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The Gridiron Digest

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  1. Congratulations to the SWIAC teams that advanced to the Regionals. North Daviess, Bloomfield, and Linton will have a chance to move on to the Semi-State this weekend. Each of their paths are a bit different... North Daviess- This looks like a winnable Regional for the Cougars. The rematch with Edinburgh has to make them a little nervous. Tough to beat a good team twice in a season. I have a little knowledge of Springs Valley... they remind me of their football team... a couple good athletes that can make plays... but just not enough around them to win against stiff competition. I don't know anything about Borden, but their wins and losses don't give me the impression they are on the same level as North Daviess. Bloomfield- Jac-Cen-Del looks like a Senior led team with a few good scorers. This will be a tough early matchup for the Cardinals. The Winner of Indy Lutheran and Indy Metro will be awaiting. Earlier in the season Lutheran narrowly defeated Metro. Metro has a lightning fast PG... a burly 250 lb scoring forward... and a 6'10" center. Clearly Lutheran has some talent if they held their own in the Indy circuit. I saw a few familiar names from their state championship football team.. so they are likely athletic. Bloomfield looks to have a tough road to get out of the Regional. At full strength... it would still be a tough Regional to win. Bloomfield is disciplined and can rely on Graf to score tough baskets, but it seems every week the Cardinals have another injury to an important piece to their team. I'll be rooting for the Cardinals, but they look to have the toughest road. Linton- The Miners start off with Providence. This looks like a good team, but I don't know if they have the athletes to match up with Linton. Their team defense is solid, so that will offset some of the matchups. I think Linton's length will give them some trouble. With that said... there isn't a big enough gap for the Miners to cruise. Providence makes a few stops and hits a few outside shots... this could be trouble. The earlier game has Forest Park against Paoli. I thought Paoli would be down a little this year after losing the Bosley kid. Instead, they put together a good season. Forest Park won a sectional that many thought would be won by South Spencer. FP has a lot of seniors and good scorer in the Howard kid. I think Forest Park will beat Paoli, but you never know.
  2. So the season is done... Sectionals around the corner... and many teams are showing their true colors. We also had a 3 way tie for the conference title, but I've been told the point system put in place gives Linton the official "Ship". Linton beat Bloomfield; North Daviess beat Linton; Bloomfield beat North Daviess.... Bloomfield scored in the waning seconds to go up by 4 on the Cougars. I wonder if that was the difference??? Either way... a couple other teams have given a little more clarity to the rest of the standings. Linton- The North Daviess loss hurt, but there seems to be a change in their play. Smith has emerged as a double digit scorer, while Walters and Franklin have looked for a few more shots. Hart and Webb are still the offensive studs, but a little more balance is good. Frady is still coming in to provide good post play as well. We have also seen a little more of the bench in a couple of these big wins. The win against South Vermillion gave the Miners their 20th win for the 10th year in a row. The loss at Evansville North in OT hurt, but North hit a lot 3's... The Miners had 2 chances late to tie or take the lead... they just didn't convert. 20-4 isn't too bad. Coach Hart deserves some big praise to create a winning basketball culture in the midst of a traditionally football 1st community. North Daviess- The Bloomfield loss may propel the Cougars to a big post season. They responded with a win at a top 10 1A Edinburgh... then followed that with an OT victory over ranked 3A Sullivan. This game probably saw 2 of the best PGs in all of Indiana face off. Randy Kelley is the real deal... as is Mullens. The Cougars won by 2. In regards to the Sectional draw... they only need to beat one of the other 2 powerhouse teams in their sectional. Regardless... the winner of the sectional could be poised to make a deep run. Bloomfield- Every time I turn around... the Cardinals are dealing with another injury. Sherrard has yet to play.... Dean has yet to make a full return... Combs messed up