The holidays and the snow forced a bit of a wrench in last week’s preview. But never fear, they’re back and better than ever.
There’s some catching up to do, for sure. Thankfully, there hasn’t been a ton of division action the past two weeks, so not a whole lot has changed within the Mid-Penn standings.
This week’s action could very well change that, as there are numerous games that pit division foes near the top of their respective standings.
This week, all but Thursday has at least five games to offer. And every day has something worth watching. So instead of the usually five game preview special, we’re going to take a look at the best game of the day.
I’m also adding a little prediction to each game. You’ll see.
Harrisburg Academy (5-3) at West Shore Christian (4-3)
A collision of two Sentinel-area private schools. On one hand, you’ve got a Harrisburg Academy team coming off back-to-back losses with a week of rest thanks to Mother Nature canceling their matchup with Meadowbrook Christian.
On the other hand, you’ve got a West Shore squad coming off a 74-51 drubbing at the hands of Lebanon Catholic and is in the middle of a three-game stretch over four nights.
The Spartans have a kid by the name of Jalen Gabbidon averaging 22.8 a game. He loves the three-ball (25 treys this season) and has three games this season with 30-plus points. Good luck stopping that.
The Warriors have the Raup brothers, Mitch and Merritt. They score 32.1 a game, one doing the damage inside the arc, and one doing the damage outside it. Only once has one of the brothers not scored in double digits. Harrisburg’s defense isn’t bad, but it isn’t that good.
ADVANTAGE: West Shore Christian (Because the Raup brother have help.)
East Pennsboro (7-1, 5-0 Capital) at Steel-High (8-3, 5-0)
The Panthers get to face the highest scoring offense in the Capital, albeit by a whopping .05 points per game.
East Pennsboro doesn’t have the same kind of offense as the Rollers, scoring just 50.88 a game against their 66.18, but they do have the kind of defense that could make it a little easier. The Panthers have given up 42.63 a game, which is easily the best in the Mid-Penn. Gettysburg is closest, by more than three points.
The Rollers have Rameik James, who absolutely loves the three-ball. He’s connected on 28 shots from downtown and is second on the team with 9.4 points per game. Anthony Wright, however, is their threat in the post, scoring 16.8 a contest.
ADVANTAGE: Steel-High (Because Wright will be too much.)
Lower Dauphin (8-2) at Mechanicsburg (8-2, 4-2)
Mechanicsburg is coming off a rough loss to Bishop McDevitt, 70-60. Only twice have they allowed 60-plus points this season, and both times they lost (the other was to Cedar Cliff).
Despite being 4-2 in the division, the Wildcats are barely out-scoring their rivals. The average margin of victory is 1.8 points. Obviously Zach Brunner and Drew Schankweiler are the workhorses on this team, but they’re going to need a bit more help now. Breon Coke is averaging 8.7 a pop but that’s about it. The team hasn’t scored 65-plus points all season, suggesting there’s a very real ceiling to this offense.
Thankfully Lower Dauphin doesn’t score at the rate of McDevitt. The Falcons have just one player averaging double-digit points, Kaylor Kulina. Their offense averages 57.8 a game, just a tick more than Mechanicsburg’s 57.6. They also allow 50 points against the Wildcat’s 51.1. It’s as close to a draw as you can draw up.
ADVANTAGE: Mechanicsburg (Because the Wildcats are three points a game better at home.)
Harrisburg Christian (5-3) at Harrisburg Academy
I haven’t talked much about the private schools in the area this season, but it’s time to change that.
Harrisburg Academy has a kid by the name of Jalen Gabbidon. He only scores 22.8 a game to go along with 25 buckets from three-point land. Josh Getz is second on the team with 10.4 points a game.
The Spartans are coming off consecutive losses over the holiday break and their game against Meadowbrook Christian was postponed Friday. They have a date with West Shore Christian before this, but this is the game could be just as good.
