Tigers/Pirates showdown looms big!
The Peck Pirates, two-time defending champions, will visit a young CPS Tigers squad this coming Tuesday, February 9, in a game that could boost the winner into the outright South lead. The two share the division lead at 7-3 heading into this week’s action. Memphis is a game back at 6-4.
If the Tigers can get by Kingston this week (Tuesday) and Peck can gain a win on the road against a troublesome Owen-Gage squad, the showdown, at CPS, is set for for two squads that probably no one thought could claim a boys hoops title this season.
The Pirates lost their two top guns from a year ago in All- Staters Zac Overstreet and Billy Burns, plus others. Meanwhile, CPS rookie coach Cliff Amey was met with just one starter back and was ready to use many sophomores and freshman among his first nine or 10 players this winter.
“Our next three straight games will be big,” noted Garnett Kohler, Pirates coach. “Pretty much every game the rest of year will be big.”
Amey greed, for the most part. “The next two weeks will probably tell the tale.”
For Amey, who starts three sophomores and has three freshmen that are first off the bench, his team could be in first place now, with a little luck, or maybe just a little more experience.
“I’m pleased, but I’m also disappointed in our close losses. we’ve had four games where we lost by a total of 10 points,” noted Amey. “But, I guess, if someone told me before the season started.. .that we were still in contention at this time, I’d have to be pleased.”
Kohler, meanwhile, was not ready to concede anything at the start of the season, but added, “About a month ago, when we had a four-game losing streak, I had my doubts where we’d be. But, I like where ewe’re at right now.”
The Pirates and Tigers met in late December in the Pioneer Sugar Christmas Tournament, a game that was also considered Peck’s home game with CPS in NCTL play. The Tigers pulled away with a 42-28 win, clamping down on the Pirates’ inside gasme and still keeping pressure on the perimeter.
Amey can’t see changing tactics this time.
“Peck’s got us in size,” offered Amey. “If we don’t have Calvin (Amey, the coach’s 6’2” sophomore son) controlling the boartds for us, we struggle in the half-court.”
Defensiverly, a zone would also be the key in keeping Peck from getting inside, just as it did in the first game.
Kohler commented, “CPS is a tough match-up for us. They can put four guards on the court. The Amey kid can step out on the perimeter. I know he’s a good post player, but his perimeter game impressed me the first time we played them.
“Hopefully,” he continued, “our (size) is something for us to take advantage of. The last time, (CPS) did a good job of taking us out of the middle.”
CPS, aside from Calvin Amey, is small in the front court. Sophomore Steve Koehler, 6’, will help underneath. Seniors Eric Taylor and Jake Hughes and sophomore Hayden Adams are the other starters and all are 5’10” or less.
The Pirates, meanwhile, have a wide-bodied, 6’4” center in Gerald Pathic, who has been a much bigger factor in the the team’s more recent success. Junior Cole Hamblin (6-2) and sophomores James and Tim Logghe (both 6-1) supply some heighth underneath. Kolin York, a 5’10”, senior guard, is the team’s leading scorer, but was held to five points in the first game against the Pirates. Junior Brandon Mann runs ther point and Matt Quandt has given a boost at guard recently.
Both teams still must face Memphis and state-ranked North Huron, leader in the North Division, yet before districts roll around in March. Both are also on the road at Owen- Gage.
But, for now, if Tuesday’s winner takes over sole possession of first in the South, the driver’s seat will be taken
“I look at the schedule,” said Amey, “and, obviously, I want to go 10-0 in the second half. But, I think going 9-1 or 8-2, probably gets, at least, a share.”