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Rutland High School’s Evan Pockette (10) drives to the net during a matchup with MSJ at College of St. Joseph earlier in the season.

Much is made of the strength of boys Division II basketball in Rutland County, and rightly so. Fair Haven, Mill River, MSJ and Otter Valley make up a nucleus of enviable strength in the division and generate a lot of buzz when they go head-to-head.

Washington County is now horning in on that act.

The Montpelier Solons, winners of six straight games as of Tuesday morning, have edged into the 10th slot in the Rutland Herald / Times Argus power rankings.

With East Montpelier rival U-32, they make up a mini-barricade against teams seeking the crown won by MSJ last year. They also give Raiders/Solons fans a lot to look forward to in head-to-head meetings. U-32, our sixth-ranked team, won the first game in a close contest earlier this season.

CVU remained at the top of the rankings, but just barely. Read on.

The top 10 (including games played Monday. Last week’s rankings and current records given):

1. CVU (1, 8-1). Ethan Harvey’s trey with seconds left gave the RedHawks a dramatic win over surging St. Johnsbury. Harvey scored 27 points and SJA’s Logan Wendell 24.

2. St. Johnsbury (3, 6-2). The Hilltoppers had a six-game run before loss to CVU. Dave McGinn’s defending D-I champs are not conceding anything.

3. Rice (2, 5-1). Michel Nadyyishimiye took last week’s loss to CVU out on Essex with 40 points.

4. South Burlington (4, 6-3). Since giving up 90 points to Brattleboro the Wolves have held two teams in the 40s, including CVU.

5. Fair Haven (5, 9-0). The Slaters’ speed prevailed over MSJ’s size as unbeaten Fair Haven won a county duel Monday.

6. U-32 (6, 8-0). Don’t you wish Fair Haven and U-32 played tomorrow?

7. Mill River (7, 6-1). The D-II Minutemen were hosting D-I Brattleboro Tuesday and looking for their fourth straight win.

8. Rutland (8, 4-3). After Tuesday’s game against Burr and Burton the improving Raiders’ schedule gets really tough (at St. Johnsbury Saturday and Saratoga, N.Y., on Monday).

9. Brattleboro (8, 4-4). I keep waiting for this team to take flight.

10. Montpelier (NA, 7-1). Fans have Feb. 13’s rematch at U-32 marked in red ink.

On the bubble: Essex, Burr and Burton, Hartford.

Division II top five

1. Fair Haven; 2. U-32; 3. Mill River; 4. Montpelier; 5. MSJ.

Division III top five

1. Hazen; 2. Thetford; 3. Randolph; 4. Peoples; 5. BFA-Fairfax.

Division IV top five

1. Twin Valley; 2. Danville; 3. Twinfield; 4. Proctor; 5. Rivendell.

bob.fredette

@rutlandherald.com

Follow Bob on Twitter: @Bob_Fredette

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