Harrisburg Christian has their own long-range threat, and his name is Connor Shroyer. Shroyer’s 32 treys and 22.8 points per game look eerily similar to Gabbidon’s. But Shroyer’s got the better Robin in Scott Gaffey, who’s averaging 16.6 points per and has drained 25 three’s as well.
ADVANTAGE: Harrisburg Academy (Because Christian lost to WSC by 13 on Dec. 28.)
Harrisburg (8-2, 4-2 Commonwealth) at Carlisle (6-4, 4-1)
A quick refresher on Part One of this matchup, back on Dec. 10.
Jordan Dockens dropped 29 points on the Cougars in a 79-76 thrilling loss in overtime. Freshman phenom Deshawn Millington kicked in 17 to go along with a combined 23 points from Timothy Atkinson and J.D. Hughes. They were a botched pass or two from second it to double overtime.
And Part Two will be nothing short of exciting.
Carlisle will be playing for a chance to stay atop the Commonwealth while Harrisburg would love the head-to-head tiebreaker to get back into the thick of the race before their rematch with CV. The Thundering Herd haven’t allowed 70 points since the first matchup and have one of the better defenses in the division.
But that doesn’t matter, because this is a battle of the two best offenses.
ADVANTAGE: Carlisle (Because of home court and better growth since the first game.)
Lower Dauphin at East Pennsboro
Throw the Panthers 42.6 points per game allowed out the window in this one. Well, kind of.
East Pennsboro isn’t exactly playing in a brutal division, so their numbers are a bit lopsided. But Lower Dauphin is no offensive juggernaut, as mentioned above.
Then again, neither is East Pennsboro.
Don’t expect this to reach 70 points by any stretch. The Panthers did have trouble with CV last week, a far bigger squad. It was their only loss but basically any team is bigger than them, especially outside the Capital, and that could be tough for them to overcome.
ADVANTAGE: Lower Dauphin (Because of a better strength of schedule.)
This week’s schedule:
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•Hershey at Cedar Cliff, 7:30
•Mechanicsburg at Susquehanna Twp., 7:30
•Red Land at Bishop McDevitt, 7:30
•Trinity at Palmyra, 7:30
•Harrisburg Academy at West Shore Christian, 7:30
•Greencastle-Antrim at Big Spring, 7:30
•Shippensburg at Boiling Springs, 7:30
•Camp Hill at Northern, 7:30
•Central Dauphin at Carlisle, 7:30
•State College at Cumberland Valley, 7:30
•East Pennsboro at Steel-High, 7:30
•Middletown at Susquenita, 7:30
•Milton Hershey at West Perry, 7:30
•West Shore Christian at York Christian, 7:30
•Carlisle at CD East, TBA
•Big Spring at Milton Hershey, 7:30
•Cedar Cliff at Red Land, 7:30
•Lower Dauphin at Mechanicsburg, 7:30
•Susquenita at Halifax, 7:30
•Susquehanna Twp. at Trinity, 7:30
•James Buchanan at West Perry, 7:30
•Harrisburg Christian at Harrisburg Academy, 6:30
•Trinity at New Hope, 7
•Boiling Springs at Big Spring, 7:30
•Middletown at Camp Hill, 7:30
•Harrisburg at Carlisle, 7:30
•Palmyra at Cedar Cliff, 7:30
•Mifflin County at Cumberland Valley, 7:30
•East Pennsboro at Milton Hershey, 7:30
•Mechanicsburg at Hershey, 7:30
•Steel-High at Northern, 7:30
•Lower Dauphin at Red Land, 7:30
•Shippensburg at Gettysburg, 7:30
•Covenant Christian at West Shore Christian, 7:30
•West Perry at Susquenita, 8
•Shippensburg at New Oxford, 7:30
•Lower Dauphin at East Pennsboro, 2:30
•Harrisburg Academy at East Juniata, 3:30
•Cumberland Valley at Central York, 7:30
•James Buchanan at Northern, 7:30
•Bermudian Springs at Big Spring, 8
Email Jake Adams at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520