Thursday, July 28, 2011

Great story from The System

What do I enjoy most about The System? Gosh, how much time do you have? Certainly, the high-scoring, fast-paced action featuring participation from every player on the roster is the key to what makes this style so attractive. Few can argue with the empowerment that comes from being the 12th player on a team's bench, yet still being able to make consistent contributions while gaining quality run in every game.

Another wonderful facet of the best way to play basketball that I've ever seen is the bond developed between coaches who run it. I've mentioned on several occasions the message board on Yahoo! that gives any coach who joins the opportunity to ask questions, to post success stories (and non-success stories) and to seek guidance from those that came before them. The answers often come from the college coaches who have used The System so successfully, including the one who started all of us on this amazing voyage, Grinnell coach David Arseneault.

Perhaps other "styles" have similar results. I kind of doubt it, since being so unconventional and "outside-the-box" in and of itself creates a level of camaraderie that is neat to see. And more often than not, the coaches might know each other only through this message board, yet it's enough to pull them together for the common cause.

Another example of this came earlier this summer when coach Bob Belf, longtime System proponent and the moderator of the message board, traveled from his home near Detroit to help fellow System coach Glen Irvin, a regular on the blog who coaches the girls' team at Wabasha-Kellogg High School in Minnesota. Having shared some e-mails and chat sessions with Coach Irvin, I know his passion for this way to play and his desire to get his team doing the best it can.

Enter Coach Belf. I asked each of them to share a bit from the experience this summer, and I'll start with Coach Irvin:

Coach Glen Irvin

"We had a historical summer at Wabasha-Kellogg High School! We have a very, very young group of girls coming back next year, so it was the perfect opportunity to go full boar and develop an identity now through The System. The day after school was over, we had Coach Belf come to Wabasha for four days and hold the our first annual 'Run and Gun Academy.' The girls ran two-a-days and received a crash course in 'The System.'

"Coach Belf went through the made, miss, turnover and ref-handle offenses. We then went through the defense and through some special situations. All the time, Coach Belf installed System drills that kept the girls engaged both physically and mentally. The girls really enjoyed Coach Belf's sense of humor and coaching method. At the end of the camp, the girls were expectedly exhausted. They thanked Coach Belf and we gave him some souvenirs to remember us by.

"The next day we headed out to the Wisconsin dells for a three-day tournament!! The tournament went great and the girls had tons of fun. The best part of the whole experience was when the girls kept asking/telling me things like, 'Are we really going to do this? This is going to be awesome!'

"I highly recommend Coach Belf to any coach wishing to install the system or anyone wanting a refresher course!"

Pretty great stuff there, right? Here are Coach Belf's thoughts:

Coach Bob Belf

"We had a blast with his group. He has a very ambitious, aggressive young team that absorbed the instruction like sponges. Coach Irvin is as enthusiastic about The System as anyone and is now armed to make the style work for his program. I got to meet his assistants and in our 4 days we were as in-depth as possible to be sure they all got a full grasp of the system. I also got a chance on my way home to see the sophomores play in their first summer contest and certainly go through the learning curve.

"It was great to work with Glen and his team and am hoping to get back there during their season to follow up with them."

As I said, what a nice story to show how supportive these coaches are of each other. I wish Coach Irvin and his team the best of luck this season and hope all the effort from this summer pays off.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Catching up with Andy Hoaglin, the coach at Jackson (Mich.) CC

Dreadfully few coaches are brave enough (smart enough?) to see the wisdom of Running The System, so us loyal followers have to make due with the wonderful results of those couple of dozen or so that do. And of those, ye ol' blog regularly followers about six or seven of them. Of all those teams, none put up the type of numbers seen this season by the women's team at Jackson (Mich.) Community College.

The Lady Jets won 18 of their final 23 games to finish 19-12, and along the way, coach Andy Hoaglin's bunch got stupid with the shots and points. We've covered a handful of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II records set by this FIRST-YEAR System team -- averaging 103.6 points, shooting 1,550 3-pointers -- and I was able to track down a few more (or, at least, had them e-mailed to me by Coach Hoaglin). Here you have it:

- Most turnovers forced in a single game (59)
- Most turnovers forced in a season (1,192, or about 38.5 per game)
- Most combined points in a game (during a 133-131 double-overtime loss to Edison State CC in Ohio)
- Most attempted 3-pointers in a single game (79)
- Most shots attempted in a game (the Jets actually have the top three totals: 147, 140 and 134)

Pretty amazing, right? And this came after Coach Hoaglin decided to convert to the best brand of basketball around AFTER he already had completed his recruiting. Now, with a full season under his belt, he's ready for more, and he was kind enough to join me on the phone to discuss his success with The System.

