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Thread: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

  1. #181
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by IUPbigINDIANS View Post
    Yes, you're spoiled ... 10-1 is 10-1.

    From my own observations (if you value that for anything), I'd grade Ship and Fairmont as a tie for No. 1 right now. Ship has, my opinion, the best player in the Region in Sleva and a great outside game. Fairmont has D1 athleticism and size.

    The next wave, in no order, would be IUP, WL, Wheeling and Kuztown -- with East Stroud gaining speed fast.

    ND needs a big win to vault up to Tier 2.

    Tier 3 is a jumbled mess right now.
    That's actually an impressive top 6 for the region--3 MEC, and 3 PSAC...and CIAA nowhere to be found.... There could be some wars in that regional, and I think you're right, it's early, but have trouble seeing those 6 not get in... The last spot remaining could go ND OH / Charleston / SRU / ESU....bc the CIAA has to get one auto bid...

    Shaping up to be very competitive...it's not WL vs Field or WL and IUP vs Field like some recent ones...

  2. #182

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    I understand your concern. However, I think this team has the potential to be one of their strongest teams by March, but they could lose some along the way. I think the reason for some of the close games is that the "blending" of this team has been much more challenging and time consuming than most years for the following reasons:

    1) Injuries - Lost a great shooter who played as a true freshman in Evan French. Clay G, who started the first game of the season has been out and is just working his way back. Smith is coming back from a year long layoff. So that is probably worth 5% on the team 3 pt shooting stats.
    2) New players starting in Monterosa
    3) New Player in Griffin, who needs time to adjust to the style.
    4) Shooting a little less accurately from 3 - 35.2% versus 40.9% last year.
    5) All of the teams in the MEC have improved - The "WLU effect" - rising tide lifts all boats
    6) Dennis is struggling at the foul line - flat arc and not enough rotation. If he fixes that, it will present a dilemma for opponents who choose to foul him. Probably worth 4-5 points a game

    WV State has beaten some decent teams. I did not expect a easy game. I listened to the game (ugh - spoiled by video). It would have been a 20 point win if the Bauer kid from Xenia, who is a great shooter, did not go nuts in the last 4 minutes.

    Good signs for this team -
    1) Defensive skills - they have the athletic ability to guard people aggressively and get turnovers without fouling. They are winning when they are getting out-shot. That did not use to happen. Grossenbacher and monterosa are shot-blocking threats
    2) With the WV State game, Griffin is starting to really come on. Taking it to the rack and hitting the 3, ala monterosa.
    3) Clay hopefully will be full strength by February - it is really tough for a frosh to see playing time, much less start as he did at the beginning of the year.
    4) Monterosa may become an unstoppable force


    Stat 2016-2017 2015-2016
    FG % 48.9% 49.8%
    3 PT 35.2% 40.9%
    FT 73% 73%
    Rebounds 40.7 42.5
    Turnovers 8.7 11.2
    Opponent's TO 17.1 14.7
    Last edited by Columbuseer; 01-04-2017 at 07:01 PM. Reason: incomplete

  3. #183
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    I like your assessment Columbus. This version of the Toppers is a bit different than past ones which is a little scary. To your assessment, I would add that Crutch is learning how best to utilize this years teams strengths and weaknesses as well. Were not hitting 3's at as high a % as in the past and that is disconcerting to me. But as you correctly point out, we seem to be playing better D than in the past and we overall seem a bit more athletic...both these things should pay dividends when/if we make the tourney.

  4. #184

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    West Lib 94

    Charleston 62

    West Lib had 5 guys score in double figures again. Game was over pretty early and the toppers were in cruise control for most of the game.

  5. #185
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    FINAL (in OT):
    West Liberty: 108
    Glenville St.: 105

    Not a WLU fan, but I'm kinda shocked at this result and how close it was.

  6. #186

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketballat Cl

    Quote Originally Posted by cavsfan94 View Post
    FINAL (in OT):
    West Liberty: 108
    Glenville St.: 105

    Not a WLU fan, but I'm kinda shocked at this result and how close it was.
    i made the trip to glenville for the game. The 60 miles from Parkersburg are not for the faint of heart in winter. took 1.5 hours even though roads were clear. It is not in the middle of nowhere, because the middle of nowhere has more people! Very poor, depressed area (grew up in WV so I am familiar with poverty)

    Waco Center is $27M showcase. looks like 3000 seat d1 arena.
    Some observations on the game.
    Bottom Line: Glenville has athletic team, who had a great mix of inside-outside game going and who played as a team for the most part. WLU had some dry spells shooting that coincided with Glenville getting hot. Made for an exciting game that made the horrendous drive more palatable.

