The Adams Central Flying Jets are….flying high through their first three games. This team has barely been in existence long because of the football team’s success, but they still have opened 3-0 with a conference win over Southern Wells and victories over Madison-Grant and Smith Academy. While they were clear favorites in the 49 point win over Smith, it allowed Adams Central to play some more guys significantly and up their confidence early. Nine different Adams Central players scored in that game.
Canterbury has opened 2-1 and have won their last two after dropping a heartbreak of an opener against Central Noble. Their wins over Bishop Luers and Northfield have shown how much they can put the ball in the basket, averaging 73 points per game on the season.
The two teams will square off at Adams Central on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m.
1. THE HOMETOWN CROWD
Small town fan bases are often the best fan bases and they can get pretty raucous in all parts of Adams County. Saturday night in December in Monroe is never an easy place to play. Anyone who says a crowd makes a world of difference may be off base. Likewise, you can’t say with a straight face that an active crowd in a road game doesn’t change anything. Adams Central is already one of the most unique gyms to play in, so their crowd could be a lot to be up against in the way of a true home court advantage.
2. DEPTH OF BENCHES (OR LACK THEREOF?)
In three games, Canterbury has seen seven players averaging 10 or more points per game and an eighth who is at 9.7 minutes per game. That is the size of Adams Central’s entire varsity team essentially. The Cavs’ willingness and desire to give quality minutes to a wide array of players can make it difficult for teams to stay in a certain rhythm and it also allows coach Chase Sanders to keep his team pretty fresh throughout.
3. COACHING: ROOKIE VERSUS VETERAN
Adams Central coach Aaron McClure has won 163 more varsity basketball games than Canterbury’s Chase Sanders. He has coached in just 373 more games. That is a wide gap. Who is to say who the better coach may be or who the better coach will be Saturday night? But what this experience gap tells us is that McClure has seen way more than Sanders at this point and is going to be, in theory, better prepared for whatever this game may throw his way.
Sanders’ two wins at the helm of Canterbury have both been against guys coaching for the first year at the school they are at. Against an established coach, he is 0-1. They may all just be numbers at the end of the day, but numbers worth noting. As Sanders gets his feet wet as a varsity head coach, he will have many nights against more seasoned and game ready guys.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. NOAH DRAPALA, CANTERBURY
Drapala has hit double the amount of shots from three point range (16) as he has from two point range (8) through the first three games. He has established himself as a deadly shot and a guy who can move without the ball smoothly to create space. At 21.3 points per game, he has one of the better scoring averages in the area. Adams Central will need to know where he is at all times.
2. DYLAN MILLER, ADAMS CENTRAL
Averaging 7.5 rebounds per contest, Miller has been a touch match up for teams far. Miller’s confidence will keep growing in his second year in the line up. The big question Saturday is how he will play defensively against a Canterbury team that doesn’t have much of what you’d label a “true post.” And at the same time, you’ve got to wonder how Canterbury can stop the 6-foot-8 center if he gets deep into the post working off the block.
3. WILL SHANK, CANTERBURY
Just a sophomore, Shank is well versed in Sanders’ coaching style as part of the summer time Total Package Elite team. That has paid dividends early as Shank, by all accounts, has looked comfortable in just his second year of high school. He is the all purpose guy for the Cavaliers, ranking second in scoring (17.3) and assists (3.3) while leading the team in rebounding (8) and steals (3).
4. KEVIN BROWN, ADAMS CENTRAL
Averaging 25 points per game out of the gate, Brown was considered in the preseason to possibly be the best player in the ACAC as the Flying Jets compete for a title. He has carried his weight strong early. On the perimeter, he is dangerous on both sides of the ball. With his offensive prowess, Brown’s defense can be overlooked but he could provide a major threat for a hot shooting Canterbury team.
KEYS TO VICTORY — CANTERBURY
1. AVOID FALLING BEHIND DEEP
We all know that Canterbury can claw their way back into games (i.e. against Bishop Luers), but Adams Central’s experienced team would be one that would be difficult to do against. Canterbury has to stay at least within striking distance because Adams Central could easily turn something as small as a 6-8 point lead into untouchable.
2. SHOW YOUR VERSATILITY
All signs point to a shooting prowess, especially from Drapala. But this team has a lot more to offer because of how scrappy the likes of Noah Wolfe and Shank both play, getting to the basket and creating contact. When you shoot fairly well as a team and your best shooter is hitting at a 48 percent clip, you may come to be too reliant on that. To keep Adams Central off guard, Canterbury will need to show how dangerous they are offensively from every area of the court.
KEYS TO VICTORY — ADAMS CENTRAL
1. CHASE THE CAVS OFF THE THREE POINT LINE
You’ve already seen it: Canterbury shoots the ball well. Drapala is 16-of-33 through three games (for you math majors, that is just over 5 three pointers made per game). Wolfe hasn’t shot much or well per say, but his dagger at the buzzer to beat Bishop Luers and his shooting resume of last year should be enough to show him respect. Adams Central simply cannot give these guys the looks. A good fundamental defense has to be in play. As much as Canterbury needs to show their diversity in play, the Flying Jets need to force them into that and Brown and Colten Yergler will need to do that.
2. CONFIDENCE INSIDE
Who does Canterbury have that can play with Miller inside all game? Nobody. So the likelihood is that the Cavs will throw many different looks at him. That should give Miller himself confidence that he is certainly the premiere interior presence in this game. The respect that Canterbury will have to give him may also free up other inside players for the Flying Jets. Second chance opportunities could be abundant and Miller and Ben Voirol could feast.
Both of these teams have found early season success, but for Canterbury it has come with more adversity. A win is a nice early season momentum boost for one of them. Canterbury can expect more adversity in this road scenario, can they overcome it?
Bounce picks Adams Central