Friday, January 9, 2015

Game Preview: Lake George at Fort Ann

The gymnasium at Fort Ann Central School, where the
Lake George Warriors will play the Fort Ann Cardinals on
Friday, January 9th, 2015 in potential championship preview.
FORT ANN - A preview of the Adirondack League Championship could be in store this evening as the Fort Ann Cardinals (8-1 overall, 6-1 league) host the Lake George Warriors (9-0, 6-0).

The Fort Ann Cardinals are coming off wins over Fort Edward (73-65) and Schroon Lake (68-56).  Sophomore Tyler Mattison has become the key scorer for the Cardinals, averaging better than 20 points per game and posting double-doubles as one of Coach Kevin Nassivera's tallest players.  He scored a season-high 36 points against the Argyle Scots and again reached the 30 point plateau on Tuesday when the Cardinals beat the Fort Edward Flying Forts.

But he's not alone.  Jeremy Johnson has evolved into one of Fort Ann's secondary scorers.  He averages 14.3 points per game, scoring a season-high 26 points against the Whitehall Railroaders just before Christmas.

Brandon Nassivera scored a season-high 21 points against the Argyle Scots on his way to a season average of just under 10 points per game.  And Chris Jackson needs to be cared for when he steps behind the arch, leading the Cardinals with 8 buckets from 3-point range.

The Cardinals won big in the Granville Tournament, dispatching of Hadley-Luzurne before knocking off Vermont's Mount St. Joseph's Academy by 24 in the championship.  Their one loss this season was to North Warren, who is shaping up to be a strong threat in the Adirondack League West.

Lake George is the favorite to win the Adirondack League West, with a win over North Warren already on their resume.  Joel Wincowski needs little introduction in this preview, as he has been earning headlines for the Warriors throughout his varsity career.

On Monday, Wincowski became the 9th player in Section 2 history to eclipse the 2,000 point milestone, doing so while getting fouled early in the Warriors game against the Ticonderoga Sentinels.  Now with 2,025 points, Wincowski sets his sights on the top of the list, where Jimmer Fredette is Section 2's all-time scorer, earning 2,404 points from 2003-2007.

Wincowski averages better than 33 points per game, and has only two games this season where he has failed to eclipse the 30 point mark.  He bucketed a season-high 44 points against Fort Edward and is coming off a 30 point game against Ticonderoga.  And Wincowski does this while getting fouled plenty.  He's been to the free throw line nearly three times more than his nearest teammate, Andrew McGowan.

Senior Andrew McGowan isn't always a threat to score, but isn't a player you want to let go unguarded.  He scored 14 points against the Ravena Indians to start the season, and 12 points against Corinth.  However, he does have an Achilles heel, as he is not as dependable at the free throw line as Wincowski, draining only 10 of 28 free throws.

Kyle Jones is another player the Cardinals have to watch out for, as he and Wincowski team up for a combined 30 buckets behind the arch.  Jones had 4 of those against Warrensburg last month.

Both teams scored their best win against Argyle last month.  And both teams average close to the same points per game on offense.  But one key attribute that Lake George has over Fort Ann is defense.  The Warriors have allowed an average of 44 points per game, and the only two teams that Lake George has allowed 50 points against was Ravena and Lansingburgh, two higher-level squads that the Warriors will not see again this season.  By comparison, Fort Ann has allowed 58 points per game, as teams have scored 60 or more against the Cardinals five times this season.

Defense will be a big key in determining which team becomes the favorite to win the championship next month.

Fort Ann Central School, Catherine St., Fort Ann, NY
Time: JV - 5:30PM / Varsity - 7:00PM

Players To Watch: Lake George - 4 - Joel Wincowski / Fort Ann - 34 - Tyler Mattison
Radio Coverage: 6:50PM on FOX Sports Radio 1230 (WMML-AM)

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