Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lots of games, including first loss for Grinnell, big victory for ONU

Basketball season is starting to hit its stride, with colleges and high schools all over the country getting into the heart of their schedules. It has been a busy past couple of days, so I'll catch you up to speed.

First, on Friday night, the NCAA Division III Grinnell men's team suffered its first loss of the season, falling 112-85 on the road at No. 8 St. Norbert in the Midwest Conference opener for both teams. The Pioneers go at it again Saturday at Ripon (3-1), which opened MWC play with a 97-79 victory over Knox on Friday night.

Plenty of balanced scoring for Grinnell despite the loss, with Jesse Ney (14 points), Matt Skelly (13), Aaron Levin (11) and Griffin Lentsch (10) all reaching double figures. Reserve guard Dominique Bellamy filled up his stat sheet with three points, six rebounds (three offensive), two assists, one block and one steal in 14 minutes of playing time; no one got more than that, and a total of 13 players got at least 10 minutes.

Here are The Formula stats:

- Attempted 85 shots (goal is 94)
- Attempted 50 3-pointers (goal is 47)
- Rebounded 31 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 33 percent)
- Forced 20 turnovers (goal is 32)
- Attempted 22 more shots than the Knights (goal is 25)

Of course, it didn't help that St. Norbert shot 83 percent from the field in the first half. Yep, that's right, 83 percent. That's 25-of-30, for those hoping to keep track at home, and the score at the break was 67-40.

David Wipperfurth led the Knights with 20 points.

As I said, the Pioneers get a quick shot at their first conference victory, with game time at Ripon 4 p.m. EST. Good luck to coach David Arseneault and his team.

Elsewhere, the NAIA Olivet Nazarene women's team coached by Doug Porter finally returned home after a seven-game road trip to open the season, and everything went well in a 110-82 victory over Trevecca Nazarene in the Holiday Inn Express CCAC Challenge at McHie Arena. Trevecca Nazarene, from the TranSouth Atlantic Conference, was ranked 14th in the preseason NAIA poll.

The Trojans (2-6) led only at 2-0 and 5-3 in the early going before the Tigers (6-2) took control, eventually taking a 15-point lead the half. At that point, ONU already had three players in double figures: Simone Coburn had 13 and Stephanie Denius Jaimie Buckman each scored 11 points. Denius and Buckman had three 3-pointers apiece in the opening 20 minutes.

Here are The Formula stats:

- Attempted 91 shots (goal is 90)
- Attempted 54 3-pointers (goal is 45)
- Rebounded 39 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 40 percent)
- Forced 40 turnovers (goal is 33)
- Attempted nine more shots than Trevecca Nazarene (goal is 15

Perhaps the best part about this performance was the perimeter shooting for the Tigers, who have struggled somewhat this season from beyond the arc. They made 19-of-54, a very solid 32 percent, with Buckman leading the way with five 3s. She and Coburn each finished with 17 points to lead the balanced attack, while Denius ended up with 16, Taylor Haymes added 15 and Holly Schacht scored 14.

And 11 players got at least 11 minutes of playing time, with 17 players getting on the court altogether. Good stuff.

The schedule doesn't get any easier for Coach Porter's team. It has a matchup Saturday with No. 1 Union, the two-time defending NAIA national champ, with the game scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. EST. I'll be rooting for ONU.

In high school boys' play, the Eisenhower HS Cardinals from Blue Island, Ill., lost to T.F. North 87-78 in the South Suburban Conference on Friday night. Eisenhower (2-3, 0-1 SSC) forced 26 turnovers in the first half alone (39 for the game) before fouls started taking a toll.

The Cardinals still managed to lead 42-41 at halftime before falling behind by 10 after three quarters. According to coach Mike Curta, they rallied to within five with 2 minutes left but couldn't get any closer. Here are Eisenhower's Formula stats:

- Attempted 97 shots (goal is 80)
- Attempted 61 3-pointers (goal is 32)
- Rebounded 27 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 35 percent)
- Forced 39 turnovers (goal is 26)
- Attempted 25 more shots than T.F. North (goal is 24)

All in all, pretty good effort for Coach Curta and his team. They get another chance at home Saturday against Rich East, and I'll keep you updated.

Finally, I need to update you on coach Evan Massey and the Galesburg (Ill.) HS girls' team, which increased their winning streak to four by beating previously unbeaten Rock Island 68-61 Thursday night in the Western Big 6. The Streaks (5-2, 2-0 WB6) took a commanding lead during the fourth quarter and went to their delay game for the final 3 minutes, which likely held the score and their Formula stats down.

Here are those results:

- Attempted 55 shots (goal is 72)
- Attempted 45 3-pointers (goal is 36)
- Rebounded 55 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 40 percent)
- Forced 31 turnovers (goal is 26)
- Attempted five more shots than Rock Island (goal is 20)

As I said, the slowness of the pace in the final quarter kept Galesburg from reaching a few of the goals, but still, a very nice effort. Coach Massey pointed to the depth of his team's scoring, and that is very evident: Jessica Howard and Jamie Johnson each had 13 to lead the way, and six more players scored at least five points and six different players made 3-pointers.

Another thing holding down the Streaks' numbers was the number of times they sent players to the foul line. This is a good thing, of course, particularly when you make your shots. They were 24-for-36 for the game, compared to only 6-for-12 for Rock Island.

Other key contributors that Coach Massey pointed out on his blog were Sadee Hamilton (six offensive rebounds) and Paige Klinck (three assists).

Galesburg is off until next Thursday, so the players all have the weekend to rest and gear up for the remainder of the season. I wish all of them the best of luck.


  1. Hey KP, I was wondering what the current count is for how many teams across the country run The System? how many college? and how many high school? plus 1 for the team in Europe

  2. That's a great question, Kasper. We're trying to come up with an official number now. A guess would be about 35 high school teams, boys and girls, and two men's college teams (Grinnell and Mount Aloysius) and four women's college teams (Olivet Nazarene, Glenville State, University of the South and Jackson (Mich.) Community College).

    Don't hold me to these numbers! Thanks for the question, and thanks for reading.