Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pregame: Brownsville (8-2, 13-4) at California (10-0, 15-2), 7:30 p.m.

Guess I can get away with re-posting Friday's pregame feature.

So, here ya go. In a world of wrestling gone mad -- no doubt Tuscano will be sporting his wrestling tie tonight -- I was able to squeeze in a hoops game to cover, left over from Friday's whiteout.

One housekeeping matter: I wrote in today's notebook that Carmichaels senior Morgan Berardi is averaging more than 20 points per game. That's incorrect. She has 329 points in 18 games for an average of 18.3 per game.

Also, kids, don't write like this: Drazich had 15 points and Carlisle (10 points) was the only Eagles player in double figures, a nod to the anybody-scores mantra adopted by Avella. Try WERE the only PLAYERS in double figures. Geesh. Way to go, Mackey. Anyway ...

Last meeting: Trojans earned a 51-49 (OT) victory at Brownsville on Dec. 20, 2012. Tanner Huffman was held to 12 points, though eight came after halftime. Brian Fisher led the way with 18 points, three assists and nine rebounds.

Trojans shot 44 percent from the field (20 of 45) and five of 15 from three-point range. They committed 20 turnovers. Brownsville had a 45-37 lead, but California put together a 10-0 run to pull ahead, 47-45, before Mike Murdock made two three throws to send it into overtime.

Coaches: Brownsville is coached by Brian Brashear; California is led by Phil Pergola, he of 43 seasons and 576 wins.

Last time out: Huffman had 28 points and Fisher 17 during last night's 85-76 win over Bentworth. Dmitri Clements added 14 and Austin Wingo 13 in a game that would surely make every defensive-minded high school basketball game in America twitch.

Tre Durkin hit a running, underhand shot in the lane with one second left last night to beat Charleroi, 54-53. The Falcons trailed, 36-28, entering the fourth but used a 19-3 run to pull in front. Mapstone had 14 points. Christian Floyd 11 points and 11 boards.

About the Falcons: Brownsville has been streaky this season. The Falcons won their first five before the loss to California ignited a four-game losing streak. They're currently on an eight-game winning streak.

Like the Trojans, Brownsville lost in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs last year -- California to Shady Side Academy (59-38), Brownsville to Wilkinsburg (73-53).

About California: Huffman and Fisher are good. Really good. Here's a link to a story about them I did two weeks ago. Huffman is averaging 23.8 points, 5.4 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 steals per game. Fisher is at 17.9 points, three assists and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Austin Wingo is contributing 6.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and two steals per game; Evan Patterson, like Huffman and Fisher a senior, is at 6.5 points and 2.1 blocks per game; and Dmitri Clements is helping out with 5.5 points, 4.0 assists and 3.6 steals per game.

Analysis: California would like to have this game. Brownsville needs this game. Lose here, and the Falcons are all but eliminated from the Section 5-AA title race, with two losses to California and one to Charleroi.

Brownsville won't beat the Trojans with their guard play, but they could have advantage with depth; Cole and Ryan Novotney, Murdock, Durkin, Jake Bevard and Floyd are all contributors. Should be telling who has the better bench.

Should be a fast game, too. Trojans are averaging 70.9 points per game, tops in Class AA. Brownsville ranks sixth at 66.0 ppg. Don't expect a 41-36 score. (Shoot, California hasn't been under 50 all year.)

Gonna take the Trojans here. There's only one home game left for Huffman, Fisher and Patterson after this -- Beth-Center on Feb. 5 -- and I doubt they're going to allow a letdown to happen here.

See you out there.

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