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A classic small school battle kicks off the action in the Lindbergh Center’s old court at the Breakdown Tip Off Classic as Maranatha Christian takes on Staples-Motley. Story lines abound, with the Metro vs. Outstate and private vs. public angles in this one.

Maranatha Christian is the two-time defending Class A state champion and returns a host of players that helped the Mustangs to that feat. Senior Onye Osemenam is the best post player in Class A, while guards Madison and Lexi Lee are veterans in the back court. Coach Jim Hammond also has up-and-coming youngers battling to crack the starting lineup.

Staples-Motley won 23 games last winter and returns four of its five starters and three top reserves off the bench. The Cardinals are a balanced team with five players who averaged between 8.3 and 14 points per game last winter. But coach Arden Beachy’s team doesn’t have a lot of height to match the Mustangs.
 

Key Matchup

Jaelin Beachy vs. Onye Osemenam
Jaelin Beachy is the tallest regular on the Staples-Motley roster and may be given the task of trying to contain Maranatha’s Onye Osemenam. Beachy gives up four inches on Osemenam, but is a terrific athlete who is a state champion hurdler. Her explosiveness and quick first step may be trouble for her bigger counterpart. Osemenam, a Missouri State recruit, is a true post who should dominate the paint and force the Cardinals to play a more perimeter game.

Prediction

Why Maranatha Christian will win:

  • Because that’s what the Mustangs do – they win. The two-time defending Class A champions are a veteran team that knows how to fight through tough games.
  • Most smaller schools will struggle to contain post Onye Osemenam, who gives the Mustangs a strong inside presence.

Why Staples-Motley will win:

  • Jaelin Beachy and Jasmine McGillvray will be able to slow down Onye Osemenam, but also take advantage of her quickness on offense to have a big game.
  • The Cardinals’ guards get hot from outside and we see big shooting games from Kelly Pearson, McGillvray and MiKayla Wing.

Our Prediction: Maranatha Christian
 

Rosters

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Tag(s): News Archive  Around the State  Featured  Tip Off Classic  Staples-Motley  Maranatha