RECORDS & AWARDS
THE NCC TITLE IS ON THE LINE
February 14, 2013Richmond High School
THE NCC TITLE IS ON THE LINE
Troy Derengowski…Richmond Sports
The NCC boys basketball championship is up for grabs Friday night when the Red Devils travel to Kokomo. This match-up reminds me of the NCC football showdown this past season when the Wildkats traveled to Richmond on a night that was filled with excitement, anticipation thunderstorms. The game was finished the following day and Richmond realistically won the NCC championship that afternoon.
Now we have the NCC basketball championship on the line. Kokomo can do no worse than a tie for the title. Richmond wants a share of that championship as part of the goals this team sets every season. NCC championship, win the sectional and then when you get to the regional, anything can happen.
Before we start thinking about the sectional, we need to get a closer look at how Friday’s game will look. First let’s talk about the match-ups. Kokomo’s Taylor Parsons leads the Wildkats in scoring at 17ppg. Richmond will start in a man to man defense with Jai Wright guarding Parsons. Parsons is 6-2, 210 pounds. Wright is 6-3 and maybe 160 pounds, but Jai is long and athletic. If Jai stays out of foul trouble, he can make Parsons’ night a long one. LaBradford Sebree is another athletic forward for the Wildkats. He is listed at 6-2, 200 pounds and is averaging 15.5ppg. Sebree is a great scorer around the basket (57% FG). Davious Webster will get the assignment on Sebree. Webster has become Richmond’s best one on one defender this season and will use his quickness to keep Sebree in check. Eric Bowen is Kokomo’s post player. Bowen is 6-6 and 215 pounds. He is strong and shoots well at 52%. Bowen will be guarded by Abdul Shabazz. Abdul is long and athletic. The key for Abdul will be the same as Jai, stay out of foul trouble. The Wildkats don’t shoot well from the outside so they will want to pound it inside and get Shabazz and Wright in foul trouble early, and that will force Richmond to go with a smaller line-up. After Parsons, Sebree and Bowen, the Wildkats have Hakeem Burnett, a 6-2 guard who averages 7.7ppg. Burnett shoots 54% from the floor. Charles Hampton will draw this assignment. The final starter will be 6-7 post Kylee Beheler. Beheler isn’t a scoring threat (2.1ppg). Joel Okafor will guard the much bigger Beheler and that will cause problems for Beheler because Okafor is very strong and quick. It will look like a match-up problem for the Red Devils but believe me, Beheler will have a tough time scoring against Joel.
Kokomo will play zone against Richmond. The Wildkats will play several zone defenses to keep Richmond confused. The key for the Red Devils offense will be “patience”. They will need to find the holes, penetrate the gaps and openings and take it right at their defense. The Kats aren’t a very deep team with only two players coming off the bench (Cox and Dockemeyer). If and when Richmond comes out of their man to man, expect the Red Devils to show their extended 2-3, their zone trap and something new could be a box and one disguised in a 2-1-2 look. I saw the Devils work on this defense this week and it will confuse the Kats’ offense if executed correctly.
Of course the best of game plans can be changed depending on the flow of the game and the situation each team is facing but this should be a great game. Don’t expect a high scoring contest, expect a slugfest. Kokomo got a good look at the Red Devils last week at Dayton Marshall and saw a team that gave the #1 Cougars everything they wanted. The Kats will be ready and the Red Devils will be as prepared as they can be. Richmond has played some great basketball in the last three weeks and I won’t be surprised if they go to Kokomo and grab a piece of the NCC title.