Thursday, January 14, 2010

Time to Prove it, Riders....and fun with half-court shots.



Seems every year the boys basketball team (and probably every team for that matter) has a "make or break" stretch of games...this year is no different. Beginning this Friday, the Riders will play 4 games against teams with a combined 27-7 record. I wouldn't call it a make or break stretch, but it will certainly tell us a lot. A 6-1 start has been very nice, but the next 4 will certainly tell us more than the first 7.

Oh the picture....just cuz.

Let's look at each one......

Friday 1/15 @ Lexington
Thier 2 league losses are to Madison and Wooster, teams we haven't played yet, so this game will set the tone.  Travels to Lexington have been tough lately as we've lost our last 2 visits there. We've won 7 out of the last 10 against Lex overall, but have struggled at their place lately.

Saturday 1/16 vs. Madison
Other than Senior, Madison gives us the most fits of any OCC team. We've split the last 10 meetings with Madison, including 4 of the most recent 6. They play Senior Friday night, so that may play to our advantage....but we play also, so it may be moot. Home court helps in this one.

Friday 1/22 vs. Wooster
Wooster is ready to make waves in the OCC again and they seem to have a nice balanced lineup.  Not sure I'm ready to call them a top tier team just yet, but recent wins over Lexington and Madison have them believing. Orrville had dominated the series lately, taking 9 of the last 10. Wooster's last win over Orrville was way back in 2005 (Dec. 30th). Can the Generals stop the streak?

Saturday 1/23 @ Mansfield Sr.
The trip to Pete Henry gym has never been kind to the Riders.  This year wont be any different. The Riders have dropped 4 of the last 5 at Senior's gym by an average of 15 pts. per contest. They did win there for the first time last season (77-75) so the Riders will be looking for 2 straight at the "Pete." I'm sure Senior will have other plans though.

Riders will need consistent efforts from Jake and Zach, but this would be an ideal time for a 3rd scorer to emerge.  I think Joe Besancon is the closest thing we have right now, and is capable of putting up 10-12 a night, but so are guys like Sam Miller, Dan Groves and Max Pirman.  I'm liking the identity this team is establishing.....tough D, strong 1-2 punch of Jake/Zach....and a bench that gives the team an instant spark.

In my opinion, if they come out of this stretch 10-1, they'll prove they deserve that state ranking (#20 AP, #5 OHSHoops.com Poll). Even coming out at 9-2 (very solid) should set themselves up for 16 wins at worst....and a likely #1 seed at the Wooster district.

Good Luck Riders!!

One last thing.....check out this video.  One halfcourt shot...ok.  But four in a row, by 4 different guys?  That's impressive.




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