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The Optimist

The student news site of Bloomington High School South

The Optimist

The student news site of Bloomington High School South

The Optimist

Panther Hoops postseason preview

The greatest sports department in the entire country had a legendary jersey swap after the last regular season game on Thursday.

After an extremely competitive regular season where there has been essentially no separation between the top three teams, the Panther Hoops March Madness is finally here. There have been detrimental injuries, blowouts, and a couple of upsets, but now we learn who truly deserves the coveted sweatshirts. 

Unlike in the past, all 16 teams will be participating in one collective tournament with the top four teams getting double-byes and the next four getting single-byes. Here is the bracket:

First Round

Game 1: Storm vs Panther Hoops #2

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This match should be relatively unentertaining because Storm has been a very solid team this year, led by Gus Conrad and AJ Brinson. Panther Hoops #2 has struggled all year only winning one game because the girls team didn’t show up for that game. They would likely be entering the tournament 0-9 if the girls would have come to that game. While this game still has to be played it seems like more of a formality and Storm should move through to the next round.


John – Storm

Colin – Storm

Ryan – Storm

JT – Storm


Game 2: Panther Hoops #1 vs Slim Clips

It’s anyone’s guess as to who Coach/Commissioner Jay True will hand pick to play for Panther Hoops #1 this game. The Slim Clips did start to find an identity later in the season, taking down Deep Threats, PH Select Elite, and Panther Hoops #2. Although the Slim Clips are a mess when it comes to rebounding and interior defense, they have been riding the three point shooting of Aditya Shah and Ryan Hudson. Panther Hoops #1 was able to beat the Slim Clips the first time around, but the Slim Clips have more chemistry and depth off of the bench.


John – Slim Clips

Colin – Slim Clips

Ryan – Slim Clips

JT – Slim Clips


Game 3: Panther Hoops #3 vs Panther Hoops Select Elite

Panther Hoops #3 has come out of left field this season as no one expected them to be this good. Led by their star wing player Cam, this team only ended up losing three times all season. Whereas Panther Hoops Select Elite has been nothing but a disappointment all season finishing the year with a sub par 2-7 record, they don’t seem to be a threat to make a run. Their star duo of David’s (Nussbaum and Rice) and the recent addition of South JV player Grant New could help but is unlikely to turn this team into a contender.


John – Panther Hoops Select Elite

Colin – Panther Hoops Select Elite

Ryan – Panther Hoops #3

JT – Panther Hoops #3


Game 4: Wet and Shloopy vs Deep Threats

Maybe the biggest disappointment of the season, Wet and Shloopy has never really been able to find their groove and proven that they struggle with chemistry. On the other hand, Deep Threats have set a franchise record for wins and blazed a trail for future female teams in the Panther Hoops league. In their only matchup this season, the game went into overtime, and Deep Threats was able to use their basketball experience to their advantage and come out with the win, prompting the Shloops to demand a rematch in the tournament. If the Deep Threats play to win, it will probably be tough for WS to advance to the second round, but I wouldn’t underestimate their desire to get revenge. 


John – Deep Threats

Colin –  Wet and Shloopy

Ryan – Deep Threats

JT – Wet and Shloopy

Second Round

Game 5: Splash vs Winner of Game 1

Splash is still struggling with the loss of their two best players, but they should still beat whoever they play this game. Storm has the confident three point shooting duo of Gus Conrad and AJ Brinson, but they won’t be able to do much against Splash. Expect Splash’s length to phase Storm and for them to come out ready to prove that they are still a skilled contender without Mimms and Egbula.

John – Splash beats Storm

Colin – Splash beats Storm

Ryan – Storm beats Splash

JT – Splash beats Storm

Game 6: Dream Team vs Winner of Game 2

Slim Clips vs. Panther Hoops #1 should be one of the most competitive games in the first rounds of the tournament, but I don’t think either team will have a chance against Dream Team. The 6’6 Will Quigley will dominate this game, no matter who guards him. Also, expect Ethan Uhls and Jack Boyle to take over from behind the arc once Quigley gets tired to give Dream Team a great shot at advancing.

