Just two picks for you guys today - we're killing the Under-12s this week! Let's keep it rolling...
Trenton Falls Winter Rec League
Raiders vs. Gryffindor Griffins (+3, 36.5)
Coach Ed’s Raiders have cruised in four straight, but with Cody Lewis battling the mumps, the silver and green will be without their 5-foot-1 behemoth. Raider guard Jesse Schwartz provided some bulletin-board material for the Griffins, calling Brian Olson a ‘crybaby’ in reference to his sobbing tantrum after last Friday’s loss to the Red Hornets.
Analysis: The 12-and-under division is home to some of the sloppiest play in the entire Trenton Falls Winter Rec League, and today’s matchup should be no exception. Expect a low-scoring affair as the uncoordinated pre-teen competitors stagger awkwardly through the game, already mentally unwrapping their post-game granola bar. I see some value on the Raiders, laying only three despite clearly having more non-Caucasians on the roster than the lily-white Griffins.
Coach Ed is perhaps the division’s foremost strategist, having recently expanded the Raiders’ already-jammed playbook to two plays. If the Griffins can’t figure out how to stop Coach Ed’s baseline pick mismatch move, it could be a long van ride back to the church parking lot for the Griffins.
Pick: Raiders (-3) ride ethnic diversity and superior game-planning to easy cover.
Cars 2 vs. Spurs (+2.5, 31.5)
Much like the Pixar film that provided inspiration for its name, the Cars 2 squad has put up big numbers this season. Point Guard Tyler Harrison, reportedly being scouted by Penn State until recently, leads Cars 2 with 4.5 ppg and is a league-leading 11% from the free-throw line.
Analysis: Tyler Harrison has been called ‘the Michael Jordan of pre-teen recreational basketball’, and besides his lack of shotmaking, passing, and defensive acumen, the comparison is spot-on. Harrison’s mom’s boyfriend ‘Carl’ will be running the scorer’s table, which should provide a slight bump for Cars 2, given Carl’s propensity for inaccurately recording Tyler’s fouls given.
The Spurs are in a rebuilding year, having struggled ever since Mark Conner left for the 13-and-up division last season despite a remaining year of eligibility. First-year coach Nigel Edwards seems to have finally grasped the basics of basketball, after a long career as a wicketsman for the North Wales Parley Gadgers, but the Spurs have nevertheless been plagued by inexperience and lack of preparation this season.
--UPDATE-- Timmy Pritchard’s mom has reportedly forgotten to bring halftime orange slices for Cars 2. This could have implications both psychological and physiological, as kids tend to rely on the Vitamin C boost right before the 3rd quarter. Mrs. Pritchard texted her husband to pick up some Sunny Delight as a makeshift substitute, but he’s at the driving range, so who knows if he even has his phone with him…
Pick: Due to the orange-slice debacle, Cars 2 will come out of the half the hungrier squad, but I don’t expect this lack of nourishment to affect the final score. Cars 2 (-2.5) rolls, so to speak, to an easy win and cover.
--‘pbnews’ is a contributing editor and columnist for ‘AYSO Beat’ Magazine and the American Tee-Ball Online Newsletter. He has been handicapping youth sports for six decades, and has successfully gambled more than 90,000 units.