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Posted On: 12/20/17 1:53 PM
Top Half of the Bracket:
Country Day vs. Northshore
For both of these teams, their best players aren’t the seniors out there. For Country Day, their most talented players are a pair of sophomores, Shawn Royal and Justin Ibieta. Both of these are 6’4-6’5 G/F tweeners, capable of getting into the lane, and finishing both inside and out. For Northshore, they are lead by a pair of talented juniors that compliment each others game well. Northshore’s best player is 6’7 F Moses Ngdock, a high motor, energy player that is more polished on the offensive end than you would expect. Next to him is a talented offensive guard that is absolutely money from deep in 6’3 G Tyrease Terrell. Both of these teams are talented, but I think that the surrounding talent for Country Day is a bit better. You also can’t underestimate the coaching of Country Day’s Mike McGuire, one of the state’s top coaches.
PHLA Pick: Country Day
St. Paul’s vs. John Curtis
St. Paul’s has gotten off to a hot start, and they still have not lost to a single team from Louisiana. Parker Edwards has been a big reason for that, as he is able to dictate the game on the offensive end, and has 6’8 F Chandler Owenby and 6’5 F Devonte Allen next to him to shoulder the load. John Curtis has a talented 2018 swingman in Donnell Jones, but this is a bit of a down year for a traditional power.
PHLA Pick: St. Paul’s
Catholic BR vs. Rummel
Both of these teams are coming off of loses and are looking to right the ship today. Catholic BR is a relatively young team, but they have some experience where needed. For Rummel, they have a trio of talented guards, but not a lot of size. They are going to have a tough time slowing down 6’4 Bailey Luckett and 6’6 Nick Judice for Catholic. For that reason, I give Catholic the edge. This has the feel of a potential quarterfinal game in Div. 1.
PHLA Pick: Catholic BR
St. Thomas More vs. McDonough 35
Now that both of these teams have their football players back on the basketball court, this is a much different matchup than it would have been a month ago. For McDonough 35, they have a pair of tough senior guards that have the potential to play at the next level. Joe Foucha and Ken Dandy are both a force to be stopped, and 6’3 sophomore guard Tony Warren is as good a third option as you could ask for. However, I think that the coaching staff for St. Thomas More is going to have great gameplan for this game, and will be able to take away some things that 35 wants to do on the offensive end. Senior Jonathan Cisse is going to have to shoulder much of the load for the Cougars, but I think that they win a low scoring affair.
PHLA Pick: St. Thomas More.
Karr vs. Cresent City
I have a feeling this is going to be as tough a game as you will see all year, as both of these teams are talented, gritty teams that find their identity on the defensive side of the ball. Karr relies heavily on senior guard Marc Bowie, committed to Arkansas Fort-Smith, who is an uber athletic off guard capable of scoring in bunches. Crescent City is as deep of a team as you will find, but they also have the talent at the top to compete with anyone. I think this game will largely come down to how it is officiated. I’ll give the slight edge to Crescent City because of their depth.
PHLA Pick: Crescent City
Landry-Walker vs. De La Salle
This is a matchup of two teams that both won a state championship last year, and this matchup is coming in the first round of this tournament! That should tell you just how stacked the tournament field is this year. De La Salle has lost a lot of talent from last season’s team, but with the spacing and defensive intensity that they play with, you never know what can happen. However, I think that Landry-Walker has as many complimenting pieces as they possibly can, and they will come away with the victory.
PHLA Pick: Landry-Walker
Hahnville vs. Riverside
No offense to the Tigers, but unless Pooka Williams comes out there, and he is as good as he is on the basketball court as he is on the football field, Hahnville doesn’t have much of a chance. But to be fair no team has against Riverside so far this season.
PHLA Pick: Riverside