The Times-Gazette continues its Ohio Valley Hoops Classic matchup articles. This week: Chaminade Julienne vs Fern Creek.
Dayton Chaminade Julienne will be making their third appearance in the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic. They defeated Lexington Catholic in the inaugural event, and downed Johnstown Monroe and Ohio University commit, Jason Carter, in last year’s event. To go 3-0 in the OVHC, the Eagles will have to bring their ‘A’ game as they will be taking on a long and talented Louisville Fern Creek team.
Fern Creek finished last season with a 19-13 record and were regional semi-finalists in the always tough 6th region of Kentucky. And the Tigers accomplished that with a sophomore dominated lineup. Coach James Schooler welcomes back three starters and a transfer, all of whom have Division I college potential. Suffice it to say, Fern Creek has their sights set squarely on Rupp Arena and Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen come next March.
Anthony Wales runs the show for Fern Creek. The 5’10” junior has already committed to play for Samford University. Fellow juniors Ahmad Price (6’1” guard) and Tony Rogers (6’3” guard) are both being courted by numerous low and mid-major Division I teams. And, if that wasn’t enough, Fern Creek got even better when 6’4” senior Chance Moore transferred from Louisville Eastern. The athletic wing has offers from Ball State and Southeast Missouri, and is getting interest from other mid-major programs.
If anyone is thinking CJ may be intimated by the Tigers, you probably should rethink that. The Eagles routinely play a schedule loaded with big-time opponents. Coach Joe Staley has won 407 games, nine district, and four regional championships during his 32 years at the helm. He knows a thing or two about winning games, and he won’t be coming to the party alone.
Senior guard Christian Montague was a starter on CJ’s 2015 regional championship team and he was an All-GCL performer last year. If not for a torn ACL mid-way through the season last year, Staley feels he would already have some Division I offers.
“Montague is a Division I player, but the torn ACL has slowed his recruitment,” said the veteran coach. “We got off to a great start last season, but several key injuries slowed us down as we finished 11-11.”
In addition to Montague, the Eagles return three other starters; 6’2” senior P’Hariz Watkins, 6’5” senior Nicholas Barnes, and 5’10” sophomore Milton Gage.
On paper, Fern Creek appears to have the better athletes, certainly more high profile players from the standpoint of college offers. Both teams are used to playing a highly competitive schedule against high caliber opponents. Chaminade’s tenacious defense and hard-nosed attitude allows them to compete with anyone. Expect this one to be close down to the wire.