Let's go to round two of this rivalry with some hardware on the line and time to start getting ready for the tournament. Taft Senators (13-4 10-0) visits the Withrow Tigers (12-5 9-1) for a title or a share of the CMAC Championship. All the star power is here; with Taft you have a team that has not lost in the state of Ohio and is riding a 10 game winning streak after defeating previously undefeated and #3 in CPHR's Division II-IV Poll Summit Country Day (63-46). Coach Mark Mitchell picked up his 200 career victory and looks to get 201. I'm quite sure the seniors from Taft want to leave their stamp on the CMAC since this is their last game against the only team left on the schedule that has a chance to defeat them. In the first meeting Taft dominated Withrow through three quarters and most of the damage was done until Withrow made a run to make the game respectable (57-43). Adolphus Washington led the Senators with 16 pts 14 rebs even though he shot (3-12 fg) he was (10-13) from the line, which meant a lot of the Tigers posts were in foul trouble. Fred Canady came off the bench and chipped in 12pts. Taft will come ready to play at a fast pace and look to really make a statement on this game, where I think they look to score in the 80's.
The Tigers don't lack any star power either, where junior forward Devin Williams has to match the intensity of the Diesel (Washington) from Taft. Look for Withrow to try to slow Taft down, but they really have enough guards to make it a fast-paced game. The question is can the Tigers handle the pressure, limit the turnovers, and be able to use their size to execute in the half-court. The Tigers have to also shoot better from the charity stripe (7-18). Junior Tim Coleman who did not play in the first meeting will be an important piece to the Tigers success if they look to hand the Senators their first loss in the State and capture a share of the CMAC title. Look for Seniors Rozelle Nix, Tyler Jordan, Erin Nichols, Kendall Beamon, and Damon Gooch to contribute. This will be there last game as a Tiger in front of packed house, emotions will be high, and I anticipate a great action-packed game.
JB's Prediction-As a Withrow alum, my heart bleeds orange and black; but Taft has been there before. Mark Mitchell has a dominating record within conference play and is a State Champion. Taft wins but Withrow puts up a fight.