Odds to 'Beat Pete' better than ever in final contest of the season
I went 7-1 picking last week’s high school basketball games and not a single one of you beat me. Not even a single reader tied me.
Come on people, you’re better than that.
One contestant, Kelly Mosley of Ann Arbor, won the random drawing for a $20 Domino’s gift card. Congratulations, Kelly.
This week is the last week of ‘Beat Pete,’ so this is your last chance to try to embarrass me with your superior hoops knowledge and enter our final random drawing of the year for a chance to win a $150 donation from AnnArbor.com to the school of your choice.(Official contest rules.)
Because I’m such a nice guy, and because my picks record of 62-16 has been so tough to compete with, I’m stacking the deck against myself for the final week of ‘Beat Pete.’
District tournaments started on Monday for girls basketball. By the time you are reading this, the five girls district finals involving local teams will be set, but I wrote it before the semifinals were played. When making your picks in those games, you will have the option to agree with me, or to take any of the three other teams that participated in the district semifinals.
Because my future predicting skills aren’t quite what they used to be, and my flux capacitor is in the shop, in some instances the team I picked to win a district championship may not even be in the final, making it a gimme pick. All you have to do is check out Wednesday night’s results at AnnArbor.com to know which games those are.
Maybe with that head start picking against me will be a little more fair.
The boys basketball playoffs don’t start until next Monday, but there will be a playoff atmosphere at Huron High School on Thursday when the River Rats host Ypsilanti in a crossover game between Southeastern Conference Red and White division champions.
Luckily for the good people responsible for Ypsilanti's travel budget, Huron beat Bedford 62-52 on Tuesday, saving the team an 80-mile, round-trip bus ride to Temperance.
Instead Ypsilanti will make the short commute to the Riverdome, where they beat Huron 66-57 on Dec. 16.
Huron's not content with simply getting a tuneup for the postseason. On Tuesday, senior guard Andre Bond said he and his teammates want revenge for their only home loss of the 2009-10 season, during which Ypsilanti's bench chanted "our house" during the closing moments.
“People might not think it’s a rivalry game, but for us it’s a rivalry game,” Bond said.
The player likely defending Bond most of the night, Ypsilanti guard Derrick Richardson, could be the key to the game. Richardson scored 11 the first time the teams met, the only game in which he reached double figures in his first 10 of the season.
In that first meeting, and for the greater part of the year, Richardson's contributions on the defensive end have been his greatest asset. Over the past six games, however, his scoring average has jumped up from 5.4 to 15 points and he's still averaging 4.7 steals.
"The light just comes on for different people at different times," said Ypsilanti coach Steve Brooks. "Derrick Richardson's playing, right now, like one of the best players I’ve ever coached."
Richardson's production helps take some of the offensive burden off of leading scorer Tristan Simmons, who never seems to have an off night with a 17.3 point average.
Richardson's spike in numbers, and a 12-game Ypsilanti winning streak, hasn't exactly come against the toughest competition, though, raising the question of whether they'll be practiced enough in what will likely be a tight game down the stretch.
Brooks thinks so.
"We’re really starting to gel at the right time and I think this group of seniors is ready to step up," Brooks said. "We've been really focused."
The game leads off this week's picks:
Beat Pete Winners
No one. Sorry!
Pete's picks record: 62-16.
People who have "Beat Pete" so far: 55.
Contact Pete Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.