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The Gridiron Digest

WRC Basketball 21-22


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Let's have some discussions this year on some WRC basketball. I'll start us off with some rankings.

 

1. Parke Heritage - Obviously the favorites. They are returning 3 starters from their state-runner up team from last year. They have the best basketball player in the conference in Christian Johnson, and one of the most athletic defenders in the conference in Noble Johnson. They also got a move in from the Terre Haute area that looks to be a good addition. I think they may lack a true big man this year like they had in Davis last year. They will definitely miss his rebounding, points, hustle. With that being said I don't see any team in the WRC stopping them when they space the floor. They will have too many guards/weapons. They also added a couple freshmen that I bet get some minutes for shooting ability. Look for lots of open 3s off of drive & kicks, and another dominant year.

2. Covington - They return at least 6 varsity players, 4 of which I believe started last year. Waddell should be cleared to play, and I look for him to be the dominant big man in the conference. Karrfalt/Waddell will probably take the majority of the shots, but they will have some guys on the floor around them that can also contribute if they aren't hitting shots. They have a new coach this year, so I am curious to see how he fits these pieces together, but I don't see them falling off at all as long as they don't play that 3-2 zone again.

Now is where the guessing happens. So many teams lost the majority of their starters from the previous year, so Ill do my best.

3. South Vermillion - They return 3 starters from last year I believe. Garzolini, Uselman, Hawkins. Garzolini will probably be their best player, being 6-5 in the WRC doesn't hurt. Uselman can shoot and may end up being their #1 scorer, but takes a lot of questionable shots. Hawkins is a true guard, but can also score it if needed. I believe they have a couple younger guys that may see some minutes as well. I expect them to be in a ton of close games, and with their senior leadership/experience they should be able to pull through most.

I think 4-6 could be a toss up. 

4. Fountain Central - They return 2 starters I believe/best scorers, and a couple varsity players. They graduated a ton of seniors last year that took a majority of the minutes. They should have some seniors this year that have played some, but are more of role players. The big kid is probably 6-6/6-7, but from what I saw last year he looked to want to shoot 3s more than go inside. If he develops his inside game he will be very hard to stop, as he's only a Junior. The sophomore guard definitely has some skill as well.

5. Seeger - They return a top 5 player in the conference in Snedeker. I'm not sure who else they have, but I do know their freshmen class last year was very good. I think they are probably around the same as they were last year as far as record is concerned. They will have to develop some of the younger guys, but there is definitely a bright future. I saw they got a win against Faith Christian last night, although I think they are rebuilding.

6. North Vermillion - I think they are a little better this year. They have been the lowest scoring team in the conference the last couple of years. From my understanding they didn't graduate anyone, so they are returning with a lot of varsity experience. Naylor is a senior this year, and I look for him to have a big year. I got to watch the sophomore White play some last year in sectionals, and he seems like he can contribute some to the Falcons success as well. I just see them losing most of their games due to the lack of scoring capabilities. I do think they will be very competitive with most teams, but will slip away around the 3rd or 4th quarters due to low scoring output. It's hard to win a varsity game scoring 35PPG.

7. Riverton Parke - They graduated 2 of their 3 all conference players which accounted for 30PPG, so they are going to have to look elsewhere to score. They return Hazzard who I think is another top 5 player in the WRC. They have a couple other juniors outside of Hazzard that will probably be their second and third looks. They are going to lack a valuable big man, and I think they are going to struggle to score the ball as well. 

8. Attica - I'm not sure who Attica returns this year. I've heard rumors their guard #2 isn't playing this year. They are coming off of a 2-17 record last year, and I look for them to struggle again this year. 

