Mason vs. Loveland Preview: Tune Up Game



There is going to be much better competition than Loveland in the remaining 14 games of the season for the boys’ varsity basketball team but Loveland is going to be the classic tune up game that is crucial to any teams’ ultimate success. Loveland is the start of a streak of games where the Comets will be under a lot of pressure to win and win big for that matter. Milford follows Loveland tonight and then Mason plays a home game against Oak Hills; these games will be important to gain momentum as a road game against Lakota West, currently first in the GMC, and a game against LaSalle are in the Comets’ future.

Tonight versus Loveland will probably be the biggest challenge out of these upcoming “tune up games,” as the Tigers are having a decent year in the FAVC but for Mason, this should be a walk in the park. The Comets are coming off a huge 82-28 win over Mifflin and their three top scorers, Darin Harris, JD Sprague and Michael Van Kleunen, are red hot.

It doesn’t look like any one on Loveland will be able to stop these three, more specifically Harris and Van Kleunen, because of the size difference they will present against Mason. Loveland’s tallest starters include Jake Elfers, 6’4”, and Bryce Plitt, 6’1”, and they will be at a huge disadvantage against both of Mason’s bigs, as both are 6’5”, and not to mention, very talented.

Harris is averaging 18.8 points a game and around 7 rebounds a game and Van Kleunen is averaging 16.0 a game and five rebounds. If you compare those numbers to Loveland’s season totals, it is definitely to Mason’s advantage because the Tigers give up an average of 44 rebounds a game, last in the FAVC.

44 rebounds a game is the only proof needed to show that Mason will be favored tonight is in the rebounding department, that right there could be the game.

Another stat in Mason’s favor is the Tigers don’t really like to play defense: they give up 65.2 points a game (2nd most in the FAVC) and that probably doesn’t seem like a lot but remember they play in the FAVC which is equivalent to Big Ten style of play, so they don’t really score a whole bunch. The FAVC is nothing compared to GMC play, so look for a very flashy offensive night by the Comets, which will be very different than the Tiger’s attack.

In that Tiger’s attack, the Comets will have to look out for two Loveland guards who have both had a good season. Sophomore Austin Funke is averaging 11.8 a game in the FAVC and senior Anthony LaMacchia is averaging around 11.5 a game, which should probably be a higher average if his total shooting percentage wasn’t 14 for 54 (25.9%). Sprague and Tim Reale should match-up perfectly with those guys and other than those two Tigers’ players, Loveland lacks other offensive threats.

Don’t expect this to be a close game but also don’t expect the Comets to just come right into Loveland and screw around, they know that these types of games are important and that right there will make the difference.

NOS’ Angle: Yeah, if you just read the above preview, I think you know what I’m about to say. Let me think of a nice way to say it… well I can’t. Pretty much this game will be over early, if you saw how Mason worked over Mifflin the other night, you know what’s happening and to be truthful, even though it is a road game, I feel a strong sense of Black Hole pride going to root on the Comets tonight, so it might as well be another home game for the Comets.

-James Nosek