Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2A Regional Breakdown

Yesterday, P-Hoops previewed all eight games in the 1A Regionals, picking the winners of those, as well as selecting the final four teams that will advance to the Semistate round. Today, the 2A class gets the attention. There are several top ranked teams still in play, including a guaranteed one versus two match-up, and there are a bevy of talented players who will put their abilities on display for the state to see. Let's look at the eight 2A regional games, picking winners of the early session games, as well as the foursome that will advance to Semistate play!

North Judson Regional

North Judson (18-5) vs. Wheeler (21-3) - The Bluejays, who have the advantage of facing the Bearcats on their home floor, are on a roll, winning eleven of their last thirteen games, including Sectionals, which was also played at their home site. They won each game by double-digits, by an average margin of over 15 points. They are led by Myles Thies and got strong play from big freshman forward John Eckert during their championship run. Wheeler is the number twelve ranked team in the class, and are led by a trio of juniors: Andrew Rudakas (23 points, nine rebounds), Petar Todorovic (13.5 points, 5.6 rebounds), and Donnie Ketchum (10.8 points, 4.2 assists). They had a tough game in the Sectional semifinal, beating Hammond Noll 65-59, but won the opener and the championship games by an average of 23 points. Despite being on their home floor, I think the Bluejays will fall to the higher ranked Bearcats in a tight one.

Westview (17-7) vs. Garrett (14-8) - The Warriors are a perennial threat to win the Jimtown Sectionals, winning three of the last four years. They won their three Sectional games this season by almost ten points apiece, but had a thriller in their semifinal against Bremen, squeaking by them 54-51. They are a young, undersized team, playing four sophomores and only having one player who reaches 6'3 in senior Austin Haney. Westview, however, has always been a guard-oriented team. The Railroaders Sectional opponents were a combined 23-42, and they won the final game in a nip-and-tuck affair against Central Noble, by the score of 44-42. Senior Tim Kidder leads Garrett, scoring about 19 points per game. They have proven that they can win big games, as witnessed by their huge upset win over Bluffton, who was the number three team in 2A before bowing out to Luers in Sectionals. Despite their track record, I think the Warriors will triumph over the Railroaders, thanks to their great experience and the coaching of Rob Yoder.

Winner of North Judson Regional: Westview over Wheeler, 61-57.

Tipton Regional

North Miami (18-5) vs. Carroll (Flora) (19-4) - The Warriors from North Miami have had quite a season, losing their head coach early on, and then playing inspired ball under interim coach Dave Henson, who is 13-3 since taking the reins. They are led by junior Greg Miller, who averages a double-double of nearly 25 points and around 13 rebounds. He also is deadly from outside, shooting 48 percent from deep. They also feature seniors Nolan Haynes (16.4 points, 7.7 boards) and Nick Black (11.1 points, 6.6 assists). Facing the fourteenth ranked Warriors are the fifteenth ranked Cougars from Carroll. They won their Sectional in fine fashion, defeating their first two opponents handily, finally squeaking by Seeger by the score of 56-53. They finished the season in average fashion, losing four of their final nine games, including a 31-point throttling at the hands of another team in this bracket, Tipton. Even though the Warriors have been through a lot this year, I think their run will continue, at least for one more game, by beating Carroll.

Tipton (23-2) vs. Bishop Luers (19-4) - This game features the two best players in all of the 2A class in Tipton's Derek Elston, a 6'9 senior and IU recruit, and Luers junior Deshaun Thomas, an Ohio State commit who many say is the best player in the state regardless of class size or grade. Tipton, ranked number one in the class, got a scare in the first round of Sectional play, having to mount a monumental comeback to beat seventh-ranked Oak Hill, 48-44. They then demolished Eastern and handled highly ranked Guerin Catholic to advance to the Regional round. Elston had a great Sectional, averaging 18.3 points and 14 rebounds in those three games. He got help, as always, from sophomore point guard Greg Dickey, a gritty performer. Luers, the number two team in the class, had a bye to start, and then handled number three ranked Bluffton, followed by a roll over South Adams to win their title. They got solid play from Thomas, as always, but their guards, Lawrence Barnett and Evan Blackmon, also contributed heavily to their wins. These two teams are evenly matched and both have superstars and great role players, so I think it will come down to Tipton once again being on their home floor. I like the Blue Devils over the Knights in a classic.

Winner of Tipton Regional: Tipton over North Miami, 75-60.

