Who: Knoxville (15-5) vs No. 8 Roland-Story (15-4)
What: Class 3A - Region 3 - Semifinal
When: Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
First meeting in VarsityBound era (since 2006).
By the numbers
Both teams are coming in hot. Knoxville is 8-2 in their last 10 while Roland-Story is 9-1 in their last 10 and are riding a six-game winning streak. The Norsemen have dominated opponents this year, winning by an average of 18.7 points while holding their opponents to just 34.3 points per game. They do it from behind the arc as they lead Class 3A with 26.8 three-point attempts per game (four more than second place) and make 7.3 per game (second in 3A). Roland-Story’s Dani Grady leads 3A in free throw percentage at 88%.
One key player for Knoxville
Knoxville is going to need a big night from Maggie Wilkins. The Panthers’ start point guard is second in 3A scoring at 24.2 points per game and she does a lot to fuel Knoxville on both ends. Not only will she have to expend a lot of energy offensively, but also defensively against a team that over half of their shots come from three. Wilkins averages 4.2 steals per game and will be active on the perimeter to try to intercept passes and get good close outs on shooters. Knoxville will also need her scoring to keep up with Roland-Story, especially if the Norsemen are making their threes.
Keys for Knoxville
Defend the three-point line. With teams that shoot the three, leads can grow really quick. Knoxville can’t allow Roland-Story to get too many open looks from beyond the arc. But if the Norsemen have a bad shooting night, the Panthers will have to find bodies to box out for long rebounds and potential fast break opportunities that won’t allow a great Roland-Story defense to get set up. Knoxville is 5-0 when scoring 59 or more points, can they get enough secondary scoring along with Wilkins for the upset?