West Hancock at QND
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: The Pit.
Records: West Hancock--20-2. QND--16-6.
Radio: WGEM 105.1 FM, WTAD 930 AM/103.3 FM
Extra points: The Raiders play four games in five days this week, starting with a makeup game on Monday night at Unity in Mendon. They follow with West Central Conference games at home against West Hancock and at Monmouth-Roseville on Tuesday and Wednesday before wrapping up Friday at Keokuk (Iowa). The Titans and Raiders met last year in a semifinal at the Class 2A Farmington Sectional, with West Hancock winning 59-56. The Titans have been receiving votes in every Class 2A state poll this season, and they learned last week they received the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A Riverton Sectional. They won 18 of their first 19 games before losing 59-46 to Hannibal at the QND/American Family Insurance Shootout on Feb. 2. West Hancock since defeated Macomb (5-15) by 15 points and Southeastern (5-19) by five points after trailing by nine at halftime. The Suns lost to the Titans by 35 points last month. "We're not playing as well as we need to," Titans coach Reno Pinkston said. "It's hard to define. I heard Jay Bilas say on (ESPN) the other day that basketball is a game of rhythm, and our rhythm for extended periods hasn't been there. We didn't find our rhythm (against Southeastern) until late in the game. We're doing uncharacteristic things that we weren't doing earlier this season." Junior forward Drake Hammel leads the Titans at 21.7 points per game. Senior guard Peyton Dooley scores 11 points per game, and junior center Lucas Dorethy adds 9.6 ppg. "When our execution is solid, our guys know where they need to be," Pinkston said. "There's a real synergy when we execute. Defensively, we say, ‘Let's make five guys look like six.' When we're playing well defensively, we make teams take contested shots in out-of-normal scoring areas.
-- David Adam