 600 rebounds for his career. PV already has secured the top seed for its substate and looks poised to add a conference championship.

This week: Tuesday at Assumption; Friday vs. Davenport North

2. North Scott (9-4, 6-2, LR: 2)

The Lancers have dropped three of their last four games. Coach Shamus Budde’s team is hit a rough patch offensively, scoring 44, 43, 50 and 41 points in its last four outings. Still, North Scott can clinch a first-round bye in its substate with wins over Burlington and Davenport Assumption this week and one Central loss. Junior Drew Boffeli has tallied double figures in four consecutive games.

This week: Tuesday vs. Burlington; Friday vs. Assumption

3. Davenport Central (9-4, 6-2, LR: 3)

Coach Craig Wurdinger’s team snapped a two-game losing streak with a 71-51 victory at Burlington on Friday. Tim Rummels and Ray Miller combined for 46 points and 15 rebounds. Central can lock up a first-round bye and the top seed in 4A Substate 4 with two wins this week. The Blue Devils lead the MAC with 153 steals, 74 more than any other school.

This week: Tuesday vs. Davenport West; Friday at Muscatine

4. Muscatine (9-4, 5-3, LR: 4)

The Muskies were feeling pretty good about themselves after 20-point plus wins against Mount Pleasant and Assumption, but coach Brandon Welsch’s team was on the wrong end of a 73-51 tilt against 3A No. 2 Cedar Rapids Xavier on Saturday. Muscatine, second in the league in scoring and field-goal percentage, can cement a first-round substate bye with a win in Clinton.

This week: Tuesday at Clinton; Friday vs. Davenport Central

5. Bettendorf (6-7, 4-4, LR: 6)

The Bulldogs have won three straight conference games since losses to Davenport Central and Muscatine earlier this month. Zak Emard is averaging 10.7 points and leads the MAC in rebounding at 10.2 per game. Coach Curtis Clark’s team plays two teams toward the bottom of the standings this week before hosting North Scott and PV next week.

This week: Tuesday at Davenport North; Friday at Burlington

6. Clinton (7-5, 4-4, LR: 5)

The River Kings face a pivotal week of games for substate seeding. Currently, Chris Powers’ team has the three seed in Substate 5 and could bump up to No. 2 with three wins and a pair of Muscatine losses. Clinton is coming off arguably its worst performance in league play, a 15-point loss and 27 percent shooting at Bettendorf.

This week: Tuesday vs. Muscatine; Friday at Davenport West; Saturday vs. Timothy Christian

7. Davenport West (5-9, 3-5, LR: 8)

West is 1-6 since the start of the new year. That one win was a 58-53 overtime triumph against Davenport North last Friday. The Falcons mustered only 22 points and were 1 of 15 from the 3-point line in a 38-22 loss to Alleman Saturday. Trevor Oostendorp had 12 points Friday and pulled down 10 rebounds Saturday. Guard Davarea Loggins sat out both weekend games.

This week: Tuesday at Davenport Central; Friday vs. Clinton

8. Davenport North (4-9, 3-5, LR: 7)

The Wildcats won three straight, and now have dropped three in a row. They’re entering a difficult stretch with games against Bettendorf, PV, Central, Muscatine and Clinton in the next two weeks. Sophomore VJ Wilmington had 21 points in a six-point loss at Dubuque Hempstead on Saturday, a game that was tied through three quarters.

This week: Tuesday vs. Bettendorf; Friday at Pleasant Valley

9. Davenport Assumption (2-11, 1-7, LR: 9)

After a home win against Alleman, Assumption looked like it might have turned a corner. It hung with Muscatine on the road for a half last Friday before getting outscored 20-6 in the third quarter. The Knights face a daunting task this week against the league’s top two teams, PV and North Scott. Sophomore Trent Fitzpatrick is the team’s top scorer at 11.5 points per game.

This week: Tuesday vs. Pleasant Valley; Friday at North Scott

10. Burlington (0-12, 0-8, LR: 10)

The Grayhounds hit the 50-point mark twice last week (the first time all season), but still have nothing to show for it in the win column. Burlington is shooting a MAC-low 35.4 percent and 48.6 percent from the foul line. It also is the league’s worst rebounding team. Junior Keian Franklin is recording just a little more than 11 points per game.

This week: Tuesday at North Scott; Friday vs. Bettendorf; Saturday at Mount Pleasant

Mid-season all-conference

The MAC coaches will decide the all-conference teams at the end of the regular season. if I were to cast a ballot at the midway point, here are my top two all-conference teams:

First team (6 players, alphabetical order)

Bailey Basala (North Scott)

Will Carius (Pleasant Valley)

Derrick Howard (Clinton)

Carter Milam (Pleasant Valley)

Ray Miller (Davenport Central)

Joe Wieskamp (Muscatine)

Second team (6 players, alphabetical)

Drew Boffeli (North Scott)

Kenny Clay (Davenport West)

John Czarnecki (Pleasant Valley)

Zak Emard (Bettendorf)

Tim Rummels (Davenport Central)

Corvon Seales (North Scott)

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.