Connersville Regional

Winchester (19-3) vs. Centerville (16-7) - The Golden Falcons, ranked number four in 2A, are on a streak for the ages, winning fifteen games in a row, including their two Sectional wins, which came by and average margin of 14.5 points. That is saying a lot, since they were both against highly ranked teams in Wapahani and Lapel, and the championship game was on Lapel's home floor. They are led by Tyler Koch, a 6'5 scoring machine headed to Wright State, and by sharpshooting Levi Cross, who hit some huge treys against Wapahani when they were trying in vain to mount a late comeback. The Bulldogs opened Sectional play with a 25-point drubbing of Shenandoah, but had to battle to beat Knightstown by the mark of 60-54, and barely snuck past Eastern Hancock in the finals, 48-46. They are led by senior Drew Schauss, a four year letterman, who averages 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. They also have a sharpshooter in Jacob Stewart, who shoots a 47 percent clip from deep on his way to over eleven points per game. Other solid contributors for Centerville include Brad Siegel and Matt Schauss, both of whom average around nine points per game, and Siegel also provides about eight boards on average. However, Winchester is just too good, and they appear to be a team of destiny. I like the Golden Falcons big.

Cardinal Ritter (17-5) vs. Lawrenceburg (20-3) - The Raiders are a great defensive team, full of tremendous athletes who are long, lanky, and quick. They have won eight of their last nine, including three Sectional games, sandwiched between a loss to Heritage Christian. They spread their scoring out between about eight contributors, but are led by Tyrone Walker (12.4 points) and Erik Gray (12.3 points). The Tigers are ranked fifth in 2A and, after beating Hauser by seven in the Sectional opener, destroyed both Switzerland County and Southwestern (Hanover) to win the title. Sean Powell heads the charge for Lawrenceburg, scoring nearly 19 points a game, and Jim Faehr (15.5 points, 5.3 assists) and Sean Snider (13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds) provide backup. Again, I like the ranked team to win handily, and the Tigers should control this one from tip to horn.

Winner of Connersville Regional: In a tight one, Winchester over Lawrenceburg, 77-73.

Southridge Regional

Covenant Christian (14-8) vs. Forest Park (18-5) - The Warriors are somewhat of an underdog story, but how much of an underdog can you really be when you boast one of the best players in the state? After defeating Cascade by two points in an overtime thriller, Covenant easily dispatched of Cloverdale and Tri-West to win the title behind the continued spectacular play of 6'10 senior Andrew Smith, a Butler signee. Smith is a double-double machine, scoring over 23 points and pulling down over 17 rebounds a game. He is aided in his cause by Gabe Woodruff, who scores about 15 points a game. Smith will do battle with another of the state's best bigs in Rangers star 6'8 forward Jordan Myers (23.5 points, 10.8 boards), a Southern Illinois recruit. Forest Park defeated Evansville Mater Dei by nine to win their title. Watching these two tall titans duke it out should be a blast, and even though the Rangers are more highly ranked, I like the Warriors to pull off the upset behind Smith's dominance.

Brownstown Central (17-6) vs. Bloomfield (13-10) - The Braves pulled off a minor upset in defeating Providence for their Sectional title after defeating Paoli following their first-round bye. They are led by junior Taylor Wischmeier who averages nearly 17 points and pulls down over seven boards per game. Also contributing for Brownstown is Blake Ayers who scores almost 13 points and grabs about seven boards on average. Bloomfield was a major stunner as Sectional champ since they were facing a tough, ranked South Knox team in their first game. They pulled the upset over them, winning 40-39 in overtime. They followed that up by beating Eastern Greene 32-30 in the Sectional final. I think the Cardinals run ends here at the hands of the Braves in a close one.

Winner of Southridge Regional: Covenant Christian over Brownstown Central, 69-63.

Check back tomorrow for the 3A Regional Breakdown!


Briana said...

Luers vs. Tipton will be a fun game to watch!

Anonymous said...

In your pre tourney predictions you picked Luers to win state. Now you have changed that to Tipton. What did you see to make you change your mind? It can't be strength of schedule or opponents record.

Anonymous said...

I think you will be wrong about the Southridge regional. Smith may outplay Myers, but the Rangers will be cutting down the nets Saturday night.

p-hoops said...

concerning tipton-luers: i think bluffton, despite losing by 15, gave the blueprint for stopping thomas and beating luers. IMO, tipton is much better than bluffton, so i think they will build on what they saw in that game to slow thomas, and they'll do a better job of stopping barnett and blackmon.

in regards to covenant-forest park: it really could go other way, and it will take a monster game from smith to win it, but i believe he'll come through. but the rangers have been there before so they won't be intimidated, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Luers takes what you give them and they make you pay for it. Thomas scored 18 against Tipton last year while deferring to his teammates and they won by double digits. This years Luers team is much better also.

Prior to the tournament Luers strength of schedule was number 33 while Tipton was at 158. That plays a big part as well. Playing talented teams all season, only team to beat Snider for instance, pays off come tourney time. In practice you cannot duplicate the kind of pressure and speed Luers throws at you. Should be a fun game.

Bargain Briana said...

I agree about strength of schedule. We discussed this all year as we really needed a tougher season to prepare us for this game. I think that would have helped us win. Fun game today but sad about the loss. If you want to see one of the fun highlights, I have a short clip of one of Tipton's players dunking it! :)