Ross’s Final Thoughts on the Pizza Hut ClassicDecember 31st, 2012 at 12:42 pm by johnschmidt under Ross Rowling's Roundup, Sports, Uncategorized, WTHI Blog
Day 4: The Pizza Hut Classic Finale
After a day off, the championship day of the Pizza Hut Classic is upon us. I’ve been blogging about my thoughts and predictions since it started. Some have been right, some have certainly been wrong, and it’s been a lot of fun along the way. That being said, we might was well go out with a bang and break down all 4 games from Day 4. Here goes nothing, hope you enjoythe read.
Consolation Championship, 2:00 p.m. Eastern: Casey vs. Terre Haute South
Both of these teams can clearly complain about a tough draw. Even though neither will, it’s no coincidence that their first round opponents will meet in the championship game later in the day. Casey and Terre Haute South dropped games to Rockville and Robinson, and then won two in a row to meet in the consolation final. This will be a fun matchup featuring two big time scorers. Brandon Wolfe leads the Warriors into this game with a chance to break the tournament scoring record currently held by RJ Mahurin. Wolfe isn’t the only scorer for the Warriors. Trivette Scales can score in waves as well and I love the all around toughness and ability Zach Murphy brings to the table. My guess is Murphy will be the one charged with the task of guarding South’s Jeffrey Turner. Turner can score in so many ways with a combination of strength, quickness, and a nice jumper to put the ball in the hole. He’s a tough matchup for any defender, but Murphy can really guard and my guess is he’s the Warrior with the right combination of speed and strength to matchup with Turner. Kevaris Gregory has had a nice tournament for Terre Haute South. When he gets hot, he can really stretch a defense. That could allow more space inside for the Braves to work. I think this one will be really high scoring. Both teams like to run and score, while both coaches would probably admit defense isn’t their team’s strong suit. Casey had to beat a tough Linton team to get here, so the day of rest probably helps them more. I think Wolfe is a really smooth scorer, and we’ve watched him mature as a player over three years in this tournament. My prediction: the Braves will pay so much attention to Wolfe and won’t let him beat them-they hold him to 20. (That’s low for him lately). Even with his lowest scoring effort of the tournament, Wolfe has his most impressive game. He gets teammates involved and Murphy and Scales combine to score 45 points. Casey takes home the consolation championship with a tight win over the Braves.
5th Place game- 3:30 Marshall vs. Terre Haute North
The Patriots came out of the gates on fire against Shakamak to start the game 17-0 and cruise their way into this game. The Patriots are tough and disciplined. Calvin Blank leads the charge on offense, and North brings a deep talented arsenal to the table behind him. Marshall will be undersized in this ballgame. To have a chance, Taylor Mauer needs to have the game of his life. If he scores 20+, they can slow the tempo, and limit turnovers against a daunting Patriot defense. That’s a whole lot of ifs. Marshall will win a lot of games this season. They’ve already gotten remarkably better from the beginning of the season and this game will continue to help them make strides. Terre Haute North is just too talented for the Lions to pull the upset. I’m going to say the attention Marshall is forced to show Blank allows Stephen Davis to get a lot of wide open looks and he scores 25, enough to be the third Patriot on the All-Tournament team with Blank and Austin Lewis. Terre Haute North drives the point home that they are better than the 5th best team in this tournament.
Pick: Terre Haute North
3rd Place game, 5:00p.m. Eastern: Northview vs. Sullivan
The Sullivan and Northview game feature’s a point guard matchup that I really like. I’ve talked about Craig Peters and Brooks Weszely in every blog so far, and that’s because they’re both really good. I expect those two to go blow for blow with each other during this one. It may come down to the supporting casts. Both teams have quality size inside, though Northview seems to be a little deeper on the interior. The coaching story in this one is phenomenal. I’ve heard numerous people around the games this week say, “Never count out a Jeff Moore team”. His track record in this tournament is great. On the other side, Clint Weddle has been on all kinds of big stages. His first year as the head man at Northview, you can’t dispute how well he’s got the Knights playing lately. Weszely and Peters both cement places on the All-Tournament Team in this matchup. I think the bodies Weddle can rotate on the inside makes the difference here. I think Sullivan leads a back and forth game after three quarters but Northview is able to capitalize on foul trouble and fatigue in the 4th quarter and win at the wire.
Championship game, 6:30 p.m. Eastern: Robinson vs. Rockville
What a title tilt this one should be. Robinson knocked off the three biggest schools in the tournament on their way to the title game. Rockville is ranked #1 in the state in class A and has beaten Sullivan and Casey handily this week. Both teams are led by great players who couldn’t be more different. Point guard Aaron Siler leads the Maroons. He’s the best point guard in this tournament. Whether its from the three point line, getting to the rim, or somewhere in between, Siler scores in a variety of ways. He’ll need to have another big day for Robinson to win. Lane Mahurin leads Rockville and he does so many things well for the Rox. He gives them a fantastic post presence. Mahurin can also step outside and knock down a jumper. If Keyontre Wilkey isn’t in the ballgame, Mahurin will probably bring the ball up the floor from his point forward position. Mahurin is the type of player that could erupt for 30 any night he steps on the floor. However, he’s so unselfish, if he’s getting all the defensive attention he could also score 10 and impress everyone by getting sharpshooting teammates Gary Ulrich and Jordan McFall in on the action. So the question arises how do these teams neutralize the others best player. You don’t stop guys this good, but containing them could go a long way towards winning the title. Joel Whittenmeyer is the likely candidate to guard Siler. He’s athletic and a great defender. He makes a living picking pockets and scoring in transition. If Whittenmeyer is in the ballgame, either Wilkey or Nick Waltz goes to the bench. Waltz will need to be in the game for his size inside. Mahurin will be able to guard one Robinson big man, but they’ve got two really good ones. Michael Akande is most likely charged with the tough task of guarding Mahurin. He’s been in foul trouble in this tournament so I look for the Rox to go right at him early and try to continue that trend. The Rox need to get either Akande or Derrick Nicholas in foul trouble to neutralize the size advantage Robinson has. Rockville relies heavily on pressure defense. I don’t think that will make a difference to Siler. He handles the ball like it’s on a string, and off guard Cory Blount also is very capable of bringing it up the floor if the Rox deny Siler the basketball. Breaking this one down is tough. We know Mahurin and Siler will get theirs, and their also smart enough not to force the issue when their getting complete attention from the defense. The next tier of scorers would be Akande and Nicholas for the Maroons and Ulrich and McFall for the Rox. This is another quartet of really good high school players. The next two is where Robinson wins this game. Braden Scott and Cory Blount complement Siler, Nicholas and Akande to perfection. They both can really light it up if they’re open and the respect from a defense they require gives the Maroons’ big men room to navigate inside. The Rox will be no slouch. They’re fantastic, and the favorites to win the state title in Class A in Indiana. I picked Robinson to win when the field came out and I’ve got to stick with it. They keep the pace where they want it and take the Pizza Hut crown in their first year in the tournament. It’s Scott that has the big game today. He scores 17 in another fantastic championship game.