Sunday, March 31, 2013

Florida Gulf Coast Run Comes to an End

The Eagles Cinderella story came to a close on Friday at the hand of  Florida. After a early lead, FGCU began to commit costly turnovers due to the Gators pressure defense. Thanks to Florida's size advantage, the Gators held the advantage in rebounding (35 boards to 28) as well. With five and a half minutes left in the first with the score 24-14 , in favor of the Eagles, Florida went on a 16-2 run to close the half. Unlike the previous two tournament games, Florida Gulf Coast wasn't able to put together a big run in the second half. Florida coasted to a 62-50 win, and a spot in the Elite Eight.

Florida Gulf Coast exploded into the national spotlight this March, thanks to their explosive and exciting style of play. They also set a historic mark as becoming the only 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16. This will go down as one of the most exciting tournament runs in history, and will be remembered by all who watched.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

West Linn Wins Oregon Basketball Title

On March 9, West Linn won the Oregon 6A state basketball championship, breaking Jesuit's four year title reign. In the quarterfinals the Lions had a tough, and even questionable win over the Grant Commodores. After a back and forth game, it was evident that the game would be decided in the final minutes. After two made free throws from Diondre Bird, put Grant in the lead by one. On the ensuing drive by West Linn, Jared Howard missed a layup, then rebounded by the generals. After drawing up a inbounds play, Grant throws it away. What ensued was a mad scramble for the ball, with multiple players tied up on the ball, West Linn is awarded with the timeout. This was the first questionable call, that completely altered the course of the game. The Lions last possession ended up with another missed layup, however the Commodores do not secure the defensive rebound. Again there is a loose ball, with players diving left and right. What is different this time is that Grant is called for a holding call, when it appeared that neither team had possession. With only 4.7 seconds left on the clock, Jarrod Howard sinks two free throws to win 51-50. Should that foul have been called down the stretch, with the game so close? Probably not, but what could have helped was having a third referee present.
Advancing to the semifinals, West Linn was slated to play undefeated conference foe Lake Oswego. In their two conference match-ups, the Lakers won in convincing fashion. West Linn went into the game with the strategy of slowing down the pace of the game. After a defensive slugfest all game, the Lions were in a tight game down by one with 35 seconds left on the clock. Freshman point guard Payton Pritchard finds post Ryan Shermire on the block, he power dribbles to the middle and completes a right hook shot to put his team in the lead. The Lakers inbound the ball to their star leader Calvin Hermanson, who quickly pulls up from deep beyond the arc, but comes up short of the make. After the miss there is a jump ball called, and possession goes to the favorited Lake Oswego. With one last chance to save their season, the Lakers inbound pass is intercepted by Pritchard, and as time expires West Linn celebrates the upset.
After two gruelling and tight games, they were well prepared for the Final against Central Catholic. Despite an early run from the Rams, West Linn came roaring back, hitting four consecutive threes in the second half, to steal the momentum. West Linn never looked back as Ryan Shermire sealed the win from the free throw line, as West Linn won their second boys basketball title in school history 45-41.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oregon High School Basketball

On Wednesday the 6A Oregon High School Basketball Championships will move to the Rose Garden. After Saturday night, the 6A champions will be crowned out of the eight teams remaining. It is every high school player's dream to play on this stage, so there is no doubt we'll see some amazing games.

Previewing the slate of games on Wednesday one game that stands out is the Lake Oswego vs. Southridge match up. After being tested last Friday by Tigard, in arguably their toughest win of the year,the Lakers do not seem as invincible as they've been perceived. On the flip side, Southridge has won two close matches between Lakeridge and David Douglas. Both games decided by a combined five points, there is no doubt that the Skyhawks are riding a lot of momentum coming into this game, led by a strong class of seniors. However, with so many offensive threats with Hermanson, Griffin and Caslick producing at such a high level (Scoring a combined 75 points out of 153 in the last two playoff games) Southridge defensively will not be able to keep up with the Lakers.

After a hard fought game last Friday, Sunset defeated the upset minded Timberwolves of Tualatin. Led by a strong post duo pertaining of Tyler Gutierrez standing at 6"8, and Adam Mead at 6"7, they are key to the Apollo's success. Facing a familiar foe in Jesuit, a confernce opponent, Sunset know what to expect. After already being blown out twice already by the Crusadors, expect a tight game from Sunset. After struggling to contain Sprauge's Tanner Morgan at post (dropping 17 points in a low scoring game) the Apollos may be able to expose one of Jesuit's weaknesses tomorrow. With all this in mind, I'm calling upset here, the Apollos walk away with the victory thanks to outstanding post play and superb three point shooting.

In the other two games I see West Linn taking out Grant, in a game where the Lions of West Linn will take over offensively. Addiitonally Central Catholic will handle South Medford with ease in the least exciting game of the day.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Morning Snapshot: The Sixers End Their Losing Streak

(Photo: Paul Vathis/AP file photo)
I know this is going to hurt for all the west coast readers but the Philadelphia Sixers defeated the Golden State Warriors 104-97 on Saturday night. This was huge for the Sixers because they snapped their seven game losing streak. All of the Sixers starters were playing great basketball including guard Royal Ivey who got the start in place of Nick Young who had a sprain ankle.

What was also special about this game was that it was Wilt Chamberlain bobblehead night. If you remember Wilt played for the Philadelphia Warriors and then when they moved to San Francisco he continued to play for them. Also last night marked the 51 year anniversary of Wilt scoring 100 points in a game. Last night was a great night of basketball in the city of Philadelphia.

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