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MAC Boys Basketball Game of the Week Preview

February 23, 2012
Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC)

With the conclusion of the 2011-12 Midwest Athletic Conference boys’ basketball season just a few days away, the debate over conference champion will soon be laid to rest.  The number of schools this season’s trophy goes to is solely in the hands of the Fort Recovery Indians.  If they get by the New Bremen Cardinals on Friday night, the crown is all theirs for first time since 1999.  If New Bremen manages the upset though, the Indians will share the title with Versailles and also Delphos St. John’s, should the Blue Jays win their game on Friday night.  The Indians shared the title two seasons ago with New Bremen and St. John’s and really have no interest in splitting it again this season.  “It feels good to have already won a share of the MAC two of the last three years, but it would be nice to win it outright since we have not done so since 1999,” explained Fort Recovery head coach Brian Patch.  “This is a special conference and a special thing for us to accomplish, since we have only won four conference titles in our history.”

The Indians are led by junior MAC Player of the Year candidate, Wade Gelhaus, who averages 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.  Last Friday, he hit 27 points in a 14-point win over St. John’s and the following evening, dumped in 25 in the Tribe’s 65-24 pasting of Mississinawa Valley.  Jared and Elijah Kahlig contribute 12 points a game each, as Fort Recovery looks to finish the regular season campaign 18-2 overall and 8-1 in the conference.  “We know that New Bremen will be ready to play as it is senior night for them, and all teams want to play well and send their seniors out right,” Patch added.  “They don’t take plays off, and they play extremely hard the whole game by shuffling players in and out. Their full court pressure is something we have not seen a lot of this year, so that is something we will have to handle.”

The Cardinals currently stand at 12-7 overall and are even in the MAC at 4-4.  Offensively, they average 57.5 points per game, while allowing 53.1.  Aaron Clune, Elliot Westerbeck, and Troy Williams paced the Cardinals’ scoring attack by averaging 11.4 and 9.6 points per game respectively, while Williams pulls down 6.8 boards each time out.  Last Friday, the Cardinals fell in league action to Parkway, but responded the next night with a three-point win over the Spencerville Bearcats.  “Fort Recovery is a very good team who runs with multiple offensive threats and can score in a variety of ways,” first-year New Bremen head coach Adam Dougherty pointed out.  “Their defense is very tough to get good looks against, and they use their length and quickness extremely well.  Wade Gelhaus is one the best players we will face this year – he is a difficult match up.  A win would be nice going in the tournament, but more importantly, we need to play well and continue to get better.”

By Robb Hemmelgarn

Tags Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC) • Publisher
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