(What made you make the change?)

Coach Hoaglin: "I was kind of fed up coaching the traditional way, and I ran a variety of traditional offenses: the Swing, the read and react. I was looking for something that was a little more enjoyable, something that would get everybody involved and at the same time, be competitive. I was sitting on the computer on (coaching guru) Pat Anderson's Website, and this thing pops up, the CBS Sports March Madness, look at Grinnell. I watched that thing and just kind of decided I was going to educate myself.

"I decided in July, on my trip to Disney World, that I would implement The System. I didn't recruit for it, but I knew I had some cogs that would work, I just had to educate them."

(How would you say your first season went?)

Coach Hoaglin: "I think it went even better than I could have expected. At first, I told the team we were just going to play fast. I showed them some game film of Olivet Nazarene (another one of this blog's favorite teams), and they looked at me like, 'Yeah, coach, no problem. What are you doing? This is going to be crazy.' It took some time, but they eventually got it."

(What were some of the early problems?)

Coach Hoaglin: "Our biggest problem, at 1-7, is we didn't know what we didn't know. We started to play more safe, trying to execute better, and we gave up some points. We learned we had to play this way the whole game and worry about The System Formula, and the rest will take care of itself.

"In one game, we were just playing horribly, and we were getting drilled. Only after I sat down and shut my mouth did we execute. I found out letting them play was the way to go. Once I sat down and relaxed, our performance got better. It was hard, and it's still hard, but that's what I have to do."

(What do you expect out of this season?)

Coach Hoaglin: "We're returning 10 really great pieces from last year's team, and that's a big thing. We actively recruited four new players for our needs, so we got shooters, we got athletic kids. Our sophomore class is going to be the strong suit. My recruiting class, based on what we need to do in The System, well, let's just say I'm definitely cautiously optimistic."

(What do you like about The System? Would you like to see more coaches go with it?)

Coach Hoaglin: "I definitely like the fact that it's unique. I'd like to see a high school that can feed me players, or a boys' team at a local high school, but I definitely like to be unique. It's a nice way for us to brand ourselves, at the local, regional and national level. When we go recruit, we can tell players they get to experience something that nobody else is doing and feel good about it. They can be a part of history, write their names, all our names, in the record book. So somebody can say about them, 'You played for Jackson, you guys scored all those points.'

"I just love being able to be unique. I don't think a lot of people are going to be moving to The System."

(How do you think your players like it?)

Coach Hoaglin: "Well, in our open gyms, I can't be involved, so our players run the open gyms. They press the whole time, just like we will in games, they're subbing in and out every 30 seconds, they shoot 3s all the time. It's great."

Well, I guess that covers it. A huge thanks to Coach Hoaglin for his time, and I know I speak for all of us when I say I hope he has an even better season this year. It sure sounds as if he's possible.

Also, make sure you check back later in the week. I'll have more updates for you on The System.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More on Galesburg's trip to UNC

I'm sure everyone remembers this, right? I traveled up to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to watch the girls' team from Galesburg (Ill.) High School on my birthday? Less than two weeks ago? Remember? Good, I thought so.

Coach Evan Massey was kind enough to pass along some stats from the eight games the Silver Streaks played at the camp (finishing with a 5-3 record), and I wanted to share. This is a great look at the depth they will continue to have this season despite losing five seniors from last season's team that reached the Elite Eight.

Some of the players sat out a game or two to rest injuries, and these are the totals for the entire camp. Here we go:


Allison Mangieri......................59
Sharron Diggins......................48
Jessica Lieber..........................44
Paige Klinck............................29
Myra Diggins..........................27
Chloe Anderson......................24
Sadee Hamilton......................16
Rainee Sibley..........................15
Hannah Smith.........................12


Lieber, S. Diggins.........12


M. Diggins.......................27
Hamilton, Jackson.............16
Lieber, Mangieri, S. Diggins.......12
Micayla Eisele......................10

Offensive rebounds

M. Diggins...........................14
S. Diggins.............................9
Sibley, Jackson, Mangieri.......8
Dani Teel..............................7
Marisa Miller, Eisele, Lieber.....5


S. Diggins............................9
Hannah Smith, M. Diggins.....6
Hamilton, Anderson, Teel.......5

Great stuff there. A huge thanks to Coach Massey for getting those to me (well, not just me, he posted them on his blog.) Another interesting factoid from his blog is the continuing development of his players, mostly on their own. He said he often gets texts from players interested in getting into the gym to shoot; a huge shoutout to Rainee Sibley, who became the first player this off-season to reach 5,000 made 3s. That's a lot of shooting.

