Mar 14, 2011

Regional Semi-Final Previews:

Aaron Thomas will lead Withrow against Moeller
It's an all Cincinnati SW Division I Regional as our teams went 4-0 on Saturday against Dayton's finest. On Wednesday night fans will be treated to two semi-final games that are very tough to call. Withrow vs Moeller will be a contrast in styles in which both teams have already proven in the playoffs that they can defeat (Withrow beat Mason, Moeller beat Trotwood) a solid team that plays a contrasting style; something will have to give here. The second game, Winton Woods vs LaSalle, is a rematch from the early season thriller in Forest Park that came down to clutch Lancer play in the fourth quarter. No team has improved more then Winton Woods, have they surpassed the Lancers? Any of the possible regional final matchups would be extremely appealing and CPHR can't wait to see how it all unfolds in D-I. In DII Roger Bacon is the last team standing and needs a win to advance to the final to face the winner of Dunbar and Thurgood Marshall. Cincinnati is also represented by three of the four squads that remain in the DIII regionals, Summit will square off with one of Columbus' up and coming programs, while Clark and Taft will go at it in what should be a very fast paced contest. Here are all the matchups: 
Sweet 16 Brackets
Charlie Byers is trying to get Moeller back to the Final Four

Division I 
  • Withrow vs Moeller: Wednesday @ Cintas 6:15- The Tigers, making their first regional appearance since the Yancy Gates days, will battle the Crusaders of Moeller, who advanced out of this region last year before falling in the state final. Withrow has looked very good over the course of the tourney in wins over Mason and Troy. While everyone has been talking about how vulnerable Moeller is, they continue to get win after win. The intriguing matchup in this game will be the defense of Charlie Byers on his AAU teammate Aaron Thomas of Withrow. Byers knows Thomas' game like the back of his hand, but that rarely makes difference when Aaron is on, who will win this matchup? Defensively both teams might have to make adjustments as Withrow hasn't faced a ton of teams that play with as deliberate of a style as Moeller, and have as many shooters; while Moeller hasn't faced a team with the size and athleticism (and plethora of D1 prospects) as Withrow. Withrow's raw talent will help them as will Moeller's system of intelligent basketball but this game might be decided by simply who makes the most clutch shots. Carl Porter, Devin Williams, Alex Barlow, and Ben Galemmo have been great all year for their teams but with the stakes so high CPHR can't wait to see the ball in the hands of Aaron Thomas and Charlie Byers.
    • Semaj Christon leads Winton Woods in the LaSalle rematch
      Prediction: Withrow is playing better right now but Moeller has the experience and the knack for winning these types of games. This one easily could go either way but since Moeller found a way to slow down Thomas last year (when he was at Aiken), CPHR is going with the Crusaders to win a close game. 

  • Winton Woods vs LaSalle: Wednesday @ Cintas 8:00- Great matchup between two teams who have showed tremendous resolve over the last week. Winton Woods just simply refused to lose, despite Wayne's best efforts, in the district final. While LaSalle has had to deal with some tough off court adversity, as their Coach, Dan Fleming, continues to recover from a heart attack. The first game between these teams highlighted LaSalle's on court resolve as they overcame the phenomenal play of Semaj Christon, and a raucous Warrior crowd, to get a road win. That loss did prove one thing to Winton Woods, they are capable of playing with anyone. These are two teams that are playing with a real swagger right now. The exciting thing about this game will be that both teams start five perimeter players and push the tempo to the absolute limit. Look for this to be a game of runs and the winner might just be whoever has the ball last.
    • Brandon Neel wants LaSalle to be 2-0 against Winton Woods
      Prediction: Very close call as both teams are playing great, CPHR is going to go with LaSalle to gut this one out and advance to another regional final. 

  • Lakota East vs Westerville South: Thursday @ Columbus Fairgrounds 7:30- No regional game would ever be considered easy, but this is a very tough matchup for East. Westerville South is 23-1 and has hovered around the top 5 in the state AP poll all season (although East has been in the top ten for months). Westerville South is led by senior wing Traevon Jackson, the son of the great Jim Jackson, who is committed to Wisconsin. Jackson is a pure scorer with size that East will have to find a way to slow down. Junior PG Isaiah Rogers is also a capable game-changer for Westerville South. Taking into factor that this game will be played in Columbus, Lakota East does appear to be the underdog in this one. However, East has thrived on the underdog (even though they've only lost once as well) attitude all season. Wins at Wayne, three times over Princeton, Middletown, and Mason prove that they can defeat any of the state's most talented squads. This game should be closer then many Columbus fans think.
    • Mike Boyd will lead East into hostile territory in Columbus
      Prediction: Lakota East's great run of close wins comes to an end in Columbus as they fall to Westerville South in a tightly contested game. 
Division II
  • Roger Bacon vs Mifflin: Thursday @ Kettering Fairmont 5:30- The last remaining DII team in Cincinnati will have their work cut out for them against a Mifflin team that is on a dream like run (Mifflin was sub .500 entering the playoffs) but Bacon will have a real talent advantage.
    • Prediction: Roger Bacon is on a roll, they will advance to the regional final.
Division III
  • Summit vs Heath: Wednesday @ Kettering Fairmont 5:30- The Silver Knights have found a groove defensively, to match their talented arsenal of scorers, making them a tough opponent for any remaining team. Heath, who has made it to at least the district final the last two seasons, has had a successful season due to their defensive abilities as well. Look for this one to be a low scoring, grind it out, type of game. CPHR thinks Summit has the advantage because the best scorer on the court, sophomore PG Kevin Johnson, will be wearing a Summit jersey.
    • Prediction: Summit finds a way to get another hard fought win.
  • Taft vs Clark: Wednesday @ Kettering Fairmont 8:00- The Cougars, playing in the regional for the first time, are having a dream like run this month. But Taft has looked unstoppable, like a team on a mission, during the playoffs (including an 108 point performance in the district final). Clark's momentum might keep them close early but the prolonged pressure of Taft should wear them down eventually.
    • Prediction: Taft takes control again and gets the win.
Regional Semi-Final winners will all play again over the weekend (D1 on Friday, D2 and D3 on Saturday) to earn their respective Regional Championships, and a spot in next weekend's State Championships. Check back into CPHR each day for results and on Friday morning for a full preview of the Regional Finals.

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