Games in the 96th annual (boys) and 45th annual (girls) Allen County Athletic Conference tournaments will pick back up again on Friday, January 11 with semi final games. The finals will be played January 12 at South Adams High School.
The boys games will continued to be played at 6 p.m. with the girls contests following roughly at 7:30 p.m.
So why wait any longer, let Bounce dig right on in with how I see this whole deal playing out before and at the beautiful Stardome.
ACAC BOYS SEMI FINAL
ADAMS CENTRAL VERSUS BLUFFTON AT JAY COUNTY
Well my my, the Flying Jets changed this whole thing up, didn’t they? After being beat by Jay County three days early, Adams Central’s win Tuesday in overtime eliminated the favorite to win this whole thing, at least in my bulging eyes. It was no fluke, Kevin Brown is a monster and showed that in his 30 point outburst Tuesday. He has gotten going and the question is can he sustain that momentum with a couple of days off.
And don’t forget how big Dylan Miller can be. His 14 rebounds against a sizable and tough interior team like Jay County is important. Who does Bluffton match up with him to try and grab rebounds?
Tanner Cooley isn’t sized to Miller, but he is going to give it the old college try on Friday night. If Cooley can match up on Miller and Johnathan Irwin can go tick for tack with Kevin Brown, we have ourselves a ball game. Irwin is clearly capable of putting up big numbers and one can expect he will be ready for this one. Possible difference maker Friday night: why not Everett Johnson?
WOODLAN AT HERITAGE
Woodlan has already and will continue to benefit from Ben Reidy being back on the floor after missing a couple of games with an injury. He is a workhorse and an emotional leader on the floor. Yeah, he will rally his troops from the bench, but if you are coach John Baker, you’d much rather have him on the floor.
Again, I am going to make this matchup however about the interior. Yes ACAC fans, I am talking about Joe Reidy versus Cameron Mitchell. After a slow start in ways, for him, Mitchell has been a rebounding machine lately and it has been a catalyst for a Patriots team revived after their two losses. Reidy is built like his brother though (mentally, not physically), so we know there is no quit. Whoever wins inside could win this game.
On the perimeter, this is going to be a game of chess. Do we let three point shooting dictate this game? If so, it could be a wild back and forth or we could see one team shooting themselves out of the game. As for me, I’d like to see Reidy, Trevor Wiedenhoeft (19 points on Tuesday) and Aiden Bayman (22 points on Tuesday) drive head first into Walter Knapke, Alec Burton (9 points on Tuesday) and Jaydon Harris (14 points on Tuesday). Sure these six can all shoot the ball, but why not play this one out in the trenches?
ACAC BOYS FINAL PREDICTION: Adams Central versus Heritage
I was expecting an all Patriot final, so excuse me while I change my course here. Kind of. Patriots still win and here is why: Adam Gray. The young coach has found a way to get the best out of his teams. Not to say that Aaron McClure doesn’t coach with fire because wow does he ever. But if the Patriots can get here having bought into Gray, the sky could be the limit.
Bounce picks Heritage
ACAC GIRLS SEMI FINAL
BLUFFTON AT JAY COUNTY
Like the boys of Jay County just did, the girls now get a pretty immediate rematch and will do it against arguably the second best girls team in the conference. What did Bluffton learn from their first meeting with the Patriots? The Tigers were there for 2 of the 4 quarters, taking their shots at the ACAC Tournament favorite Patriots. They fell 48-29 despite only losing the second and fourth quarters by a total of one point.
Bluffton will need to shoot the ball significantly better. They went 1-of-9 from three point range against Jay County the first time, but many teams shoot themselves out of game much worse than that. It was the 36 percent from inside the arc that really killed Bluffton. Emme Boots is due for another big game and shot just 4-of-13 against Jay County. She will need to lead in the game, but the Tigers are also going to rely on Grace Miller‘s senior laden leadership.
Jay County has just done what Jay County does and that is why they have clinched the regular season ACAC title before this tournament ever started. They shot 49 percent from the field on Tuesday in a win over Adams Central after shooting 46 percent against Bluffton the first time out. They will win this game on, if they win this game, on the glass. They have 67 rebounds in their last two games combined.
SOUTH ADAMS AT HERITAGE
South Adams pulled the upset on the girls side Tuesday, using toughness to boost themselves by a really tough Woodlan team. Woodlan did their best to make up for the absence of Addie Bayman to illness and Dakotah Krohn played well in the lead. But South Adams is on a bit of a roll as of late, winning five of their last six. It has been over a month since they last played Heritage, but the Patriots won that one 47-31.
To even begin to say that is the same South Adams team as the current one would be unfair. That team shot 31 percent from the field and nobody broke double digits scoring. Since then, you’ve been able to count on a good 14-plus point night from Emilee Myers and/or Lydia Loshe every night, which is and has been an absolute game changer, and Shae Bowman has added a third punch. The trio combined for 42 points on Tuesday in a win over a Woodlan team that beat Heritage. Myers and Loshe each scored 16 and it could be tough for Heritage to find enough quality bodies to handle those two on Friday.
Heritage has the best winning percentage in the conference but has the worst strength of schedule in the conference. Does that matter? I dunno. But they also get to play this game at home after possibly watching their boys team hand the school momentum with a win. Bree Dossen is going to perform at a high level in this game. There is probably no way around that. What does everyone else do around her. They will need three valid scoring options as well to counteract South Adams. Nevaeh Feasby is a tough player who will need to plan on being involved heavily down low. And Abby Sheehan is dangerous if she gets hot shooting the ball. She has three games with five made three pointers and two more where she made four. Against South Adams the first time around, she was 1-of-7 from deep.
ACAC GIRLS FINAL PREDICTION: Jay County versus South Adams
With all due respect to everyone else, Shelby Caldwell is the top player in the ACAC this season. Usually, you’d predict games with something along the lines of “if you can stop player A, then you make player B carry the load.” Can you really stop Caldwell? Sure, slow her a little bit. But when is Caldwell not THE catalyst in a Jay County win? It is rare.
Bounce picks Jay County
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