Tonight: 7:30 at Moline's Wharton Field House. Sophomores start at 6. Radio: WGIL-AM 1400 & www.wgil.com & WAIK-AM 1590 & www.1590waik.com. Twitter updates: SteveTappa_DA.
Saturday: Galesburg at Metamora (7:30 p.m.); Moline is off.
Lineups: Moline: G Drew Owens, 6-0 Sr. (13.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg); G Jed Wood, 6-0 Sr. (11.8, 3.2); F Derrick Stabler, 6-4 Sr. (4.6, 2.8); F Josh Larson, 6-7 Sr. (6.6, 4.4); C Brandon Vice, 6-6 Jr. (8.6, 6.2).Galesburg: G: Travon Diggins, 5-10 Sr. (8.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Carson Cheesman, 6-1 Sr. (1.8, 1.0); F Grant Gibson, 6-2 Soph. (24.6, 4.6); F Marcus Ross, 6-4 Jr. (6.8, 1.6); C Ryan Carl, 6-5 Sr. (4.8, 2.6).
Why watch: The Western Big 6 Conference opener for both teams corresponds with the league varsity debut of Moline coach Jeff Schimmel, who took over the top job this season after a successful sophomore run at his alma mater. ... Both clubs played in the Galesburg Thanksgiving Tournament last weekend, with Moline coming up a bucket short of claiming the title in a head-to-head finale with champ Chicago Westinghouse, ... Galesburg has won twice at Wharton in four previous seasons under Mike Reynolds, a former standout at nearby Orion. "So we've got some guys who know they can win there,'' Reynolds said. ... Galesburg star Grant Gibson is the only Big 6 player to enter league play with more than 100 points to date. The sophomore scored 123 points last weekend, going for 45 and 34 points in two of those games.
Moline's Schimmel: "Obviously, we've got to stop Gibson. But he's not their only player. That's a physical, strong, solid group. (Tonight) is going to be all about adjustments, with both of us very familiar with each other. For us, it'll be key to handle the ball better against pressure. We had too many turnovers leading to opponent points last weekend, and we can't make it easy on Galesburg.''
Galesburg's Reynolds: "Moline likes to play at a slower pace than they have in the past, while we're more uptempo than before. But if we want to get out and go, we're going to have to get stops on defense. If they get baskets, it's tough to score on their (1-2-2) zone, which they're able to pack in even more than the past because this is their biggest team I can remember, even as a kid. We're going to have to find a way to get the ball into the paint, so we can make them collapse on the ball, and we can get better looks on the perimeter. Otherwise they can make it a long night, getting rebound after rebound after each bad shot you take.''