    1. Glenville has a nice mix of athletes, who played as a team, for the most part. Their plan was to attack the basket off the press and they had finishers. Very athletic at all positions.
    2. They had a 6'5 player (morris) who required Grossenbacher's attention. But they also had another 6-5 guy in Davis, who was great attacking from the corner either down the baseline or to the lane. He was great using his body and scored at will around the basket as well as the 3 ball. He and Monterosa were terrorizing each other at their respective offensive ends of the court.
    3. WLU had 17-18 point leads in both 1st half and 2nd half.
    4. As WLU tried to get help on Davis, it left guys open for the 3 when they rotated the ball quickly. An lo and behold, Glenville actually started thinking and rotating the ball. And suddenly those open guys started nailing 3s. That is what got them back in the game.
    5. What Glenville does not have is that 40 minute team focus - IMHO that cost them the game. One example, no. 15 nailed a 3 at the top of key at a critical juncture. He stops, throws his hands toward the sky and yells, instead of getting back on defense. It was only 2 seconds that he was stationary, but that was all it took. WLU threw a pass from out of bounds to Grossenbacher who was sprinting down the court on the defense to offense transition. No. 15 was two steps slow and Grossenbacher got fouled on the layup attempt. 2nd example, in OT and down by 6, Glenville had to foul. They did not deny the ball to Hoehn, who is a 90+% FT shooter. No way he should have touched the ball on the in bounds pass.
    6. WLU starters logged heavy minutes. Everyone at least 35 minutes. Dennis had 44. Very limited subbing. My guess is that some players did not match up well with Glenville's team.
    7. Griffin is becoming an inside outside force and is rebounding well. Very aggressive and effective. Much like Monterosa in style. 4 WLU players had over 20 pts (Monterosa, Griffin, Hoehn, Dennis), with grossenbacher having about 14 points.
    8. Glenville did something I did not understand. in the 2nd half, when they were shooting foul shots, they conceded the rebound on a missed FT by having their other 4 players walk back to the defensive end of the court. Were they tired? I don't know. Had not seen that before. Any thoughts on why?

  7. #187
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    What a year so far. Winning...but not in the typical way! Guess we just sit back, hold on and try not to throw up as we careen from game to game.

    Griffin is indeed a surprise. Averaging over 25 minutes a game over the last four and is scoring a very respectable 14+ over that streatch. We'll see if he continues at that pace but anything north of 6 pts and 10 minutes average is way more than I think anyone could have hoped for from him. Just MIGHT be that Crutch knows a little bit more about bring in "hidden gems" than us!!!!

    If Smith and Gauz can find their early season touch after returning from injuries, we could be a really good team by turney time.

  8. #188

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    What a year so far. Winning...but not in the typical way! Guess we just sit back, hold on and try not to throw up as we careen from game to game.

    Griffin is indeed a surprise. Averaging over 25 minutes a game over the last four and is scoring a very respectable 14+ over that streatch. We'll see if he continues at that pace but anything north of 6 pts and 10 minutes average is way more than I think anyone could have hoped for from him. Just MIGHT be that Crutch knows a little bit more about bring in "hidden gems" than us!!!!

    If Smith and Gauz can find their early season touch after returning from injuries, we could be a really good team by turney time.
    Hopefully I am not rushing to judgment, but based on the Glenville game I saw, Griffin is not a flash in the pan. He has clearly separated himself from the other tall non-starters on offense and defense. He has confidence shooting the 3 and if you guard him close he goes aggressively to the basket. I think the WLU style has just "clicked" with him. What I like about him is that he never gives up. When someone blocks his shot underneath, he immediately gets it and puts it back up. In my experience, a shot blocker often relaxes just a bit after a block and is vulnerable to the quick put-back. He is also providing the 3rd rebounder in addition to Monterosa and Grossenbacher. I was hoping someone would step up in this area, but frankly I did not think it would be him.
    Maybe it is the reverse Samson-effect. He got a buzz hair cut and suddenly he got unstoppable strength LOL!

    Clay G. and the way he moves and his abnormally long arms reminds me of a young Jerry West in terms of his physical build. West had a 39 inch sleeve length. Just seems to be a similar body type. Before I am accused of blasphemy, that is where the resemblance ends of course!

  9. #189
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post
    Hopefully I am not rushing to judgment, but based on the Glenville game I saw, Griffin is not a flash in the pan. He has clearly separated himself from the other tall non-starters on offense and defense. He has confidence shooting the 3 and if you guard him close he goes aggressively to the basket. I think the WLU style has just "clicked" with him. What I like about him is that he never gives up. When someone blocks his shot underneath, he immediately gets it and puts it back up. In my experience, a shot blocker often relaxes just a bit after a block and is vulnerable to the quick put-back. He is also providing the 3rd rebounder in addition to Monterosa and Grossenbacher. I was hoping someone would step up in this area, but frankly I did not think it would be him.
    Maybe it is the reverse Samson-effect. He got a buzz hair cut and suddenly he got unstoppable strength LOL!

