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Thread: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

  1. #1581

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrub View Post
    I also picked FSU in the pick 'em. WLU doesn't have a real good track record of going into that building and coming out with a W. Fairmont always finds a way to play us tough, and if Jolly gets going look out. When he's hot, he's borderline unstoppable. I'll never forget the game FSU played up here at WLU last year. Monteroso pretty much held Jolly in check for most of the game, but late in the game with FSU attempting to mount a furious comeback, Jolly started to just chuck it from further and further back each possession (and making them all). It was as though Monteroso was picking him up tight at the 3-point line, so Jolly finally got fed up with that and started shooting from 5 feet behind the line before Monteroso could pick him up. I have nightmares about seeing that guy light it up. Should be a battle, but as was said above, home court advantage offers a slight edge to FSU I would think.
    Have not seen fairmont play this year but with that caveat:

    Things that work in Wlu’s favor:
    - fairmont is good for at least 5 to 7 knucklehead offensive possessions a game.
    - Wlu depth and pressure
    - extreme pressure on jolly. I could see Nate Allen guarding him as he did a good job shutting down smaller point guards ( like monteroso did last year ). Hill is cat quick too.
    - jolly has a pre launch sequence or pattern. Disrupt the muscle memory of the pattern and his accuracy goes down.
    - yoakum hits pressure threes just like Bolon.

    Fairmont could win:
    - at home
    - wl not hitting 40 percent of threes
    - they avoid turnovers
    - take good shots and hit them
    - get wl in double bonus early
    - play great defense

  2. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Tight one with Shepherd last night. I know the game recaps made the story of the game about the Hilltoppers' low shooting percentage. And it's true that they shot the ball terribly. But to me, the story was their difficulty dealing with an athletic big man. Shepherd's D FORCED a low shooting percentage in my opinion. Burgess established early on that there wouldn't be anything easy in the paint. So, with the back cuts getting stuffed by Burgess, Shepherd's guards were able to extend their D and contest every 3 ball. There were very few open looks either inside or outside, and I think that was all a result of the presence of Burgess in the middle. This game, to me, revealed WLU's continued struggle to function in the face of a PSAC-style athletic big man. They lost a game to Kutztown and their bigs, and then almost coughed one up to Burgess and a better-than-usual-but-not-really-that-talented Rams team last night. If those struggles continue, it could mean an early exit in the Regionals. There is certainly time to get it figured out, though, and I'm hopeful the young Toppers will continue to grow as a result of tough games like last night.

  3. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrub View Post
    Tight one with Shepherd last night. I know the game recaps made the story of the game about the Hilltoppers' low shooting percentage. And it's true that they shot the ball terribly. But to me, the story was their difficulty dealing with an athletic big man. Shepherd's D FORCED a low shooting percentage in my opinion. Burgess established early on that there wouldn't be anything easy in the paint. So, with the back cuts getting stuffed by Burgess, Shepherd's guards were able to extend their D and contest every 3 ball. There were very few open looks either inside or outside, and I think that was all a result of the presence of Burgess in the middle. This game, to me, revealed WLU's continued struggle to function in the face of a PSAC-style athletic big man. They lost a game to Kutztown and their bigs, and then almost coughed one up to Burgess and a better-than-usual-but-not-really-that-talented Rams team last night. If those struggles continue, it could mean an early exit in the Regionals. There is certainly time to get it figured out, though, and I'm hopeful the young Toppers will continue to grow as a result of tough games like last night.
    I agree that a talented big man can give WLU trouble. However, I did not think Burgess was much of a factor on defense.

    Burgess had zero blocks. He had 8 rebounds, but Meininger had 10. He got many of his points on dunks after Shepherd broke the press. Shepherd chose the strategy to attack the rim when they broke the press.
    I thought he was mainly an athletic dunker. He needs to work on this game from 5 -10 ft from the basket. Inside 5 feet he can be tough. IMHO, we need the guard to sag down to disrupt his move and make him pick up the ball and then other players must quickly rotate their defensive assignments so that the open man is not obvious to Burgess (i.e., the open man is not the sagging guard's man) and is at a difficult angle for him to deliver the pass.

