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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


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Well...it's about that time to make predictions.

Top seeds Jamestown and the Falls are clear and heavy favorites to meet in the final in a rematch of the opening game of each team's season. Neither's road is clear of potential stumbling blocks, however. Each will play the winner of an interesting pre-quarter in their first game. Jamestown will either host Clarence for the second time in eight days or Lockport. I don't see either team being problematic for the Raiders, considering how well they have looked most of the season, especially the three games after the loss to North. The Falls will play the N-W/Frontier winner. Frontier has to be a favorite in this prequarter after blowing out KW on Saturday, a team N-W lost to twice in the regular season. Again, however, I don't see either being a major hurdle for the Falls.

A matchup to watch is the probable pre-quarter between OP and KW. Many will likely be looking for an upset here, considering Saturday's result and OP's latest game with Frontier. I feel the blowout loss could be the worst thing or the best thing to happen to KW...either they wilt to another ECIC 1 team after a strong year, or they use it as a wake up call and play much more aggressively than they did on Saturday. In any event, I feel it will be a tight game but think West's athleticism carries them late. The winner will take on Lancaster on Friday. A KW/Lancaster matchup is certainly a clash in styles...the depth and fast paced style of KW and the half-court sets and two man show for Lancaster. I feel Harrington would be too much inside and Lancaster makes their first appearance at Buff St. that I can recall.

The other intriguing potential quarterfinal is McKinley visiting North. I don't see McKinley having any trouble with WSW, especially after they have seemingly righted the ship against Tech. Much like the KW/OP game, I think many will be thinking McKinley will come through after North's(specifically Taplin's) listless performance against Wil East. However, I feel that was more a product of looking ahead to sectionals rather than simply not being that good of a team. Assuming both team's play to their potential, I see quite a high scoring affair. North's front line isn't nearly as athletic as McKinley, but players like Hussain and Safir do the little things that should even the balance. McKinley is a team that I feel Taplin could thrive against, but I also feel McKinley's depth will be too much for North to handle. I like McKinley to head back to Buff St.

Thus, I see Jamestown/Lancaster and Falls/McKinley as the semifinal matchups. I think both have the potential to be close games, as Lancaster has played Jamestown tough in both prior meetings and McKinley has the athletes to hang with the Falls. However, I'm going with the chalk...I feel Jamestown and the Falls just has superior talent and will come good when it matters most. The final of Jamestown/Falls is intriguing in numerous ways but most of all in that people will be talking about it from so many different angles. Some have said Jamestown is more talented and would have won the first meeting with a few more minutes on the clock. Others will now be saying that the Falls will be on a mission after losing to Joe's. I feel it's as simple as one player...Jaysean Paige. If he is on as he has been for so much of the year, I do not think the Falls can contain him, even with their depth at guard and size up front. To me, the Falls just doesn't have the talent or experience to overcome a player like Paige and the compliments around him. I like Jamestown repeating as AA champs and having a real shot to make a deep state run.

Really a story of two halves yesterday at OP. In the first half, OP couldn't do much more than turn the ball over on what seemed like every possession after getting out to a 6-0 lead and were outscored 31-15 the rest of the half. The second half, specifically the third quarter, OP took care of the ball and forced NT into the turnovers that they were making earlier. OP also shot a very high percentage, especially behind the arc, in the third.

If OP shoots that well against KW, they could pull out a win, but if they get off to a sloppy start like they did yesterday, I don't see KW letting their foot off the glass. As a commenter mentioned earlier, KW will have a considerable size advantage inside but will have to do a good job corralling long rebounds as OP shoots a lot of long jumpers. I think OP provides a matchup to KW similar to the of Ken East....with their team strength considerably more so in guard play and not much presence down low. To me, if KW can cancel out the production of McCormick and Witkowski with that of Grnadits and Bailey, they will be tough to beat with their depth and speed. Certainly looking for a close game, however.

today's a big day

Thought we might have a repeat of last year's quarterfinal Friday, with the snow and some postponements. Thankfully, the schools are on break and nothing appears to have had to be pushed back.

Two games in the Southern Tier were pushed back.


Make that three in the S. Tier.

Make that four. Three out of the four Ds.

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