Best of luck to her on her quest for 10,000 (a total the now-departed Jessica Howard put up last summer), and best of luck to the rest of the players as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another college team moves to The System: Say hello to the Lady Aggies of Oklahoma Panhandle State

No surprise, really, for those of us paying attention to the success of all The System teams last season. Another team is ready to make the plunge after treading lightly into the abyss in 2010-11: the NCAA Division II women's team at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. The Lady Aggies finished 3-23, including 0-10 in the Heartland Conference, but that included a heart-breaking 111-106 loss to regular season champ Newman in the season finale.

Gazing at the statistics, it appears OPSU is a perfect candidate, given the depth it showed in playing time and scoring. There were 11 players who averaged at least 13 minutes of run, and 10 of them averaged at least 4 points (none more than Tra'Niqia Dishmon's 8.0). So the Aggies appear to have the players to run The System, and coach Brad Vanden Boogaard has been an admirer of this style of play for a few years. He is good friends with Rusty Kennedy, who used it at Clarendon Junior College in Texas before moving to Our Lady of the Lake University.

Now, Coach Vanden Boogaard plans to rattle his Heartland Conference foes with it. He was kind enough to respond to some e-mail questions I sent him late last week, and here is the entirety of our conversation:

How instrumental was Coach Kennedy in your decision to go to The System?

Coach Vanden Boogaard: "Rusty and I talk a couple times a month. He did have some influence on my decision to make the change. When Rusty was at Clarendon running The System, he was in a similar situation that I am in. We are very enrollment driven university with limited scholarships, forcing us to carry more players than your normal team carries. Playing The System will assist us in keeping more people involved and improving within our program helping us keep players in our program for four years.

"We need to make a change; what we were doing was not working. The other influential part is our location, we need to force people to play a different style than they want because most teams do not enjoy having to travel to our place so we will try to make it even tougher playing at such a fast pace with controlled chaos."

What did you know before you started your research, and has your perception changed since you've learned more about The System?

Coach Vanden Boogaard: "The first time I heard of The System probably was in the late 1990s or early 2000s. I was an assistant men’s coach at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and we were hearing about Grinnell playing the game a complete different way. At that time I really didn’t learn much about it. I really started learning about it three years ago watching Clarendon play.

"The more I learn about it the more my perception changes. I really enjoy how it helps keep everyone involved in our program and keeps them excited about the opportunity for them within our program. At first glance it looks like a team that is completely playing without much of a plan or a purpose. After learning the goals and understanding the thoughts/research of the innovators of The System it really fits our situation.

"Also really fits my thoughts on playing the game with great effort and playing The System forces you to play every second with great effort."

How would you describe your style of play previously?

Coach Vanden Boogaard: "In the past I was a very conventional basketball coach. We played a half court style, really emphasizing man-to-man defense. Offensively we would run when we could but played motion offense looking for a good shot willing to wait until late in the shot clock."

What has been the reaction to those you have told? From your assistant, Alisha Sladek, and your players?

Coach Vanden Boogaard: "When we started to implement it late last year, I think my assistant thought I was crazy. She had played for me when we had some success the conventional way so she was wondering why; since teaching her about it she really enjoys it.

"As for the players they bought in well and are excited to see what it can do for us. It helped that we have two players that have played in The System before and really helped sell it to their teammates. As for our AD he really has backed me on the change. He is also our men’s coach and says it is really exciting for anyone watching the game."

What do you hope to get out of The System?

Coach Vanden Boogaard: "Just like any competitor ultimately I am hoping it brings more wins to our players. After the past four years of seeing players come and go because they have not been happy with their playing opportunity, I hope this brings some continuity to our program helping us keep more players in our program for four years. I hope this will bring more team camaraderie, too.

"Our administration and fans have been very supportive during my four years, I am looking to repay them with some success and excitement when they come watch us play."

