To me, this looks to be the best possible set of games available for Monday evening, when the first round of the NCHSAA basketball sectionals get under way….
Page girls at NWG….Page(17-8) at Northwest Guilford(18-7)….Page led by Chevena Pickard, Brittany Drew, Portia Oakley and Ashley Fowler facing NWG with Gretchen Bennett, Hannah McIntosh, Kaitlyn Shelton and Melissa Foures and this is a very balanced battle on paper, or on the computer screen, on the way in…..
These girls will fight for their lives in this win and advance, or lose and call it a career for most…..If Pickard is hitting, then Page is in this one and if not the Pirates will be in trouble. Pickard has moved more inside in recent games to run the baseline and you can hear here pop the ball when she gets her rebounds….Drew hits foul shots and Fowler is a post player that can work her way out on to the wings and nail three-point shots. Watching Oakley is like watching a fine thoroughbred run the court with her gait being similar to that of track star heading down the stretch among the cinders…Oakley has the moves and sometimes she has to remember to pop and plant her feet before she makes the pass……
Bennett and her Viking teammates are much at home in the Vikings’ gym and this will not be a game where NWG can experiment with player combinations. They will have to be ready to mow the yard as they say, with the set main ingrediants, including the young ladies we mentioned earlier in Bennett, McIntosh, Shelton, and Foures along with help from Harper and DiCarlo……
Northwest may have a bit more depth, but the fine-line comes down to quality depth and Page will rely heavily on Olivia Seegar and Aleta Smith to help them solve the problems……
Both the coaches are fun to watch as their work hard and they are better than just the old girl’s coaches, cause Coach Joyner and Jones are very attractive also and they give the girls game a very good name…Coach Joyner is a former NWG Viking and Coach Jones played for the local SWG Cowgirls….Two excellent Guilford County-products and as you watch this game on Monday, watch the clock….In a playoff game, that may be played in the 40’s or high 30’s, this game and clock will move fast…I don’t anticipate either team forcing the issue or looking to put up a lot of points, I just think they will try and play this one tight and methodical…….
On the boys side, can it get any better????? Smith(15-9) is probably the most improved team in the county over the course of the entire 2009/2010 season and the Northwest Guilford boys(11-15) have come back from the depths of Hades nearly and they have been the team on the tear over the past two and a-half weeks….
Coach Manny Bloom saved the day, the team, and his job security among the NWG faithful over the course of the last 6 games of the season and on into the Conference Tournament and the NWG won all those games….They(NWG) are in the neighborhood of a six-game winning streak and the Vikings will put of a fence, a very tight defense, that will try and slow down and keep pace with the fast flying Smith Golden Eagles…
Coach Brian Jones has his Golden Eagles believing and Smith has the kids that can fly with Drew Williams, Tracy Gathings, Tony Pinnix, Jordan McMaster, Corey Bulter, and the kid that may be the quickest to the rack in the county, Dominique Bartell….
The NWG defense on Bartell will be crucial….The same story applies to Drew Williams and Tony Pinnix can get you up and down the court as fast as any guard around here…The area where Smith is deadly is on second-chance shots…The get up and rebound so well on the offensive boards that you are talking 3-4, and sometimes five shots every time they are in the lane and up around the basket…If you can’t find a way to get them off of the boards, then you are walking home barefoot after the game. You won’t need your basketball shoes any more, Season Over…..
NWG will counter with those outside shots and a game sperheaded by Zach Elwood, Kyle Vebber and Reed Lucas and you have Keaton Haack, Kyle Berger, Matt Pawlowski and then there is Adam Coble on the inside….The Vikings will have to play tough defense out front with Pawlowski and Berger and we haven’t seen much from Hunter Clary lately, but if he is available then he will be a big help too….You’ll need all Vikings on deck as the ship sails across the court with Smith trying to take home the Golden Dabloons or Dablooms on Monday….
All of the NWG players that we mentioned have been contributing and Coach Bloom knows to shuffle the guys in and out of the lineup to keep this team clicking, as they have been on steady basis, in the past two weeks….The Vikings do love their offense, but it will take young men who want to play defense to win this game on Monday night…I’m not telling you to forget about your shot, but you will be in for an old-fashioned track meet when you go to work trying to keep up with the pace of Smith, on Monday evening….
NWG can use 15 points each from Vebber, Lucas and Elwood on Monday night, but the players that are able to step up and check Dominique Bartell, Drew Williams, Tony Pinnix and Tracy Gathings will end up being the unsung heros….Smith is so quick, I can’t stress it enough, you must be aware and ready for it, or it will hit you blindside like a ton of bricks…..
NWG should have the edge in both games, since they are the home team and seeded higher than either Page or Smith, but the question comes into play????? Which conference is tougher overall, the Metro or the Piedmont Triad Conference??????
*****Other can’t-miss Monday games.*****
Grimsley at Ragsdale(Boys)
High Point Central at Southeast Guilford(Girls)
Smith at Southwest Guilford(Girls)
In that Grimsley-Ragsdale game you’ll have Beniah Wise, who used to be at Grimsley, going against his old teammates again, plus Grimsley has the inside power of Rashad Sweeny and wing-work from Krechaun Williams and Carter Gourley and the matchup to watch again, will be at the guard spot, with Burrell(Brown) battling Beniah…..
The fifth and final spot for Grimsley will another key, as they have been looking toward Christian Hairston in recent games to fill in final starting position…..Ragsdale’s Tyquan Roberts is always a player and he’ll need a boost of help from Kalik Parker and Devonte Fletcher…..Paker can be a player that can help change the odds if he is on and ready to do battle with the Whirlies……