his ankle around Christmas... and now I hear Shulte could be out again. Combs is the only one that looks like he will be at full strength come time to win a sectional. I think they are the best team in their sectional, but Shakamak seems to be improving and North Central has had some success against the Cardinals. Will the injuries prove to be too much for the Cardinals? I don't know. Graf will still be hard to stop, while Royal, Beard, and Combs are all capable of scoring. Shakamak- They are in the midst of a 8 game winning streak. Outside of a couple missed free throws against South Vermillion... they would be at a 10 game win streak. I still don't know if this team has the toughness to beat Bloomfield, but if they are hitting shots... they could shock the Cardinals in round 1 of the Sectional. North Central- I still think this team could shock someone in the sectional. Clark is still a very good guard (he had a career high 35 points recently)... if a few of the guys around him can score a little and defend a little... they could win. Due to their losses to Shakamak... they are clearly behind the Lakers in the final conference standings. Eastern- I figured they would be dead last... especially without Rippy for most of the 1st half of the season. Instead they squeaked out key victories against Clay City and WRV. If Coach Hudson can get them a little closer to .500 next year... the young guys that got tons of experience... they might make some noise the following year or two as Juniors or Seniors. Clay City- This year had to be a little disappointing... They have a solid Junior class... but they didn't seem to make that jump to .500. The freshman class has a couple pieces as well. Next year could see a bigger jump in their win/loss record. A good Senior and Sophomore class might be enough to make a jump. A 2 point win over WRV gives them a slight nod over the Wolverines. White River Valley- I figured they would have won a game or two. They are dead last due two losses by just a single basket. I didn't expect them to beat the top teams, but I thought they might squeeze out a win or two in conference play. They won't lose a lot... but I didn't see any varsity ready guys in 8th grade. A couple guys in grades 9-11 will need to get better to take the next step.
  3. So... battle of the conference unbeaten teams highlighted Friday night. At the very least it was a close game. Here it goes... North Daviess- They are now the top team. By no fault of there own.... it wasn't an impressive win. Maybe that is harsh, but neither team was really impressive. Not necessarily their fault... although... I would guess ND wasn't looking to get in a track meet. They also didn't seem to be hitting open shots. The 1-3-1 gave them more fits than last year. In large part due to Linton rotating better. They dove for loose balls and made plays when they needed to. The offensive rebounds late in the game were big... one even won the game for them. They lost what sounds like a great game Saturday night to Barr Reeve. That sectional will be a blood bath. Whoever comes out of it will be favored to make a good postseason run. Linton- I'm not sure exactly what to say. Bloomfield and North Daviess exposed some chinks in the Miner armor. Let me begin by explaining how Linton beat the Cougars this summer (yes... I realize summer ball is different). The Miners used their size to abuse them. They out rebounded them, played switching man defense contesting everything, and used their size match ups to win. The only Miner under 6'2" or 6'3" is 6'1" 220 lbs and is rumored to drop step dunk. Webb was the most effective down low, but they even posted up Smith and Franklin... I don't think Frady played a lot due to the switching man defense. The Miners were also moving the ball until the best shot was taken. I think the Miners won by 14 or 15, but it was rarely ever in single digits. Fast forward to Friday... we came out and didn't really do any of those things. It almost seemed like we were playing into what I would expect to be the Cougar strategy. Franklin didn't post up Mullen... He is a reluctant scorer, but can score around the basket... and is probably their best passer from the post. Frady comes in Friday night... I assumed to exploit the size matchup... nope... we still kept running the same sets that clearly were well scouted by the Cougars. We got into a little foul trouble late in the 1st half, so we held the ball. At the time it was the smart move. The stalling later... felt like we were playing not to