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The Gridiron Digest

SWIAC Basketball 2020/2021


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Last Friday ...
Linton at Shakamak-  This wasn't close at any point.  JT May struggled to get his shot off... he may have had 8 points... Most were late when the Miners played a 2-3 zone.  The rest of his team didn't help him much.  Tough spot for a young player.  One Shakamak player even seemed to take himself out.  The JV game was at least close for a half until the Miners pulled away... I think they won by 25+.

North Central at Clay City - This was closer than I expected.  North Central looks to have a winning season with just 2 games left.  CC doesn't win games, but they play teams closer than expected.

North Knox at North Daviess-  This game was really close. 

Washington at Bloomfield- Is Washington down?  Bloomfield won this by a sizable margin

WRV at Springs Valley- I thought this might be a game WRV could squeeze out.  

Last Saturday... 
Bloomington South at Bloomfield- Bloomington South is a good team... and haven't lost in 2021.

Clay City at Shakamak-  Shakamak should have won this game... and did.

Owen Valley at WRV-  Atkinson & Co. had to be too much for the Wolverines.

West Vigo at North Central-  Nice win for the T-Birds

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A lot of games in just a week or so with the season winding down.  This past weekend cemented some of the standings within the conference.

Friday night...

Linton @ North Daviess-  The Miner faithful started the evening watching their JV hand North Daviess JV their first loss of the season on a last second shot.  The Miners were up, but turnovers, a couple dumb fouls, and a few made shots by the Cougars made the game closer than it should have been.  It was an entertaining start to the evening.  As for the varsity contest, this was for a share of the conference title.  The Cougars seemed to take a page out of the book of Eastern and Greencastle... move the ball around on offense... hit 3 pointers play physical defense.  In all 3 of those games, those teams moved the ball well and hit open 3 pointers.  In each of those games the Miners saw teams hit 8+ three pointers.  Although the Miners have some good individual defenders... they are not really a very good team defense.  They don't rotate well to the next guy while in their man defense... they are often out of position when in their 1-3-1.  Nobody cares when you are making steals, but all 3 of those games... teams were patient and made shots.  Sort of odd considering the Linton JV is really solid on defense, but struggles to score.  Either way... the Cougars had a plan and executed it well.  On offense, Jaylen Mullen drove a kicked out to open shooters... he hit three 3 pointers of his own.  He was outstanding the whole night.  Defensively, they put athletes on Hale and Hart who were going to hand check them all over the floor.  I was mildly impressed with their ability to grab a jersey without an official seeing it.  Throughout the year... both of those guys have had mixed results when physical defenders are allowed to bumo them.  Sometimes officials call that... they never call those type of fouls at North Daviess.  Pyne and Smith seemed to be the only Miners ready for a physical battle.  After all... when in Rome??  Oddly, the JV game was similar... The Cougars were aggressive on defense... its just the Miners start 3 guys that are 215+ and don't get pushed around easily... in fact... they seem to enjoy the contact.  They also bring in an all state free safety in off the bench 😉   The varsity contest was a good win for the Cougars... they took what they knew about Linton's weaknesses and exploited them.  If the Miners want to make a deep run... they need to figure out how to play through physical play and rotate better on the defensive end.

Bloomfield over Greencastle- Good win for the Cardinals.  I really liked Greencastle's stud guard.  He was really good in the Wabash Valley Tournament. 

Saturday night...

Bloomfield lost to New Albany-  We don't get to see 80-73 games very often these days.  Losses are losses, but this seems like a loss that would help the Cardinals for the postseason.

Linton defeats North Central... again-  North Central is solid... the Miners played uninspired basketball for most of the game.  Everytime the Miners would extend the lead to 10+ points... the T-Birds would come back.  I think it was as close as 1 point in the 4th quarter.  Tough to beat a team 3 times in a season, but the Miners seemed to move on defense with the same lack of purpose as the night before.  They also did a poor job rebounding and coming away with those 50/50 balls.  Maybe it was 2 games in 15 hours, but they just seemed uninterested.  Lincoln Hale became the leader scorer in Greene county basketball history surpassing AJ Graves.  Nice company to be in.   The Miners will need to be better for TH South and North Putnam this week.

North Daviess defeated Bloomington Lighthouse-  Not a shocker

Eastern loss a close match up with Paoli-  Paoli has a strong senior big man... I'm sure they are the mix to win their sectional.

Shakamak over WRV-  Good win for the Lakers.  Sort of sad that WRV couldn't score 30 points.  I figured this would be a game Ellett would have his way around the basket.  I guess not.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What an interesting week for the SWIAC teams in their sectionals...

Sectional 63 ... 

The lone conference team was the SWIAC Champion North Daviess Cougars... who had the hardest road to a sectional crown.  A first game against Barr-Reeve followed by a potential championship game against Loogootee.  Unfortunately, the Cougars lost 40-38 to the Vikings.  The winner of this sectional will be expected to make a deep run.  Barr-Reeve ended up defeating the Lions.

Sectional 57...

WRV was able to play 2 games which ended up being a big deal for Andrew Ellett who scored his 1,000 point.  A first round win was nice for the Wolverines, but the Shakamak Lakers put them out in round 2.

Bloomfield was probably favored to win the sectional... they took care of business against Clay City in round 1.  The semi final round was against possibly the only team that seemed to have the horses to play with the Cardinals.  I thought it was a long shot, but at least a possibility.  The T-Birds not only beat the Cardinals, but by double digits.  Word was Clark had a big game for North Central.

