OhioBasketball.net and I are here with a preview of the Orrville/Hillsdale game tonight. Since both of us picked Northwestern to beat Hillsdale (and were wrong), take the rest of what you read with a grain of salt.
The Full district preview & results are here. So far, Andrew and I are 8 out of 10 in our picks.
Me: Didn't know much about Hillsdale, only that they beat Smithville twice, and that they're co-champs in the WCAL...so they're good, but their composition (i.e. their makeup, their style) is what impressed me when I was able to watch them against Northwestern. Good guard play (Paulin), a slasher (Fulk) and skilled big men (Cline, Crossen & Moore). Potential to be scary, and in my opinion, a tough matchup for the Riders. They've won their last 9 in a row and 3 of their 4 losses were in the first month of the season.
They're a team who can put 4-5 guys in double figures very easily. If I see any weakness, it's a shallow bench and a lack of a big 3 pt. threat.
Orrville has played a much tougher schedule and games like this is where you hope it pays off. Riders need to get out and run like they did in the 3rd quarter of the Black River game. A low scoring, slow tempo game favors Hillsdale.
I think Orrville has the "X" factor of Jake Bolyard, a more athletic team (but not by much) and a deeper bench, but Orrville will need every ounce of those advantages to eek out a win......Riders win 67-62.
Andrew: This is a game that can go lots of ways! I wouldn't be surprised in the least if either team won in a close game; And on the other hand, I wouldn't be suprirsed if either team won with a 15+ point margin.
Orrville is the biggest and most athletic team in the district, while Hillsdale, who is probably the 2nd biggest team, has proven they can beat teams with "bigs" by handing Smithville 2 league losses during the regular season. BUT, Frizell is no Bolyard. I have to look at this in terms of matchups:
When putting Paullin and Fulk up against Miller and Besancon, I see Hillsdale having more offensive output than their counterparts, but still not NEARLY as much as Hillsdale normall gets out of the two guards. HOWEVER, Miller and Besancon don't score much, anyway.
(Blog Note: I see Fulk matching up with Bolyard instead of Miller, but maybe I'm wrong)
Reid Crossen has a little more height on Bolyard, I believe, but Bolyard is the best player in the district, IMO, and will be hard for Crossen to guard outside of 15 feet.
(Blog Note: Again, I see Crossen down low guarding Pirman or Wasson, but maybe not)
Cline vs. Wasson will be fun to watch. Wasson is prone to getting into foul trouble while Cline is the slower, less athletic of the two, but is still the "best", most fundamental post player in the district tournament from whave I've seen. Using footwork, pump fakes, power dribbles, the baseline, and the occasional 3-pointer, Cline has shown a complete, all-around game. If Wasson gets 2 fouls in the 1st quarter or 3 in the first half, this goes Hillsdale's way. Otherwise,though...
(Blog Note: I see Pirman (and Hoobler off the bench) guarding Cline for just this reason. Wasson's fouls need to be few and far between, so let him guard Crossen.)
So far that's 2 players' advantage to Hillsdale, and 2 players to Orrville. This is where I think the key matchup is going to come down to Moore and Pirman. In the tight game against Northwestern, Moore had only 8 points. Pirman isn't an outside threat but still doesn't seem to go inside as much as I think he could or should (kind of like Orr for Smithville). Whoever wins this matchup wins the game, in my opinion... But for advantages' sake, I'll go with
(Blog Note: I see Miller & Moore matching up, but it's still advantage Hillsdale. But Sam can be a real thorn in the side of whoever he's guarding)
So, 3-2 in favor of Orrville. What does that mean? Not much, really, considering the first 2 (Paullin/Fulk vs. Miller/Besancon) will have basically no effect on the game's outcome, IMO; and if it DOES have an
effect, it will be on the defensive end where Miller and Besancon will have the advantage.
Here is my prediction. The more zone Hillsdale plays, the better their chances until Wasson/Bolyard gets in foul trouble. If/when that happens, if Orrville fans want to win, they will need one of their role players to actually step up and take over a game, something which hasn't happened much lately, as far as I'm aware.
Force Miller, Besancon, Pirman, and company to beat you, NOT Wasson or Bolyard. BUT
If both teams come and play their best game, Orrville wins by 15+.
If Besancon/Groves (if he's playing) (Blog Note: pretty sure he's done) hit a few 3's, Miller completely shuts down and rattles Faulk/Paullin, if Bolyard gets his 20 points and Wasson gets his 15-and-10 like normal, (while Pirman finishes with one made bucket - a cleanup dunk), Hillsdale will NOT be able to keep up.
But throw in a little triangle-and-two, and a few fouls here and there, Hillsdale could control the tempo and win by 15+. Grrr! Umm...
Well... Hmmm... Score: Orrville 69 - Hillsdale 61. There you have it!
To review, I said 67-62 and Andrew said 69-61. Goodness, another dead on prediction by the 2 of us. We're just wasting people's time. :)