Intramural basketball preview

Chad Spurio, Edward Melsher, and Christina Cartwright

Chad Spurio and Edward Melsher

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The SHS Intramural Basketball League is upon us again, and for some it is the last chance to capture  that elusive title. In an added twist, for the first time in recent memory, the league has been split into two divisions due to a sizable increase in participation. Let’s look at what notable teams and players are looking to make splash this season:

2016-2017 Solon High School Intramural Basketball (Junior/Senior)
Blue Division Gold Division
Simmons, Fresno State Bulldogs Fischer, UCLA Bruins
Perry, Tennessee Volunteers Ballesteros, LSU Tigers
Obert, U-Conn. Huskies Hamilton, Cincinnati Bearcats
Kotov, SMU Mustangs Lombardo, Louisville Cardinals
Shifris, Georgetown Hoyas Lanzara, Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds
Butkovic, Cleveland State Vikings Bhargava, Northern Iowa Panthers
Zavarella, East Carolina Pirates Ahmed, Michigan Wolverines
Calvetta, Washington State Cougars N/A

 

Championship Contender-Louisville Cardinals

Out of all the teams in the field, the Cardinals have the best chance to compete for a title. Led by a formidable starting lineup of seniors including Max Gross, Andy Baek, Jake McCurry, Anuraag Atluri as well as team captain John Lombardo, the team returns many players from last year that made them so successful in their second-place finish as juniors. In their first game of the season, Louisville demolished James Hamilton’s Cincinnati Bearcats by nearly 60 points.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Max Gross, SR.

Possessing both blazing speed and unparalleled stamina, Gross is a two-way player that is sure to be the main facilitator on an already stacked Lombardo squad. In addition, his range from beyond the arc makes him an offensive microwave and a tremendous floor spacer.  

Dark Horse-Georgetown Hoyas

A team you can never count out, the Hoyas boast a level of athleticism and basketball IQ that can match up with any team in the Blue Division. Despite being overshadowed by deeper teams such as the Tennessee Volunteers, seniors Eric Shifris, Dan Nemirovsky, Cooper Seide and Jeremy Previte have the potential to turn some heads as the season progresses. Championship hopes are not out of the realm of possibilities for this squad.

PLAYER TO WATCH:
Eric Shifris, SR.

Shifris is an absolute maestro when the ball is in his hands, dishing out assists or taking it to the basket with relative ease. At the end of a close game, any team would feel safe knowing that the ball is in Shifris’ hands. A true pass-first point guard, Shifris will continue to command the offense and fool defenders– all while keeping the ball on a string.

Offensive Powerhouse-Tennessee Volunteers

Drake Perry’s Volunteers will look to make it out of the close and contested Blue Division using their high octane and high scoring offense. Nearly every player on the team has the ability to drive to the bucket as well as step back and knock it down, a dangerous combination for any defense they come up against.
PLAYER TO WATCH:

Caleb Connor, JR.

As tall as he is versatile, Connor plays center for the freakishly athletic Volunteers. Connor has already thrown down some vicious dunks, including a spectacular drop step dunk against the newly named Fresno State Bulldogs (formerly known as the Wyoming Cowboys). Look for him to continue putting on a highflying show.

Defensive Stoppers-East Carolina Pirates

Even in a tough beginning two games, the East Carolina Pirates, listed on their jerseys as the “Pretty Purple Pirates,” have proved that their defense is second to none. This includes holding Nick Kotov’s SMU Mustangs to a total of seven points in the first half. Their starting lineup brings a level of unrivaled toughness and chemistry due to their time spent together on the football field, which they hope will translate well to the court. While they in no way slack on offense, the team specializes on defense, with both Jacob Gross and Chris Glaser making sure their presence around the rim is known.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Chris Glaser, SR.

Glaser plays on the offensive line for the Solon Comets football team and is committed to the University of Virginia, immediately giving him an advantage in the strength and conditioning department. In addition, the intangibles that he has gained from his experience on the Comets such as discipline and effort should contribute largely to the team’s success.

Up-And-Coming-LSU Tigers

A team full of athletic juniors such as Da’Veon Parker, Pierre Woods, Tyrone Coleman and team captain Josue Ballesteros, the Tigers sent a statement to the rest of the league when they sent Lombardo’s Cardinals into overtime on Nov. 30, narrowly losing in a hard-fought battle. The team also has plenty of depth, boasting a total of ten players to make sure everyone is well-rested.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Pierre Woods, JR.

In addition to his athletic prowess, Woods possesses a winner’s mentality. According to Ballesteros, Woods is ultra-competitive and plays his heart out, leaving everything on the court. In addition, Woods runs the fast break well and plays excellent defense. Look for him to have an impact in more ways than one.

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