OPINION: Comets vs. Comets; Who would win this epic hardwood matchup?

Eric Miller | Online Sports Editor

EricDebate is one of the characteristics that makes sports so interesting. ESPN dedicates three shows, Pardon the Interruption, First Take and Around the Horn, to debating the hot button issues of the sports world. So we figured, why not have The Chronicle  dive into the debate pool with our own issue. I’m not here to debate Brady vs. Manning or compare the ‘95-96 Bulls to the ‘15-16 Warriors. I’m here to pose the question, who would win: the 17-1 Mason boys basketball team or the 20-2 Mason girls basketball team? Both teams have rolled through their respective seasons, with an average margin of victory of 22 points between them. Both are ranked second in the city by the Enquirer and the girls are ranked fourth in the AP state poll, while the boys come in at twelfth in the state. So what would happen if these two titans of the hardwood ever crossed over and played this Comets vs. Comets matchup?

Breaking it down

The Point Guard Position

Debate is one of the characteristics that makes sports so interesting. ESPN dedicates three shows, Pardon the Interruption, First Take and Around the Horn, to debating the hot button issues of the sports world. So we figured, why not have The Chronicle  dive into the debate pool with our own issue. I’m not here to debate Brady vs. Manning or compare the ‘95-96 Bulls to the ‘15-16 Warriors. I’m here to pose the question, who would win: the 17-1 Mason boys basketball team or the 20-2 Mason girls basketball team? Both teams have rolled through their respective seasons, with an average margin of victory of 22 points between them. Both are ranked second in the city by the Enquirer and the girls are ranked fourth in the AP state poll, while the boys come in at twelfth in the state. So what would happen if these two titans of the hardwood ever crossed over and played this Comets vs. Comets matchup?

Advantage: Mason’s versatility, record-breaking assists, and it’s hard to argue with McDonald’s

The Two Guard Position

Freshman Sammie Puisis has made an immediate impact on the girls basketball team, scoring nine points per game. Puisis’ brother and boys starter Eddie Puisis said his sister’s ability to shoot sets her apart. “As a freshmen she really is able to step up as a leader,” Puisis said. “She’s a terrific shooter, that’s one of her best attributes and she’s also a good, hard worker.”

After seeing limited playing time as a junior, senior Nate Haller has stepped into his starting role and shot 40 percent from three. Haller has hit multiple threes in a game 13 times. Teammate Matt King also said Haller isn’t recognized enough for his rebounding.

“He really helps spread the court with his shooting,” King said. “I think he’s an underrated rebounder, he boxes out really well and can guard on defense.”

Haller’s three point prowess and rebounding ability will be key if the Comets plan for a postseason run.

Advantage: Puisis’ three point efficiency and offensive versatility gives the girls the edge

The Small Forward Position

Junior Samari Mowbray brings experience. Mowbray has played in 69 games and started 45. According to Mason, Mowbray is key to her team’s success

“Samari is a big x-factor,” Mason said. “She can pretty much do anything. As a bigger guard, she’s a shooter but she’s also a lot bigger than the people that guard her so she’s able to attack the rim.”

Mowbray is second on the team in scoring with 9.7 points per game and is the team leader in blocked shots with 1.3 per contest.

Kyle Lamotte ignites crowds with his high flying dunks, but according to Mason, he provides much more than transition jams. “He’s kind of like our Samari in a way,” Mason said. “He can do everything: he can shoot the three, shoot midrange and obviously we all know he attacks the rim pretty well. He’s definitely an x-factor for their team.”

Advantage: Lamotte’s unmatched athleticism, game changing dunks give the boys the edge

The Shooting Guard Position

Senior Mariah Campbell provides the Mason girls team with experience, as she has 47 career starts. Campbell is the Comets’ second leading rebounder at 5.8 per game. According to senior Lauren Van Kleunen, Campbell helps the Comets out in the post. “She is a humongous body,” Van Kleunen said. “That’s great to have. She will go up against any post player and beat them down because of how hard she works.”

Junior Matt King has played in 58 games since his freshmen year, starting 37. Van Kleunen said that King plays well beyond his years. “As a junior, he’s a big leader,” Van Kleunen said. “Very good offensive player, he knows the game well.”

King routinely guards the opponent’s best player, whether it be 6’10”, 300 pound center EJ Williams of Middletown or the athletic KY Mattress of Lakota West. King leads the team in rebounds and steals. King’s versatility on both ends of the floor is key for the Comets success.

Advantage: King’s ability to shut down opposing players gives the boys the edge

The Center Position

Senior Lauren Van Kleunen is a signee at Marquette University and a member of the 1,000 point club. King said it’s Van Kleunen’s ability to play at both ends of the floor that leads her to success.

“She’s a really good post player,” King said. “The way she rebounds, the impact she has inside on offense and defense is big for them.”

Van Kleunen led the GMC in scoring as a junior and as a senior leads the conference in field goal percentage at 57.9 percent. If the Comets hope for a deep postseason run, Van Kleunen will be key in getting them there.

Senior Cameron Schreiter has stepped up every time he has been called upon during the 2015-16 season. With the Comets needing a bucket to beat Oak Hills, Schreiter hit a fadeaway bank shot at the horn to give the Comets a 35-33 win. Just last week, Schreiter was tasked with guarding the GMC’s top two rebounders, Myles Howard of Hamilton and Dominic Pierce of Princeton in back to back games. Between the two games Schreiter scored 17 points and pulled down 17 boards.

Advantage: Van Kleunen’s efficiency, experience, and it’s hard to argue with a member of the 1,000 point club

Conclusion

Should the Mason girls and boys basketball teams ever meet on the hardwood, it would be a star-studded matchup featuring division one recruits, high flying dunks and mistake free basketball. The game, which would be decided by the slightest of margins, would come down to bench play, turnovers and three point shooting. I can see it now: the Puisis’ trading threes, Lamotte flying around the rim and Van Kleunen dominating the paint. In a game that has all the makings of an instant classic: it comes down to the final seconds with the ball in the hands of Eddie Puisis. Puisis dribbles right, crosses back left with five seconds and finds an open Cameron Schreiter on the left wing, who glances at the expiring clock and fires up an off balance jumper at the horn…that gives the Comets the win. I’ll let you figure out which Comets.

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