Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winner, winner, chicken dinner; System teams go 4-0 Friday

Some of my favorite teams got theirs Friday, as the coaches and teams who regularly are featured on this blog went unbeaten in four games. That's one college men's team (NCAA Division III Grinnell), one high school boys' team (Eisenhower, from Blue Island, Ill.) and two girls' high school teams (Galesburg, Ill., and North Shore, from Glen Head, N.Y.). Quite a night.

Let's start with where The System began, with coach David Arseneault and the Pioneers of Grinnell. They moved to 6-0 in the friendly confines of Darby Gymnasium with a 104-95 victory over Lawrence in the Midwest Conference, with Griffin Lentsch's 19 points leading five players in double figures.

The others were Matt Skelly (17 points), Aaron Levin (12), Dominique Bellamy (11) and Patrick Maher (11). Grinnell (8-4, 3-4 MWC) jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never trailed, with the margin eventually reaching 20 points in the second half. Erik Borresen had 27 points and 18 rebounds for the Vikings (6-6, 5-2).

Here are the numbers for the Pioneers:

- Attempted 80 shots (goal is 94)
- Attempted 52 3-pointers (goal is 47)
- Rebounded 41 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 33 percent)
- Forced 23 turnovers (goal is 32)
- Attempted 18 more shots than Lawrence (goal is 25 more)

Grinnell led only 38-34 with 4:21 left in the first half before an going on an 11-0 run, highlighted by a 3 from Lentsch and a 6-for-6 performance at the free throw line. The lead was 59-44 at the break, giving the Pioneers 21 points during that stretch. Pretty amazing, right?

Coach A and the gang are back at it Saturday, hosting Carroll at 4 p.m. EST. Go Pioneers!

At Eisenhower, coach Mike Curta and the Cardinals won their second consecutive game, beating TF South 95-84 on the road to improve to 9-10 overall and 4-3 in the South Suburban Red conference. According to Coach Curta, Eisenhower is one game behind the conference leader and in control of the chase for the regular season championship. Sweet!

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports that the Cardinals finished 28-for-76 from the field, including 11-for-31 from beyond the arc. My simple math tells me they made 28 free throws, too. Nice quote here from TF South's Michael Lee, who had a game-high 25 points.

"It was fun at first, until we started losing," Lee told the newspaper with a laugh. "But honestly, win or lose, that was a real fun, competitive game."

The Rebels fell to 6-13 overall and 3-4 in the conference.

Congrats to Coach Curta and his team.

Meanwhile, The System showed its true colors (as did the Silver Streaks of Galesburg) in the final 2:42 of the third quarter in Galesburg's 70-62 victory over Normal West.

The Streaks trailed 47-40 at that fateful time before unleashing what coach Evan Massey called "the most dominating basketball any Streaks team has ever played," according to his blog. Here are some of his other thoughts on that stretch, a 15-0 run that left Galesburg ahead 55-47:

Coach Massey: "Since we have gone to the System, that was the most high energy our girls have played. In the last 2:42, we had four separate shifts play. If you do the math, that means each shift lasted about 45 seconds. When each of those groups came over, they were totally gassed and could not continue. By the time we got to the end of the third quarter we did not have any of the 12 players who were ready to go back in, they had played with such energy they had to have a break."

Imagine how the players of Normal West felt? Here are Galesburg's other numbers:

- Attempted 68 shots (goal is 72)
- Attempted 45 3-pointers (goal is 36)
- Rebounded 44 percent of the misses on offense (goal is 40 percent)
- Forced 41 turnovers (goal is 26)
- Attempted 11 more shots than Normal West (15 is the goal)

Jessica Howard and Jessica Lieber each made three 3-pointers, Jamie Johnson had nine rebounds, and point guard Tai Peachey filled up the stat sheet with five steals and five assists, both team highs. Did someone say "depth?"

The Streaks now are 18-3, one more victory than all of last season, and ready for what Coach Massey called the toughest part of their schedule. The next five games are against Morton, Rock Island, U-High, Centennial and United Township, starting with Morton on Monday at Knox College, part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday tournament.

Here's hoping Galesburg keeps it going.

The North Shore team coached by Keith Freund remained undefeated in Conference A-III with a 76-44 victory over Glen Cove, improving the Vikings to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the conference.

Amanda Johansen had 16 points, 13 rebounds and four assists for North Shore, and Nicole Scuderi scored a career-high 12 points and added six steals. This one appears to have been won in the second and third quarters, when the Vikings outscored Glen Cove 49-22.

According to the ol' schedule, North Shore returns to action Tuesday at home against Valley Stream South, which is 4-1 in the conference. It should be a good test for Coach Freund's team, and I wish them the best of luck.

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