Monday, February 27, 2017

Championship Week - Day #1 Preview

Monday's Games:
Class D Semifinal:
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville vs. Fort Ann - 5:00PM

Class B Semifinals:
Voorheesville vs. Mekeel Christian Academy - 6:30PM
Ichabod Crane vs. Glens Falls - 8:00pm

All games at the Glens Falls Civic Center

Class D Semis: Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville Wolfpack vs. Fort Ann Cardinals
Monday, February 27th, 2017 - 5:00PM at Glens Falls Civic Center

Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville: AJ Hayes and Devyn Jones has been the 1-2 punch for the Wolfpack in 2016-17, scoring 46 points in their 69-58 win over the Whitehall Railroaders in the Quarterfinals in Stillwater.  Tyler Leon scored 15 points in the effort.  Jones can be shut down, as was the case in the Wolfpack's latest two loses to Schoharie and Mayfield when he was held to under 10 points.  OESJ's path to the Civic Center has run through the Adirondack League, beating Salem and Whitehall, but will need to shut down the league's top Class D team if they're going to make it to the championship.

Fort Ann: The Cardinals's lone blemish on their record comes at the hand of the Granville Golden Horde, the #1 seed in Class C.  The Adirondack League champions are backed by the offensive magic of Tyler Mattison and Jeremy Johnson, but those two cannot be the only guys contained.  Garret Bailey, the team's #3 scorer, has a presence behind the arch, scoring 40% of his seasonal output from there.  He tied Tyler Mattison for top scorer in the Cardinals semifinal win over Fort Edward, scoring 15 of his 22 points behind the arch.

PREDICTION: The Fort Ann defense will contain Devyn Jones.  Hayes will still put up 25 points, but behind the work of Mattison, Bailey and Johnson, the Cardinals will advance to play in the championship game.  Fort Ann 71, OESJ 58

Class B Semis: Voorheesville Blackbirds vs. Mekeel Christian Academy Lions
Monday, February 27th, 2017 - 6:30PM at Glens Falls Civic Center

Voorheesville: Both Sean Nolan and Matt Bernhard have worked hard to put the Blackbirds where they are -- one step closer to a Class B Title.  Teams don't want to foul Bernhard.  He's 91% from the free throw line, and Nolan's 74% is still pretty deadly.  But it was P.J. Parker who led the way in the Blackbirds overtime win over Broadalbin-Perth at Shenendehowa in the Quarterfinals, scoring 21 points.  The Blackbirds can be very defensive, holding three opponents to under 40 points this season.

Mekeel Christian Academy: A perennial power, the Lions are a force to be reckoned with, scoring 90 or more points three times this season, and even topping over the century mark in a lopsided 107-55 win over Bishop Gibbons earlier this month.  And while some of this can be at the hands of them playing in the Western Athletic Conference, you cannot overlook some of their non-conference games.  A win over Class A Amsterdam, who won the Foothills Council South Division before losing the Glens Falls in the championship, and a win over Class AA's Green Tech, who narrowly pulled off the upset over top seeded Colonie on Saturday, shows the Lions have some talent.  Four players over 10 points per game, led by over 20 points per game scorer Deonte Holder, will cause fits for even the better defenses in Section 2.

PREDICTION: Mekeel Christian Academy's offense may be too strong for the Blackbirds to handle.  Given the caliber of opponents the Lions have faced outside of the WAC, the Lions have been tested well this season and have earned their 20-0 record.  Mekeel Christian Academy 88, Voorheesville 46

Class B Semis: Ichabod Crane Riders vs. Glens Falls Indians
Monday, February 27th, 2017 - 8:00PM at Glens Falls Civic Center

Ichabod Crane: Peter Volkmann scored nearly half of the Riders 60 points, bucketing 29 points in the Riders 60-53 win over Hudson in the Quarterfinals.  But he's not the primary focus.  He's joined by Joe Werner, whose inside play has been causing teams issue all season long at over 15 points per game.  Austin Valliere is a complimentary scorer, at over 10 points per game.  The Riders already have one win over a Foothills Council opponent, beating Schuylerville in the first round last Tuesday.

Glens Falls: Tony Green has nearly 15 points per game, and for most cases, teams would be worried already.  But you throw Section 2's leading scorer, and a serious threat for Joel Wincowski's all-time Section 2 mark in the name of Joe Girard III, and you have a recipe for trouble.  Girard has nearly 800 points this season, almost 200 from the charity stripe, and over 300 coming from behind the arch.  Inside, outside, all around, Joe Girard III can be trouble for opposing defenses.

PREDICTION: Good players are going to score no matter whose hand is in their face.  That's the case with Joe Girard III.  You just have to hope you have an offensive threat who can go toe-to-toe with him.  Unfortunately, Ichabod Crane doesn't have such a player who can score no matter what the opposition brings.  Glens Falls 83, Ichabod Crane 61

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