By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
This past week I finally made it.
One of my goals when starting this task of picking winners in area high school boys basketball games 12 years ago was trying to follow in the “huge” footsteps left behind by retired Sports Editor LeRoy Lambright who made his picks in the Benchwarmer Column for a number of years. He even had one week where all of his predictions were correct.
Today I can humbly say I’m one step closer to LeRoy’s legendary status after correctly picking the winners in all 16 games last week.
In looking back over my picks for the past 12 years there were a couple of near misses back in the 2008-09 season with weeks of marks of 19-1 and 20-1.
There were two previous weeks back in the 2003-04 season with 1-0 records when the Jimtown Jimmies won Class 2A semistate and state championships, but since that was the only game it’s just not the same.
Bethany at FW Canterbury — Bethany holds a slim 8-7 lead in the series over the past 15 years. Canterbury was a 49-39 winner last season and the Cavaliers return a few more players from that contest than the Bruins do. FW Canterbury.
Wawasee at Mishawaka — The last time these two schools meet was on Nov. 30, 1996, when Wawasee recorded a 51-39 victory. Mishawaka is off to a 3-1 start and the Cavemen should have the upper hand in this one. Mishawaka.
Westview at Lakeland — These two LaGrange County rivals have played 20 times over the past 15 season with the Lakeland Lakers holding an 11-9 edge over Westview. The Warriors were 61-51 winners last season. Both schools were hit by graduation losses, but the Warriors are off to a better start and that should continue. Westview.
Prairie Heights at West Noble — The West Noble Chargers are unbeaten so far this season. Prairie Heights was a 51-50 winner a year ago. West Noble has a large number of players back from last season and they might be thinking about some payback. West Noble.
Memorial at Hobart — Memorial recorded an easy 73-34 win a year ago and while the Crimson Chargers lost quite a bit of talent to graduation they still have the talented Markese McGuire back. Memorial lost a 51-46 game to a talented Concord team last week and if the Chargers play like that again thye could get to .500 for the season. Memorial.
Tippecanoe Valley Tourney
NorthWood vs. Rochester — NorthWood won 60-54 last season in the only meeting between the schools over the past 15 seasons.
The NW Panthers are off the a great start this season and that should carry on in this one. NorthWood.
Fairfield vs. Tippecanoe Valley — The Fairfield Falcons are 3-3 so far and the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings 6-1. Fairfield’s opponents have a combined record of 22-18 compared to 10-36 for the
Valley has a 4-0 record at home this season and that might five them the advantage. Tippecanoe Valley.
Concord vs. Wapahani — The Wapahani Raiders are a first-time opponent for Concord. Both teams are have good season as Concord enters the game 5-0 and the Raiders 5-1. Concord coach Steve Austin was impressed with the effort from the Minutemen in Tuesday’s 82-38 win over Lakeland and it’s going to take another good effort in this one. Concord.
Central at Indianapolis Arlington — The last meeting between these two was on Jan. 8, 2005, when Arlington posted a 61-40 victory. Both teams have played Gary 21st Century this season. Central was a 61-60 winner while Arlington lost 72-68. Central.
Tippecanoe Valley Tourney
Rochester vs. Fairfield — The Falcons are averaging 54.3 points per game on offense and giving up 54.3 on defense. Rochester is scoring at a rate of 49.8 and yielding 61.0. Fairfield.
NorthWood vs. Tippecanoe Valley — NorthWood was a 40-35 winner over the Vikings in last season’s 3A sectional after dropping a 70-68 double overtime thriller to Valley during the regular season. The Panthers may have played a tougher schedule and that could give them an advantage. NorthWood.