    Clay G. and the way he moves and his abnormally long arms reminds me of a young Jerry West in terms of his physical build. West had a 39 inch sleeve length. Just seems to be a similar body type. Before I am accused of blasphemy, that is where the resemblance ends of course!
    I think Crutch is "figuring out" how to manage a team that is quite a bit different than any he has had in recent memory. Not going to say it was easy in years past but it was kind of - Insert this 3 point bomber...he's not hitting...insert this other bomber...he hits a cold spell...put in a different one...harass, harass, harass on the defensive end and always push the ball quickly into the offensive end. This years team doesn't seem as gifted from 3 point land but they have several options that can slash to the basket and can play a generally more athletic game.

    If Griffin turns out to be a 15 PPG/20 minute guy, I will never again question any player decisions Crutch makes!!

  10. #190

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    I think Crutch is "figuring out" how to manage a team that is quite a bit different than any he has had in recent memory. Not going to say it was easy in years past but it was kind of - Insert this 3 point bomber...he's not hitting...insert this other bomber...he hits a cold spell...put in a different one...harass, harass, harass on the defensive end and always push the ball quickly into the offensive end. This years team doesn't seem as gifted from 3 point land but they have several options that can slash to the basket and can play a generally more athletic game.

    If Griffin turns out to be a 15 PPG/20 minute guy, I will never again question any player decisions Crutch makes!!
    You really nailed the difference in this year’s team. As you mentioned, WLU is not winning by the 3 this year. The stats from the GSU game are below. In years past, if an opponent would have had the shooting advantage of GSU as shown below, WLU would have lost. GSU hit nearly 50% of their 3s as a team!
    WLU is grinding it out, using their athletic ability and sheer intensity/effort to generate turnovers, steals, and offensive rebounds, which results in more scoring opportunities (88 versus 67).

    STAT WLU GSU
    FGM 44.3% 39-88 53.7% 36-67
    3FG 37.5% 12-32 48.3% 14-29
    FT 75% 18-24 79.2% 19-24
    Rebounds OFF-DEF 19-28 6-34
    TO 9 15
    Steals 9 4

  11. #191

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Nice win vs WVW. I expected a closer game, in that WVW usually is one of the few teams that gets WL to play at their pace...but if you shoot 60%, that doesn't work...Nice blowout win...

    True Fr Clay came strong last night with 20...impressive.

    I agree with many of the previous comments--this iteration of the WL Hilltoppers is a bit different than years past...they have had many more close games than previous years..but they keep winning... They seem to be better at getting in the lane (monteroso) and gritting out victories.

    Hoehn has had an up and down year in my opinion..very inconsistent..and that's surprising...I still want Dennis to be able to knock down a jumper with regularity...but I guess, why should he, no one stays in front of him..

    I do like the size / athleticism that Griffin brings. Seems like Kirkbride is on the other side of the rotation and I'm ok with that

    Realistically, there are only 4 more games the rest of the year, where you could consider a loss....Both WJ, Fairmont at home, and at ND(OH). They "should" win the others without a problem. I'll say they end up w/ three losses in regular season, and really if you think about that....we would probably take it....

  12. #192

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by IUP Extra Mile View Post
    Nice win vs WVW. I expected a closer game, in that WVW usually is one of the few teams that gets WL to play at their pace...but if you shoot 60%, that doesn't work...Nice blowout win...

    True Fr Clay came strong last night with 20...impressive.

    I agree with many of the previous comments--this iteration of the WL Hilltoppers is a bit different than years past...they have had many more close games than previous years..but they keep winning... They seem to be better at getting in the lane (monteroso) and gritting out victories.

    Hoehn has had an up and down year in my opinion..very inconsistent..and that's surprising...I still want Dennis to be able to knock down a jumper with regularity...but I guess, why should he, no one stays in front of him..

    I do like the size / athleticism that Griffin brings. Seems like Kirkbride is on the other side of the rotation and I'm ok with that

    Realistically, there are only 4 more games the rest of the year, where you could consider a loss....Both WJ, Fairmont at home, and at ND(OH). They "should" win the others without a problem. I'll say they end up w/ three losses in regular season, and really if you think about that....we would probably take it....
    Great points. Watch WVW last night and they could be a very dangerous matchup for WLU next year, especially if we don't get a big man. Very young team. Their Frosh and sophs have a lot of potential, have height, good shooters and play together. I thought they were well coached, too. European players are generally much better in fundamentals than U.S. Players (Kobe agrees, btw). I did like how WLU was disrupting the big man's moves by having the guard collapse on him in the blocks to make him pick up his dribble early and disrupt his post move rhythm. They made us pay a few times with the kickout for guard left open for a 3 as a result, but overall it was effective. Also keeps Zac G. out of foul trouble, which appeared to be WVW strategy (take it inside to the tall post player and attack Zac). WLU help defense is constantly improving.

