Goliath Matchup Friday Night in the Big 8
By: Tyler Zavadsky Twitter: @TylerZonESPN
The date: Saturday, February 26, 2011.
You may be asking right off the bat, what the heck does that date have to do with anything?
Well, on that date: 60,912,000 seconds ago or 1,015,200 minutes ago or 16,920 hours ago or 705 days ago to the date, was the last time Madison Memorial lost a Big 8 Conference game.
The Madison East Purgolders are the last team to have knocked off the Spartans, 62-58, thanks to the games leading scorer in Nimrod Hilliard who finished with 19 points.
Fast forward one year 11 months and five days, we sit just over 24 hours away from what could mark the Spartans first conference loss in what seems to be an eternity.
Friday night’s matchup between Big 8 Conference leader Madison Memorial and Sun Prairie, the second place team in the conference, may mark one of the most exciting games on this weekends docket of games in the entire state of Wisconsin.
Despite an unexpected loss last week by the Cardinals that in some small respects may have taken away from this matchup, both teams are still highly ranked in the Associated Press Wisconsin prep basketball poll.
Madison Memorial, ranked second in the state behind Germantown, will host Sun Prairie, the eighth ranked team in the state, this Friday night at Madison Memorial.
Undefeated on the year in conference play with a perfect 12-0 record, the Spartans hold a game and one half advantage over the second place Cardinals and the teams 11-2 mark in conference play.
In that game and one half lead over the Cardinals, the Spartans hold an added advantage in the fact that Memorial has already defeated Sun Prairie earlier this season in a 75-74 thriller back on December 13.
In that contest, Jester Weah (Sr. F) for the Spartans was the games leading scorer with 29 points while also adding 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Nick Fuller (Sr. G/F) finished with 27 points along with 8 rebounds, three assists and four steals to lead the Cardinals in scoring. Fuller’s teammate, and other half of the Nick squared duo, Nick Noskowiak (Jr. G) scored 18 points and added five assists and four steals of his own in the loss.
The real hero of that contest back in December however was Shareef Smith (So. G) who hit the game winning three-point shot with just over ten seconds remaining in the game on a perfectly executed dribble-drive kick out pass from Julian Walters (Sr. G) to give the Spartans the 75-74 lead. The ensuing possession for the Cardinals ended in a turnover and with the victory, the Spartans had extended the teams conference winning streak to 25 games in a row.
Key Players To Watch This Time Around:
This time around, you can expect the same cast of characters to star once again.
Fuller leads the conference in scoring with 24.5 points per game while Noskowiak is third in the conference with an average of 17.9 points per game. The duo has lifted the Cardinals to 14 victories on the season and without question two of the most talented athletes this conference has to offer.
On the other side of the scorers table, Weah leads the Spartans in scoring with a 12.7 points per game average along with Walters who is averaging 11.7 points per game.
Key Role Players That May Make An Impact In This Game:
For the Cardinals:
Donnel Thompson (Sr. G/F) has been a tremendous role player for the Cardinals this season and could very well be a standout player on any other team in the conference.
Craig Evans (Jr. C) is down right scary to see on the hardwood. The 6’3” 310 lb. defensive tackle turned center on the basketball court has been an unmatched physical presence for the Cardinals all season long. Memorial really has no one that can truly matchup with him one-on-one, and maybe thats why he scored eight consecutive points in the last matchup between these two teams.
For the Spartans:
Reggie Roemer (Jr. G) has stepped up this season and is a flash of lighting for this Spartan squad. Averging just under ten points per game, Roemer has done a fantastic job in being a piece to the puzzle for Memorial in the teams effort of trying to fill the shoes of injured star Brendan Ortiz.
Tyler Lindquist (Jr. C) has to step up in this game and be a force on the block down low as well as the glass. The 6’6” center had little impact in the last game between these two teams so I am sure head coach Steve Collins is looking at this young man to step up.
Shareef Smith (So. G) All I have to say is that this young man has hit a couple of game winning shots this year, and one of them was in the last contest between these two teams. So if you are a Cardinal fan, pray to God he doesn’t get the rock late in the game...
Predeiction: 70-66, Madison Memorial extends the win streak and continues to dominate the Big 8 Conference.
By: Tyler Zavadsky Twitter: @TylerZonESPN
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