Monday, January 18, 2010

Tough weekend for "The System"

The fun part of my love of "The System" (you know, the greatest style of basketball known to mankind) is keeping up with all the teams that run it. The sad part is when the cosmos conspires against us all and brings about a Saturday like Jan. 16.

Grinnell lost. Olivet Nazarene lost. Henry Ford Community College lost. Galesburg High School lost. Of course, it only bothers me because I hate to see coaches of these teams, men who give so much to "The System," struggle. If anyone deserves success, it's these guys. Now, on to the report:

  • I'll start with coach Bob Belf and Henry Ford, which hosted the No. 1 junior college team in the country, Schoolcraft (what an odd name). Some of Coach Belf's worries that he shared with me/us came to fruition as Schoolcraft led by 31 at the half and eventually won 116-83. On the plus side, that was a season-high in points allowed for this team, and in the second half, Henry Ford was much more competitive. Here are the thoughts of Coach Belf, as he relayed to me in an e-mail: "Well, our experience was not what I had hoped. We seemed ready but a little overwhelmed right off the bat. I am telling you, this team was good. We have (Division III) players and they had a roster of D-1 players. So our pressure was not really effective. ... So now it is how we can recover for the next game, which is another challenge. We cannot beat this team. We can be closer if we play better but they would be able to play with anyone in (Michigan), U of M and MSU included." Good luck to Henry Ford in its next game.

  • For Grinnell, a season-high 29 points from freshman Dylan Seelman wasn't enough to keep the Pioneers (2-10, 1-5 Midwest Conference) from losing 109-72 to St. Norbert, the 12th-ranked Division III team by Seelman connected on 9-of-18 from beyond the 3-point arc, and Matt Chalupa added five 3s on his way to 19 points. The Green Knights shot 88.5 percent in the first half (that's 23-of-26 from the field, for those keeping score at home) to lead 61-43 and cruised from there. Grinnell forced only 16 turnovers. Coach David Arsenault and the Pioneers host Lawrence College on Friday night in the first game of a MWC back-to-back set, with Carroll coming to Darby Gym the next day. I wish them the best, as always.

  • Olivet Nazarene, with coach Doug Porter at the helm, completed a 1-1 week with a 95-85 loss to Saint Xavier University, which has won the past five Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season titles. The Cougars (18-1, 3-1) currently are ranked second in the NAIA poll. They broke free from a 43-43 tie at the break to bounce back from their only loss of the season in their previous game. It was close throughout the second half, with Saint Xavier scoring the final five points. A 3-pointer by Jaimie Buckman gave Olivet Nazarene its final lead at 82-81 with 3:48 remaining, but the Cougars went right back in front to stay on Erin Hannemann's three-point play 9 seconds later. Courtney Nell led the Tigers with 16 points, including three 3s, and Danielle Pipal added 14 points. Earlier in the week, Olivet Nazarene (8-12, 0-1) blew away Trinity International 111-92 behind 18 points apiece from Pipal and Holly Wiersema. The Tigers forced 33 turnovers. Next up for Coach Porter's squad is visit from the University of St. Francis on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. EST. Let's go, ONU!

  • In Normal, Ill. (nah, it's too easy), the Galesburg Silver Streaks girls' team coached by Evan Massey lost 76-60 to Normal West despite setting another state record, this time for made 3-pointers in a season. The Streaks converted 11 3s to bring their total to 270 so far, surpassing the previous mark of 260 set by Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge. Unforunately, just three of their 11 came after halftime, when Galesburg led 37-31. The final 16 minutes wasn't as kind, as Coach Massey's team shot 4-of-27 from the field, including 3-of-19 from behind the line. Normal West outscored the Streaks 24-6 in the third quarter to pull away, leaving Galesburg at 13-9 this season. The next game on the schedule is Thursday, at home, against Rock Island. Here's hoping it is a great outing for Coach Massey.

  • One positive aspect of my week was I discovered another college team running "The System:" Glenville State College, an NCAA Division II school in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, improved to 8-4 this season and 6-2 in the conference with a 105-93 victory Saturday over the Griffins of Seton Hill University. Glenville State led by only two with at 76-74 with 10:41 remaining in the second half, then steadily pulled away. Donita Adams was the star, scoring 32 points in 26 minutes to lead Glenville State, with Autumn Davis adding 17, including a 5 for 9 effort on 3-pointers. The Pioneers (yep, there's that nickname again) are led by first-year coach Bunky Harkleroad, and they host Concord University on Thursday. I'll keep you posted.

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