Great stuff from a relative newbie with The System. Here's hoping the Aggies have tremendous success next season, and I plan to stay in touch with Coach Vanden Boogaard to follow his progress.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What better way to spend a birthday?

Many of you might remember that for my 40th birthday, my lovely wife, Colleen, allowed me and "Iowa" Tim to travel all the way to Grinnell College, birthplace of The System, to attend two games in December 2009. Well, my actual birthday is July 11, but where can you find basketball the way it was meant to be played in July? Ordinarily, you can't, which I why I celebrated my birthday that year by freezing my buns off amongst the cornfields of Iowa, watching System creator David Arseneault and his Grinnell NCAA Division III men's team do their thing. It was a wonderful trip, something I will never forget.

Well, I have another memory to add to that list. Coach Evan Massey and his girls' team from Galesburg (Ill.) HS are in Chapel Hill, N.C., for Sylvia Hatchell's basketball camp at the University of North Carolina. I already had squeezed an extra day of vacation, so with Monday free, I ventured up the road about 85 miles to catch the Silver Streaks in action. And I had so much fun at their 8:15 a.m. game (yep, that's right, A.freaking.M, way too early for hoops) that I drove back home to pick up Colleen and my daughters, Emily and Libbie, so they could get a chance to see what Coach Massey has done with The System in Galesburg.

Wow, what a day. Yes, I was disappointed for the team when they lost a close one in the morning to Parkwood HS from Monroe, N.C., a team that finished 25-3 last season, and felt even more so when a very solid team from Arizona held on for about a 10-point victory. Yet summer camp games certainly shouldn't be all about winning, or any about winning, really, and Coach Massey and assistant Andie Allison reflected that in their court-side demeanor.

There was quite a contrast in the opening game. At one point while play was ongoing, Coach Massey was leaning on the stands and polishing off some type of breakfast bread (Muffin? Bagel? Not sure) along with his cup of coffee. The Parkwood coach was standing near mid-court, waving his arms and imploring his team to find a way to get the ball in against the Galesburg pressure. He also had eight players total on his roster, played one of them hardly at all and left another one sitting out the entire game. Meanwhile, the Streaks rolled with 13 players (two were injured), and everyone essentially got equal playing time. Which method do you think will build depth and team chemistry, all while giving each girl her money's worth at the camp? Gee, I wonder.

In the second game, the sideline comparison was even more drastic. Coaches Massey and Allison calmly gave instructions and encouragement, and the coach from the Arizona school stalked around as if she was Brenda Frese, the women's coach at Maryland (for those of you more familiar with the men's game, think Kansas State's Frank "Crazy Eyes" Martin). The referees had to ask this coach to get back on her side of halfcourt! Pretty crazy.

Here are some other tidbits from my wonderful day with the Streaks:

- The entire team couldn't have been any nicer to me, Colleen and the girls, and that includes Coach Massey's son, Allen, who sat with me during the first game and patiently answered my questions about who was doing what. He did all this while keeping stats, and you can tell he has a sharp basketball mind.

Before the second game, Emma Junk, a rising junior who is out with a stress fracture, came over to introduce herself and immediately made Emily and Libbie feel comfortable. She took them out to meet the team, then invited them to sit on the sidelines for the second half with everyone else. What a neat thing for someone Emma's age to do.

And when we left, everyone made a point to smile and thank us for coming. I guess Coaches Massey and Allison don't deserve all the credit, but someone sure is doing right by these young ladies.

- Coach Allison is a fan of The System. Having played for Coach Massey at Galesburg, and later at Knox College, she has seen varying styles of play, and she likes what she sees from the Streaks' version of this breathtaking style of play.

"It just builds such a great feeling of 'team,' of camaraderie, for everyone," she said. "It really has stuck with the players, and I think everyone still is excited about what we do. The teams we face in the conference all know what we do and they prepare for us, but they're preparing to do this twice a season. We do it all year."

It also is easy to see that the players respect Coach Allison and look to her for guidance. What a great asset she is for Coach Massey.

- The System is hampered by the rules of summer camp games, with a small court, running clock and haphazard officiating. Still, it is a wonder to see when it clicks, and Galesburg did plenty of that. The quarters run so quickly that it is difficult to see the full effect of the "melt down," when the other team falls apart, yet it happened at least once in both games. It was easy to see the opponent's were gassed and looking for rest, yet the Streaks kept coming on offense and on defense.