John – Dream Team beats Slim Clips

Colin – Dream Team beats Slim Clips

Ryan – Dream Team beats Slim Clips

JT –  Dream Team beats Slim Clips

Game 7: Fat Clips vs Winner of Game 3

Fat Clips should be playing Panther Hoops #3 in this round but I don’t think it matters who they play as the Fat Clips should be able to take care of business in this game. Star guards Nick Cannon and Matthew Moore have been unconscious from three point land in their last few outings and their supporting cast of Grant Yeagley and Luke Smethurst under the basket adds some size underneath. Brayden Demeir can get hot from three at any time and John Law and Colin Doyle play good defense. Whoever plays the Fat Clips in this game is in for a long night.


John – Fat Clips beats P Hoops Select Elite

Colin – Fat Clips beats P Hoops Select Elite

Ryan – Fat Clips beats Panther Hoops #3

JT- Fat Clips beats Panther Hoops #3


Game 8: Swish Foundation vs Winner of Game 4

While they did lose one of their best players in Austin Himebaugh, Swish Foundation has still managed to do pretty well. They got off to a rough start, going 1-5 in their first six, but have picked it up as of late and shown that they can be competitive with almost anyone. They are led by MVP candidate Tyler Jones and his ridiculous ability to knock down the deep three. Outside of that, they have some solid support in Mason Ross, Jack Nelson, and Anthony Tamborino but sometimes have a tough time getting everyone to their games. Swish might want to pull for Wet and Shloopy to beat Deep Threats though because the basketball experience of Deep Threats could equalize the odds in a potential game between them and SF. 


John – Swish Foundation beats Deep Threats

Colin – Swish Foundation beats Wet and Shloopy

Ryan – Deep Threats beats Swish Foundation

JT – Swish Foundation beats Wet and Shloopy



Game 9: HYW vs Winner of Game 6

HYW is a different breed of elite. Their size along with their shooting abilities make them very difficult to defend. The trifecta of Zach Stewart, Jack Gillard, and Tommy Sutkowski are just too much to handle. HYW did have a slight lapse in the first half when they played Dream Team the first time, due to some excellent shooting by Ethan Uhls, but I don’t think the second matchup will resemble the first. Dream Team will also be without their most aggressive trash talker in Garrett Blevins, due to an unfortunate fractured ankle. At this point, the only chance they have is if Jas Saahir actually shows up to a game which is highly unlikely.


John – HYW beats Dream Team

Colin – HYW beats Dream Team

Ryan – HYW beats Dream Team

JT – HYW beats Dream Team


Game 10: Vibe Check vs Winner of Game 5

Whether they face Splash or Storm in this round, probably Splash, Vibe Check should be able to win in my opinion. They have lost two games all season and the officiating cost them one of those two games. Led by Ted Toohill, a Most Improved Player candidate, this team should be in good hands. They have good size underneath and a wide array of shooters on the perimeter. If Brexton Egbula shows up though it could be a different story as the league commissioner told us he is still eligible to play and he could turn the tides of the match.


John – Vibe Check beats Splash

Colin – Vibe Check beats Splash

Ryan – Vibe Check beats Storm

JT- Vibe Check beats Splash


Game 11: Gashouse Gang vs Winner of Game 8

Gashouse’s biggest weakness is their inconsistency to be able to make shots and diversify their game, but whether they play Swish Foundation, Deep Threats, Wet and Shloopy, they should still easily move on to the Final Four. The Gang is sometimes confusing, though, as it is hard to tell if they have been trying as hard as they can all season because you would think that if they did they would’ve easily gone undefeated. However, they have an unexplainable blowout loss to HYW and don’t always look too sharp against the mid-tier teams. The only possible way they lose this game is if Swish Foundation gets extremely hot from three and Gashouse gets extremely cold. If they win this game, they will most likely play Half Senders which will be a very difficult game, but if MVP candidate Max Graf and his team can come out and stay determined through the tournament, they could very well win it all.