    If you look at WLU's missed shots, most of them were wide open shots (ignoring the missed foul calls under the basket).
    There were also incredible steals and passes that presaged a mini-blackout in the first half, but wl just could not finish at the rim. Based on the game, I suspect that WL must have gotten the message to take the ball to the basket rather than take the three, as Shepherd plays the infamous AAU defense (i.e., none). Yahel Hill just destroyed his man taking him to the rim for layups.


    The half-court defense against the dribble drive after a high ball screen (McKnight had 32 going to the rim) needs a lot of work, as there was no help (probably because going to help would leave Burgess open for a pass and dunk in many cases).
    Guys have to stay in front of their man.

    IMHO there are some positives. In spite of terrible shooting night and bad defense, the turnovers from the pressure of WL and the intense crashing of the glass for offensive rebounds wore shepherd out and were the deciding factors in the victory. The sheer effort of WL for 40 minutes continues to amaze me. In the second half, no one for Shepherd was even trying for offensive boards. Meininger got an offensive rebound on a WL foul shot that Burgess (with inside position) should have easily gotten if he still had legs.

    It was one of worst offensive performances I have seen in a while for WL and the defense was terrible. However, the incredible effort in other areas that wore Shepherd out was enough to win.
    If WL were clicking offensively, they would have put 130 on Shepherd with McKnight still getting his 30 (their teamwork is that bad with 14 assists and 13 turnovers - just watch the Glenville game).

    A lot of good coaching moments from this game for a very young team.

  4. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    You do learn and grow as a result of games like this. Those are accurate points made about Burgess. I felt another aspect that hurt WL was the fact no one could keep number 4 from driving to the basket. It seemed like he blew by anyone that matched up with him.

    With that said it is a good situation when you can still win games when you don't do the things you typically do well very well. Weird ending to that last sentence but you know what I mean haha.

  5. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post
    I agree that a talented big man can give WLU trouble. However, I did not think Burgess was much of a factor on defense.

    Burgess had zero blocks. He had 8 rebounds, but Meininger had 10. He got many of his points on dunks after Shepherd broke the press. Shepherd chose the strategy to attack the rim when they broke the press.
    I thought he was mainly an athletic dunker. He needs to work on this game from 5 -10 ft from the basket. Inside 5 feet he can be tough. IMHO, we need the guard to sag down to disrupt his move and make him pick up the ball and then other players must quickly rotate their defensive assignments so that the open man is not obvious to Burgess (i.e., the open man is not the sagging guard's man) and is at a difficult angle for him to deliver the pass.
    You make some good points here, Columbus. But I wasn't thinking of blocks in particular. It just seemed as though every time WLU drove to the bucket in the first half, they altered their shots because they knew he was there. They missed a lot of bunnies during that bad stretch, and I was attempting to attribute those misses not to bad shooting but to the specter of Burgess waiting at the rim. He may not have actually blocked their shots, but I do think he altered their shots. They needed to be more aggressive going right at him (as both Hill and Bolon were in the second half). In addition, he had very active hands on passes into the paint on back cuts. WLU was having trouble getting clean catches on curl cuts that usually equate to easy buckets because of Shepherd defenders' active hands in the paint. So, it's true that Burgess is nothing special in a vacuum (which is why he doesn't bother other teams necesssarily), but he's the type of match-up that seems to bother WLU, and I thought his presence in there and active hands had a lot to do with the extended cold shooting stretch in the first half that kept it so close for so long.

  6. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post

    The half-court defense against the dribble drive after a high ball screen (McKnight had 32 going to the rim) needs a lot of work, as there was no help (probably because going to help would leave Burgess open for a pass and dunk in many cases).
    Guys have to stay in front of their man.
    And, yes, great point about the high screen. WLU was terrible at slipping the screen or communicating the switch, which resulted in McKnight getting everything he wanted all night long.

    But I wonder (again, not to beat the dead horse on Burgess) if the continued (and wildly unsuccessful) attempts to slip the screen rather than switch off was precipitated by the perceived match-up problem that would have occurred with a switch. You would have ended up with Burgess rolling to the basket with a Dyer, Saben, or Hill in front of him. So rather than consistently switch (which is how WLU defends the screen most nights), they were left a step behind McKnight by sticking with their man. Again, is this the case of the THREAT of Burgess (or any other big man) being impactful more than Burgess himself being impactful?

