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Friday Night Predictions

By Zach Fleer, 12/09/16, 12:40PM EST


A look at our predictions for Friday's top games

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- OCC league play kicks off on Friday, with games taking place all over Central Ohio. Let's take a look at our predictions for the top games in the area on the night.

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No. 2 Pickerington Central vs. No. 9 Pickerington North

One of two top ten matchups in the OCC-Ohio on Friday, No. 2 Pickerington Central heads to rival No. 9 North. Two teams that don't like one another, we are very excited for this one. 

Central appears to have the early advantage with the man in the middle, senior center Sterling Manley. North has no legitimate matchup for Manley, as the Panthers will have to rely on its speed and athleticism in transition to compensate for Central's size.

North junior forward Jerome Hunter must have a big game in order for the Panthers to be able to steal one at home. With Roy Williams in the building to check out his senior signee Manley, Friday serves as a big opportunity for Hunter and Co. to make a statement in front of the longtime North Carolina head coach.

Predicted WINNER

No. 5 Gahanna vs. No. 6 Reynoldsburg

A very intriguing matchup in the OCC-Ohio, No. 5 Gahanna travels to No. 6 Reynoldsburg in what could be the best game in the area. Two young teams that match up well on paper, Gahanna is looking to get back to its winning ways after dropping a close one to No. 1 Westerville South on Monday.

For Reynoldsburg, the Raiders are one of two teams, the other being Westerville South, with two ranked wins this season. Taking down St. Charles and Walnut Ridge early on in the year, the Raiders are looking for its biggest win yet to kick off OCC-Ohio play.

For Reynoldsburg to win, the Raiders will have to limit what Gahanna sophomore forward Jordan Mitchell can do scoring and distributing, while getting another balanced offensive scoring output from its deep rotation of players. This could be the breakout game that junior forward Tre Williams needs to push Reynoldsburg to the next level.

For Gahanna, the Lions will rely on Mitchell and its deep group of underclassmen guards to get off on the right foot in league play. Gahanna is a slight favorite in this matchup and should win if Mitchell plays like we know he can. 

Predicted WINNER

No. 14 Thomas Worthington vs. No. 11 Hilliard Bradley

An early season OCC-Cardinal matchup with big implications, No. 14 Thomas Worthington travels to No. 11 Hilliard Bradley. For Thomas, the Cardinals are looking to take the next step as a program, and that will start on Friday. Going up against a Bradley team that was the consensus preseason pick to win the league, the Cardinals are looking to come home with a win on the road.

For Bradley, the Jaguars are looking to get back to winning ways after dropping a Sunday matchup vs. Cincinnati Oak Hills by 18 points. The Jags have gotten big scoring performances from juniors Isaiah Speelman and Braden Norris, but Bradley's offense has essentially been a two-man show. In order to beat this Cardinals team, Bradley will need its other contributors to step up on Friday.

For Thomas, the Cards are looking to make an early statement in the season. Seniors Jake Montgomery and Christian Carter will need to step up and perform big on this stage, while Thomas' cast of other contributors will need to perform as well.

We see Bradley hanging on in a tight one.

Predicted WINNER

No. 15 Worthington Kilbourne vs. No. 8 Dublin Jerome

Another ranked matchup between two OCC-Cardinal teams, No. 15 Worthington Kilbourne travels to No. 8 Dublin  Jerome. Kilbourne wanted its shot at Jerome in the district semifinals last season, but never got its chance. On Friday, the Wolves will get the Celtics right where they want them.

This game will come down to the point guard matchup of the Watson cousins, as Kilbourne senior point guard Gabe Watson goes up against Jerome senior point guard Zach Watson. Two of the best point guards in the 2017 class, the battle between those two could make the biggest difference in the game.

We see depth having a big factor in this one, and we think Jerome may have a little bit more than Kilbourne. Jerome excels off creating turnovers and scoring in transition, while Kilbourne will likely want to slow things down and make the Celtics beat them in a slowed pace.

We see Jerome hitting more shots and pulling away in the fourth quarter. 

Predicted WINNER

No. 19 Hilliard Davidson vs. No. 20 Dublin Coffman

A crosstown rivalry between OCC-Central programs, No. 19 Hilliard Davidson heads to No. 20 Dublin Coffman to look to advance to 3-0 on the season. For the Rocks, Coffman is looking to get its first win of the year after dropping its opener to Toledo Start last Saturday.

Davidson is looking to pick up a major win on the road and make an early statement in the OCC-Central, while Coffman will look to get back to its winning ways. 

The key in this one could be the point guard battle between Hilliard Davidson senior Nick Livingston and Dublin Coffman freshman Dominiq Penn. Penn scored 28 points in his high school debut against Start, and will need to stay hot to give the Rocks a chance for a win.

We see Penn having a big night and Coffman getting its first win of the year. 

Predicted WINNER

No. 12 (D2) Fairfield Union vs. No. 11 (D2) Logan Elm

An MSL battle between two top Division II teams tips off at Logan Elm on Friday. Logan Elm has won big in its first two games, mainly due to the hot scoring of senior guard Ridge Young, who is averaging 29 points per game.

For Fairfield Union, the Falcons are led by junior forward Colin Woodside, who is a tough scorer in the post and will need a big game in order to win at Logan Elm.

We see Young going off once again and Logan Elm winning by a slight margin at home in a battle. 

Predicted WINNER

No. 13 Westerville North vs. No. 21 Westerville Central

A battle of Westerville tips off as No. 13 North travels to No. 21 Central. North lost its first OCC-Cardinal game vs. No. 1 Westerville South last Friday and will look to right the ship vs. Central.

For Central, the Warhawks are looking to notch its first win of the year after losing a triple overtime heartbreaker to No. 12 Groveport last Friday. Central has a deep junior class that is looking to bring the program back to relevancy.

For North, its backcourt will need to play well in order for the Warriors to have a chance to win, and that starts with none other than sophomore guard Jeremiah Keene. A big night from Keene could be the difference. 

Predicted WINNER

Grove City vs. No. 22 Lancaster

No. 1 Westerville South vs. Olentangy

New Albany vs. No. 3 Newark

Central Crossing vs. No. 4 Upper Arlington

Olentangy Orange vs. No. 16 Olentangy Liberty

Franklin Heights vs. No. 12 Groveport Madison

Columbus Academy vs. No. 7 (D2) Whitehall

Watterson vs. Ready

Season Predictions Record


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