Day 1 of the Pizza Hut Classic saw the RPI (Rowling Prediction Index) end with a 6-2 record. My first miss of the day came when Rockville knocked off Casey-Westfield. The Warriors got in major foul trouble early on and never could recover. The Rox were extremely impressive using stifling defense and solid shooting to handle the Warriors easily.
The next miss came when Linton fell to Sullivan. The Miners fell behind by 16 in the second half before cutting it to 2 in the fourth quarter. Sullivan made plays down the stretch and Brooks Weszely led a balanced effort with 15 to advance to the quarterfinals.
That being said, lets check in on Friday's quarterfinals.
1:00 Shakamak vs. Northview
Of all the teams that won on Thursday, you’d have to say Shakamak was the least impressive. It’s hard to impress when you don’t step on the court. Owen Valley forfeited the early game to put the Lakers in the quarterfinals. They’ll take on Northview in a matchup that should be very interesting. It’s hard to judge without seeing the Lakers today, but their leader Steve Brett was in the gym all day and night doing some scouting and you know he’ll have his team ready to play. Craig Peters led the Knights in a win against Monrovia with 17 points. I thought coming in Peters was good enough to make the All-Tournament team (10 players) and he helped his cause in the opener. With a playmaking point guard and lots of size inside, (Jim Mace 6’6”, Ethan Whitson 6’5”) This will be a tough matchup for the Lakers. Bet on Shakamak slowing the tempo and hoping Brodie Crowe is red hot which is certainly possible. He scored 38 in a game against Union. I think the Knights dictate the pace and move on to the semi-finals.
2:30 Robinson vs. Terre Haute North
Possibly the game of the tournament, the Maroons and Patriots both could win the whole thing. First they have to survive each other on Friday afternoon. Robinson turned a lot of heads in their opener. The Maroons looked great against the host school Terre Haute South. Robinson point guard Aaron Siler didn’t disappoint. He scored 25 and played within the offense all day. Derrick Nicholas was a picture of toughness inside, and Michael Akande soared through the air sending home two slam dunks and multiple back door lobs. Terre Haute North got geared up cruising past Turkey Run. Todd Woelfle played the whole bench so the Patriots should be fresh tomorrow.
The matchups in this one are so intriguing. I’m really looking forward to watching Nicholas and Calvin Blank go at it inside. The rebounding battles between two tough competitors will be fierce. Both teams also have a supreme athlete. Austin Lewis is committed to be a D-1 football player and Michael Akande is a soaring rim rocker. Both can fly, and shoot it well enough to respect so you can play off their dribble drive. The point guard slot will also be fun. Nate Jahn and Aaron Siler both make big plays in different ways. Jahn is a tenacious defender and a pass first point guard. If he can limit Siler, Terre Haute North will walk away with this one. I don’t see that happening. Siler is one of the best players in this tournament, and he’s too good to be held down. Terre Haute North will need a big scoring outburst from Casey Vickers and/or Stephen Davis. Both are certainly capable of going off on any given night. Bottom line, you won’t find three better players on a team in this tournament than Siler, Nicholas, and Akande. That trio should lead the Maroons to victory in a clash you won’t want to miss.
7:00 Rockville vs. Marshall
Boy did the Rox prove me wrong in the opener. They were probably the most impressive team of the opening day. Lane Mahurin scored 19, and Gary Ulrich and Jordan McFall recorded double digit performances in a big win over Casey-Westfield. Marshall also looked good cruising past West Vigo. Taylor Maurer scored 22 in the win, and Drew Morris added 17. Those two will need to score at least that many for the Lions to beat Rockville tomorrow. They’ll also need Thomas Sisson and Walker Berner to turn in double digit scoring nights. Tom Brannan will have a game plan for the Rox, but this Rockville team is a juggernaut. As good as they are individually, they are ten times better as a unit. Watching them play an entire game was a joy on Thursday. They move the ball like crazy, and Joel Whittenmeyer can lock down just about anyone. He gave Brandon Wolfe fits at times, and Wolfe can score like nobodies business. Marshall won’t go down without a fight, but Rockville is for real.
8:30 Riverton Parke vs. Sullivan
Charlie Martin has found his Panthers playing in the morning so much recently that when he told them the game was at 8:30, they assumed in the morning. This year Martin’s Panthers get to the winners side of things. Matt Haltom is fun to watch. He’s a gutty guard that can stroke it from downtown. Haltom had 19 against South Vermillion, and he better bring his “A” game again, because Sullivan