lose. We also wasted this plan by taking a couple bad shots late. We also aren't the best FT shooting team as of late. Now... with this in mind... if the Cougars had a lead... they would have undoubtedly shortened the game by holding onto the ball. This was never going to be a high scoring affair. Win or lose... the Miners are playing sloppy basketball. I'm not blaming any one person. The guys that don't want to score are almost going out of their way to pass up good drives and shots... while the two big scorers are throwing up a lot of bad shots... sometimes when their teammates are open for a better shot. There is work for the Miners to do... I have no doubt Coach Hart is working it out. In truth... they probably needed a kick on the face. It is not impossible for some of these HS kids to start believing the hype rather than getting to work on being a great team. That probably means Hart and Webb may need to pass up a shot or two, while Walters, Smith, Franklin, and Frady need to look to score a time or two more each game. This summer... a basic stat line was Hart/Webb scored 40+... Smith chipped in 12+ ppg... Walters added 8 ppg... Franklin and Frady scored 10-12 ppg combined. With that said, at times Smith scored close to 20 as a reliable 3rd option. Walters was still getting in trouble for not looking to score 🙂 Bloomfield- Destroying Eastern and losing a close game to Loogootee rounded out their weekend. If I'm not mistaken, Bloomfield took the County Keg. I'm assuming Bloomfield is still not at full strength. They had one go down against Linton, 2 who are/were hobbling around, one that may not play all year. This should be the year the Cardinals make a postseason run. They need to get healthy. As for the Sectional... North Central was their kryptonite last year. I don't know if Clark & Co. have enough to challenge them. Shakamak is too soft to challenge. North Central- A loss to a solid North Knox team wasn't the start they were looking for on Thursday, but bouncing back with 2 wins to finish the weekend isn't bad. I'm not sure NC is where they were last year, but I will be keeping my eye on next week's game vs. Bloomfield. Clark has been really good against them the last few years. Shakamak- A 10 point win against WRV was nice, but did little to separate them in most people's minds. Word is JT May only scored a couple points. Gilbert was big again, but he isn't getting much help. At the beginning of the year... I felt like this team could challenge come March... From what I have seen... they are too soft physically and mentally to challenge good teams. They can always hope North Central beats Bloomfield come sectionals... hmm... sounds strangely familiar. WRV- They went 0-2, but seemed to be scoring a little more than earlier in the year. Of course, they also gave up over 150 points in 2 games. Eastern- They also went 0-2. Not sure what to say... they are basically exactly where most people expected. The win against Clay City was a little unexpected, but the team seems to play hard. Plus... one never knows who is or isn't playing. Clay City- Winless in the conference. Nobody expected a good game vs. TH North. Cloverdale has the Thomas kid... CC doesn't have that type of kid. They seem like a team full of pieces, but no stud.
  4. Joey Hart played up until 8th grade... he was a burner. Great straight line speed... not a big fan of running between the tackles... he would be a good wide receiver... believe it or not... he liked to hit on defense (sort of funny since most basketball coaches think the only way to slow him down on a court is to be physical with him). While we are throwing out D1 athletes at Linton that never played HS football. Josh Pyne (IU Baseball) would have been a great football player. We never could talk his mom into it (in her defense... Josh was on a D1 baseball path in JH) Even Lincoln Hale played until JH. Evan Slover (Trester Award winner in HS basketball) is probably the best recent kid to not play football. He was a beast with an insanely high football IQ. I could probably write a book on great Miner athletes who chose not to play football 😉 Braden Walters is one that I'd love to see back on the Gridiron... hopefully he will come back out as a JR. and SR.
  5. Elmer Oliphant would be distantly related to Kip Fougerousse who is currently playing at IU on a baseball scholarship. Kip didn't play HS football... at 6'3" and 200+ lbs... he might have been good. The Oliphant clan and their descendants are sort of scattered across Green County.
