Somehow, some way, I went 2-for-2 in last night’s picks. And as I said yesterday, I could have very easily gone 0-for-2.
We all knew tonight in the boys semifinal games that we were going to see some great basketball, but Wednesday’s girls games set the bar pretty darn high. So no pressure tonight, boys.
All right, I’m 8-for-8 with four games to go. Who ya go tonight? Here are my picks.
No. 5 New Franklin (B) vs. No. 1 Harrisburg (6 p.m. tip-off): New Franklin has the only “upset” so far in this district tournament, boys or girls, and finally snapped an 18-game losing streak to Sturgeon. We might have to go back at least a decade since the last time New Franklin beat Harrisburg though. Anyway, back to this season. These two teams met on Dec. 5 in the semifinals of the Glasgow Tournament, with Harrisburg winning that game pretty handily, 69-46. A lot has happened since then. Harrisburg has moved into the top 10 in the Class 2 state rankings and New Franklin is playing much better basketball, especially with the addition of Blake Carleton earlier this semester. As I see it, New Franklin has nothing to lose in this game, while Harrisburg is on the other end of that spectrum, with the pressure to win at home and reach its first district championship game since 2009. But I’m sorry, New Franklin folks. I can’t see myself picking another upset tonight. Prediction: Harrisburg 73, New Franklin 60.
No. 3 Salisbury (B) vs. No. 2 Fr. Tolton Catholic (7:30 p.m. tip-off): This could possibly be the greatest semifinal matchup in “District of Doom” history, and my gosh, there have been some dandies. Fayette-Sturgeon last season, Harrisburg-Salisbury and Fayette-Sturgeon three years ago, just to name a few. The list could go on, but you get the picture. I’ve heard mixed predictions from various people on this game, and I see valid points for either team winning this game on paper. However, I’ll go into some detail on my prediction. Head-to-head, I think Michael Porter and Brady Francis cancel each other out, and Josh Boyer and Keegan Wyatt cancel each other out. In my opinion, the difference maker tonight will be Brennan Church, and while Lane Springer is Salisbury’s best chance to match his productivity, I think Church helps put Tolton over the top in this game. No matter who wins this game, I don’t think fans will leave Harrisburg disappointed tonight. Prediction: Tolton Catholic 76, Salisbury 69.