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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Game Recap: 12/28/05

Game Recap - Thirty-seven freakin' points?: Lasalle 40, Shaker 37. Wow. Maybe it was the Armory rims. Maybe it was too much eggnog and too many Christmas cookies over the weekend. Maybe it was an instant karma curse related to this blog, seeing as they're 1-2 since I proudly proclaimed their entry into the state top 20 rankings. I don't know.

[UPDATE (1:30pm) : I have now recieved some game reports, which appear below. They tend to contradict the TU recap, saying that it wasn't a crushing Lasalle defense, but instead a very sloppy Shaker performance. See below for more]

I'm suspicious of the Times Union take on the game, which is basically that they got smothered by a vicious Lasalle defense:
La Salle senior Kyle Dignum scored 18 points, but defense was the difference as the Cadets handed Shaker its second loss of the season, 40-37 in Wednesday night's first game of the Bishop Maginn Holiday Classic at Washington Avenue Armory.

La Salle's high-pressure defense shut down Blue Bison big man Brad Sheehan, limiting the Georgia Tech-bound senior to only one point in the first half.

"We preach defense," La Salle coach Sean Brown said. "We had a lot of ball pressure, and they were unable to get their high-low looks to Sheehan."

Dignum and fellow senior Patrick Reardon, who scored 12, led the Cadets (3-4). Sheehan and senior Tom Duclos scored 13 for the Blue Bison (6-2).

"I give them a lot of credit," Shaker coach Jeff Holmes said. "We couldn't get into our half-court offense and couldn't get the ball into our big guy."

When the score was first published on the TU online boys basketball page, it was just the boxscore. The above article hadn't appeared yet. I looked over the box score and thought of three plausible reasons Shaker was held to 37 points:

#1) Lasalle played a stall offense, something like NC State in the 1983 NCAA championship game or Princeton against Georgetown in the 1989 NCAA first round.

#2) Shaker had massive problems in the turnover department, and shot like 25% from the field.

#3) Lasalle's defense was ridiculously good.

The TU obvioiusly portrayed the answer as (#3). But newspapers like to write high school basketball stories from the positive angle**, so I was skeptical, and the reports I've gotten seem to indicate (#2) is the right answer. That doesn't surprise me at all. Turnovers have been a recurring problem this year. The submitted evidence seems to back up the (#2) thesis. For instance, here's a game recap submitted by Shaker student Joe Bianchino:
Sloppiness was the name of the game. Shaker and Lasalle both played a poor game on all sides of the ball, in every way imaginable. The game started promising, as the tip went straight to Duclos who put in an easy basket and then got a steal for two more. That was really the last time anything went well. From then on, the game went to places I've never seen it go. Mishandled balls, stepping out of bounds dribbling up the court, travels, tons (20 or so?) sloppy passes.

Lasalle made these mistkaes as well. I wouldn't call it a defensive battle, it was more just a battle of under perfomring offenses. But you gotta give it to Shaker for being able to stay close amid the madness. Playing such a bad game, it was remarkable that they hung tough enough to have a shot at it at the end. But every time they made a run to get the lead down to two in the second half, Lasalle seemed to respond with a jumper. Or Shaker would committ a turnover.

On the bright side, I think they will have a huge game tonight. No way they could possibly follow up that performance with anything but a serious desire to pick their game up. I think Shaker beats Magin tonight and gets a huge effort all around, especially from Brad, Griff, and Tom.
I got this report from reader Marc M.:
I don't have a full review, but when you have upwards of 20 tunrovers in the first half (I got too frustrated to count in the 2nd half), you've got problems. And nobody on the team could make a shot from outside of 10 feet (and the shots were open, due to Lasalle double and triple-teaming Brad.)
I also got this, straight from Brad Sheehan himself:
We probably had more than 30 turnovers...
Yikes. That's not good. But it makes a lot more sense to me than the newspaper's "wicked Lasalle defense" angle. Obviously, good defense can lead to turnovers, but my sense is that loss was as much Shaker sloppiness as it was the "ball pressure" that Lasalle "preaches." Let's hope Joe B. is right, and that they bounce back big tonight.

Thirty seven points. Geez. Well, better now than in late February.

Here's the partial box score:

NameFGFTFTAFT %3-PtPoints
Eddie Cross100--02
Vernon Cross000--00
Ryan Dare100--02
Tom Duclos45683%013
Pat Fallon000--00
John Hans000--00
Brian Hooks000--00
Griff McLoughlin13475%05
Steve Schaller000--00
Brad Sheehan45863%013
John Weinheimer100--02


La Salle 1110118 40

I'll be at the game tonight, so expect a more full-bodied game recap tomorrow. I'll also publish my interview with B. Sheehan tomorrow.

P.S. Taylor Battle played last night, which means the real Maginn teams will be on the court tonight.

Final score: Lasalle 40, Shaker 37. Full box score here. Shaker drops to 6-2 ( 4-1 in the Suburban Council).

Next Game: Tonight, Bishop Maginn Holiday Tournament, 2nd Round vs. Bishop Maginn, downtown at the Washington Avenue Armory.

**There's nothing wrong with doing this. And I definitely understand the impusle to try and find the positive-spin, especially when we're writing about teenagers who play a game for fun. But I think the TU goes overboard in this category. It's ok to say that Shaker played a bad game, it's not like they don't know it. And the coaches' quotes are silly - of course Holmes and the Lasalle coach are going to praise the Lasalle defense. Back to previous spot.
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