Weekend Scouter: Get ready for some momentum-building games

·6 min read
Crestline's RJ Johnston kicks the ball out to a teammate.
Crestline's RJ Johnston kicks the ball out to a teammate.

We have a full weekend of games ahead, with Friday dominated by girls games and Saturday full of boys action all day long.

We'll take a look at the top games, key players and then run down the schedule of boys and girls games.

Let's dive in deeper with the week's Weekend Scouter.

Top Games

St. Peter's (1-11, 0-6) at Crestline (7-6, 3-3) boys, Friday

It's not the hottest matchup on paper, but it's an important one for Crestline. The Bulldogs saw the Mid-Buckeye Conference title essentially clinched by Lucas last weekend, which meant a shift in focus for the second-half goals.

There are a number of winnable games on the schedule — anywhere from seven to nine — which would not only give the Bulldogs their best regular-season record since the mid-1990s, but the momentum built closing out the season strong would be invaluable heading into a Division IV district tournament in which it is Lucas and South Central, then everyone else right now.

It all starts Friday night at home against the Spartans as Crestline looks for its fourth consecutive win over St. Peter's after going 2-8 in the first five years of the MBC. The first meeting was a one-sided 78-44 win, but the Bulldogs are going through somewhat of a cold spell shooting. In their lone game of the week, this is the perfect time to get some confidence instilled in the shooters and snap out of this funk. Coach Tyler Sanders will be looking for one or two other players to start consistently making baskets to ease some of the burden off Lucas Cochran.

Wynford's Alexis Stevely puts up a shot around Colonel Crawford's Niyah Shipman.
Wynford's Alexis Stevely puts up a shot around Colonel Crawford's Niyah Shipman.

Wynford (11-4, 7-3) at Mohawk (7-8, 5-5) girls, Friday

Only one team in the area has been hotter than Wynford this season — state-ranked Buckeye Central. Since starting 1-2, the Royals have won 10 of the last 12 games with those only losses coming to the Buckettes and Seneca East (13-3).

Mohawk has been one of those tricky teams capable of pulling off an upset on any given night, as evidenced by an impressive 21-point win over D-III Upper Sandusky Tuesday night when the Warriors held the Rams to just 32 points. At 6-foot-3, Emily Klopp is a tough guard for any team, and she's averaging just shy of a double-double with 9.4 points and 9.8 rebounds.

The first time these teams met it was a defensive battle with Wynford coming away victorious 33-27. Expect another close game Friday night.

Galion (2-9, 1-6) at Clear Fork (0-13, 0-7) boys, Saturday (JV at noon)

Two teams with a combined 2-22 record? This is still a big game regardless of that.

For Galion, it's a chance to sweep Clear Fork for the first time ever, having won just two of the first 12 meetings between the teams prior to this season. Three wins would also be the most since the Tigers went 8-15 in 2018-19.

For the Colts, it would put to bed a 14-game regular-season losing streak dating back to the final game of last season. It has been an unprecedented season in Bellville as Clear Fork has never had a winless year — the worst record in its 59-year history was 1-18 (1969-70).

Both teams will be hungry for a win, and with a varsity tipoff around 1:30 p.m., it's the perfect chance for basketball fans to see multiple games in the same day with other boys programs in the area suiting up in the evening.

Key Players

RJ Johnston, Crestline

As mentioned above, Cochran has been the Bulldogs' reliable offensive threat this season, but the team has lacked a consistent second option. Enter Johnston. After making an impact right away in game one, he has steadily been one of the team's standouts this season defensively, but his scoring is starting to come on just when the team needs it. He went off for 25 points against Elgin last weekend after scoring 14 against Lucas, two stellar teams defensively.

Wynford's Katie Wagner keeps the ball away from Buckeye Central's Paige Collene.
Wynford's Katie Wagner keeps the ball away from Buckeye Central's Paige Collene.

Katie Wagner, Wynford

In the Royals' win Tuesday night over rival Bucyrus, Wagner led the way with 19 points and Wynford dominated the glass with 45 rebounds (17 offensive, 28 defensive). Going up against Klopp for the second time this season, Wagner will be the go-to option to establish a paint presence and frustrate Mohawk's big throughout the game. If she's able to grab some offensive boards, don't be shocked if she puts up points again.

Josh Hall and Conner Lusk, Crestline

These two have shown glimpses of being the dynamic scorer the Bulldogs need but haven't been able to do so together, along with Cochran and Johnston. Hall and Lusk can both shoot from deep or put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket. Staying out of foul trouble is important for these two, but if they're able to do that and get some open looks, Crestline can be a very, very dangerous team offensively.

Alexis Stevely, Wynford

Even after blanking against Bucyrus on Tuesday, Stevely still leads the league in 3s by 12. In a game in which Wynford's post players will be occupied with slowing Klopp and controlling the paint, Stevely should find numerous opportunities on the wing, and if she starts hitting a few — watch out.

Galion's Hudson Miller drives to the basket from the corner.
Galion's Hudson Miller drives to the basket from the corner.

Hudson Miller, Galion

In both of Galion's wins this season, Miller led the way, scoring 26 points against Clear Fork in the first meeting and then 25 against Northmor. He's averaging a team-high 11 points while shooting 34.7% from 3-point range. If Miller gets started the way he did in two wins already this year, the Tigers could cruise.

Cooper Kent, Galion

After recovering from a broken collarbone suffered near the end of football season, Kent has come on strong for the Tigers recently and is averaging 10.6 points and shooting 43.5% from deep, which is third-best in the MOAC. He has only played in five games so far, but he's exactly the sort of spark his team needed to turn things around in the second half of the season.

Weekend Schedule

FRIDAY

Girls Basketball

Buckeye Central at Carey

Bucyrus at Upper Sandusky

Colonel Crawford at Seneca East

Wynford at Mohawk

Galion at Shelby (V at 6:30 p.m.)

Boys Basketball

St. Peter's at Crestline

SATURDAY

Girls Basketball

Mansfield Christian at Crestline (V at 12 p.m.)

Boys Basketball

Galion at Clear Fork (JV at 12 p.m.)

Carey at Wynford (JV at 5 p.m.)

Colonel Crawford at Bucyrus (JV at 5 p.m.)

Mohawk at Buckeye Central (JV at 5 p.m.)

This article originally appeared on Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum: Weekend Scouter: Momentum-building games ahead

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