    And it's a bit odd, because they weren't afraid to switch on Voorhees last week. There were plenty of possessions in which Dyer or Hill ended up defending Voorhees. I wonder if that appeared to be less bothersome to WLU because you still have to defend the 3 ball against Voorhees anyway, so at least half of his possessions are outside of the paint. [shrug]

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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    In my observation Vorhees isn't real fast. He's big and skilled but he looks slow on tape and doesn't play much defense at all.

    I think what you described above is exactly what Ship and Sleva did to WL last season. They knew WL had no answer for him on either end and on the defensive end they had no fear ... thus pushed their guards way out. Griffin and Meiniger (sp) were a total mismatch against Sleva.

    Granted few teams can actually pull that off against WL during the regular season. It looked like Shepherd tried to emulate it.

  8. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrub View Post
    You make some good points here, Columbus. But I wasn't thinking of blocks in particular. It just seemed as though every time WLU drove to the bucket in the first half, they altered their shots because they knew he was there. They missed a lot of bunnies during that bad stretch, and I was attempting to attribute those misses not to bad shooting but to the specter of Burgess waiting at the rim. He may not have actually blocked their shots, but I do think he altered their shots. They needed to be more aggressive going right at him (as both Hill and Bolon were in the second half). In addition, he had very active hands on passes into the paint on back cuts. WLU was having trouble getting clean catches on curl cuts that usually equate to easy buckets because of Shepherd defenders' active hands in the paint. So, it's true that Burgess is nothing special in a vacuum (which is why he doesn't bother other teams necesssarily), but he's the type of match-up that seems to bother WLU, and I thought his presence in there and active hands had a lot to do with the extended cold shooting stretch in the first half that kept it so close for so long.
    Good points.
    I agree that you need to attack a big man and go up really close to him as it is harder for him to block without fouling. If you fall away or don't go up close to him you wind up altering your shot and missing or getting it blocked.
    WL definitely did not do that against shepherd which allowed Burgess to influence the game as you stated. They need to learn how to attack this type of team as we will see many of them.

  9. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Shooting was so bad in first half that they put in "instant offense" - Ariel Watson.
    And he delivered. In 4 minutes he scored 5 points (1-1 from 3, 1-2 from 2-pt range). But he committed 2 fouls LOL!
    He makes difficult baseline drives look like a walk in the park. He also made a great pass to Nate Allen.
    If he develops his defensive game to the level of his offensive gifts, the sky is the limit for him.

  10. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Another thing that needs to be corrected - the push off on the rebound. It is a pet peeve.
    90% of the time a three from the right corner bounces long off long to the left. Our opponent is pinned in close to the basket and Saben or Moore is behind him. The ball bounces long to the left.
    All we have to do is go get it. What do we do? Push the opponent in the back! Very bad habit that they need to break. We have had at least 4 calls in recent games that have negated rebounds and are essentially turnovers.
    In IMHO, a better approach is a lower stance ready to jump on the rebound positioned very close to the opponent and then use your hip to subtly push the opponent off balance. Much harder to spot and call and it prevents acting in get the call that you also see on the push off.
    Last edited by Columbuseer; 12-06-2018 at 02:04 PM.

  11. #1591
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    As with any individual game, don't want to read too much into it. Now if we are seeing the same sort of problems for several games in a row, yea, might be time to worry.

    Just my general take on the game. WLU had a VERY poor 3 point shooting night. Typically that happens one or two times a year. When that does happen, we become a very beatable team although we USUALLY find a way to gut it out and win close (like THIS game!).

    Got to look at the little things in a game like this. For example, WLU shot 46% inside the 3 point line in the first half (11/24) and bumped that up to 61% in the second (14/23). While 3 extra 2 point buckets don't seem like much, in a tight game like this those 6 points are critical. On the defensive end, WLU ratcheted up the D taking Sheeps inside the arc shooting down from 52% in the first half to 48% in the second (shot one fewer bucket). Small swings but enough for WLU to turn a 2 point halftime deficit into a 1 point win.

