Posted Online: Feb. 07, 2013, 9:40 pm
Boys' basketball preview: Alleman (6-15, 1-6 Big 6) at United Township (3-19, 1-6 Big 6)
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By Steve Tappa, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight: 7:30 at East Moline's Panther Den. Sophomores start at 6. Twitter updates: @SteveTappa_DA for tonight and sports_DA on Saturday.
Special: UT inducts the 1970 single-class state runner-up boys' basketball team into the school's Hall of Fame. Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schotka Schneider and world-renown artist Darrell Bush also are part of the 2013 Hall of Fame class.
Saturday: UT hosts Chillicothe IVC (12-10) at 6:30 p.m. Alleman is idle.
Alleman: G: Adam Hoogerwerf, 5-11, Sr. (10.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg) & Kevin O'Keeffe, 6-0, Jr. (8.0, 3.9) & Sam Pirmann, 6-2 Sr. (2.0, 2.9); F: Joey Boland, 6-0, Sr. (0.5, 2.6) & Aaron Murray, 6-1 Jr. (1.9, 1.8).
United Township: G: Trevor May, 5-8, Jr. (5.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg) & Keegan Wenskunas, 5-8, Jr. (5.0, 1.3); F: Ryan Merideth, 6-2, Soph. (4.2, 2.7) & Lamont Mitchell, 6-3, Soph. (8.1, 5.9) & Dalton Oakes, 6-3, Jr. (0.9, 1.6).
Why watch: The Western Big 6 Conference's battle out of the basement finds a pair of teams tied with one league win coming in. UT has dropped nine straight overall despite becoming increasingly competitive, while Alleman's skid is six straight without senior leaders Dan Cutkomp (foot injury) and John Tracey (season-ending leg surgery last week). UT beat Alleman, 60-58 in mid-December, and the only time the Pioneers have scored at least 50 points since New Year's came in their lone win since then. ... Alleman is missing four season-starters overall tonight, with Alec Diab (flu) and Joey Mihm (ineligible) ruled out for this game. ... Football lineman Aaron Murray earns his first varsity hoops start after playing well in last week's loss at Moline. "He's only 6-foot-1," Alleman coach Pat Rangel said, "but we'll need his size and toughness inside to contend with UT's Terronez twins." Raymond and Michael Terronez are both 6-4 and come off the Panthers' bench.
Alleman's Rangel: "UT is aggressive defensively and puts a lot of pressure on the ball, but we should be able to control the tempo with O'Keeffe and 'Bo-Bo' (Hoogerwerf handling the ball). The question then becomes who's going to score. We've had trouble with that with a depleted lineup, and they've had trouble with that when not in transition. So who's going to hit their jump shots?"
UT coach Marc Polite: "This is an important game for us because it's time for us to take the next step. We can't keep saying we're young. We have to start playing a year older now. We have to start winning games instead of just competing and coming close. We need to do good things for all four quarters, not two or three."
-- By Steve Tappa, email@example.com