- I had a chance to meet guard Paige Klinck's grandfather, who traveled with his wife up from Lake Oconee, Ga., to watch. He formerly lived in Galesburg and had seen Grinnell face hometown Knox College, so he was somewhat familiar with The System. Still, you could tell he enjoyed himself, and Paige did both her grandparents proud with a spirited effort in both games.

- I've already addressed the disparity in playing time for the Streaks and their opponents, but it bares repeating. I was able to go to team camp during my high school playing days and felt fortunate to get some run. Imagine being that player for Parkwood who sat out an entire game! Now, certainly, she could have been injured or held out for some other reason, even though she went through warmups with no problems. Still, I can see why the coach might have done it. He probably figured she wasn't going to play any during the season, so why waste time on her in the summer, right? Hopefully, we all see the idiocy of that reasoning. Some System coaches call their brand of hoops the "No Child Left Behind Style of Basketball," and nothing could be more true.

- It is so hard to single out player for her individual effort (mostly because I'm not entirely sure of everyone's name), but I did want to give a shoutout to point guard Jessica Lieber. I loved watching her push tempo throughout her shifts, always looking up to advance the ball a little bit quicker. She has a nice touch on 3-pointers, as well, and a nose for the ball on defense. Look for a big season for Jessica.

I wish Coach Massey, Coach Allison, Emma, Paige, Jessica and everyone else the best of luck during the remainder of their stay in my state. Hopefully, I will get a chance to visit Thiel Gymnasium to watch a real game at some point. I know Emily and Libbie will be up for the trip, since they already have plans to build a snowman with their new pal, Emma.

Keep doing your thing, Streaks.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Finally, here is your season-ending update!

Well, I could make up a long list of excuses for why I never let everyone know how the season ended for all of our favorite teams. Was it my kidney stone that originally got me off-kilter? Was it my time spent coaching Emily's rec league hoops team, then soccer team, and finally softball team? Was it my time spent helping feed the hungry children of .... OK, actually, I didn't do that.

Whatever the reason, I know I let everyone down with my neglect, not to mention all the coaches and players who make System basketball the finest in the land. So I was determined to put a wrap (finally) on the 2010-11 season for all these teams. And, yes, I understand it's July 3. The good news is this gives us something to talk about during the long months of a System-free existence! Good, right?

Here's what I have.


We have to start with the original team that got me so involved with this amazing style of play, the Division III men's team coached by System creator David Arseneault. The Pioneers had a rough start of play in the Midwest Conference, winning only three of their first nine games. A second consecutive losing season seemed almost certain at that point.

That was before the game at Lawrence on Jan. 22, when Grinnell fell behind 60-35 at halftime. Yep, you read that correctly, a 25-point deficit at the break on the heels of a two-game losing streak. Any avid reader of this blog (or even a casual one) likely remembers what happened next, a furious rally by Coach A's Pioneers to force overtime, and, eventually, culminating in a 112-103 victory for Grinnell. One of those once-in-a-lifetime games that proved once again why The System is so wonderful.

Grinnell used the momentum from this tremendous effort to win its final eight MWC games, pulling all the way into a tie for second and qualifying for the conference tournament once again (only the top four teams make it). A 93-91 victory over Illinois College in the semifinals put the Pioneers back in the championship game, and even an 89-67 loss to host St. Norbert hardly diminished what was a fabulous recovery for this team.

Grinnell finished 18-7 overall and 12-6 in the MWC, and Coach A was awarded Coach of the Year for the fifth time. Pretty special. Sophomore guard Griffin Lentsch from Forest Lake, Minn., made first-team all-conference, as well. Additionally, the Pioneers led D-III in three team categories: points per game (102.9), 3-pointers made per game (17.8) and steals per game (14.7). Point guard Scott Kaitz led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, as well, at 4.56.

There's even better news. Assuming everyone who is eligible to return does just that, including Lentsch, Grinnell brings back 91 percent of its points and 95 percent of its 3-pointers in the 16 players with eligibility remaining. A couple of losses came in areas that don't show up in the stat sheet, with the graduation of Kale Knisley and Alex McDonald. Sure, each averaged a team-best 3.9 rebounds, and Knisley was second with 38 steals, but that doesn't tell the complete picture. They were integral in setting screens to free up Lentsch and the other shooters, and McDonald's 55 offensive rebounds at least 20 more than anyone else.

