RPI: February 22, 2013February 21st, 2013 at 9:46 pm by Ross Rowling under Ross Rowling's Roundup, Sports
The final regular season edition of the RPI for basketball season is upon us. It’s been a fun piece to sit down and write week to week. It’s been a blast reaching out to coaches and getting their opinions on various teams and opponents because they are truly the people that know the competition and talent around the Wabash Valley best. If you’re a regular reader, thank you. I’m glad you’re at least semi- enjoying this read and tell your friends, the more the merrier. Here goes nothing, the last regular season basketball edition of the RPI.
Terre Haute South at Rockville
With the weather starting to turn hazardous with sleet and snow beginning to engulf the Wabash Valley, it’s hard to guess whether some of these games will even be played tomorrow. Let’s assume they are, and the cold weather won’t be a factor because the heat inside the Rock-o-Dome will be unmatched. At this point in the season, what else can you really say about the Rox. Lane Mahurin looks more impressive every time I see him, which is saying a lot because I’ve always been impressed. The supporting cast continues to know their role, and they’re really talented as well. Keyontre Wilkey has shown glimpses of blow by ability and two high percentage bombers flank him and Mahurin with Gary Ulrich and Jordan McFall. Standing in between the Rox and a perfect regular season are coach Dave Mahurin’s alma mater, the Terre Haute South Braves. South is 9-12 and have lost five out of the last six, but it’s been against an absolutely brutal schedule. That lone win came against a very good Ben Davis team. That win alone shows that South is certainly capable. Jeffrey Turner leads the offensive attack scoring more than 25 per game. Every time I see South play or see highlights it seems like Logan Steward is lighting it up from long distance. The Braves will want to come in and use their depth against the Rox. The atmosphere in the Rock-o-Dome is going to be awesome. If you’re a basketball fan, this is a classic matchup you’ll want to see. South has the athleticism to matchup with Rockville but I don’t see an answer for Mahurin. He’s shown a will to win lately that can’t be denied. Rockville gets past South for the first perfect regular season in school history.
Barr-Reeve at Bloomfield
Barr-Reeve is at it again. They once again are having a phenomenal year and have climbed all the way up to #3 in Class A. The Vikings put an impressive 19-1 record on the line in a tough environment at Glover Gymnasium. Bloomfield has lost 2 in a row but still have an 11-9 record. Those two losses both came on the road. I’m excited to see two matchups in this one. The first one comes in the post. Addison Wagler leads Barr-Reeve in scoring and rebounding and the sophomore is establishing himself as one of the best players in the area. Bloomfield will counter Wagler with Kyle Robinson. Robinson doesn’t put up the obnoxious statline quite like Wagler but he’s just as steady. Robinson is long and athletic in the post and is like a pogo stick off the block. He’s a tough player. Ben Hayes leads the Cardinals backcourt against a plethora of talented guards for the Vikings. If Hayes is hot he’ll light up anyone. The stingy Barr-Reeve defense will almost certainly be focused on taking him away. I’m continually impressed with the maturity of Vikings point guard Logan James. He doesn’t score a ton, because he doesn’t have to. Micah Bullock compliments Wagler in the post by scoring more than 12 ppg. James, Bradon Wagler and Jacob Bledsoe round out the scoring punch of this balance team averaging between 6 and 7 ppg apiece. For Bloomfield to knock off the Vikings, they’ll have to play mistake free basketball and win the battle on the boards. They only game Barr-Reeve has lost this season came at the hands of their biggest rival the Loogootee Lions. The winning trend continues here.
Eastern Greene at North Daviess
The recipe has been fairly simple for North Daviess this season, score 40 points and win almost every time. The Cougars are 14-6 this season. In the six losses they’ve scored 46, 42, 14, 39,26, and 34. I’m throwing out the 42 because it came in two overtimes against Barr-Reeve. You see numbers there like 14, 26, and, 34 and see that sometimes for one reason or another the Cougar offense just doesn’t show up. You know you’re going to get good defense with a North Daviess team and they are certainly going to play hard. When they score, they are one of the best teams around. Eastern Greene comes in at 13-7. In Levi Carmichaels first year the T-birds have been good. If you throw out a 5 game skid right after the New Year, they’ve been great. Tyler Brough is one of those players that’s worth the price of admission. He can range from anywhere and he’s long and athletic enough to get his own shot in traffic or rise above the defense from the perimeter. How the tough Cougar defense treats Brough should be interesting. North Daviess counters with Nick Crays who seems to be playing well through a thumb injury and Wes Lengacher, another inside-outside scorer. The Cougars last two losses have come on the road and they’ll be ready to play for the season finale. When it’s all said and done, I think Eastern Greene will push the pace and use their physicality to edge the Cougars headed into the sectional.
