Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An update on the Galesburg Silver Streaks

This is the team that I wrote about earlier in the week, the girls who set a new Illinois prep record by attempting 71 3-pointers in an 83-67 victory over Morton last Saturday. Perhaps even more impressive (for those of us who are fans of "The System"), Galesburg took 92 shots in all despite running delay game the final 2:30 of the fourth quarter. That is way over the goal for a high school girls' game.

Here's what coach Evan Massey would like to see from his team each game:

  • 72 field goal attempts
  • 36 attempted 3s
  • Recovering 40% of the misses as an offensive rebound
  • Forcing 26 turnovers
  • Shooting a total of 15 more shots than the opponent

I had the chance to speak with Coach Massey this week. He's a neat guy in his 32nd season with the Silver Streaks and he fast is approaching 700 career victories; his current total of 698 is third all-time in Illinois history, trailing Dorothy Gaters (908) of Chicago Marshall and Dave Powers (729) of Oak Park Fenwick. Overall, Massey is 698-251.

Last season, Galesburg finished 14-18, ending a run of 21 consecutive seasons with at least 20 victories. It was the first losing season since 1986-87 (when I was a senior in high school!) and, more importantly, the Streaks averaged only 48 points per game.

Thus began the switch to "The System." Massey played at Knox College, which is a member of the Midwest Conference along with Grinnell, so he saw first-hand back in the day how bad the Pioneers were. He figured anyone who turned around that program, as Coach Arsenault did, had to be on to something.

Massey also made it a point to attend each Grinnell visit to Knox and he found many of his neighbors there, most of whom never came to other games. They simply were there to watch the Pioneers. He decided at that point to take the plunge, and so far, he's very happy with the move. Here are some of his other thoughts on his season so far:

(On one of the moments when he decided what he was going to do)

"My son and I were coming home from watching a boys' sectional game, and we stopped to get something to eat. I had taken him with me to watch Grinnell play, so I told him, 'Here's what I'm thinking about doing.'

"I was amazed at his reaction. He thought it was such a neat thing. Then when I met with a small group of players and showed them a PowerPoint of what we were going to try to do, I could tell by their reaction that it was going to be popular with the kids."

(On his feelings now that he's into the season)

"I don't think there is a doubt in my mind that it was the right thing to do. It's obvious, if you're going to do this, you have to have the players give 100 percent, and they are buying into it. My administration is very enthusiastic about it, because, after all, it's high school sports, and they see 13 girls getting a chance to play every game. A year ago, it would have been six or seven.

"I will say that if I was just starting out, I don't know if I would have the courage to do this. Whenever we lose, the first question after the game from the media always is about 'The System,' and could we have won playing a more conventional style."

(On the changes to his daily planning because of "The System")

"I told somebody this earlier this year. It's amazing how much time I spent comparing my players to each other, to see who deserved more playing time. I wanted to know who was the best one and was she getting enough playing time. Now, we've got a chance to prove it on the floor, because everybody plays.

"It used to be every Sunday afternoon, I would spend all my time watching the next opponent on video, as many of them as I had tape on. The positive now is that I can concentrate more on what we're doing. It really doesn't matter what anyone else does. We spend a lot more time looking at ourselves."

Good stuff. I appreciate Coach Massey taking the time to talk to me. He and the Streaks (6-5, 0-3 Western Big 6) travel to Alleman (8-4, 2-1) on Thursday night, facing one of the powers in their conference. I'll let you know how it went.

No comments:

Post a Comment