    Something that I don't like...after a 3 ball to extend our lead to 10 with about 4 minutes to play, we went 0-5 shooting from 3 point range and 0-2 inside the arc!! While going 0-7 down the stretch is annoying, what is really upsetting is the shot selection. Players need to have a feel for the game and that feel last night should have been, we ain't shooting the 3 ball well tonight...with 4 minutes to play and a 10 point lead the shooters have to take a few extra dribbles and bring it in closer for more manageable 2 point trys. WLU loves trading 3 for 2 but sometimes the players have to realize that in a particular point in some games, 2 for 2 is the way to go.
    Last edited by boatcapt; 12-07-2018 at 09:46 AM.

  12. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    As with any individual game, don't want to read too much into it. Now if we are seeing the same sort of problems for several games in a row, yea, might be time to worry.

    Just my general take on the game. WLU had a VERY poor 3 point shooting night. Typically that happens one or two times a year. When that does happen, we become a very beatable team although we USUALLY find a way to gut it out and win close (like THIS game!).

    Got to look at the little things in a game like this. For example, WLU shot 46% inside the 3 point line in the first half (11/24) and bumped that up to 61% in the second (14/23). While 3 extra 2 point buckets don't seem like much, in a tight game like this those 6 points are critical. On the defensive end, WLU ratcheted up the D taking Sheeps inside the arc shooting down from 52% in the first half to 48% in the second (shot one fewer bucket). Small swings but enough for WLU to turn a 2 point halftime deficit into a 1 point win.

    Something that I don't like...after a 3 ball to extend our lead to 10 with about 4 minutes to play, we went 0-5 shooting from 3 point range and 0-2 inside the arc!! While going 0-7 down the stretch is annoying, what is really upsetting is the shot selection. Players need to have a feel for the game and that feel last night should have been, we ain't shooting the 3 ball well tonight...with 4 minutes to play and a 10 point lead the shooters have to take a few extra dribbles and bring it in closer for more manageable 2 point trys. WLU loves trading 3 for 2 but sometimes the players have to realize that in a particular point in some games, 2 for 2 is the way to go.
    As you mentioned, We show our youth sometimes with our shot selection that does not consider the game situation. We did not make enough passes to get easy inside shots with the possibility of the and-1; they have to realize that the motion offense will escalate the fatigue that the opponent experiences from the press. It keeps them from resting on defense.
    In watching the game replay, I thought that the rebounding effort of WL was a big factor in the win; I don't know if it was by design or due to fatigue, but Shepherd rarely sent anyone to the offensive boards, even their big man Burgess.

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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post
    As you mentioned, We show our youth sometimes with our shot selection that does not consider the game situation. We did not make enough passes to get easy inside shots with the possibility of the and-1; they have to realize that the motion offense will escalate the fatigue that the opponent experiences from the press. It keeps them from resting on defense.
    In watching the game replay, I thought that the rebounding effort of WL was a big factor in the win; I don't know if it was by design or due to fatigue, but Shepherd rarely sent anyone to the offensive boards, even their big man Burgess.
    I imagine it is hard. Good shooters have confidence in their shot at ALL times so it has to be hard for them to even admit to themselves that maybe a better course of action is to step in 10 feet and hit the easier jumper. It's a rare player who can maintain his confidence while admitting to himself that he's a little off tonight. I'll give a ding to the coach here and say that the shooting was so bad team wide that he should have moved the offensive sets in and emphasized getting inside down the stretch to Dyer and Arnold.

    Guess it comes with experience, but at the end of most Topper games the players have got to realize they are trading points for time...If there up by 10, there are 3 minutes to play and you trade 2 point buckets with a team and both possessions take 30 total seconds, the other team now has only 2:30 to score 10 and beat you. Yea...you're confident you can make the 3 and if you do, fine. But if you don't, the other team now has 2:30 seconds to score 8 points to beat you.
    Last edited by boatcapt; 12-07-2018 at 03:17 PM.

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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    As with any individual game, don't want to read too much into it. Now if we are seeing the same sort of problems for several games in a row, yea, might be time to worry.

    Just my general take on the game. WLU had a VERY poor 3 point shooting night. Typically that happens one or two times a year. When that does happen, we become a very beatable team although we USUALLY find a way to gut it out and win close (like THIS game!).

    Got to look at the little things in a game like this. For example, WLU shot 46% inside the 3 point line in the first half (11/24) and bumped that up to 61% in the second (14/23). While 3 extra 2 point buckets don't seem like much, in a tight game like this those 6 points are critical. On the defensive end, WLU ratcheted up the D taking Sheeps inside the arc shooting down from 52% in the first half to 48% in the second (shot one fewer bucket). Small swings but enough for WLU to turn a 2 point halftime deficit into a 1 point win.

