Three more exciting games in SW Ohio this weekend before the tournament heads up to Columbus for good. Expect the tension to be high in the gyms as a birth in the State Championships is on the line. Cincinnati is guaranteed a spot in the D-I and D-III Semi-Finals but has to earn a spot in Division II with Roger Bacon taking on Dayton's biggest powerhouse. Check back into CPHR both Friday and Saturday night for full coverage of these games.
- Moeller vs LaSalle: Friday 7:30 @ Cintas- Round three of the GCL South rivalry, is there anything else to say about this one? That's right, the winner goes on to the Division I State Championships next week in Columbus! One thing is for certain, neither team will need to make up a scouting report because it is safe to assume these teams know each other pretty well. We know that Moeller is great at taking teams out of what they do best, and then playing their style offensively. We know that LaSalle has proven that they can push the tempo on both ends against anyone at anytime, and when they're shooting the ball well they're lethal. We just don't know which team will have that extra “it” factor. Moeller had it at home in the first game as they physically manhandled the Lancers, in the second game LaSalle intimidated Moeller with their fierce pressure. Both teams are playing great right now, so something has to give. For the fans, this game is one last chance to see Brandon Neel go at Alex Barlow, Charlie Byers against Josh Lemons, and both supporting casts duke it out with that great GCL intensity and passion. It's safe to say that this will be a fairly low scoring affair with the team that makes the clutch plays (both teams have had some FT problems) the likely winner.
- Prediction: Expect a game much like last years regional final, hard fought the whole way with both teams trading blows. Whoever can keep their exposure late with the stakes so high will win, CPHR is going to take Moeller but it really is 50-50.
- Roger Bacon vs Thurgood Marshall: Saturday 3:00 @ Kettering Fairmont- Coach Neal has done a great job in taking the Spartans this far and now only they just have to get by Thurgood Marshall to reach the Final Four. The scouting report on Thurgood is an easy one- they're deep, talented, have some size, and are extremely athletic. To beat them Bacon will have to take care of the ball and patiently wait for good shots, getting the ball inside to Jared Bryant (or by JaBriel Coaston attacking the rim) would be a good game-plan. Defensively the key will be on the glass where the Wolverines thrive, Bacon needs to hold them to one shot per possession, and then slowing them down in transition (expect Bacon to send both their guards back on every Spartan shot). Thurgood, since they knocked off the defending DII Champs in Dayton Dunbar, are the slight favorites in this one but Roger Bacon is more then capable of an upset, particularly if Gavin Schumann and Paul Byrd are hitting their jumpers. Athletic teams like North College Hill and Winton Woods have given Roger Bacon trouble this year so they will have to be at their best on Saturday.
- Prediction: Roger Bacon advances yet again.
- Summit vs Taft: Saturday 7:30 @ Kettering Fairmont- The Senators have had their eye on one prize the entire season, the State Championships next weekend in Columbus, now that prize is only 32 minutes of basketball away. Their final opponent standing in the way, the Summit Silver Knights; who have only lost 3 times all year and are playing great team basketball at the perfect time. Summit ,who has posted wins over athletic teams such as Shroder, North College Hill, Clark, and Lockland (2x) has seen their share of pressure (and even applied some of their own); but they've never seen anything like what Taft is capable of when they're on. The Senators did look a little sluggish in their regional semi-final game on Wednesday, don't expect Coach Mitchell to let them come out flat two times in a row, especially with so much on the line. If Summit can contend with Taft's pressure then the next step will be trying to slow down, and compete on the boards with, Taft big men Adolphus Washington and Dwayne Stanford. It will take a great performance in both those areas, and a nice shooting night, but Summit does have the talent and poise to give Taft a game.
- Prediction: What a great season for Coach Bradley (21-3 so far) in his first year at the helm for Summit. Unfortunately he's running into one of the best DIII teams to come through SW Ohio in a long time. Taft will wear Summit down like they have everyone else and get a comfortable win to take them to the final four.