Both Middletown and Princeton are 7-0 in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC), Southwest Ohio's best public school league. This will be the only time the two will face each this year in the regular season. The winner will almost certainly be conference champs.
Each team is loaded with stars. Princeton features guards Williams and Jordan Sibert (Ohio State verbal), wing forward Marquis Horne (Ohio signee), and power forward Stephon Johnson (offers from Northern Illinois and Marshall). Middletown has guards Roberts and Tony Peters (likely DII, DIII, or NAIA), defending GMC player of the year wing forward Bill Edwards (offers from Miami(OH), Miami(FL), UMass, Michigan, Dayton, and Penn State), and sophomore power forward Kirby Wright (top recruit).
It has all the makings of a classic. It has been the most anticipated game in the state.
WILLIAMS AND PRINCETON HAVING A GREAT SEASON
Princeton and Orlando Williams are having a storybook season so far. In a team loaded with stars, Williams is leading the team in scoring averaging 17.8 points per game after 13 games. Williams three point shot has become much improved and is now shooting treys at an over 42% mark.
Williams says Princeton continues to get better. "We are growing and getting more and more mature each game."
Over the weekend Princeton knocked off Christ School from North Carolina. Christ School came into the game with a 24-1 record and ranked #18 in the nation. Christ has players who have committed to Duke, South Carolina, and other NCAA Division I schools. Williams' 19 points in the game earned him the MVP award in the game. When asked about the MVP award, Williams gave a very humble response, "I was just leading my team and trying to make my team better." The game can be watched online at wazoosports.com.
Williams does not believe the Christ School win will distract Princeton from the Middletown game. Williams said, "No, we will stay humble. We were happy after we won, but this game is more important than the Christ game."
ROBERTS DOING BIG THINGS WITH MIDDLETOWN
Like Princeton, Roberts and his Middies are rolling. Roberts explains, "We are real good with being 11-1, beating some good teams, and setting ourselves apart defensively. I am real happy with the way things are going."
Unlike last season where Bill Edwards spent much of the season on the bench due to injuries, Roberts does not feel he needs to do it all to win. "Our team is so stacked now. I don't have to do it all. I had to before," said Roberts. "I have improved in other areas like assist to turnover ratio, more on the ball defense, rebounding, and taking the lead at point guard other than just shooting. I am just trying to lead the team. I am impressed with myself."
THE ANTICIPATED ROBERTS V. WILLIAMS DUEL
What will be exciting for RedHawk fans to see will be the head to head duel between Roberts and Williams. Almost all scouting services rated each the top two shooting guards in the Ohio senior class. Which was #1 depended on the service.
The rankings created a little rivalry between the two stars leading each to provide a message to deliver to the other:
Williams to Roberts, "Just be ready for a butt whipping."
Roberts responds with a question, "I am wondering why, when we played them at Princeton (last year), they barely beat us without Bill (Edwards). But at Middletown (in the second game), we cruised."
RedHawk Insider asked Roberts about the third game last year played in the state tournament. In that game played at the neutral Cintas Center, Princeton came out on top and ended the Middies season. Roberts, who fouled out in the game, responded that officiating played more a part in the loss than Princeton, "Yeah, I was in foul trouble. It was the zebras and Princeton versus Middletown; 8 on 5 the whole game."
Roberts then gave a strong warning to Williams, "He better bring his A game. I am going to show Coach Coles how we compare. I am going to expose him!"
So how is Roberts going to expose O. Williams? Roberts explained, "I am going to let him shoot himself out of the game. I am going to get into his head and he is just going to start shooting. We play the best defense. We have the best defensive shooting percentage in the GMC. Also, I am guarding him."
In response, Williams explained what he is going to do to stop Roberts. Williams said, "I am going to be scrappy, play hard, and have lock down defense. I will be on him the whole night."
WILLIAMS: 5 REASONS WHY PRINCETON WILL WIN
Orlando Williams gives five reasons why Princeton will prevail tomorrow night:
1. Hungrier: "We are hungry. We just got to go out and play hard."
2. Coaching: "Coach Andrews is going to coach us through this one. He will help players make smart choices."
3. Players: "We play together. Do what we need to together. Nobody tries to do too much. We all score."
4. Fans: "They are what get us going. They get us motivated. When they are in the game, we are in the game."
5. Teammates: "Togetherness of the bench players and the players on the floor. We all need and depend on each other."
ROBERTS: 5 REASONS WHY MIDDLETOWN WILL WIN
Allen Roberts responds with five reasons why Middletown will finish on top tomorrow night:
1. Play More Team Ball: "We have better shot selection. We always hit the open man with the drive and kick out."
2. Better Defense: "We have the best defense in the conference."
3. Tougher: "We are tougher by far. When stuff gets bad for us, we bounce back. Jaymon Balou held Princeton together last year and he is gone. They have no true point guard."
4. Stronger Bench: "We are really deeper than in the past. When Tony, Bill, and I were at AAU in the summer and the team played without us, they held their own against some of the best teams like Aiken when they had Chane Behanon (UC verbal) and Darren Goodsen (former BG verbal). If we let the bench players play each other and have a bench game, then our bench will beat them too."
5. Play Smarter Than Princeton: "They take bad shots. They are streaky when it comes to shooting. We will just shoot 50% and get their rebounds."
WHAT DOES THIS GAME MEAN TO YOU?
RedHawk Insider asked each player what this game means to them.
Williams: "It means everything. GMC title, state championship (seed positioning), and it will put the team on the map national wise."
Roberts: "We will practice hard. It is going to be a good game. But it is just another game for us. After we win on Tuesday, we still have seven more games."
ABOUT ALL THE HYPE AND WHAT FANS SHOULD EXPECT
R.I. asked each about the hype coming into this game.
Williams: Be ready for a great game. The sold out crowd is going to be intense. It is going to be packed.
Roberts: I like (the hype). (Princeton) is more on the ropes because they are higher ranked. I like being the underdog. It is going to be a good atmosphere.
This likely will not be the last time each school plays each other this year. Last year, they met in the state tournament. There is no reason to think that will not happen again this year sometime in March. Roberts said, "We probably will meet each other again eventually. We will come on top then too."
TALE OF THE TAPE
Both Roberts and Williams were 1st team ALL-GMC last year as juniors. As sophomores, Roberts was 1st team and Williams 2nd team. Per the numbers they are each putting up this year, both appear to be locks for ALL-GMC for a third year in a row.
|Orlando Williams||Allen Roberts|
|PPG||17.3 (#3 in GMC)||12.9 (#11 GMC)|
|FG %||50% (#12)||44.3 (#24)|
|3 FG%||42.4% (#7)||18.2% (#43)|
|FT%||66% (#23)||76.3% (#10)|
|APG||2.0 (#17)||2.7 (#13)|
|A/TO Ratio||0.8 (outside Top 50)||1.4 (#14)|
|Steals PG||1.3 (#22)||1.6 (#12)|
|RPG||4.1 (#26)||3.7 (#35)|
|BPG||0.6 (#10)||0.2 (#38)|
|PPG||66 (#2 GMC)||66.4 (#1 GMC)|
|DPPG||51.6 (#5)||46.5 (#1)|
|ConfPPG||68.0 (#1)||67.4 (#2)|
|ConfDPPG||48.0 (#3)||42.6 (#1)|