Driving into Carlton there’s a banner hanging on the side of a power pole which reads, “Small town, big achievements.” It struck me through the middle of the fourth quarter as the Tigers began to separate: this was no little achievement.
This was program defining.
Here’s some takeaways. First, YC:
- Since Heather Seely-Roberts took over the Tiger basketball program in 2018-19, there have been signs of steady and significant progress. Though they were not necessarily competitive for a full 32 minutes against the best of the best in the PacWest in year one, they were competing and not quitting nonetheless. They learned in year two how to compete and eventually win, in a number of single-digit-margin games, some on the road, against the likes of Amity and Dayton. Now, in year three, the Tigers are learning to dominate.
- The first opportunity for the Tigers to flex their newfound dominance came tonight against the Dayton Pirates. To be completely honest, we weren’t sure if the youthful, inexperienced Yamhill-Carlton squad was ready to take that next step. It’s safe to say we were incredibly off-base. The Tigers are tier one, and that debate is over.
- Moroni Seely-Roberts, just a sophomore, is the front runner for player of the year not just in the PacWest conference, but for 3A as a whole. If 30 points and 10 rebounds against the Ron Hopp-coached Dayton defensive juggernaut isn’t enough to convince you, I don’t know what is.
- Even more impressively, this same Tiger program got 100 points dropped on it by this same Pirate program two seasons ago. The turnaround is immaculate.
- YC has star ability, depth to run a press for extended or even indefinite periods of time, and seemingly has no limit to how fast they’re willing to push the pace. There really are few holes on this team. If this is what they can do to Dayton, a league championship is not unreasonable.
- This can be brushed off as a game where key players, specifically Justin Morales, got into foul trouble early, which hindered Dayton‘s ability to play at their desired pace. Genuinely, Dayton has the defensive prowess to be able to look at this game and say, “Next game we will shut them down“.
- The problem is this: where is the added offense going to come from? In the past Dayton has always had a go-to, bona fide star who in a pinch could go off on a 10-0 run on his own. There is no Zach Spink or Zach Bernards. Lukas Findley, Jaysen Howard, and Braedon Nowlin are long gone. Dayton can and will play solid defense throughout the season, but can they keep up in a fast-paced, run-and-gun game like we saw tonight? Can Dayton keep up in a 70-possession game offensively? If the answer is yes, they are contenders, but tonight suggested the contrary.
- This is not to suggest that Dawson Ashley and Tyler Spink aren’t tremendous players; it’s only in comparison to the legends of the past at Dayton High School that opposing coaches can see blood in the water.
- Whether it was a bad shooting night or genuine offensive problems, one thing was certain watching that game tonight: Dayton looks like the third best team in the PacWest.
Rankings will be coming out this Sunday. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @midmajormedia to see where your team is placed.
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