    Something that I don't like...after a 3 ball to extend our lead to 10 with about 4 minutes to play, we went 0-5 shooting from 3 point range and 0-2 inside the arc!! While going 0-7 down the stretch is annoying, what is really upsetting is the shot selection. Players need to have a feel for the game and that feel last night should have been, we ain't shooting the 3 ball well tonight...with 4 minutes to play and a 10 point lead the shooters have to take a few extra dribbles and bring it in closer for more manageable 2 point trys. WLU loves trading 3 for 2 but sometimes the players have to realize that in a particular point in some games, 2 for 2 is the way to go.
    Did they actually 'shoot bad' or actually just get defended?

  15. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by IUPbigINDIANS View Post
    Did they actually 'shoot bad' or actually just get defended?
    My opinion, as I mentioned above, is that Shepherd's D had a lot to do with the bad shooting night. And I did go back and watch Howlett's post-game presser today. Maybe it's just coach-speak or a respectful nod to his friend Namolik, but Howlett also gave a lot of credit to Shepherd's D in his post-game comments.

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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by IUPbigINDIANS View Post
    Did they actually 'shoot bad' or actually just get defended?
    Shoot bad.

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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Loss at Fairmont by 2. We now sit with 2 losses a quarter of the way into the season...about 6 teams above us with 0 or 1 loss. But at least we have a strong SOS!!

    Next up is Kings. They should be easy, right? We should be a stronger team because we played Kutz and WCU early as well as NDC and Fairmont.
    Last edited by boatcapt; 12-10-2018 at 07:31 AM.

  18. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    That one note you keep playing is getting a bit off key, Boat.

    The road to the Elite 8 goes through Indiana this year, so whatever WLU needs to do to prepare to play a tough opponent on the road, they should do. Challenging a red hot Jolly in Retton yesterday is a first step. Playing a tough King squad at their place should be a good test as well. These are big-time, character-building games. Yahel Hill grew up a ton yesterday, and that might pay dividends in March. Meininger is getting a ton of experience banging with top-notch bigs (he did out-rebound Burgess in the Shepherd game, but FSU seemed to own the boards yesterday). Those are big match-ups for Meiny to get under his belt. He's going to have Diaz to deal with on his home floor in the Regional, so Meiny needs these games right now to get used to banging in there (without fouling so frequently). This is all good experience. Boat, you can wish for the days of WLU lapping the field with a 30-1 record, but those days are gone. FSU has caught up. IUP is back and better than ever. Shippensburg is for real. The region is stronger, so WLU needs to work to get stronger. You don't get stronger spanking Point State by 60 points. Period.

  19. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrub View Post
    That one note you keep playing is getting a bit off key, Boat.

    The road to the Elite 8 goes through Indiana this year, so whatever WLU needs to do to prepare to play a tough opponent on the road, they should do. Challenging a red hot Jolly in Retton yesterday is a first step. Playing a tough King squad at their place should be a good test as well. These are big-time, character-building games. Yahel Hill grew up a ton yesterday, and that might pay dividends in March. Meininger is getting a ton of experience banging with top-notch bigs (he did out-rebound Burgess in the Shepherd game, but FSU seemed to own the boards yesterday). Those are big match-ups for Meiny to get under his belt. He's going to have Diaz to deal with on his home floor in the Regional, so Meiny needs these games right now to get used to banging in there (without fouling so frequently). This is all good experience. Boat, you can wish for the days of WLU lapping the field with a 30-1 record, but those days are gone. FSU has caught up. IUP is back and better than ever. Shippensburg is for real. The region is stronger, so WLU needs to work to get stronger. You don't get stronger spanking Point State by 60 points. Period.
    I hope you’re right but let’s not book the regional for Indiana just yet. Friday night down at Fairmont should be an awesome game and they still have West Chester and at East Stroudsburg. Get through those three unscathed or lose just one then I think the #1 seed is a real possibility because the PSAC west looks pretty weak.

  20. #1600

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    I believe that it is King. I think they will be a really tough opponent on the road. You are still probably the better team, but they have traditionally been a good team.

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