Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grinnell hangs on to beat Knox, ONU and Glenville State also win

It might not have been pretty, and The Formula stats likely went awry, but the NCAA Division III men's basketball team at Grinnell pulled out a gritty victory Wednesday night by beating Knox 132-120 in the Midwest Conference.

The Pioneers (6-2, 1-2 MWC) never gave up the lead (there were three ties early in the first half) and led by as much as 22 in the second half. Yet, according to System guru Bob Belf, who watched the game online, the Prairie Fire (1-5, 0-3) went to a 1-3-1 zone at that point to slow down Grinnell a bit.

The margin dwindled a bit at a time, getting as low as nine at 101-92 with 5:33 remaining in the game. But Tanner Carlson missed a free throw for Knox before Jesse Ney made a 3 on the other end, boosting the lead back to 104-92. The spread never was less than 10 the rest of the way, thanks mostly to the Pioneers converting just enough at the free throw line.

In the final 4:27, Grinnell was 22-for-31 at the line to overcome six 3-pointers by the Prairie Fire in that span, including one that turned into a four-point play for Ben Wetherbee. Still, it was enough to give coach David Arseneault and the Pioneers their first conference W of the season.

Here are the stats:

- Attempted 84 shots (goal is 94)
- Attempted 57 3-pointers (goal is 47)
- Rebounded 52 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 33 percent)
- Forced 28 turnovers (goal is 32)
- Attempted 16 more shots than Knox (goal is 25)

Griffin Lentsch continued his strong play, finishing with 29 points in only 12 minutes of playing time. Matt Chalupa added 20, Ney had 17 and Matt Skelly scored 15 for Grinnell, but the most interesting box score line to me came from one Brian McManamy, a sophomore post player from Charlotte, N.C. He didn't take a shot, made all eight of his free throws, grabbed four rebounds and dished out six assists with no turnovers. Pretty special effort.

Others chipped in, as well, with 17 players getting on the court. Marques Valdez eight points, five rebounds (four on offense), two assists, one block and five steals. Patrick Maher had four steals.

All in all, a productive night for the Pioneers, who return to the court Saturday on the road at MWC foe Carroll, their final game before Christmas break. Game time is 2 p.m. EST, and I will have an update later that day.

We had a handful of System teams in action Tuesday night, starting with the NAIA women's team at Olivet Nazarene. The Tigers beat Purdue University-Calumet 100-94 at McHie Arena, using 15 points from Simone Coburn and 14 from Jaimie Buckman to overcome a late deficit.

ONU led throughout most of the game until a surge from the Peregrines (what?!) gave them the lead. A 3 from Purdue-Calumet's Jennifer Britton tied it up at 92 with 3:04 remaining before teammate MeMe Harris made a pair of free throws, and suddenly, the Tigers trailed.

Not to worry. They stuck with the plan and scored the final eight points of the game, improving to 7-3. Here are the numbers:

- Attempted 116 shots (wow!)
- Attempted 57 3-pointers
- Rebounded 44 percent of the misses on offense
- Forced 30 turnovers
- Attempted 32 more shots than the Peregrines

Holly Schacht added 13 points, Rachel Kearney had 12 and Miranda Geever scored 10 for ONU, which stays home to face Hannibal-LaGrange University on Saturday. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST, and I wish coach Doug Porter and his team the best of luck.

The NCAA Division II women's team at Glenville State also had a thrilling conclusion to its game Tuesday, trailing by one with about 90 seconds remaining before coming back for a 106-99 victory over Concord Univeristy in West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

Danielle Woodmore gave the Pioneers (6-3, 4-0 WVIAC) the lead for good with a three-point play to make it 100-98, then Miranda Reed converted two free throws for a four-point advantage. That was all coach Bunky Harkleroad's team needed as it held on down the stretch to remain one of three unbeaten teams at the top of the conference standings.

Here is your Formula stuff:

- Attempted 104 shots
- Attempted 40 3-pointers
- Rebounded 51 percent of the misses on offense
- Forced 18 turnovers
- Attempted 16 more shots than the Mountain Lions

Tenisha Wilson had 26 points, Woodmore scored 20 , Autumn Davis added 12 and Kristen Golden finished with 11 for Glenville State, which remains at home for matchup with Wheeling Jesuit on Saturday. Game time for that one is 5:30 p.m. EST, so check back in for the results.

Congratulations to coach Keith Freund and the North Shore High School girls' team from Glen Head, N.Y., which won its opener 63-50 over Wantagh on Tuesday. According to Coach Freund, Wantagh was ranked fifth in the preseason Nassau County poll. Nice going.

Here are the numbers for the Vikings:

- Attempted 80 shots (goal is 80)
- Attempted 29 3-pointers (goal is 40)
- Rebounded 55 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 40 percent)
- Forced 41 turnvoers (goal is 32)
- Attempted 27 more shots than the Warriors

Coach Freund and his team go at it again Thursday. The best of luck to them.

At Wabasha-Kellogg HS in Minnesota, coach Glen Irvin and the Falcons lost 69-50 to St. Charles despite continuing to put up some numbers. Nicole Alexander had 17 points and Emily Huth added 14 for Wabasha-Kellogg (0-3). Here are The Formula things:

- Attempted 87 shots (goal is 80)
- Attempted 28 3-pointers (goal is 40)
- Rebounded 26 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 40 percent)
- Forced 33 turnovers (goal is 33)
- Attempted 27 more shots than St. Charles (goal is 15)

If the Falcons (0-3) stick to the plan, I have no doubt they will turn this around. The effort clearly is there. They play again Saturday, at home, against Lake City, and I hope they have nothing but success.

Finally, the boys' team at Eisenhower HS in Blue Island, Ill., dropped its third consecutive game by the score of 93-81 to unbeaten Tinley Park. Cardinals coach Mike Curta was without two of his best players - Dustin Lewis (IHSA rules violation) and A.J. Bridges (discipline) - and still led at the break 43-42.

The third quarter was a different story, as Tinley Park (5-0, 2-0 Suburban South Red) outscored Eisenhower 29-15 to take a commanding lead, one it didn't relinquish. The numbers for the good guys:

- Attempted 85 shots (goal is 80)
- Attempted 49 3-pointers (goal is 32)
- Rebounded 34 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 35 percent)
- Forced 30 turnovers (goal is 26)
- Attempted 15 more shots than the Titans (goal is 24)

Tyrone Terrell had 28 points for the Cardinals (2-5, 0-2), including a 7 of 22 performance on 3-pointers, Isaac Bronaugh had 13 points and Olajuwon Prude added 10.

Here is what Coach Curta had to say in a post on the Yahoo! message board:

Coach Curta: "Saw some things from the opposition that gave me the idea that we are close: twice they had kids on the floor call timeout on their own due to fatigue. Coaches and players were yelling at each other to 'slow down' while playing at our pace the whole game."

Eisenhower gets another chance Friday night, on the road at Lemont. You know I'll have an update over the weekend.

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