  6. A couple thoughts from the GCI... WRV- They have the pieces to be better than what they are. Max Hostetter is a good PG, but I would require him to create more scoring opportunities for himself. Sometimes it is like watching Walters and Franklin from Linton... very unselfish and seems to always be looking to involve his teammates. The problem is he doesn't have kids who can create their own scoring opportunities. Jared Franklin and Wade Hall can hit spot up shots, but neither have the athletic ability to create against good defenders. Imagine if Max required a player to cheat over to guard him... then those guys become effective shooters. Eli Crites seems to be in a time loop from his freshman year. He still is too weak with the ball. That was OK then... we saw the potential... I'm not sure a Senior gets that pass. Luke Hall looked solid in some spots. The basketball IQ is there... he still tends to be streaky as a shooter... and he needs to get bigger/stronger, but as a freshman... he has time to grow into that. I like the effort Fulford brings, but he is an energy/defense guy. English has moments, but he is just a Sophomore... if he could squeeze out a few more inches... his game becomes much tougher to defend. 5'10" physical scorers aren't nearly as effective as 6'3" players. If the new coach can work some magic... next year might be a .500 season with an opportunity to be in the mix come sectionals. North Central- I really like the Clark kid. He has thinned out a little and is crafty with the ball. He can also fill it up when he starts feeling it. Hadley looks slower than last year. He seemed to be standing around a lot and was not as effective as a scorer/passer. Ison has really improved... I could see him filling Clark's role next year. He could be a 15-20 ppg scorer next year. Jennings is getting minutes, but he needs to become more physical. His effort is also all over the place. A focus on getting stronger could turn him into a tough player. Vaughn still provides athletic play that borders chaos. When he is hitting shots and making plays, he is an X factor. The problem is when he isn't... expect fouls and turnovers. Shakamak- First... congrats to Coy Gilbert on reaching 1,000 points. I have been thoroughly impressed with how hard he plays. Next to Joey Hart and Logan Webb... he was probably the most effective scorer in the GCI. Oscar Pegg provides physical play at another guard spot. He bullied some kids in the GCI... he didn't have that luxury against Linton. Jernigan had some solid play from another guard spot. JT May was lights out in the 2nd half to get the Lakers past North Central, but he struggles to score on athletes with any length. He struggled against the Miners. Guyler Gorby came off the bench in all the games I watched. He looks uninterested in being out there. He has maybe the highest athletic ceiling on the team, yet doesn't get much out of it. Linton- 8 in a row... Most of the guys who played weren't even playing school basketball the last time the Miners lost a game in the GCI. Hart was on fire the first game... and didn't really slow down. After a week of physical games where every team tried to push him around to get him off his game... The teams at the GCI allowed him to get comfortable shooting 3 pointers. Then they would run out on him while he drove past them. Webb was a little off compared to the previous tournament, but he still scored around 20 ppg for the GCI. Smith and Walters made plays going to the rim. Frady scored around the basket, while Franklin made some nice defensive/hustle plays. It was good to see Jaxon Walker come of the bench as a reliable outside shooter. If he was a little more physical... and versatile on the offensive end... he could carve out some time. Ayden Riggleman came off the bench and scored some points, but his skill set doesn't seem to be translating to playing time. Hunter Gennicks has the athletic and defensive skill set to fight for some time, but he is behind as an offensive player.
  7. What a week for basketball. North Daviess and Southridge had competitive holiday tourneys, while the Wabash Valley Tournament had some really good games. Bloomfield, Linton and North Daviess were knocked from the list of unbeatens. Linton- The Miners notched good wins against Marshall, Bloomfield, and Edgewood... Unfortunately, they fell short against a very good Terre Haute North team in the Championship game. The Bloomfield was a good win, but sort of glimpse into the Good, Bad, and Ugly of the Miners. As a whole they played a sloppy/lazy game for about 3 quarters. They looked good for the first 5 minutes and the last 3 minutes. Fortunately, the Miners did a good job on stopping Graf. The problem was Combs killed them around the basket... the Cardinals also hit 6 first half 3 pointers. Even with that... when the all of the Miners played with some effort... they rattled off 16 points in the last few minutes to squeeze out a win. They handled Owen Valley easily on day 1 of the Greene County Tournament. North Daviess- I didn't get a chance to watch their loss to FW Blackhawk, but an OT loss to an undefeated team that is off of state championship runs is a good loss... if one believes in such things. Bloomfield had a solid week at the Wabash Valley Tournament. They were 3 minutes away from giving Linton their 1st loss. A close game against South Vermillion was a little unexpected, but SV played well. The biggest problem was the nasty turned ankle that Peter Combs came away with against Cloverdale. The game was well in