Posted Online: Feb. 07, 2013, 5:44 pm
Galesburg (15-12, 5-2 WB6) at Rock Island (17-4, 5-2 WB6)
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By Marc Nesseler, email@example.com
Tonight: In what amounts to a Western Big 6 title elimination game, the Rock Island Rocks host the Galesburg Silver Streaks at 7:30, following a sophomore game at 6.
Saturday: Rock Island is at Aurora Central Catholic, 7:30 p.m. varsity, 6 p.m. sophomore.
Twitter: For tonight's game, follow @ness_da. For Saturday's game, follow @asando_da
Galesburg: G: Travon Diggins, 5-10, Sr. (7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), Carson Cheesman, 6-1, Sr. (0.9, 1.0), Ethan Meeker, 6-0, Fr. (8.1, 1.4) & Grant Gibson, 6-2, So. (20.7, 6.7); F: Ryan Carl, 6-5, Sr. (3.1, 2.7).
RI: G: C.J. Carr, 5-6, Jr. (13.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Trey Sigel, 6-1, Jr. (9.0, 2.9) & Brian Richardson, 6-0, Sr. (11.1, 3.3); F: Keenan Shorter, 6-3, Jr. (9.0, 4.7) & Raahsaan Brown, 6-3, Sr. (9.7, 4.6) or Rob Johnson, 6-2 Sr. (5.3, 4.3).
Why watch: With both teams at 5-2 in the Big 6 with two games left after tonight, this basically amounts to an elimination game. Also of great importance is the Moline-Quincy game (@SchuckDaddy on Twitter), with the Blue Devils holding a one-game lead over the Rocks and Streaks. The approaches taken by the two coaches are interesting, given the game's importance. Says Streaks coach Mike Reynolds, "We are not really handling it any differently than any other WB6 game. I'm not sure our young guys understand the importance of the game, and I would like to keep it that way so, as coaches, we are just going about business as a normal prep week." RI coach Thom Sigel says earlier WB6 losses have changed RI's approach since. "It's the time of year you hope to be in a situation where the games are meaningful," he said. "We have really felt that each Friday has been big since the last time we played Galesburg, and even more magnified after losing at Quincy. Hopefully being in that situation has helped us." … Galesburg won that earlier game 53-52 at Thiel Gym the night before the Genesis Shootout. "We started off trying to do too much offensively and got out of rhythm," Sigel said of that game. "They had a good game plan, but I felt we played into it." Reynolds credits his defense for that win. "Defensively, we competed for 32 minutes. In the games where we have been successful, that has been the case. We kept our execution, consistency and focus for 32 minutes. We need the same and more on Friday night." … Freshman Ethan Meeker was the big surprise that night, scoring 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. "He has played extremely well since that Rocky game," Reynolds said of Meeker. "Really the only sub-par game he has had was against Moline in which he had the flu. He has developed an aggressive mindset on the offensive end and has really paid attention to details on the defensive end. He has a chance to have a really good WB6 career." … Sigel said all of the Streaks deserve the Rocks' attention. "They have been good when they get contributions from more than Gibson," he said. "He is one of the best scorers in the conference so he deserves our attention. However, when their other guys step up, they have been good, a lot like our team when we have good balance." … If Gibson is going to set the Galesburg single-season scoring record, the Streaks likely will need a strong playoff run. He has 560 points; the record of 813 was set in 1966 by Dale Kelly, who went on to play at Northwestern. … The Streaks took just one 3-point attempt, a make by Meeker, on Saturday against Blue Island Eisenhower in a 79-63 win. "They played the Grinnell system, so we had lots of layups," said the Streaks coach. … RI's Jacobe Julien is out with a concussion. He is doubtful for the weekend since he has yet to get a medical release.
RI coach Thom Sigel: "We will have to adjust better offensively to the physical play and not try to force it into the lane when it isn't open. Ball movement is important to us."
Galesburg coach Mike Reynolds: "Offensively, Carr has the ability to penetrate and make his teammates better. (Trey) Sigel and (Trae) Babers have shot the ball well as of late and have given their team an added threat. Rocky really attacks the offensive glass with as much intensity as any team we have played."
-- By Marc Nesseler, firstname.lastname@example.org