By Matt Browning
Here we go, semifinal action gets going in about 30 minutes here at the Bicentennial Center and the first girls matchup features two 23-0 teams–Cheney and Holton.
At around 4:45, the first boys semifinal is a good one, as Coffeyville takes on Ottawa.
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The second girls semi at 6:30, has top-seeded Concordia taking on Girard
And then the nightcap, has Pratt taking on “the cariac kids” Kansas City Sumner
Here is what each needs to do in order to move on to tomorrow night’s finals.
Pratt: The key for the Greenbacks tonight is to get production from Matt Swank and it better be early rather than late. If Swank starts the way he did yesterday–0 for 10 in the first half–I think Sumner will roll early.
Sumner: The Sabres must play like they are capable. I got the impression from other member’s of the media, as well as coach Daniel Parra, that Sumner mightily underachieved in its quarterfinal game with Topeka Hayden. The Sabres must also get more production from leading scorer Reese Holliday, who scored only seven points against Hayden.
Prediction: I don’t see Sumner struggling again. I think it has more weapons than Pratt, which will ultimately be the difference. Sumner wins 53-42.
Coffeyville: Just like their game with Nickerson, the Tornadoes must get to lane and kick out for open threes. Ottawa plays an aggressive man-to-man, so that will be difficult. If Ethan Cordray and Cameron Craig knock down shots again, the Ville will be playing in the finals.
Ottawa: Big man Semilore Ojeleye did not get many touches against Holton and it almost cost the Cyclones. They will have a significant size advantage today and they need to pound the ball inside, early and often.
Prediction: Coffeyville’s skill on the perimeter will be too much for Ottawa. Cordray goes off again and the Ville wins 55-50.
Cheney: Like I said in their matchup with Circle in the quarters, the Cardinals have to get perimeter scoring to balance the dominator that is Merissa Quick in the post. Ally Nikkel did that two days ago, as did Peyton Scheer. It has to happen again.
Holton: On the flip side, Holton needs to worry more about Cheney’s perimeter players. Let Quick get her points, but don’t let anybody else beat you.
Prediction: Too much Quick for Holton to handle. Cheney wins 48-39.
Concordia: The Panthers kind of sleep-walked through the first round, but still won. That can’t happen again. Also, they need to be prepared for Girard to run a diamond and one against Karly Buer. Paige Champlin and Melissa Hartsel need to contribute.
Girard: The Trojans need to be ready for an early onslaught from Concordia. If they can weather the early storm, then I think they can hang tough.
Prediction: I expect a big bounce back from Concordia. The Panthers win 57-44.
Be back after each quarter with updates.