MORGANTOWN — Don’t tell the Trinity Christian boys’ basketball team that size doesn’t matter; they know better.
Not having enough length has posed multiple problems for the No. 6 Warriors (20-5) over the last two seasons, so they’re not overlooking the elephant in the room ahead of their Class A state tournament opening-round matchup Wednesday against No. 4 Greenbrier West (21-4) — Collin and Riley O’Dell, a pair of 6-foot-9 senior forwards that average a combined 25 points per game for the Cavaliers.
“We compare them a lot to Notre Dame — two big kids down low who like to play the high-low game and post up. That presents a challenge for us,” Fowkes said. “They’re a lot bigger than us down low. We’re just going to try and keep the big kids from scoring — it’s going to be tough, but if we can play the type of defense we’ve played these last few games, we think we can do it.”
The O’Dell twins pose multiple threats inside — not only are they dynamic scorers on the block, but they have proven extremely adept at protecting the rim and dominating the boards. If the Warriors fail to adequately matchup with West in the post, it could spell a long night for the Class A Region II champions.
“One thing that sticks out is that the Odell brothers are big boys — they’re great shot blockers, and their ability as offensive rebounders is tremendous. One of the keys to the game is going to be keeping them off the glass,” Trinity senior Daniel Woods said. “Having that height has its benefits, but it also has it’s detriments. I think about post play like line play in football. The lower man always wins. The key is going to be getting low so they can’t utilize their length around the basket.”
The battle inside could be dependent on Woods — an all-state center with quick feet and a mid-range jumper. Fowkes will look to use Woods as a weapon to stretch the floor and keep the O’Dell twins on their toes.
“We think that he’ll have a big role in the game, not just with his ability to post up but to shoot. That could bring their big kids out of the post, if Daniel keeps knocking down shots,” Fowkes said. “They’re a traditional zone team, so we’re going to have to spread them out and knock down some shots from the outside.”
One advantage in favor of the Warriors is experience — they return 12 players with state tournament experience from last season’s run, while Greenbrier West is making its return to the tournament after a long drought.
“You never really know what the experience is going to like on that court in Charleston until you’re down there. You have to be able to block out the surroundings and just play basketball. We have a lot of guys back that made that trip last year, and we’re going down their totally focused on one thing and one thing only. Playing basketball and making a run down there,” Woods said.
The game, set for 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, will have a live audio stream at wvmetronews.com.