Rock Valley Basketball Preview
By: Brian Burkhart Prep Reporter Twitter: @BrianESPN
It’s that time of the year again. The snow is starting to stick to the ground and that means boys hoops is ready to get into full swing. Not only is it a time to sit inside a cozy warm gym but also watch some great young basketball talent. It should be a fantastic season and I look forward to reporting all the Rock Valley Action to you this year.
My Three Teams To Watch This Year: Edgerton, McFarland, and Beloit Turner
Edgerton 0-0 (0-0) at Jefferson 0-0 (0-0) - Game of the Week
7 p.m., Friday, November 22nd
It just seems right to be starting up high school hoops just as the snow is starting to fall in the state of Wisconsin. This is when all the rabid super fans pack their warm gym to cheer on their fellow classmates in what should be another fun basketball season in the Rock Valley Conference. The season tips off with my game of the week, as the Edgerton Crimson Tide travel to Jefferson to take on the Eagles, kicking off conference play. The Crimson Tide are one of my teams to watch this year in the Rock Valley North and are looking to improve on their third place finish from last year. Improving their conference record will be strongly put on the shoulders of 6’4 senior, Adam Converse.
Converse not only started on the football team as a star wide receiver but also will bring his leadership to the hardwood. Converse averaged 13 ppg as a junior and his teammates are hoping he can increase that number even more this upcoming year. The Crimson Tide lost a big contributor from their team last year as Cameren Wileman; their second leading scorer has graduated. There is a lot of young talent on this Crimson Tide team and it will be apparent that one of them steps up this year if they want to achieve the honor of being crowned conference champs. That help could come from junior guard James Fox, a 6’1 shooting guard with great range and a knack for getting to the basket and drawing fouls. If Fox can improve his skills from last year, the Crimson Tide could have a deadly inside-outside force with him and Converse.
The Eagles on the other hand are hoping for a much greater result than last years disappointing finish. They finished the conference in fifth place, taking a four game losing streak to end their regular season. They also lose their leading scorer from last year, Clayton Morrison (12 ppg) to graduation. That means it is time for senior Vinny Cincotta to reach his game to new heights. Cincotta was the leading rebounder on the team last year pulling down an impressive 10 rpg and second in scoring behind Morrison. Eagles Head Coach Jay Benish knows how important the first conference game of the year is, not so much for the standings but to give his younger players confidence starting the year. The Eagles sure wish they still had graduated big man Jalen McGraw to bang down low with Crimson Tide’s Converse but this first game is a building block for a coach to see who is going to step up this season. The first conference game of the year is always exciting for the fans and players. It’s time to shake the first few minute jitters and kick off the season with a bang. My prediction for this game is Edgerton 53, Jefferson 42. I think Converse will be too much to handle down low for the Eagles and he will be the leading scorer in the game.
Brodhead 0-0 (0-0) at Clinton 0-0 (0-0)
7 p.m., Friday, November 22nd
The Clinton Cougars were spoiled last year with basketball talent. Cody Risseeuw and Jalen McMartin led the Cougars to a 12-4 conference record last year and a Rock Valley South title. Risseeuw, as everyone knows in Clinton as the do it all three-sport athlete, averaged 22 ppg last year and 8 rpg. McMartin wasn’t far behind in the scoring category, pitching in 13 ppg and the second leading scorer on the Cougars team. This year will be a different feeling for Cougar basketball fans, as all the talent they have been basking in over the past few years has moved on to college.
There is hope on the horizon though for the Cougar fan base, it may just be younger than they anticipated, freshman Terrell Walker. Walker is an outstanding athlete that is getting his first taste of varsity basketball this season. He is still a freshman so growing pains will come with the territory but if Head Coach Denny Morris can find a way to limit those mistakes, this kid has one of the most explosive first steps in basketball. Walker doesn’t have a reliable shot yet but if he can get a constant jumper throughout the season this could be a diaper dandy to keep your eyes on throughout the year and be a bright spot for this depleted Cougars team.
Brodhead Cardinals finished in the worst possible place last year in the Rock Valley South, dead last. The Cardinals finished 2-14 in the conference and had very few bright spots on the season. This year could be less heartbreak for the Cardinal nation though and could have more things to cheer about. That’s because junior guard Josiah DeLorme had a terrific sophomore season last year (12 ppg) and will be looked upon to be an impact player this year. Other key players I look to have a big season are post man Nic Slocum and Griffin Day, a solid player that can bring a spark off the bench. I look for this to be a close game because both teams are dealing with the loss of so many talented players from last year’s squads. I predict the score will be Brodhead 63, Clinton 59.
Other Rock Valley Games Tonight
(Tip-Off 7 p.m.)
East Troy @ Evansville
Whitewater @ McFarland
Parkview @ Beloit Turner
Palmyra-Eagle @ Big Foot
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