I have to believe Coach A will find the necessary players to keep the Pioneers on top, and it will be interesting to see the progress of Lentsch and some of the others.


The NCAA Division II women's team coached by Bunky Harkleroad enjoyed a tremendous season, as well, winning the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA tournament. Pretty sweet effort in only the second year on campus for Coach Harkleroad.

The Pioneers (catchy nickname, right?) finished 23-9 and 17-5 in the WVIAC, which was good enough for third, one game behind co-regular season champs Charleston and West Liberty. Glenville State opened the tournament with an easy 98-39 victory over Alderson-Broaddus at home, finishing 12-0 in the friendly confines of Jesse R. Lilly Jr. Gymnasium.

For the final three rounds, play moved to the Charleston Civic Center, where the Pioneers whipped Pitt-Johnstown 91-73 and Concord 110-87 to reach the final against Charleston. Beth Deren made four 3-pointers and poured in 16 points, helping Glenville State hold on for a 77-73 victory.

That sent the Pioneers to Edinboro, Penn., for the opening round of the NCAA tournament, where they fell behind early and couldn't quite recover in a 74-69 loss to Johnson C. Smith. Deren again led the way with 12 points. The end came suddenly but couldn't spoil the tremendous job Coach Harkleroad has done in bring The System to Glenville State. He's won 41 games in two seasons and brought his team back to the top of the WVIAC, and the future certainly looks bright up on the mountain.

Leading scorer Tenisha Wilson (16.4 points) was rewarded for a great season, making first-team all-conference, and point guard Danielle Woodmore was named to the second-team. Also, Kenyell Goodson got a spot on the all-freshman squad.

As usual with The System, the Pioneers led all-divisions of women's basketball at 95.7 points per game and made 369 3-pointers. Coach Harkleroad will have to replace four key contributors beginning next season, with Autumn Davis (10 ppg, team-high 80 3's), Kim Stephens (7.5 ppg), Kristen Golden (7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Miranda Reed (4.8 ppg, team-high 5.2 apg) all using up their eligibility.

Everyone else should be back, and Coach Harkleroad has hit the recruiting trail hard to bring in more talent. Expect big things next season fro Glenville State.


More success found the NAIA women's team coached by Doug Porter, which made it to the Sweet 16 of the NAIA tournament after finishing in a tie atop the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings. Coach Doug Porter's Tigers ended up 27-7 overall and 9-1 in the CCAC, ranked 16th in the final NAIA coaches' poll. They also led all of NAIA in the following categories, besides simply scoring and shooting 3s:

- Offensive rebounds per game (25.8)
- Assists per game (21.2)
- Steals per game (21.6)
- Turnover margin (plus 12.5)

At one point, ONU went two months without a loss, winning 13 consecutive games while averaging 112 points in that span. The run include a pair of victories in Hawaii in the Hoop N Surf Classic, where the Tigers romped past South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 117-88 and Morningside College 113-67.

A tough loss on the road at Saint Xavier cost ONU the outright regular season CCAC title and gave the Cougars home-court advantage in the tournament, which ended with a 101-91 victory for the home team. Still, the Tigers was one of 32 teams invited to the NAIA tournament, and they beat Southern Poly 87-79 in the opening round.

That led to a matchup with two-time defending national champ Union (on Union's home floor, no less), and ONU saw its season end 81-69.

Still, an incredible run for Coach Porter and his team. They led all of women's college basketball with 103.9 points per game (anyone else sense a theme?) and made 493 3-pointers, all while having 15 players get on the court in at least 33 of the 34 games. No one averaged more than the 14.6 minutes of run per game than Jaimie Buckman, and leading scorer Simone Coburn (12.8 ppg) was on the court for slightly less than 12 minutes. Um, and in case you forgot, colleges play 40 minutes in every game. I'm getting all tingley just typing that.

In all, 16 of the 17 players on the roster averaged at least one point, another amazing factoid. You want another one? Point guard Danielle Pipal was named honorable mention all-American despite averaging only 6.9 points. She added a team-best 152 assists (4.6 per game) and 124 steals (3.8 per game, good for second best in the nation), all while grabbing 3.8 rebounds per game, as well. Oh, I probably should mention she's only 5-foot-8.