hand when he went down, which will likely cause some to question the call to have him in. North Central- Had the week off... Some one mentioned they needed time to get healthy. Looks like they will get Shakamak on Friday. That will be a good game to see where each team is at this point. Shakamak- They showed some life in the Wabash Valley Tournament. A close loss to West Vigo should have been a win, but a win against TH South was big. The loss against Northview was by about the same as North Central... which could be a sign of a good game at the Greene County Tourney. That would be nice after watching the 1st couple games. White River Valley- This team is young at a lot of key spots... they also seem to have trouble handling the ball. 20+ turnovers cost them a chance of winning their game against Shakamak. Hostetter is a solid ballhandler, but after that... the barrel is thin. Wade Hall, Eli Crites, and Jared Franklin handle the ball ok in a 1/2 court situation when looking for their own shots. I didn't see much ball movement and unselfish team play. The other Wolverines need work. Dalton Fulford provides hustle... Luke Hall can shoot... neither provide varsity level ball handling. Most of their Sophomores are getting good experience, but outside of Hostetter... none of them seem ready for full time varsity. Clay City- They had a solid holiday tournament. 2-1 with a close loss to Martinsville. Looking at their schedule... they could be on a 6 game winning streak going into their game with TH North in a few weeks. A lot of winnable games over the next few weeks. I'll be interested to see how they fare against WRV at the end of the month. Eastern- I don't know if the Rippy kid is back, but Coach Hudson is giving his young guys a lot of experience. Unfortunately, I don't see many winnable games on the schedule. Washington Catholic... maybe WRV... It is going to be a tough year.
  8. Another good weekend for the top of the conference... and some interesting games down the line. Linton- A huge over a slightly depleted Shakamak team was to be expected. Linton could have hung 100 on them, but what use would that be. It really seemed Coach Hart and even the players were looking ahead to Saturday's matchup against Castle. The big win against Castle was a solid win. Castle plays really hard. Niehaus is like a bigger Josh Pyne. He hurt us when we went to a zone with offensive rebounds (he came in averaging 10+ rebounds... about 1/2 were offensive). We kept him in check. Franklin guarded him the most, but Webb... Walters... and even Hart were on him at various times. While in man... he did very little. The 6'9" kid was solid, but he met Drew Smith and his great positioning and outstanding strength. Walters shut down their other top scorer. On the the Drew Smith note... this team is good without him... but with him... they will be really tough to handle. Smith, Walters, and Franklin make so many plays without scoring. Don't get me wrong Hart and Webb are studs, but watching the other three is fun. Loose balls, steals, rebounds, great passes, etc... just happen when these guys are in. Gennicks provides some of the same types of things, but he hasn't quite caught up after missing the last 2 years of basketball. I did enjoy the SIAC folks on social media and even in the stands Saturday. The social media folks bad mouthed Linton's schedule (note... Evansville schools/SIAC don't really believe sports are played outside of their little part of the world). My favorite was the SIAC fan sitting near me. He started the game as an ardent supporter of his conference... by Walters-Hart alley oop at the half... his transformation to Linton fan was complete. He rooted for the Miners the rest of the way 🙂 North Daviess- I would have liked to watch the matchup against Hammond Central. Sounds like a really good game.. free throws seemed to be the deciding factor. I wonder how tightly the game was called. HC gets after it defensively... almost to their own detriment. The Cougars notched another solid win against Evansville Mater Dei on Saturday night. Bloomfield- The Cardinals keep rolling, but their strength of schedule makes me wonder how they would fair against a good team. They might be as good as the top 2, but it is hard to tell beating teams that are average or below. The Wabash Valley Tournament should give them a few opportunities to notch a bigger win. North Central- They won on Friday against Eastern and rolled against Bloomington Lighthouse the following night. They beat who they should have. They are quietly cruising into 2022 with a 5-2 record. Not bad. Clay City- They lost a close game against Monrovia, but bounced back against South Vermillion on Saturday. 2 wins would have been nice, but they are showing a little bit of life. Shakamak- They were destroyed by Linton on Friday. I'm sure the loss of Gilbert and Jernigan will provide an excuse, but let's be honest... the Miners still would have rolled. JT May scored their 1st 11 points... the only problem was a whole quarter between his 9 point 1st quarter and his 1st basket of the 3rd quarter. Eastern- They were handled by North Central, but a close loss at Martinsville shows they may have a little life in them. WRV- They have 2 wins, but Wood Memorial and Bloomington Lighthouse isn't exactly good wins. They are probably better than Eastern... for now... assuming Rippy doesn't play in their matchup later this season. Who knows.. they might even be able to squeeze out a win against Clay City... I doubt they beat NC or Shakamak at full strength.
