Another weekend, another set of huge games. GMC title implications will again be on the line in December with all 10 teams playing Friday night league games, the first round of GCL-South divisional games starts up, and some inner city rivalry games heat up in an action packed Friday and Saturday night sessions….
· Princeton @ Colerain: This one will probably play out similarly to a track meet as the two most athletic teams in the GMC matchup. Colerain currently has 6 players averaging at least 8 points per game while Princeton has 5 players averaging at least 10 (although Malcolm Smith will be missing). Whichever team can avoid turnovers and get the best shots should win, as both teams can get a little reckless by playing too fast offensively.
o Prediction: Princeton opens it up in second half for a double digit win.
· Mason @ Middletown: After needing all 32 minutes to defeat a feisty Aiken squad the Middies are back in action against an even tougher opponent, and this time a league foe. They’re at home again but face a very different task as Mason plays at a slower pace with more of a halfcourt style. The matchups that coaches put out there will be interesting as Mason might not have a big and athletic guard capable of stopping Geovonie McKnight; but the Middies might not have two defenders in the high posts to cover senior forwards Darrin Harris and Mike Van Kleunen. Expect a well coached game with two teams really prepared to stop each other’s primary options, who will be the surprise hero in this one?
o Prediction: Toughest call of the night. We’ll take the Middies, only because of the city’s top home court advantage, in a low scoring and intense game.
· West High @ Withrow: No team has more on the line this weekend then Withrow who has two statement games after a little bit of a shaky start (although they are yet to lose). West High will come at Withrow like they did last year, where the Mustangs upset the Tigers once (and probably should’ve won both games), with full court pressure while trying to speed up the game. This year’s Withrow team has more depth to counter that style, and will more then likely come out early and try and pound the ball to junior PF Devin Williams (although West High has the interior depth to slow Williams down, even though the Mustangs big men no-showed against Adolphus Washington earlier this season). If the Tigers can go on the first big run they should put West away early, similarly to the way Taft did; if the Mustangs strike first then it will be a long 32 minutes.
o Prediction: Withrow
· LaSalle @ St. Xavier: The Bombers have not gotten off to the star that they envisioned, where as the Lancers have looked better then anyone could’ve imagined after what they graduated. St X gets a chance at home to put themselves back on the map in the biggest test so far for some of the young Lancer guards.
o Prediction: LaSalle is too tough defensively for St X to score on. Lancers win by 15.
· Turpin @ Anderson: League rivalry, divisional rivalry, neighborhood rivalry, need we say more? Up and coming Turpin travels down the road to play a program that perennially gets the better of them, but this year it’s Turpin with the talent advantage.
o Prediction: Turpin
· Roger Bacon @ McNicholas: The talented youth movement at Bacon takes on veteran laden Rockets at their gym. McNick senior wing Drew Hall should probably have another huge game but Spartan sophomore wing Carlas Jackson is starting to look like the real deal. Can Jackson hold Hall enough for the rest of the Spartans to take advantage of their matchups?
o Prediction: Roger Bacon in a close one.
· Summit @ Clark: Knights first trip to the new Clark gym in a game that the Cougars want revenge in from last year. Top bragging rights in the MVC are on the line here.
o Prediction: Summit
· Hamilton @ Fairfield
· Lakota East @ Oak Hills
· Sycamore @ Lakota West
· Aiken @ Hughes
· Woodward @ Shroder
· Elder @ Moeller
· Ross @ Winton Woods
· Walnut Hills @ Glen Este
· Norwood @ Harrison
· Talawanda @ Northwest
· Wilmington @ Kings
· Taft vs Grace Prep (TX): The Senators opening round game at the City of the Palms Classic in Ft. Meyers, Florida will determine whether they enter the winners of losers bracket for the remained of the event. City of the Palms, the premiere national high school holiday tournament, feature 16 of the top teams in the country and Taft might be the most undermanned all these teams feature much taller lineups then the Senators. Grace Prep is one of those teams; first of all, they are led by 7’0 senior forward Isaiah Austin (ranked as the #5 player in the country by Rivals.com) who has signed a scholarship already with Baylor (Austin Highlights). The remainder of Grace Prep’s team is more then talented as well as they feature 6’4 senior SG Jelon Hornbreak (top 75 nationally) who is signed with Oklahoma, 6’7 junior PF Jordan Mickey (a top 60 national talent), 6’9 junior center Karviar Sheppard (top 75 national talent), and 6’4 sophomore point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (ranked as the top PG and #3 overall player in the country in his class). Needless to say, Taft will have their work cut out for them; but, this is a group of Senator seniors that has grown accustomed to winning big games against bigger, and more talented, teams.
o Prediction: Taft keeps it closer then expected but Grace Prep sends Taft to the losers bracket.
· Withrow vs Aiken (at Hughes): As we said earlier, Withrow has the most to prove of any team this weekend with Aiken being their second test. A brutal Aiken schedule has them playing a tough minded Hughes team Friday, after a great game on Tuesday at Middletown, before meeting with Withrow (Falcons have already played Taft as well). This game turned into a shootout last year between Willie Moore and Brewster Academy’s Aaron Thomas; expect a different game this year. Aiken is going to try and speed the ball up while Withrow should try and slow this one down with Devin Williams and Rozelle Nix in the post. CPHR has a feeling this one is going to be high scoring.
o Prediction: Withrow wins a close one in another heartbreaking Aiken loss.
· Lockland @ Dayton Jefferson: The two most high profile Division IV teams in the SW region of Ohio matchup in what could be a December preview of the Regional Final. Everyone will be focused in on Jefferson senior combo guard Devin Foster and Lockland junior guard DJ Wingfield as they represent two of the most talented prospects in the state.
· Hughes @ West High
· Indian Hill @ Wyoming
· Maderia @ Mariemont
· St. Xavier @ Glen Este