  13. #193
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Any idea what's up with Meini? Went from starter at the beginning of the season to a 4 minute per game sub. Injured? Victim of bad play? Someone just beat him out?

    Nice W last night...real team win. 5 players in double figures. Good to see Gauz have a good game (20 pts on 6/7 shooting) off the bench. Also good seeing Smith getting back into form (only 5 pts but was 2/2 shooting and had 2 assists in 11 minutes). If these two can fully round back into the shape they were early in the season, we could have something going. IF Meini can be productive again, we could have an "A" squad/"B" squad situation with a starting 5 of Gross, Griffin, Monteroso, Hoehn, and Dennis and sub for them in mass with Meinenger, Gauzolet, Smith, and Arnold. SORRY Monte...you would have to stay on the court!!

  14. #194

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    Any idea what's up with Meini? Went from starter at the beginning of the season to a 4 minute per game sub. Injured? Victim of bad play? Someone just beat him out?

    Nice W last night...real team win. 5 players in double figures. Good to see Gauz have a good game (20 pts on 6/7 shooting) off the bench. Also good seeing Smith getting back into form (only 5 pts but was 2/2 shooting and had 2 assists in 11 minutes). If these two can fully round back into the shape they were early in the season, we could have something going. IF Meini can be productive again, we could have an "A" squad/"B" squad situation with a starting 5 of Gross, Griffin, Monteroso, Hoehn, and Dennis and sub for them in mass with Meinenger, Gauzolet, Smith, and Arnold. SORRY Monte...you would have to stay on the court!!
    I really like Meini, although I don't know him personally - Many great qualities on the court - very unselfish, high basketball IQ, good to great shooter, although 3 PT % seems low compared to his other shooting stats at 29%, but that could be a matter of being "cold" due to low minutes.
    I don't envy Coach's job in deciding who, when, and how much to play these unselfish, team players on the roster.

    I think the challenge for all of the players on WLU's team is deciding what to focus on to differentiate themselves from the other great players on the team. When the coach looks down the bench at each player, what comes to his mind?
    Fanatical intensity and effort?
    Great, shutdown defender in the blocks against athletic post players?
    Animal on the boards like Hester?
    Crazy on the press? (I think of Arnold - if you get by him you better have your head on a swivel, because he will sprint and catch up to you and poke the ball away from behind!).
    Person who can back down a defender and score from the post like bonifant?
    Slasher to the basket?
    Great foot speed and lateral movement on defense to stop drives and draw charges?

    I think some the players have to pragmatically reexamine their existing game and style and find a niche no one else has staked out and get really good at it.
    It may require some very hard work to sculpt their bodies and develop ball skills or moves to fit their chosen niche that differentiates them from their teammates.

    These are just some general, speculative observations about the challenges to getting playing time at WLU and not specific to any player.

  15. #195
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    At halftime, West Liberty is leading UVA-Wise 42-31. I'm surprised that the Cavs are doing relatively well against WLU.

    UPDATE: FINAL: WLU 98 UVA-Wise 71
    Last edited by cavsfan94; 01-14-2017 at 05:43 PM.

  16. #196
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    125-73 over Concord last night. Old fashion school yard beat down. I know, it's Concord and they aren't very good but MAN. Interesting minutes/scoring from the Toppers. Only Gross and Dennis topped 20 minutes and three of the top four scores came off the bench. The three were Meini with 19, Smith with 16 and Clay with 14...That's a good sign. If we can get consistent double digit scoring from these three off the bench, paired with season average scoring by starting 5, that puts us right at 100 PPG which would be hard to beat most nights.

  17. #197
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    LOL ... 52 point spread. Wow. That's more than some teams score in a whole PSAC game.

    What do you think on the big one Thursday night?

  18. #198

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by IUPbigINDIANS View Post
    LOL ... 52 point spread. Wow. That's more than some teams score in a whole PSAC game.

    What do you think on the big one Thursday night?
    I think it's a great way for WL to go into that game. WJ struggled the past two games vs concord and UVA-Wise--maybe looking ahead, but two games? Should be a good matchup, but you have to favor WL in this one...WJ lost two really good seniors Seifert and Fritts from last year, and WL lost Seger...

    I'll say 98-90 WL.....

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