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Posted On: 07/1/18 12:00 PM
Hilliard Bradley had control of last season’s OCC-Cardinal with the help of dynamic senior duo Braden Norris and Isaiah Speelman. But even with a District Championship and 25-2 overall record last season, Bradley fell short in their chase of the ultimate team accomplishment. They were a team capable of challenging Moeller at the State Championship but couldn’t quite get there because of injuries and other factors.
Although Norris and Speelman are off to their college teams, the remaining Jaguars could rectify last season’s tournament shortcomings. Before that, they need to take care of the regular season, which is exactly what we expect them to do.
Plugging collegiate talent into Bradley’s well-oiled machine will continue to result in division championships. Specifically this coming year, a projected starting lineup of Matt Allocco, AJ Mirgon, Zach Hummel, Chris Mayfield, and Jack Pugh could compete for championships beyond the OCC-Cardinal in our opinion. This group has an ideal balance of defense (both perimeter and interior), varsity experience, discipline, and toughness. Consistent outside shooting could be their weakness, but we don’t project a single divisional loss for them.
The other three players in Bradley’s starting lineup should come close to cracking First Team All OCC-Cardinal. However, there won’t be enough scoring to go around in their stingy offensive attack for more than two guys to make it.
We also like Nate Griggs’ chances. He averaged 14.7 points as a sophomore, good enough for Second Team. His confident outside shooting ability compliments their senior star, Terin Kinsway.
The focal point of Hayes’ offensive attack, Kinsway will provide a mismatch for nearly every opponent this coming season. Although he’s not the slipperiest of ball-handlers, he can draw two defenders by barreling into the paint and turning over either shoulder. Therefore, Kinsway either gets a high-percentage shot or finds open shooters.
He should also raise his scoring average from 15.7 by a couple points. Kinsway’s scoring ability is based in his ability to overpower perimeter defenders or slow-footed bigs. Therefore, being another year stronger only means more of a mismatch.
Although both finished in the bottom three of the OCC-Cardinal a season ago, expect both to climb the charts. Hayes returns basically all of their contributors. While they built chemistry and an identity last year, Kinsway and the crew will compete on a nightly basis this year with outside shooting, cohesive offense, and toughness.
Thomas Worthington was thrown into the fire last year after losing most of their players to graduation and last-minute transfers. However, they now have a formidable sophomore backcourt in Jaden Sullinger and Isaac Settles. More than anything, those two need to set-up 6’8” big man Ben Wight for efficient baskets in the post.