  9. That article doesn't make me upset that those kids, coaches, and administrators gutted out a rough year. Football can take a lot... but it also gives a lot. Those players are among a select group of people with the guts and will power to overcome rough circumstances. I did enjoy how they used Mater Dei as the bar for participation. They dressed about 100 players against us with only 1 freshman (kicker). Linton has great numbers for a public school... we usually have between 45-55 players. CC is just a few students above the 1A/2A line. Their unique situation with distance and poverty probably makes it even tougher to keep kids involved. Lets break down some things on this "list". This is from someone with almost no direct knowledge of Crawford County... so take it for what it is worth. It is probably fair to make comparisons to similar programs. Eastern Greene and Forest Park both started their programs around the same time. Enrollments are close, but Eastern probably compares better in regards to lacking a good size town... I'm also guessing their poverty rate is higher than FP. In the first 10 seasons... CC had 11 wins; Eastern had 21 wins; FP had 35 wins... Coaching seemed to be the biggest factor. CC had a revolving door... Eastern finally got their feet on solid ground by year 7 or 8... FP came out with a good coach (they have only had two in 14 seasons). 1. Chronic lack of competitiveness- I'm not sure this should be addressed specifically... all the other things directly impact this. 2. Chronic staff turnover- Forest Park had 2 experienced coaches for the first 14 years of their program... there is consistency. They also were able to grab an experienced coach in the beginning to help establish the program. Eastern has had 8 coaches in 19 years (Coach Lorig got the program on its feet, but didn't coach in its 1st varsity season). It wasn't until Luke Dean took over that progress was made. He was a young energetic... almost an arrogant coach, but exactly what the program needed. He seemed to focus on a feeder program and his teams competed. Paridean comes in and reaps the benefits of a strong Junior/Senior class to guide them to a couple really good years. Good coach + a few good classes = success. It didn't hurt that they were one of the biggest 1A teams during their deep tournament runs. Since then, they have struggled. Crawford County has had 6 coaches in 15 years... I didn't recognize all the names, but I wonder if they were young, energetic, experienced, etc... Or were they stop gap coaches. Hard to gain credibility with your players and the community/school that way. 3. Low numbers- This could be a couple problems. How does distance effect participation numbers for their teams at all levels? What does feeder program look like? Are they losing good athletes to other schools? Is the coach good at recruiting athletes? I'm guessing their feeder program is attached to another league, which means they may only be fielding 1 team. Are players being developed? In an area that may not have many former football players, what kind of coaches do they have in place at the youth level? Is there conformity in what they do on offense and defense? So many questions 4. Poor administrative support- It sounds like there is at least a base level of support, but most of us know fielding a team is not the same supporting the team. What does the field and practice facilities look like. What about the weight room? Do they have a weight lifting class? If not... they should. Is there work to tie the program together from top to bottom (elementary)? 5. Poor community support- This is a tiered issue. Showing up is a part of that.. but not always the most important. Does the community support kids playing all sports? Are there qualified coaches to fill out the varsity staff, JH staff, and youth league? Is there an effort by the school to make football a community unifying event? Is the community open to the vision of the coach in terms of plays/strategy? 6. Lack of coordinated feeder system- A coach having to go over plays over and over until their whole team is there is hard to read. Maybe they need to start their offense at the youth league level and build on it every year. Of course, that would require a coach to stick around for awhile. Being small... I'm guessing they feed into a bigger league or travel around and play other small schools. Do they participate in a few school affiliated tournaments at the end of the youth season? 7. Strong apathetic attitude towards football- It isn't just losing that creates this... it is all of this stuff wrapped up into one. We now have COVID to deal with on top of the general apathy some kids have. 8. Competitive consolidation- Who could they possibly merge with. It is a rural school. Any kid that would have the means to travel to a better program... probably already has... or they just didn't buy a house in CC school district. I would look to play as many 1A or struggling programs as possible. A few wins could help if other things are in place. 9. Merger consolidation
  10. I believe the top 50 is only for Seniors. I'm also pretty sure you can't be on the top 50 list and also be on the all state list. Where that puts the Senior brother... no idea. I listened to their dad speak at a coaching clinic once his 1st time at Indiana. It was really interesting how he found "diamonds" in the rough for the RB position. I think he said Howard and Coleman were 3 star or below when they went after them.
