With all the local girls basketball teams out of the mix, I am really at a loss of what to pick outside of boys games. So this week will have a little bit of everything.
Before I get to the picks I need to congratulate some people and issue some apologies to other people.
The first set of congratulations go out to both the Warsaw and Wawasee girls swim teams. Seriously, awesome seasons for both squads and they both finished in style at last Saturday’s State Finals. Brenna Morgan won the console in the 100 free for Warsaw. Meanwhile, Bre Robinson absolutely killed it for Wawasee, finishing second in both of her events. Congratulations to both ladies and members of both teams that made it down to Indy.
Also, congratulations to Kyle Hatch of Warsaw and Devin Childers of Tippecanoe Valley as both wrestlers advanced to the State Finals this weekend. Good luck to both young men.
Now, I am going to issue one partial apology to Northridge fans.
Yes, you’re shocked, I know. But, you see, I made a mistake in grouping in Raider fans with those devoted fans from Oregon-Davis. I had forgotten how truly ridiculous O-D fans were until I had them shouting behind me at Triton High School.
Wait, I want to complain more about O-D fans but my phone just went crazy buzzing with updates. The Pacers just acquired Evan Turner from the 76ers! This is a big trade, in case you did not know. Solid move for the Pacers, could put them over the top in the Eastern Conference. This just ruined my article because I am shaking with excitement. Seriously, the news just broke and I have lost my train of thought.
*runs and does dance in the hallway*
So…I guess I’ll start with the picks now.
Last Week: 8-2
High School Boys Basketball 2/21-2/25
Wawasee (4-13) at Fort Wayne South (4-10), 2/21, 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: The Warriors finally broke the 60-point barrier last weekend when they hung 61 on Rochester in the Zebra Zen Den (Okay, that is not what they call their gym but they totally should). Jeffrey Moore got his first career start and hit four threes in the first half to help spark that win for Wawasee. Tuesday night the Warriors fell flat against a very good Westview team, so I will let that one slide.
The issue remains the same for Wawasee, there is no offensive consistency. None, zip, zero, ZILCH. The defense has been solid most of the season, but Wawasee has to start scoring! This game is really a toss up between two underachieving teams so I am making history with this pick by literally flipping a coin on who will win. Heads: Wawasee. Tails: South.
The Pick: FW South 63, Wawasee 50.
Triton (11-6) at Tippecanoe Valley (13-3), 2/21, 7:45 p.m.
The Scoop: I had the privilege of attending this backdoor rivalry last season and it was Indiana high school basketball at its very best. This year the stakes will not be as high as both teams are not quite as good as they were in 2012-13 but the game should still offer some stiff competition.
Valley has been hit with an injury bug recently but the Vikings do get a home court advantage, which is always nice. Triton has just been up and down most of the year, kind of making itself a mystery from game to game. Both teams are on a three game winning streak, so who is too say which team is truly hotter? But I really think Tanner Andrews and Chainey Zolman will defend their home court tonight. Both players just went off at Southwood last weekend, each scoring 25 points. It will be close, but it will be Valley’s game in the end.
The Pick: Valley 62, Triton 57
Fort Wayne Luers (8-8)* at Warsaw (10-8), 2/21, 7:45 p.m.
The Scoop: Well, Tigers, I suppose I owe you an apology as well. I doubted you and your ability to protect your house. You looked to be sitting ducks just waiting to be plucked by a talented Elkhart Christian team but, hey, you did your job and protected the Tiger Den (and Roger’s Roost) from the ECA threat. The only questions is, can you continue the success on Friday night? Luers is nothing special, but that does not mean the Knights will just roll over.
Jordan Stookey, you did not pay a great game from start to finish Tuesday night, you can’t do that on Friday. You did, however, play great late in the game when your team needed it most against Elkhart Christian. Find whatever gear that was and come out in the first quarter that way and this game is all yours. I’m back on the Tigers bandwagon, at least for now. Don’t let me down, boys.
The Pick: Warsaw 51, FW Luers 45.
*Luers plays Thursday night, so its record will change before Friday night’s contest.
Churubusco (4-14) at Whitko (1-16), 2/22 7:30 p.m.
The Scoop: I am really running out of things to pick. This season has honestly just continued to get worse for the Wildcats and I want to strop drawing attention to it but I am trying to find 10 events to pick this week. Varsity coach Scott Wessel got tossed from a junior varsity game the other night, that alone should show you just how stressful this season has been for him and his team, not to mention the devoted fans in South Whitley. I like the fans down there, the players are good kids and Wessel is honestly one of my favorite coaches. He is good in interviews and serious about his job and gets the most out of his players. This season is not due to a lack of effort on anyone’s behalf, just a lack of talent. There future is much brighter for Whitko, it has to be.