Pipal also made first-team all-CCAC, along with Coburn and Danielle Tolbert (12.7 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.7 rpg), and Coach Porter was conference Coach of the Year.

The team should be loaded again next season. even though ONU does lose Coburn and Lisa Beyer (3.8 ppg). Given Coach Porter's history, I know it will be another successful run.


The girls' team coached by Evan Massey simply did it all in the second season of The System for the Streaks: a 28-7 finish, a trip to the Elite Eight and numerous state and national records. So what if it ended what must have seemed a bit too prematurely with a 77-70 loss to Country Club Hills Hillcrest?

Prior to the season, Galesburg was picked to finish in the bottom half of its conference, a tough one known as the Western Big 6. A second-place finish set the stage for an incredible postseason run, with a regional title and the first sectional title since 2003.

And, yes, there are the records. Jessica Howard made 139 3-pointers during the season to set the Illinois mark, and the team totals of 1,476 3s attempted and 397 3s made for the season are national records. Galesburg also had single-game highs of 22 3s and 72 attempted 3s, both state records.

As sometimes happens with System teams, the Streaks started off slowly, losing two of their first three games before finding their collective grooves.

A 13-game winning streak included the championship of the Charleston Holiday Tournament, and even though Galesburg lost its regular-season finale to rival Moline (a game that decided the WB6 race), Coach Massey had his team ready for the postseason. The Streaks won the Geneseo Regional and the Metamora Sectional before losing in the Supersectional to Hillcrest, a game that was close all the way.

What a great season. Now, Galesburg will have to replace five seniors, including Howard, point guard Tai Peachey, Jamie Johnson, Mickey Rodriguez and Megan Young. Three plan to continue their careers in college: Howard will play at Monmouth College (a conference rival of Grinnell), Peachey is going to Olivet Nazarene (how sweet is that?) and Johnson will be at Black Hawk College. Best of luck to all of them.

How will Coach Massey replace them? Well, if spring workouts are any indication, he certainly will have the numbers to do so. So far, 15 players have indicated they are interested in playing for him next season, and there are 19 incoming freshmen who want to play hoops, as well. Viva la System!

EISENHOWER HS (Blue Island, Ill.)

A first-year System team, the boys' team coached by Mike Curta won a share of the conference title, the first such result in 28 seasons, on its way to a 14-14 finish. Along the way, the Cardinals set a national record by attempting 1,391 3-pointers (49.6 per game) and a state record by making 370 (good for third-best total in the nation). Six players, including the coach's son, Nick, averaged at least one 3 per game, and Tyrone Terrell led the way by making 130 of 453 for the season.

The season ended with a 107-65 loss to Crete Monee in the state tournament, but Coach Curta wasn't too disappointed with the conclusion. He has 11 players returning next season, so the future certainly appears bright at Eisenhower HS. Best of luck to them.


The National Junior College Athletic Association women's team came one game shy of advancing to the national tournament, losing to Kalamazoo Valley Community College 121-96 in the district championship game. The Jets finished 19-12 in their first season with The System -- winning 18 of their final 23 games -- and coach Andy Hoaglin's squad should be even better next season.

Jackson CC set NJCAA Division II records by averaging 103.6 points and attempting 1,550 3-pointers. Sophomore Erika Bullock made second-team all-conference and freshman Nicole Wurster got a nod to the third team, as well as a spot on the all-freshman squad. Bullock averaged a team-best 14.2 points and Wurster was right behind with 12.4, while Bullock finished third in NJCAA Division II with 4.58 steals per game.

Here's hoping nothing but success for Coach Hoaglin and the Jets next season.


The girls' team coached by Keith Freund lost a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals of the state tournament, falling to Lynbrook 69-68. Still, an amazing season by the Vikings, who finished 16-3 overall and won their conference with a 12-0 mark. Along the way, North Shore put up some wonderful numbers out on "The Island" in The System:

- Average margin of victory in the conference was 32 points
- Nassau County record 151 3-pointers made
- Led the county with 72.5 points per game
- School record 95 points in a single game
- School record 16 3s made in a single game

Coach Freund returns nine of his top 11 players and expects to be favored to win the state title. Here's hoping he can pull it off.

Well, that wraps up the wrapup, as it were. I hope everyone forgives me for delaying this so long, and I hope the coaches and players who utilize this perfect style of play have a great offseason. I plan to be back with some interviews and other stuff this summer, so check back frequently. I won't let you down again.