NEPSAC AA Playoff Preview
1) Tilton (25-5) - Lost two out of their last three regular-season games to Brewster and New Hampton, but having gone undefeated in Class AA play, Tilton heads into the post-season as the #1-seed and will host Vermont Academy in a quarterfinal match-up on Wednesday. The Rams will be shorthanded in their quest to repeat as NEPSAC AA Champs as sophomore scoring-machine Wayne Selden will be out for the duration of the post-season with an ankle injury. Never-the-less, with Nerlens Noel and Georges Niang playing together as amateurs for the last time, the Rams head into the Double A Dance as the heavy favorites to repeat.
2) St Marks (24-2) - After clobbering their way through the second half of their schedule to earn the #2-seed in the Playoffs, the Lions, behind the duo of Kaleb Tarczewski and Nikolas Stauskas, are primed for a non-nonsense run at the NEPSAC AA Championship. Given the fact that they played very few close ball-games during the course of the season, it will be interesting to see how the Lions respond when and if they find themselves in a nail-biter. On the other hand, with a senior laden squad, this may not be a circumstance that worries Dave Lubick.
3) Cushing (21-6) - Won nine of their last ten games to earn the #3-seed heading into the post-season. The Penguins will host #6-seed St Andrews in the quarterfinals in a rematch of their season-opener, which Cushing won by a 15-point margin on November 30, 2011. Look for the rugged front-courts of Cushing and St A's to play to a draw on Wednesday, leaving the outcome of the game in guard's hands.
4) Wilbraham & Monson Academy (23-8) - After hitting a rough patch and losing two in a row around Valentines Day, WMA closed the regular season with five straight wins to get back into their groove heading into post-season play. On Wednesday in the quarterfinals, the Titans will face a Worcester Academy squad that beat them 63-61 a few weeks back. Time for Jaylen Brantley to get in the cockpit.
5) Worcester Academy (15-10) - With Rene Castro taking his game to a new level in the final-third of the season, the Hilltoppers won eight of their last ten to earn the #5-seed in the Double A Playoffs, where they'll play #4-seed Wilbraham & Monson on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. When these teams faced off a few weeks ago, Castro went for 34pts to lead Worcester to a pivotal win. Can he do it again, playing head to head against his good friend and BABC back-court mate Jaylen Brantley?
6) St Andrews (23-7) - Cedric Kuakumensah and the #6-seed Saints will take to the road and look to put the clamps down on Cushing in the quarters on Wednesday. Whether they are succesfull will depend largely on the outcome of the sophomore point guard duel between Henry Bolton and Cushing's Kaleb Joseph.
7) Kimball Union Academy (21-5) - After a terrific regular season campaign, Mike Olson's club heads into the playoffs wearing the #7-seed. They'll play at St Marks in the quarters on Wednesday. If they are to have a fighting chance, the front-court of Jesse Chuku and Abdul-Malik Abu will need to deliver an inspired performance playing against Zeus.
8) Vermont Academy (19-11) - Jesse Bopp's persevered all season to earn the #8-seed heading into the post-season. The Wildcats will play on the road at Tilton on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. They'll need a monster ball-game from Dominic Woodson in order to contend with Tilton in Ram Country.