  11. The weekend continued to set the top 3 teams in the conference apart from the rest of the pack... while the rest all seem to be within 8-10 points of each other. Linton beat a solid Mitchell team on Friday. Mitchell looked to be well coached and had a handful of solid guards and shooters. I think Linton's length and athleticism was the difference. Wigley getting in foul trouble hurt Mitchell... he had a couple dumb fouls, but requiring him to guard Webb on the block was a poor coaching move. He was giving up 3 inches and quite a few lbs and muscle. I thought Hart played below his usual level... oddly he struggles shooting at home. Mitchell put a smaller physical defender on him and he didn't rise up. Frady and Franklin hit enough shots to prevent Mitchell from focusing on Hart and Webb. Walters looked disinterested in filling the 3rd scorer role. He is more than capable and the addition of Franklin takes some of the playmaker responsibilities away from him. It may not matter since Drew Smith is likely back this weekend. If he takes up where he left off... he could fill the 3rd scorer role. They have a conference game against Shakamak on Friday followed by a matchup with Castle at Bosse Saturday afternoon. Bloomfield cruised to 2 big wins this weekend. Clay City and Edgewood aren't world beaters, but they beat both by a wide margin. I'm not sure anybody will know how good they are until later in the month. The back half of their schedule will sort out how good they are. Linton, North Daviess, Loogootee, and Bloomington South should sort it out before sectionals. North Daviess also cruised to 2 big wins by lesser competition. North Central is likely in the 4th-6th place range in the conference... looks like that gap is 20+ points between the top 3 and the rest. I don't know anything about the Jeeps... I'm guessing they aren't great. They will have a big game against Hammond Central this weekend followed by a game against Evansville Mater Dei. Hammond Central would be a nice measuring stick. They will have better athletes... ND will need to control the pace of the game. I don't know anything about MD basketball, but they are likely still getting their basketball legs in shape after football season. North Central lost big to North Daviess... a matchup next weekend against Eastern will give everyone a glimpse into the difference between the middle and bottom of the conference. Shakamak lost a winnable game against North Knox, while beating Washington Catholic easily. A matchup against Linton will be a tough task this weekend. Surely this team will start to play better. There is some talent there. Clay City is going through the top teams early... it might give everyone a inaccurate view of their place in the conference. They are clearly 20+ points worse than the top 3, but they might be on equal footing with the rest of the conference. Eastern looks like a team that is playing very disciplined with a really young team... that won't help them this year... who knows down the line. Valentine is a good senior... if Rippy returns... they might move up from the bottom of the conference. WRV looks to be falling to the bottom. I've heard that Crites is playing well as a Senior, but others are struggling to score. I've heard rumors that shooting mechanics were altered and some have not been able to hit open shots ever since. If this was a summer switch that just hasn't taken, I get it. If these changes were done more recently, seems like an unwise move. Changing the mechanics of a shot is something that requires a lot of work/shots in the summer. It also seems some players that were more focused on offense than defense... have fell out of favor. This weekend might get them their 2nd win against Bloomington Lighthouse. WRV always seems to play Bloomfield better than their record or talent suggest. I still see them losing by 20+.
  12. Word was buzzing around school yesterday for the Miners who made the teams. Hats off to Gabe Eslinger for making 2A all state as a LB. He was a Jr. all state selection last year as well. We also had 2 Juniors make the all state cut. Hunter Gennicks made it as a DB, while Wrigley Franklin made it at DL. Both were very good on offense as well... it will be good to have them back.
