Watson Chapel basketball coach Matt Busch has a game plan: Stop Sylvan Hills' Archie Goodwin.
Watson Chapel basketball coach Matt Busch has a game plan: Stop Sylvan Hills’ Archie Goodwin.
And a capacity crowd is expected tonight as Busch’s Wildcats take to the hardwood to see if that is possible.
“This place will be packed,” Busch said following Monday’s practice. “You walk down the hall and kids come up to you and ask what you are going to do with Archie. Random people coming up to you saying they are coming to this game. It should be a great night. We expect the fans to be in full force and the student section will probably be very active.”
While all eyes will be on the 6-4, 180-pound wing who signed a national letter of intent in November to play for Kentucky, Busch wants five pairs of eyes on him at all times.
“When he gets the ball there should be 10 eyes on him,” said Busch. “The number one thing we have to do is stop ball penetration. We cannot allow the ball to get into the paint. If you let them penetrate and get inside, you are going to get hurt. That’s what we have talked about the past two days. That’s our number one goal.”
And the responsibility of stopping Goodwin from getting inside will fall primarily on the shoulder of Watson Chapel junior JoviOne Bailey. Though Busch admits to having multiple defensive schemes available to slow down last year’s Mr. Basketball in Arkansas and the Gatorade Player of the Year, Bailey will be faced with the challenge of keeping Goodwin from reaching his 28-point per game average.
“I want him to know what kind of gum he is chewing,” Busch quipped.
And Bailey is taking that task seriously.
“We are going to have to get down and play defense,” Bailey admitted. “I think it’s my job to stop him and keep him contained. If we don’t do a good job, I am going to say it was my fault.”
Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis, while admitting Goodwin is key to the program’s success, said there are other pieces to the puzzle.
Davis pointed out that his senior-laden squad was balanced and that Goodwin didn’t have to shoulder the load. Dion Patton runs the point and leads the team in three-point shooting percentage, post player Devin Pearson at 6-foot-5 leads the team with 9 rebounds per game, and Larry Ziegler and Trey Smith are double threats that can play inside or out.
The Wildcats (10-8, 3-2 in 5A-Southeast Conference) will be looking to atone for last year’s 42-40 loss to the Bears on their home floor in which the Cats held an early double-digit lead. Smith played a critical role in the comeback with three straight three-pointers.
Busch hopes the Wildcats’ defense gives Goodwin more resistance that the Arkansas Razorbacks fan base did when he snubbed the Hogs to ink with Kentucky. Arkansas had recruited Goodwin as did Connecticut, Kansas and Memphis.
He is also hopeful the Wildcats can halt a 19-game conference win streak by the Bears (14-5, 5-0) that dates back to the 2009-10 season. Sylvan’s last conference loss was an overtime setback to Crossett.
And while Bailey will be looking to stop Goodwin on the defensive end of the floor, Busch will be looking to seniors T.J. Handley, Xavier Westmoreland and Rodney Ollison to provide the offensive spark.
“Our last three games we have had three different leading scorers,” said Busch. “If we have one hot hand, we will be in good shape. If we get two hot at the same time, we can be really good. If we can get three or even four playing well, we can be pretty hard to handle.”