Posted: 5:07 pm Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
By Jeff Greer
Joe Dawson knew this week would be a problem as soon as he scheduled it.
The Grandview Prep coach, whose team has an unblemished 19-0 record, was watching Palm Beach Lakes rout Atlantic in Delray Beach when he admitted his concern about this week’s slate of games. He scheduled state power Weston-Sagement for Wednesday, Lakes for Thursday and regular playoff team Sarasota Christian for Friday.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he joked.
Well, the big week is upon Grandview, and the Pride will be tested each night for three straight nights. It’s a major opportunity for Palm Beach Lakes to stake a claim for No. 1, especially now that Summit Christian, the only team to beat Lakes this season, has climbed to fourth in our weekly top 10 rankings, which are listed below.
“You know what, though?” Dawson continued. “These guys play in weekend tournaments with five, six, seven games in two days. They can handle three in three nights. It’ll be good practice for us later this season.”
With Grandview’s sights set on a state title, Dawson has every reason to think his team could play back-to-back days in late February, when the Class 2A state semifinals and finals take place Feb. 26-27 in Lakeland.
Meanwhile Lakes needs its Tuesday game a bit more than the Thursday one. District rival Royal Palm Beach pestered Lakes last year in three meetings, winning one and being pesky enough in another before eventually losing by 15. (Lakes routed Royal Palm in the third and final meeting last season.) This year, Lakes won the first meeting by 10, but it was played at the slower pace Royal Palm prefers. The challenge for Lakes will be speeding up the Wildcats. If Lakes wins Tuesday, momentum’s in place for a potential upset on Thursday.
Lakes must find a way to at least slow down Grandview point guard Ivan Canete. Good luck with that. Canete averages 25.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, and it honestly feels like those numbers are low. He’s not super fast or crafty, he’s just smooth. He knows where to be at all times, and he runs the show like a true point guard. The return of Eric Mance, who missed the first 10 games with a leg injury, makes Grandview that much better, as does the inclusion of 6-foot-9 center Windale Glinton (9 ppg, 6 rpg). Their additions take some pressure off Canete and Sean Walsh (12.7 ppg).
But Lakes brings good wing play to the table, too. The Rams have six players averaging seven or more points. Max Caines, Lakes’ only true big guy, will need to stretch Glinton out along the baseline to open up space for dribble penetration. But Quincy Rideau, JD Coleman, Quinn Cole, Gito St. Fort and ex-Grandview player Kamil Williams will all need to be playing their best Thursday night to steal a win at Grandview.
Anyway, to the rankings:
1. Grandview Prep (19-0)
2. Palm Beach Lakes (15-1)
3. St. Andrew’s (15-2)
4. Summit Christian (15-5)
5. Jupiter (13-4)
6. Atlantic (13-5)
7. Lake Worth (16-3)
8. Suncoast (16-4)
9. Wellington (14-7)
10. Royal Palm Beach (12-5)
Also considered: Spanish River, Village Academy, Pahokee, Cardinal Newman, Park Vista.
Player of the Year Watch
Favorite: Jamal Palmer, Atlantic — 20.9 points per game with 27 threes.
Chief contender: Aaron Horne, Lake Worth — 18 points, 10.7 rebounds per game, 25 threes.
Dark horses: Dondre Duffus of Wellington (15.2 points); Grant Pelchen of Jupiter (10.1 points, 10.2 rebounds); Gito St. Fort from Lakes (12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds); Jordan Corbin of Olympic Heights (21.6 points); and Jeff Demezier of Spanish River (15 points, 5.6 assists).
Favorite: Ivan Canete (see stats above)
Chief contender: Jeantal Cylla of Lake Worth Christian (26 ppg)
Dark horses: Charles Howell of Berean Christian (14.1 points, 7.6 assists); Tre’Quan Smith from Village Academy (14.2 points, 14.7 rebounds); and George Andino of St. Andrew’s (14 points).
I’ll be at John I. Leonard and Park Vista’s matchup in Lake Worth on Tuesday and, of course, Lakes at Grandview on Thursday night. Follow me (@jeffgreer) on Twitter for in-game updates.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Pahokee at Village Academy
Palm Beach Central at Jupiter
Palm Beach Lakes at Royal Palm Beach
John I. Leonard at Park Vista
Weston-Sagemont at Grandview Prep
Palm Beach Lakes at Grandview Prep
Suncoast at Jensen Beach
Palm Beach Gardens at Dwyer