John – Gashouse Gang beats Swish Foundation

Colin – Gashouse Gang beats Swish Foundation

Ryan – Gashouse Gang beats Swish Foundation

JT – Gashouse Gang beats Swish Foundation


Game 12: Half Senders vs Winner of Game 7

Half Senders vs the Fat Clips is what everyone expects out of this game unless there’s an upset somewhere down the line. Quite frankly, the Half Senders should be able to win this game quite easily. SInce star player Diego Smith got hurt in their game against Gashouse Gang, Ron Underwood has really stepped up his game. They also have solid outside shooting from Henry Schlegel and Jake Chudy, and size underneath with Aiden Lowinger and Charlie Bless. Don’t forget about Joey “Iso Joe” Torbenson coming off the bench who can absolutely scorch opposing defenses. If the Half Senders can stop Matt Moore and Nick Cannon they should be able to dominate the Fat Clips.


John – Half Senders beats Fat Clips

Colin – Half Senders beats Fat Clips

Ryan – Half Senders beats Fat Clips

JT- Half Senders beats Fat Clips


Final Four

Game 13: Winner of Game 9 vs Winner of Game 10

Assuming that HYW and Vibe Check don’t lose to a team they shouldn’t lose to, they should be playing on Thursday against each other in the first semifinals match. HYW simply outclasses Vibe Check in every facet of the game. The star studded roster featuring Zach Stewart, Tommy Sutkowski, Avery Brand, Jack Gillard, Reid Johnson, and Nate Taylor should be able to dominate in this game. Also expect Brock Pedersen, Drew Todd, and Reid Silvers to get some valuable minutes this game as I smell a blowout brewing. I’d be surprised if this game is closer than double digits when it’s all said and done.


John – HYW beats Vibe Check

Colin – HYW beats Vibe Check

Ryan – HYW beats Vibe Check

JT- Vibe Check beats HYW


Game 14: Winner of Game 11 vs Winner of Game 12

Assuming that the Half Senders beat Fat Clips (most likely winner of Game 7) and Gashouse Gang takes care of Swish Foundation (most likely winner of Game 8), the night cap for the Final Four will be a rematch of what was arguably the best game of the season when GG beat Half Senders 58-53 in OT. The only thing about that game, though, is that Diego Smith got injured early on in the first half, and Half Senders didn’t know how to play without him yet. The loss of Diego Smith, however, allowed for Ron Underwood to take over and build his case for MVP. This game will definitely be tight, but because Half Senders is a little more well-rounded, hitting shots is a must for Gashouse.


John – Half Senders beats Gashouse Gang

Colin – Gashouse Gang beats Half Senders

Ryan – Half Senders beats Gashouse Gang

JT – Half Senders beat Gashouse Gang



Game 15: Winner of Game 13 vs Winner of Game 14

I expect a Half Senders vs HYW rematch in the championship game. This game should come down to the wire just like it did the first time a couple weeks ago. Their first match had one of the more lopsided foul margins in the league to this point with Half Senders picking up over 20 fouls and HYW with only 2, but tremendous shooting in the second half by the Half Senders kept them in the game. Nate Taylor of HYW was fouled with a couple seconds to go on a three point attempt down three but choked the game away at the line. The rematch should be equally entertaining, but I feel as if Zach Stewart is going to play a bigger role for HYW and take over this game and win the championship.


John – HYW beats Half Senders

Colin – HYW beats Gashouse Gang

Ryan – HYW beats Half Senders

JT- Half Senders beat Vibe Check

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About the Contributors
John Law, Editor
Only true athlete on staff. Plans to dominate the Gothic-Optimist softball game.  Holds the Optimist record for most David's Sunflower Seeds unshelled and eaten in one day. Two-time Fantasy Football Champ
John Kelly, Editor
Third year with the Optimist.
Colin Doyle, Staff Writer
Colin is in his second year as a staff member of The Optimist. He plays soccer year-round and is a member of the fat clips panther hoops organization. Colin also beat fellow staff member John Law to win his first fantasy football championship this year.
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