Saline @ Novi: Recap and 5 Key Questions

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Michigan

Posted On: 02/7/18 8:46 AM

Saline stormed into Novi High School on Tuesday night.  They started the game like they were on a mission.  The Hornets drew two early fouls on Tariq Woody and grabbed control of the game scoring the first 10 points.  Novi’s first points came from Traveon Maddox Jr. with just 2:17 remaining in the 1st quarter.  Novi appeared flustered by Saline’s physical defense and were sloppy with the ball for the majority of the first half.  Griffin Yaklich, Trevor Arico, and Emmett Turner shouldered the scoring load for Saline.   Turner set the tone with his hustle and determination to get 50-50 balls.  Woody returned for Novi at the 6 minute mark of the second quarter.  He changed the game with his offensive rebounding and post passing.  Saline fought off a Novi run and led 33-18 at the half.

The 3rd quarter was a different story.  Novi started to move the ball on the perimeter and began to get looks at the basket from behind the arc.   Two Trendon Hankerson triples and one three from Jiovanni Miles helped Novi chip away at the deficit.  The game began to get to fast for Saline as Hankerson, Maddox Jr., and Nik Williams all earned fast break buckets.  On the Williams basket, Novi took its first lead of the game 36-35.  Turner quickly responded for Saline with a put back that put them back on top 37-36.  In the 4th quarter, Tariq Woody took over.  He scored 10 points in the last quarter and forced Saline to battle from behind.  Novi made 6-8 late free throws while Saline missed three straight.  This helped Novi hold their lead, eventually winning 56-47.

5 KEY QUESTIONS:

Can Blake King and Nik Williams continue to make big contributions for Novi?

On a team with a handful of stars, role players are very important.  King and Williams were HUGE in the Novi win.  King battled all night grabbing huge boards and making big shots.  He was especially critical when Woody sat with foul trouble.  Williams showed that even though he’s playing with big name guards like Miles, Hankerson, and Maddox Jr., he is also a threat on offense.  He made hustle plays on the defensive end as well.

Can Saline find another scorer?

Saline depends a lot on sophomores Griffin Yaklich and Trevor Arico to score.  They often respond, but they are young and need more help.  Emmett Turner is always good for some hustle points, but the Hornets need someone to step up and take a big shot or create their own look at the basket.

How far can Novi go come playoff time?

The Wildcats have a lot of very good players on the perimeter and a big man who can score, pass, and rebound.  If Novi can avoid playing too much one-on-one basketball and create open looks through ball movement and fast breaks, the sky is the limit.  With their talent, they can beat anyone on any given night.

Will Ethan Friedrichsen (2019, 6-5, F) continue to earn more minutes for Saline?

He has come out of nowhere over the last two weeks for Saline.  He’s an active post player who has a nose for finding the ball.  Saline isn’t a big team so his contributions in the paint are critical.  If he can get stronger and play through contact, he has a bright future.

Just how good is Tariq Woody?

Woody is an underrated post player.  All the tools are there.  He’s big and strong, but has great touch on the ball.  He was excellent on the high post against Saline because of his ability to hit a backdoor cutter with a beautiful post pass.  Woody can put the ball on the floor and has a good looking mid range jumper.  He’s going to be a great addition to whatever college program he lands at.