The Pick: Churubusco 59, Whitko 41.
NorthWood (16-1)* at Penn (15-1)*, 2/25, 7:45 p.m.
The Scoop: This is probably the biggest match up in boys basketball this week, at least in our region. Both teams have just one loss, both to very good teams. Zach Zurcher and Jonathan Wilkinson are the two heavy hitters for the Panthers and they have the capability of beating anyone this season, seriously. Penn is led by its own host of studs including Jordan Geist and 6’8″ Andrew Kimm. The Kingsmen are good and are currently ranked No. 5 in Class 4A and are coached by Warsaw legend, Al Rhodes. They have a busy weekend with back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, so they will be wore out come Tuesday.
NorthWood is also very good and is also ranked No. 5, just in Class 3A. These are both teams that could be in Indy come mid-March. I like NorthWood a lot but Penn has a few more weapons and is playing at home. The Kingsmen are 8-0 at home this season and 16-2 in the Palace in the past season with both losses being by one point each.
The Pick: Penn 69, NorthWood 57.
*Both teams have games before Tuesday, the records will be different.
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I should start out by saying that i do not include invitational results when I post records for any gymnastics team, so these may not be the exact number you find on each school’s website.
Warsaw (0-4) at West Noble (0-2), 2/20, 6 p.m.
The Scoop: It has been a rough season for the Lady Tigers. They have been absolutely hammered with injuries and it has shown in the results. Thankfully for the Tigers, West Noble is not in much better shape. I cannot promise that I know exactly what I am talking about when it comes to gymnastics, but I can promise you that if you make it out to the meet tonight that you will be impressed with Shannon Winslow of Warsaw. She is a very talented gymnast for coach Megan Kammerer and if the Lady Tigers are going to win tonight, it will be on her shoulders.
The Pick: Warsaw 81.67, West Noble 76.89.
Plymouth (1-0) at Wawasee (4-3), 2/25, 6 p.m.
The Scoop: Wawasee has really only been hit with one injury this season that is considered important to the varsity roster, that is with Taylor Busse. Busse had a minor injury that kept her from performing three of the four events but she made it back last week to help Nike Prather’s squad beat Elkhart Central. Emily Allen is the start for Wawasee and she has placed first in the all-around for nearly all of the team’s meets this season. Pymouth and Wawasee usually are the two teams fighting it out for the third and final ticket to regional in the postseason so this will be a good meet to see where both teams stack up against each other. If the Warriors break 95, they win.
The Pick: Wawasee 96.77, Plymouth 94.53.
Boys Swim Sectionals 2/22
Northridge Sectional, 2/22, 9 a.m.
The Scoop: The only local team that matters here is Wawasee. The Warriors have two potential state qualifiers in Zac Hershberger and Logan Brugh. Both will be very hard pressed to win either of their events but both could make next week’s finals by clearing the cut time. It will be difficult for both to make it under the time needed to make it to state in their respective events, but don’t count either kid out. I really like Logan Brugh’s chances in the 500 free. As for the sectional as a whole, it will be a Northridge blowout. No doubt about it.
The Pick: Northridge by a mile, team total of 400+ points.
Warsaw Sectional, 2/22, 9 a.m.
The Scoop: I am heading to prelims the second I get this published so I need to hurry up but this is another sectional that the host team should have no issue winning. Warsaw is led by Spencer Davidson and Jayden Parrett. both should roll in their events and right down to Indy. This is a softball sectional for the Tigers, I know it, they know it, coach Nate Long knows it and now you readers know it. Warsaw should dominate tonight and on Saturday.
The Pick: Warsaw by half of a mile. 300+ points for the team.
Girls College Basketball 2/22
Marian (15-14, 8-9) at No. 10 Indiana Wesleyan (23-6, 13-4), 1 p.m.
The Scoop: Saturday will be the final regular season game for three IWU seniors. One of those seniors is my very good friend, Taylor Goshert. She has had an incredible basketball career dating back to her high school years. In her final season at IWU she is leading the team with an average of 13 points per game and just under seven rebounds per contest. On Wednesday night the former Lady Warrior star carried her team in avoiding an upset at Goshen College by scoring 20 points and pulling down 12 boards. Joining Taylor in the class of 2014 for coach Steve Brooks’ team will be two other outstanding players, Lindsay Dager and Abby Reinke. IWU has played shaky as of late but there is no way this class, coupled with stellar play of Katrina Blackmon and former Jimtown standout Emma Stahl, loses its final home game.
Taylor is truly the definition of a champion. She works harder than any athlete I have ever known. It has been an honor to cover her at times since getting this job. She is an outstanding athlete and an even great friend. There is no way I am picking against her.
The Pick: IWU 78, Marian 51.