Conference Preview

Posted On: 02/15/16 12:03 AM

The final week of Centennial League play begins with three teams — Overland, Cherokee Trail and Eaglecrest — in the hunt for the league crown.

That means Wednesday’s game between visiting Overland and Cherokee Trail comes with huge stakes. The Cougars need to win to stay in the hunt for the title, and each team is trying to better its playoff positioning. The same goes for the other games each team has on its schedule this week.

Below we break down the three teams vying for the title, with the matches for each the rest of the way.

Contenders

Overland

Record: 18-3, 10-2 Continental

Streak: Won six straight

Leading scorers: De’Ron Davis (13.6 points per game); Jervae Robinson (12.9); Alijah Halliburton (12.2)

The Scoop: The Trailblazers haven’t lost since suffering a stunning 53-50 loss to Grandview on Jan. 27. While Overland hasn’t been perfect this season, they seem to have responded to the adversity of early season losses and are beginning to operate on all cylinders. On Saturday, they beat Omaha South, which was previously 20-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state of Nebraska.

Jervae Robinson's growth is a major reason the Trailblazers are chasing another league -- and state -- title.
Jervae Robinson’s growth is a major reason the Trailblazers are chasing another league — and state — title.

Padiet Wang, a talented 6-3 wing, has returned to the team after spending the first semester at a prep school out of state. His length and athleticism and versatile skill-set has provided a big boost on both ends, as has the play of senior guard Tyler Stevenson, who has averaged six points since returning from a broken wrist suffered in the preseason.

Davis’ numbers have dipped since last season, but much of that has to do with more attention than every being paid to the 6-foot-10 Indiana signee. But he is still the most dominant force on the block in the state, and expect him to bring it when the big games start flowing in, beginning this week.

 

 

 

Eaglecrest

Record: 19-2, 10-2

Streak: Lost one

Leading scorers: Colbey Ross (19.6); Victor Garnes (9.0); Ikenna Ozor (8.8)

The Scoop: After beginning 17-0, the Raptors have lost two out of their last four, both coming against top-10 teams in Overland and Cherokee Trail.

The good news for Eaglecrest: It still has a shot at the league crown by winning its last two games against Grandview and at Mullen and having Overland fall to either Cherokee Trail or at Grandview.

Colbey Ross leads the Centennial League in scoring at 19.6 points per game.
Colbey Ross leads the Centennial League in scoring at 19.6 points per game.

The hiccups don’t change the fact that the Raptors have one of the state’s top players in Colbey Ross, who leads the league in scoring. His leadership will give his team a chance in any game down the stretch, and Eaglecrest’s brand of defensive pressure and ball-sharing can give teams problems.

Still, the Raptors must find a way to make up for the lack of size. Against Overland, they were outrebounded 33-12. Against Cherokee Trail last week, the Raptors were edged 23-18 on the glass and gave up an 17-point, 10-rebound outing to Cougars standout David Thornton.

Still, the Raptors are very much in the fight and certainly shouldn’t be counted out.

 

 

Cherokee Trail

Record: 16-5, 9-3

Leading scorers: David Thornton (19.4); Jaizec Lottie (16.5); Ian Kelly (8.5)

Streak: Won seven straight

The Scoop: Few teams in the state have been hotter than the Cougars, who haven’t lost a game since falling to Overland 63-55 on Jan. 22.

Cherokee Trail has surged this season in large part because its two top players — David Thornton and Jaizec Lottie — have elevated their play. Thornton, one of the state’s top unsigned seniors, has been a dominating presence inside, averaging nearly 20 points and nine rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Lottie, a junior, has been the ultimate floor general, tallying nearly six assists per game. Their leadership has led the way, though there have been no shortage of contributors.Jaizec

Ian Kelly, has been a great complement to Thornton in the post. He’s got a strong solid frame and does a solid job presenting himself as a target in the post and sealing his man. He’s a tough-nosed player who isn’t afraid to scrap inside.

Ronnie Barfield brings scoring punch at 7.8 points per game and is a very capable player in transition. He’s elevated his play even more of late, averaging 10 points over the team’s last eight games

 

Schedule

Wednesday

Grandview at Eaglecrest, 7 p.m.

Previous Meeting: Eaglecrest used a dominant 31-15 run in the third quarter to split a close game wide open and cruise past Grandview 57-35 on Jan. 22. Colbey Ross scored 17 points in the game and Victor Garnes added 11.

Prediction: Eaglecrest

Cherokee Trail at Overland, 7 p.m.

Previous Meeting: De’Ron Davis had one of this best games of the season, tallying 22 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks in a 63-55 Overland victory on Jan. 22. The Trailblazers held the Cougars to 38 percent shooting.

Prediction: Overland

Friday

Overland at Grandview, 7 p.m.

Previous Meeting: Gage Prim scored 19 points for the Wolves, Jervae Robinson had only four for the Trailblazers, and Grandview used a 22-12 fourth quarter to stun Overland 53-50 on Jan. 27.

Prediction: Overland

Arapahoe at Cherokee Trail, 7 p.m.

Previous Meeting: Jaizec Lottie and Ian Kelly had 15 points apiece, and Cherokee Trail survived a huge 35-point night from Kyle Lukasiewicz to beat Arapahoe 69-60 on Jan. 27.

Prediction: Cherokee Trail

Eaglecrest at Mullen, 7 p.m.

Previous Meeting: Six Raptors scored at least six points, led by Ikenna Ozor’s 11, and Eaglecrest blew past Mullen 58-28

Prediction: Eaglecrest

And League Champ Is …

If our predictions hold true, Overland and Eaglecrest will share the Centennial League championship at 12-2.

But only the play on the court will decide.