Pick: Eastern Greene
Robinson vs. Newton (Regional Championship game)
Two days ago I would’ve said Robinson clearly rises above anyone in this regional, then I watched Dylan Davidson put on one of the best individual performances I’ve seen in the area this year. In the semi finals against Casey-Westfield, Davidson put up 27. The beauty of it may have been the fact that I didn’t see a bad shot or a poor decision from the straw that stirs the drink for the Eagles. Newton will come out make the regional title game a tough environment for Robinson to come into and win. Keep in mind, Newton was the only LIC team to beat Robinson this year when Davidson erupted in the conference tournament. Luke Stone provides more scoring spark. He’s got some size on the interior and can also step outside and drill the three. A key player if Newton is going to pull another upset is Keith Butler. Butler is big and strong on the interior and will have to contend with the talented bigs of the Maroons. In the Casey game Davidson was driving and leaving open 10 footers for Butler and he was knocking them all down. If he shoots it that well again, Newton will be tough to beat. Robinson became one of the darlings of the year when they burst onto the scene with some head turning performances during the Pizza Hut Classic. On paper, the Maroons have every single element you need to not only win the regional, but make a deep run towards Peoria. They have a young fiery coach in Mack Thompson who gets the most out of his kids. On the floor, I’m a believer that it starts at the point guard position and Aaron Siler gives the Maroons one of the best around. I’ve not seen Davidson as much as Siler this season, but the way Davidson played Wednesday night this could be an incredible matchup of the floor generals. Inside Drew Nicholas and Michael Akande have been good all season long. The few occasions Robinson has ran into trouble this year has been when one or both of their bigs have been in foul trouble. That’s not a coincidence. Both players are physical and hit the boards hard. If Akande and Nicholas stay on the floor, Robinson won’t lose this ballgame. Sweet shooting off-guard Cory Blount and Mr. Hustle Brayden Scott round out the starting lineup that boasts all kinds of winning ingredients. Newton has a lot going for them in this one. They’ve beaten Robinson, so they know it can be done. The game is on Newton’s home floor in front of what’s sure to be a potent crowd. Dylan Davidson looked like a truly elite player in the semis against Casey. Robinson, though, just has too many pieces to try and take away. In this high octane environment the Maroons will be focused and move on to the Greenville Sectional, but it won’t be without a fight.
Defiance vs. Rose-Hulman
For the first time in it’s young history a college game makes it way into the RPI. I usually focus solely on the high school matchups, but with Rose-Hulman the top seed hosting the HCAC tournament, lets address the buzz that is Engineers basketball. First things first, I can’t see a reason to give Defiance a chance in this one. Rose-Hulman is on their home floor; they are leading the country in defense only giving up 50.4 ppg, and have a 1-2 scoring punch that is out of this world. Julian Strickland is one of the best D-3 players I’ve ever seen in person. His silky smooth ability to attack a defense or knock down a jumper is uncanny. The junior leads the team in scoring at more than 14 points per game. Point guard Austin Weatherford can also fill it up. He runs the offense well and scores when he needs to. Weatherford picks his spots nicely, and you can usually count on him to bury a big three at an even bigger time in the ball game. The Engineers compliment their star guards with a 6’6” duo inside. Jon Gerken and Brent Balsbaugh both have ability to score some on the interior and hit the glass hard. They defend the post well and fit nicely within the elements of this basketball team. Nate Gissentanner provides serious spark off the bench,coming in and averaging nearly 8 ppg. Gissentanner is the team’s third leading scorer. Rose won the conference championship outright this season for the first time since 1999. They won’t be done yet folks. With the conference tournament at home I see the Engineers rolling over Defiance and claiming a conference tournament championship over Transylvania or Hanover on Saturday night.
The next RPI released will feature sectional breakdowns for our high school teams in Indiana. Feel free to weight in with your opinions at anytime. Until then, I’ll see ya at the gym.