RPI: January 18th

January 16th, 2013 at 4:59 pm by under Ross Rowling's Roundup, Sports, WTHI Blog

RPI: Friday January 18th

This week’s edition of the RPI continues the search for a 5-0 week. Last week’s 4-1 was pretty solid, just short of perfection.ClayCitypicked up a big home win against Eastern Greene, giving me the only blemish on the slate last week. Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South,Rockville, and Robinson all picked up wins in last week’s game. The Maroons did get a scare fromMarshall. In the Paint will feature 16 games across theWabashValleythis week. Here are my thoughts on five of them.

Bloomfield at Loogootee

The Lions come into this one on a high, coming off their biggest win of the season against then second ranked Barr-Reeve. Loogootee emerged victorious in a slugfest between two of the top 1A schools in the state. After a 4-0 start to the season, Bloomfieldhas dropped 4 of their last five. South Knox knocked off the Cardinals at the buzzer last Friday, and Bloomfieldnow sits at 7-6 on the season. You can bet Bloomfieldwill be bringing it on the road against the Lions. This Loogootee team is 11-2, and the defending state champions. They’re continuing to gel and come together after losing Bryant Ackerman to graduation following the state title. Replacing one of the best players in the storied history of Loogootee is tough, but the Lions still there are more than capable. This week in the polls, Loogootee is up to 4th, giving the Wabash Valley 4 of the top 5 teams in the class. Loogootee boasts one of the best players in the area in Conner Wittmer. The Lions big man can really shoot it, and gets tougher on the interior every time I see him. Matt Mathies brings more scoring punch to the table. They connect the dots perfectly between these two scorers with heady point guard Colin Nelson, tough, physical, forward Will Nonte, and skilled big manCam Wagler.Bloomfield will want this one bad, but I just don’t see enough firepower to knock off the mighty Lions.

Pick: Loogootee

Linton at North Daviess

Quite possibly the game of the night this Friday, 2A 8th ranked Linton travels to 5th ranked 1A North Daviess. Both of these teams have only lost twice this season.North Daviess dropped one to Tecumseh when their star Nick Crays couldn’t go in the second half because of an injury. Both of the Miners losses came in the Pizza Hut Classic when they fell to two tough teams in Sullivan and Casey. Linton features size that you usually don’t see in 2A. Dess Fougerousse brings terrific size to the perimeter for the Miners at 6’5”. When he’s got the motor flipped on he can play with anyone, and we saw that potential realized when he became the MVP of the Greene County Invitational. On the interior, Austin Karazsia stands 6’8” and is as fundamentally sound as it gets. He understands post position and uses his size and strength to put up huge scoring and rebounding numbers.North Daviess counters with Crays and company. As a sophomore Nick Crays proved he was big time, leadingNorth Daviess to a semi-state appearance. He needed knee surgery mid-season last year and the Cougars couldn’t make it out of the state’s toughest Class A sectional. This year he’s back and so are the Cougars. The key in this one will be Kelby Byrer on the interior. He doesn’t necessarily have to score; Crays and Wes Lengacher can do plenty of that. Byrer will probably get the task of neutralizing Karazsia on the interior. He has the size and strength to hang with the Linton star, but can’t get in foul trouble. I think this one will be an absolute classic, but lean on the theory that great guards come out on top in close games. Crays is a great guard, and this is a great win for the Cougars.

Pick:North Daviess

Eastern Greene at Sullivan

Sullivan is playing great basketball right now. Picking up a close win over a really good Vincennes Lincoln team on Saturday has propelled the Golden Arrows all the way up to 13th in the class 2A polls. Brooks Weszely continues to play well at the point, while the Arrows bring good size to the paint. Nate Pirtle can heat up in an instant, and when he’s on this team is really tough to beat. Eastern Greene has fallen to 19th in 2A, losers of 3 straight. 6’4” Tyler Brough is a really talented player who can shoot it. Nathan Sparks is physical at the guard spot and will matchup well with Weszely. The Thunderbids could use a win to stop the skid, but going to Sullivan isn’t an easy task. The student section is as rowdy as it gets, the fan base will be on hand, and you can bet Sullivan hasn’t forgotten who ended their season last year. Jeff Moore’s squad continues to improve and they make it four straight Friday night.

Pick: Sullivan

Shakamak at White RiverValley

The Lakers are 5-8 on the season, but they’re much better than the record shows. Just last weekend they dropped games to Marshall and North Daviess, two really tough teams in the area. Their other 6 losses come at the hands of Linton (twice), Terre Haute North, Northview, Sullivan, and Bloomfield. The Lakers don’t have a bad loss on their schedule. White RiverValleybrings an 8-3 record into this one. Linton is the only team that has managed to beat White RiverValleyat home in the championship of the Greene County Invitational. The Wolverines are led by Cade Hill, a playmaking guard that can shoot it and get to the rack. Luke Mowery’s presence on the inside has enabled shooters to get open on the wings. J.B. Neill has a good thing going in SwitzCity, and right now his Wolverines are probably the favorites to win sectional 57, especially since they host it. Steve Brett has the Lakers playing pretty well, much better than the 5-8 record indicates, but I like the Wolverines to keep racking up the wins at home.

Pick:White RiverValley

Rockville at North Vermillion

Rockvillecontinues to look like the best Class A team in the state, while North Vermillion continues to be an enigma. The Falcons have lost 4 straight, and are 3-6 on the season. On Friday night they got beat handily by a 2 win Turkey Run team, then turned around on Saturday and took a solidWest Vigosquad to overtime. So who shows up against the Rox? Brayden Woodard is a special athlete, butRockvillecounters with Joel Whittenmeyer, a strong guard who takes pride on the defensive end, and should because he’s lockdown. The Rox have everything you want in a Class A title contender. Lane Mahurin has been on a mission lately. Not many teams in the Valley have a player to contend with him, so the Falcons shouldn’t feel bad that they don’t either. The Rox went to play a 7-3Covingtonsquad last Friday and drilled them by 21. They continue to impress and come together and I don’t see North Vermillion being able to derail the train.

Pick: Rockville

As always if you want to hear my take on a game in the coming week, just let me know. Give me a shout through email at rrowling@wthitv.com or on twitter @rossrowling1. Until next time, I’ll see ya at the game.

-Ross

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