Class 1A Milford Regional Preview

With both the Fisher and Armstrong-Potomac boys basketball teams getting thrown into the Class 1A Milford Regional, Sports Editor Zack Carpenter will be able to knock out two birds with one stone this postseason. Of course, fans are hoping neither team gets knocked out too soon and that he’ll have the opportunity to cover a championship game — with any luck, a Fisher vs. A-P matchup. Here is his primer and his predictions for what’s ahead next week.

Quarterfinals (Records and stats as of Feb. 12)

No. 7 Urbana University High

Record: 15-9

Player to watch: Noah Blue. He put up 19 points against the Bunnies in the Illineks’ 45-43 victory last Tuesday. He is averaging 20.2 points per game.

No. 8 Fisher

Record: 13-14

Player to watch: Kade Thomas. Though the Bunnies’ top two scoring options are Jaden Jones-Watkins and Ryan Meents, it seems like whenever Thomas is able to take his game to the next level, Fisher is a much more balanced, complete team.

Prediction: Fisher 54, Uni High 48. As the saying goes, it’s hard to beat a team twice (even if that’s not statistically accurate, but I digress). I really doubt the Bunnies fall to Uni High again, especially if they’re able to get their jump shots to drop (which I count on happening).

 

No. 3 Milford

Record: 17-6

Player to watch: Jacob Thompson. Who else? The 6-foot-8 lethal forward can shoot, pass and finish in the lane. He is a matchup nightmare and gives the Bearcats a good chance to wind up upsetting Cissna Park for the regional championship. He is averaging 18.6 points per game and dropped 33 in a game earlier this year.

No. 12 Schlarman

Record: 1-19

Player to watch: Chris Stanley. On a team that does not feature many players, the options are limited. But Stanley is averaging 14.8 points per game and scored 33 in a game this season.

Prediction: Milford 69, Schlarman 51. The Bearcats have spent time in the Associated Press’ top 10 Class 1A rankings, and if they play up to that capability, they could absolutely reach a sectional championship game.

 

No. 5 Judah Christian

Record: 19-4

Player to watch: Cade Chitty. The long, tall, athletic forward proved he could hoop during a summer league game against Armstrong-Potomac and has continued that throughout the year. He is averaging 19.3 points per game, including a high of 29.

No. 9 Armstrong-Potomac

Record: 7-21

Player to watch: Cameron Colunga. When the junior guard is sinking from deep and getting into the lane to create, he has the potential to be the best player on the floor. He is averaging 12.5 points per game.

Prediction: Judah Christian 58, A-P 50. I truly, truly do believe the Trojans are better than their record suggests (even though I usually despise that type of phrase). But with long guards Colunga and Reardon and savvy forward Dalton Loschen working the paint, A-P absolutely could upset the Tribe and take down Milford (a team the Trojans proved they can play with, but still have to get over a hump). But I’m not confident that will happen — it just depends which Trojans team shows up in the postseason.

 

No. 1 Cissna Park

Record: 18-6

Player to watch: Christian Stadeli. Averaging 16.8 points per game, including a high of 30, Stadeli is the Timberwolves’ go-to option. 

No. 8 Fisher

Prediction: Cissna Park 62, Fisher 50. The Bunnies absolutely will keep this game close for a long time. But in the end, their jump shots will fall short in the fourth quarter and the Timberwolves will outlast them on the way to the title game.

 

No. 3 Milford

No. 5 Judah Christian

Prediction: Milford 64, Judah Christian 60. Yes, I’m picking chalk in the semifinals. Sue me… No, don’t sue me. That is the opposite of the point that I’m trying to make. (Bonus points to those that picked up on the Michael Scott reference)

 

No. 1 Cissna Park

No. 3 Milford

Prediction: Cissna Park 51, Milford 50. When I saw the Timberwolves fall to Ridgeview in last season’s sectional championship game, I was still impressed with their poise throughout. They just got beat by a better team. No shame in that. Milford is still an impressive team that can take down anyone behind its aggressive 2-3 matchup zone, so I wouldn’t exactly bet my mortgage on this pick. If this were the Westgate Sportsbook of Las Vegas (tired of hearing me mention Vegas yet, readers? Guys?), the Timberwolves would probably only be favorites at -3. For what it’s worth, I love being able to come up with random numbers for favorites and underdogs without any consequences. If I was an oddsmaker, I would only get it right 50 percent of the time, so take my words with a grain of salt. Or take them with the entire shaker of salt and a salt water taffy factory.

Contact Zack Carpenter at zcarpenter@rantoulpress.com and on Twitter @ZackCarpenter11.

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