  13. Last week was a pretty good week for the top teams of the SWIAC conference. Bloomfield made sure to emphasize to Shakamak that they were a distant 4th in the conference on Friday night. A 20+ point makes the Cardinals look like a clear favorite in their sectional. North Daviess moved to 4-0 with a big win over Washington. Linton went 2-0 on the weekend. The 30 point win over Clay City was expected, but the double digit win over Crispus Attucks was a big win. Looks like the Miners have moved into the top 20 coaches poll for the first time in school history. They didn't play a perfect 1st half, but well enough to keep it close. The 2nd half was dominated for the most part by the Miners. Depth might be their only chink as of right now, but some of the guys that didn't play much Saturday would be fine against most teams on our schedule. Drew Smith will also be back sometime after Christmas, which provide another player to handle the ball... play defense.. and score at the rim. Shakamak had a weird weekend. They get destroyed by Bloomfield... then it takes a last second shot for Sullivan to put them away. This kind of inconsistency makes sense for the Sophomore contributors... but one would think there is enough Senior leadership to balance that out. They also have a new coach. If you are half empty people... this is just Shakamak... you never know what you are going to get. If you are a half full person... these are some new coach/emerging team issues that will work themselves out as the year progresses. Too early to tell. North Central is 2-1, but their wins are against teams that are 0-7 combined. Coach Edmondson usually gets his teams ready by Sectional. They still have some pieces to give Bloomfield some trouble. White River Valley is not only without a win, but they are barely scoring 30 ppg. I think they are giving up 40+ppg. They are 0-3 against middle of the road teams. Clay City had to play Linton, which was not a close game. Reilly Myers was solid for them. Early on he had 10-12 of their first 15 points. This was a solid Jr. group in JH... Outside of Myers... I'm not sure the rest of them have improved at the same rate as the other Juniors in the area. In fairness, there are a lot of really good kids from that class scattered across the conference. Eastern is just not very good. They look to be disciplined with the ball, but they aren't very talented. Rippy didn't play in the game I watched. I had heard he was injured during football season, but I hadn't heard the severity of the injury. Valentine did a nice job leading in the game I watched, but with this group... he needs to look to score more often.
  14. The GCI will have Linton, Shakamak, North Central, WRV, Pike Central, Shoals, Eminence... I assume there is an 8th team, but I don't know who it is. Not a very good tournament for the Miners, but not an awful thing after grinding it out at the Wabash Valley Tournament.
  15. The weekend played out about as expected... I'll start with the teams that struggled... Eastern, WRV, Clay City, and North Central each lost their opening game. Eastern will likely struggle all year. WRV lost a close one vs. North Knox. Clay City was a toss up for me... Looks like South Putnam had enough to squeeze out a win. North Central was a bigger loss than I expected, but the White/Cook backcourt is pretty good. If Northview has any type of size... this doesn't seem like a big loss. Shakamak beat a very weak Rivet team. I'm not sure it says much one way or the other about the Lakers. Bloomfield beat Owen Valley and Cloverdale. I thought the Clovers would put up a bigger fight... maybe they were missing someone. Bloomfield looks to be minus Dean and Sherrard for what could be the whole season... that would not be good for the Cardinals post season chances. North Daviess won 3 games over the weekend. The win against Loogootee was a nice victory against a sectional opponent. Evansville Day looked to be an easy win , but North Posey looked to be a close game. Linton got 2 quality wins over quality teams this weekend. Indy Metro didn't play the 6'10" Merriweather kid, but they played faster without him. Stamps was a load at 6'1" 250lbs. He scored 20 or so in the 1st half... Their PG, Omari Ferguson was a speedster. He was really tough to stay in front of in transition. They will be a tough 1A team. Park Heritage went to state last year, but the Miners handled them fairly well. Some big shots out of a few PH kids helped keep the game close, but it never seemed to feel like it would be close. One of those weird games were the score looked and felt like an 8-10 point game for the majority of the time.
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