Friday night has just three area boys hoops teams in action but Saturday will feature 11 events for one of the busiest sports weekends of the year. Let’s take a look at some intriguing matchups headed our way this weekend.
Boys Hoops Friday: Colonel Crawford at Wynford
This is just one of two games over the busy weekend that pits two Crawford County schools against each other and this should be a doozy. The Eagles finally are getting their basketball legs back and are off to a 2-0 start with their most recent win coming last Saturday against Mohawk in the form of a 45-31 cake walk.
The Royals are sitting at 2-1 with their loss coming to a talented Shelby team. They took care of business Saturday, defeating Ridgedale 64-55. Alex Crall delivered a stellar shooting performance with 28 points and four 3-pointers.
The key for the Royals will be handling Colonel Crawford’s defensive pressure. The Eagles like to run a full-court trap that creates offense from defense. If the Royals can break down the press and get into half-court sets, they should be fine. But the Royals have been hampered by turnovers in the first two games of the season — even committing 30 in the loss to Shelby.
Taking care of the ball will be essential for Wynford as Colonel Crawford is struggling offensively in the half court. The Eagles like to get easy buckets off of turnovers and if the Royals can force the Eagles to run offensive sets and take time off of the clock, it could be a close game.
The key for the Eagles will be to get Owen Adams and Derek Burkhart going early. The pair lit up Mohawk for a combined 31 points. The Eagles will need to continue to force turnovers and get easy buckets.
The Eagles finally were able to get a full four days of practice in to prepare for the Royals. The Eagles will need to execute the game plan coach David Sheldon has cooked up over the four days.
The Eagles and Royals will be back in action Saturday with Colonel Crawford hosting Seneca East and Wynford hosting Carey.
Girls Hoops Saturday: Bucyrus at Colonel Crawford
A week after pulling off a stunning upset against Wynford, Colonel Crawford will host Bucyrus on Saturday afternoon for the second inter-county game of the weekend.
The Redmen are off to a slow 1-3 start on the season thanks in part to a very tough early schedule. They picked up their first win Tuesday by defeating Mohawk 50-42 despite going 13 for 30 from the free-throw line.
The key for the Redmen will be to improve on their free throws. Colonel Crawford is an undersized yet very athletic and aggressive group. If the Redmen can drive to the basket and get to the line, they should find a lot of success. The second key for the Redmen is to use their size. The Eagles play bigger than they are, but if the Redmen can get Kelci Simms the ball on the block, there are not many teams that can stop her in the post.
The key for the Eagles is to implement the same game plan they did against Wynford. The Eagles were outsized in that matchup as well and walked away with a 40-30 win. They will need to keep Simms off of the glass and emphasize blocking out.
The Eagles also need to get Alexus Burkhart in a groove early. If she can get some early buckets, it could take the pressure off of her teammates and they will be able to take pressure-free shots to get their confidence up. They also need to use their athleticism to create turnovers and make the Redmen take contested shots.
Boys Hoops Friday: Bucyrus at Seneca East
The Redmen will visit Northern 10 foe Seneca East on Friday night. Bucyrus is off to a 0-3 start and opens conference play against the Tigers. Seneca East is sitting at 1-2.
The key for the Redmen is to execute their offense. Bucyrus’ roster is full of young players, and coach Tony Rose sometimes sees four sophomores on the court. These young guys need to run their sets and get easy buckets to get relaxed and find a steady flow in the game.
The Redmen also will need to continue to be aggressive. Sophomore Clinton Carr already has attempted 24 free throws in three games, connecting on 79 percent of those shots. Scoring with the clock stopped is a team’s best friend, and the Redmen do a very good job at that.
The Redmen also will need to continue to work Isaiah Johnson back into the game plan as he is returning from missing the first two games. Against Crestview, the 6-foot-4 junior tallied a double-double – 16 points and 13 rebounds. If he can crash the offensive boards and create second-chance opportunities, the Redmen could find their first win of the season.
Bucyrus will be back in action Saturday, traveling to Mohawk.
Boys hoops Saturday: Buckeye Central at Upper Sandusky
The preseason media poll picked Upper Sandusky as the favorite to win the N10 and Buckeye Central finishing second with just one first-place vote being the difference. The Bucks are coming off of a tough loss against New Riegel in a game that saw the Bucks score just 10 second-half points.
If the Bucks want to dethrone the Rams, they will need to slow down the Upper offense. It is averaging nearly 74 points a night. They also will need to keep the Rams off of the boards as they sport three players at 6-foot-3 or taller. The bucks also need to limit Wes Vent, the Rams’ 24-point-per-game forward, to a slow night.
Offensively, the Bucks will rely on Grant Loy to keep them in the game. He is averaging nearly a double-double with 16 points and 9.7 boards per game.
The Buckeye Central Buckettes will look to rebound after a tough loss to Seneca East by traveling to Ridgedale on Saturday.
The Wynford Royals girls team will travel to Mohawk with hopes of breaking their two-game losing streak.
The Bucyrus Wresting Invitational will be held Saturday morning as the Redmen will look to improve on their fourth-place finish in 2014.
The Buckeye Central Wrestling Invitational is Saturday as well, kicking off at 8 a.m.