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Park Heritage will be tough to beat.  The Linton score doesn't take into account that Coach Hart has a lot of familiarity with Christian Johnson... and specifically how best to slow him down.... I'm not sure you can stop him.  Wrigley Franklin drew the short straw to guard him.  Franklin was a step slower, but at 6'2" 220 with a 6'6" wingspan... he forced Johnson to take contested shots and didn't get pushed around.  Coach Hart clearly wanted his team to contest his shots... provide help at the rim... DO NOT let him kill us on second chance opportunities with offensive rebounds.  He wasn't shooting well... there was help to make his drives contested (he still scored)... and most importantly... we didn't let him get going with offensive rebounds.  He is an impressive athlete... I'm not sure most schools will have the horses to run with him.  I was impressed with Dowd and Luce as shooters... they kept it close.  McNeal did a great job on Joey Hart.  He was giving up some height but his wingspan and athleticism gave Hart some trouble at points during the game.  Noble Johnson also made some big athletic moves to score... he also shot better from 3 point range than I expected.  Who knows... these two teams could meet again in late March.   

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On 11/29/2021 at 10:41 AM, Greene County Coach said:

Park Heritage will be tough to beat.  The Linton score doesn't take into account that Coach Hart has a lot of familiarity with Christian Johnson... and specifically how best to slow him down.... I'm not sure you can stop him.  Wrigley Franklin drew the short straw to guard him.  Franklin was a step slower, but at 6'2" 220 with a 6'6" wingspan... he forced Johnson to take contested shots and didn't get pushed around.  Coach Hart clearly wanted his team to contest his shots... provide help at the rim... DO NOT let him kill us on second chance opportunities with offensive rebounds.  He wasn't shooting well... there was help to make his drives contested (he still scored)... and most importantly... we didn't let him get going with offensive rebounds.  He is an impressive athlete... I'm not sure most schools will have the horses to run with him.  I was impressed with Dowd and Luce as shooters... they kept it close.  McNeal did a great job on Joey Hart.  He was giving up some height but his wingspan and athleticism gave Hart some trouble at points during the game.  Noble Johnson also made some big athletic moves to score... he also shot better from 3 point range than I expected.  Who knows... these two teams could meet again in late March.   

Parke Heritage won't run into someone close to Linton in the WRC. Especially not someone with D1 talent. Their length alone will make it difficult for any team to score. Johnson isn't very big, so I imagine he was uncomfortable most of the night getting shots off. He won't have that issue again unless teams specifically try to take him away. It looked like PH just settled for way too many 3s. As athletic as they are I feel they should settle for an inside out game, and then look to spot up. I felt when the Freshmen came in they were getting singled out defensively, which is to be expected. Noble has definitely improved his outside game from a couple years ago, but I expect most teams to make him prove it. 

Edited by Marshall Mathers
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I watched/listened to the BOW tourney last weekend.

Here are my thoughts.. and does it change my pre-season rankings?

Parke Heritage - Won banks without Christian, who is the best player in the conference. I stand with my prediction that they are the team to beat in the WRC. The freshmen Harper is going to be a force to be reckoned with. I was super impressed by how he played against South Vermillion. He single handedly kept them in that game, and stopped all of SV's momentum. Noble was a very good leader, and took over a lot when it counted. 

 

South Vermillion - They gave PH a pretty good run for their money early. They seem to be very deep with subs, I feel like 10+ kids touched the floor for them in some capacity in both games. They look to have a pretty solid underclass, and Uselman/Garzolini are as advertised, and do the majority of their scoring. I'm interested to see how the Bush kid develops, and how the team progresses this year. 

 

Riverton Parke - I didn't have them beating NV, but it was a thrill to watch. Hazzard finally started to score the basketball some, and ended up with 20+ against NV. They struggle to score the ball outside of Hines/Hazzard, and most of their offense just runs through those 2. Mullins looks to get most of his scoring off his defense.  I don't see them winning more than 5-6 games this year, but 3-1 is a great start.

 

North Vermillion - I feel like NV is still better than RP. They have been without a healthy Naylor, whom I expect will help offensively/defensively for the Falcons. I'm still not sold on them being able to consitsently score the ball, but they have put up 40+ in each game, which is an obvious improvement. They had a costly TF and missed free throws with 2s left to send it into OT. They did not look very competitive against South Vermillion. I think when Naylor gets back they are still in the middle of the pack in conference. 

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