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.
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.
Why Maranatha Christian will win:
Why Staples-Motley will win:
Our Prediction: Maranatha Christian