The games get ratcheted up another notch this week now that we’re firmly entrenched in the second half of the season.
By this point most teams will start the second go-around of their divisional matchups, if they haven’t already. The divisions are starting to shape up with a definitive picture, but nothing is close to certain yet.
Bishop McDevitt and Lower Dauphin appear to be the class of the Keystone at a combined 13-1 in the division. Steel-High and East Pennsboro are a combined 12-1 (the Panthers lone loss came to the Rollers) in the Capital and Milton Hershey is trailing behind at 3-2.
The Commonwealth and Colonial are a little murkier at this point, although Boiling Springs is looking pretty solid at 5-0 in the Colonial.
This week, Tuesday has a heavy dose of solid matchups, making it rather difficult to see these five recommended games.
But here they are…
Cumberland Valley (10-3, 6-2 Commonwealth) at Harrisburg (11-1, 6-1)
The first edition of this matchup was an overtime thriller. This is the first of a three-part mini-series (including Carlisle) that finishes off the decision for the Commonwealth title. Although, CD East is making a claim to be in the conversation right now.
CV may be without Gray Kline, someone they had going strong against the Cougars last time. If they win, they put a firm grip on the division with a single loss and another matchup against the Thundering Herd.
If Harrisburg wins, they even up just about everything and still have a second date with Carlisle to hold on.
The Eagles can afford a loss here much more so than the Cougars.
ADVANTAGE: Harrisburg (Because it’s at home and if he plays, Kline likely won’t be back to full game speed.)
Northern (5-7, 3-3 Capital) at East Pennsboro (7-4, 5-2)
The Panthers are coming off a rough two weeks, having dropped four straight to CV, Steel-High, Milton Hershey and Lower Dauphin. It was a brutal slate of games to be sure.
Thankfully the tough part is over, but Northern is still a viable threat and only lost by nine last time these teams faced. And with Amir Mundy likely out for the Panthers with an ankle injury of unknown severity, it could be even easier for the Polar Bears than expected.
Northern has struggled mightily on the road, having allowed 62 points per game in eight road contests. The Panthers play suffocating defense as is, but are even better in their own building. They’ve allowed just 46.6 points at home.
ADVANTAGE: East Pennsboro (Because their defense is poses a big problem for the Polar Bears.)
Big Spring (4-10, 1-5 Colonial) at Shippensburg (9-4, 4-3)
The Bulldogs just played four games in a row between Wednesday and Saturday and have to turn around with two days rest and face a big rival to kick off the second half of a quick seven-games-in-10-days stretch.
The Greyhounds had three games in four days, which isn’t ideal either. But they’re a more experienced squad and are likely better equipped to handle a rapid-fire slate of games.
They have a duo on offense in Bryce Hastings (14.7 ppg) and Spencer VanScyoc (11.7 ppg) and several secondary threats. They average 56.3 points per game. By this point for Big Spring, it’s pretty obvious Dalton Donica is the big threat. And he was just held to a goose egg against Milton Hershey.
ADVANTAGE: Shippensburg (Because Big Spring is going to be exhausted and needs more than Donica.)
Cedar Cliff (9-5, 4-4 Keystone) at Susquehanna Twp. (6-4, 3-2)
Clearly Tuesday is log-jammed with quality games this week. But this features two middling teams in the Keystone. Cedar Cliff is coming off three straight losses and hasn’t scored more than 65 points in three weeks.
Of note, the Colts dropped their first matchup, at home, against the Indians back on Dec. 13. It was their first loss of the season.
They’ve also dropped to sixth in the division after being right up there with Bishop McDevitt and Lower Dauphin for a time. A date with the Indians could help them right the ship a bit, but a loss would be devastating with the season winding down.
ADVANTAGE: Cedar Cliff (Because the Colts don’t want to lose both matchups.)
Boiling Springs (10-2, 6-0 Colonial) at East Pennsboro
What’s on the line for this game? Not much, since it’s not a divisional matchup. But East Pennsboro gets another chance to prove where it stacks up amongst the entire Mid-Penn after a pretty sound loss to the Eagles over the holidays.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the Panthers try and counter Eric Contreras, especially with their obvious lack of height in this game. The Bubblers are averaging a hair under 60 points per game while the Panthers are giving up just 45.
ADVANTAGE: Boiling Springs (Because they have more size and athleticism all around.)
This week’s remaining schedule:
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•Covenant Christian at Harrisburg Academy, 7
•York Country Day at West Shore Christian, 7:30
•Big Spring at Shippensburg, 7:30
•James Buchanan at Boiling Springs, 7:30
•Camp Hill at West Perry, 7:30
•Carlisle at Chambersburg, 7:30
•Cedar Cliff at Susquehanna Twp., 7:30
•Cumberland Valley at Harrisburg, 7:30
•Northern at East Pennsboro, 7:30
•Red Land at Mechanicsburg, 7:30
•Susquenita at Steel-High, 7:30
•Hershey at Trinity, 7:30
•Harrisburg Christian at West Shore Christian, 7:30
•West Perry at Boiling Springs, 7:30
•Big Spring at Biglerville, 7:30
•Belleville Mennonite at Harrisburg Academy, 6:30
•Waynesboro at Big Spring, 7:30
•Camp Hill at Milton Hershey, 7:30
•State College at Carlisle, 7:30
•Trinity at Cedar Cliff, 7:30
•Chambersburg at Cumberland Valley, 7:30
•East Pennsboro at Susquenita, 7:30
•Mechanicsburg at Palmyra, 7:30
•Middletown at Northern, 7:30
•Shippensburg at James Buchanan, 7:30
•West Perry at Steel-High, 7:30
•West Shore Christian at Mount Calvary Christian, 7:30
•Waynesboro at Northern, 2:30
•Boiling Springs at East Pennsboro, 4:30
•Northeastern at Shippensburg, 7:30
Email Jake Adams at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520