Shakamak came into the sectional playing better basketball, but they still were a longshot.  WRV in the semifinal was not a given.  WRV posed potential problems if Ellett had a big game.  I still don't think the Lakers would have any chance to defeat Bloomfield... but North Central... maybe.  Matchups matter... and the Lakers got their perfect Championship game.  Congratulations on the Lakers for a great Sectional title.

Congratulations to the Lakers as they will travel to Martinsville to take on Indianapolis Tindley

Sectional 47... 

Linton was the favorite, but also had the toughest road.  South Knox, Eastern, and North Knox were on the slate to win their 3rd straight crown.  Each team was capable of beating the Miners.  South Knox played out the way it should have earlier in the year.  The Miners shot better and put the Spartans away with some great defense, which hasn't always been their forte this season.  The semi final matchup against Eastern would give Lincoln Hale a chance to show the T Birds how big of a difference he makes.... Oddly, it was their defense that was the deciding factor.  For 2nd game in a row... Braden Walters made an Evan Slover level of effort on the defensive end.  Not too many guys can dictate the direction of a game without the ball in their hands.  North Knox on Saturday night was a trap game.  The Warriors have steadily improved and play physical defense.  If they could patiently move the ball and hit shots, they had a good chance to win.  That is exactly what they did for the first 20 minutes of the game.  If not for some big shots by Hale and some great defensive/hustle plays by Drew Smith, Josh Pyne, and Walters... the Miners could have been down double digits.  The Miners did not match the physicality of the Warriors early on... then Pyne got a little worked up.  Walters, Pyne, and Smith seemed to be the 1st to step up.  Walters was a game changer on defense, while Hale started to attack the basket.  I know there was talk about the number of fouls called in the 2nd half, but watching the game... it was pretty simple.  The Warriors didn't take the ball to the basket in the 2nd half, while the Miners/Hale went to the basket.  In defense of the Warriors, they were struggling against the Miner 1-3-1 defense and hitting lots of 3 pointers.

Congratulations to the Miners as they will travel to Huntingburg to face of against Southwestern Hanover.   

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  • 3 months later...

Summer basketball is in full swing with multi sport athletes being pulled in all directions.  With the exception of WRV and North Central... I think I have seen everyone play at least once.

Linton-  Whoa... this team may shock people after the style of basketball they played with Lincoln Hale as the alpha dog.  Everyone handles the ball... everyone plays defense (good defense)... The ball moves until a good shot or match up is taken advantage of.  Joey Hart no longer looks like he is trying to figure out how to co-exist with Hale.  He is a legit D1 player.  Logan Webb at 6'3" is a bully in the post with the ability to take his match up outside.  Braden Walters and Drew Smith still act as pseudo point guards, but it is helped by Wrigley Franklin and Hunter Gennicks who are willing passers who play defense.  Nathan Frady is an effective post player with a 3 point shot.  Smith has also become a good 3rd option to score.  Walters has also looked to score more.  They are starting  6'5", 6'4", 6'3", 6'2", and 6'1".  The last two are football guys who add to the physical nature of Webb (who also looks to be a football guy).  Jaxon Walker, Ayden Riggleman, and Bracey Brenneman have logged some time.  All bring some things to the table once they play enough.  

North Daviess-  They will be very good.  Mullens is really good as a lead guard.  The Wilson twins are good wings.  I think the X-Factor may be the Britton kid.  Good shooter who can fill it up if he is allowed to get going.  They have some other solid guards/wings.  I just don't see much size.  The one kid with size is rail thin and shoots 3's.

Bloomfield- They looked good in the game I watched.  They were without Sherrard, but Combs looks taller and stronger.  If Combs has become more physical with his added overall size, they will be improved from an already strong team.  Skomp looks to be better to add with a strong senior class.  They will be in the mix. 

Shakamak- Tough to know without 4-5 baseball boys there.  May is a shooter, but he is asked to do a lot.  Gilbert is still rocking an old school look with the hair... He is a solid wing player.  Will Miller could be ready for varsity action, but he needs physical strength.  They did get Tyler Vivian playing basketball again.  Now they will need to get back Guyler Gorby.  The rest are a lot of guys that didn't look ready to contribute.  There was a incoming 8th grader who looked really good against Eastern... Johnson. 

Clay City-  They will be led by a solid junior class.  They still don't have much size.  

Eastern-  This will be an interesting group for Coach Hudson to coach.  He has 2 big returns in Rippy and Valentine... and then a bunch of sophomores and freshmen.  His JV wasn't strong... the 8th grade was average last year.  The 2 returning seniors will have to be really good until the young ones can get up to speed.

WRV-  New coach... I think they have played some games the last week or so... but the word is their new coach wanted time to see his team before playing games.

North Central- No idea... I can't imagine Coach Edmondson doesn't have them playing some games.

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  • 4 months later...

A couple of days into the 2021-22 boys basketball season and I wonder how the SWIAC is shaping up. First games are less than two weeks away and I'm sitting here wondering what the seasons will be like for the eight conference teams. I'm sure at least five of them figure to be competing for a sectional championship next March or be considered a favorite in those fields. Of those five, I'm thinking three of them look to advance beyond regional play. Should be a competitive year in the local area.

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It has been a topic of conversation over the last few years.  There is a lot of good basketball history there... it used to be a great tournament. 

Unfortunately, once WRV began to decline as a program... they seemed to seek out other struggling programs to be part of the tournament.   Since they have been seeding it... that means we don't usually see good games until the Linton/Bloomfield match up.  Sure... there are plenty of close games among the bad teams... but not good games.

Of course, Linton has used the tournament as a spring board for the 2nd half of the season... Coach Hart has bulked up the rest of the schedule enough that a little lull before the back stretch isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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