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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: 1/17/06

Game Recap: Away vs. Guilderland, 1/17/06

Executive Summary: Shaker 65, Guilderland 54. Almost no fans at the game. They played pretty well, but definitely not their best performance. Guilderland is a team they should blow out of the gym, but they let them hang around for three quarters tonight. Nevertheless, they put them away when they had to, using a 10-2 run to open the 4th quarter and shut the door. Overall, there were some positives: John Hans had an excellent game, his best of the season offensively (16 points, four 3-pointers). The pressbreaking was much stronger, as they attacked for easy baskets instead of just trying to get the ball over the halfcourt. In fact, they looked noticeably more comfortable in transition, scoring several times on fast breaks off of Guilderland misses. And Brad had a dominating 2nd half. There were also some negatives: the defensive rebounding was horrible, the worst I've seen this season. They gave up way too many second-chance baskets. And the turnovers continue to be problematic, although they were far less rattled by the press tonight than they were in the first game against the Dutchmen. Bottom line: that's five in a row, and that's momentum. Final score: Shaker 65, Guilderland 54. TU box score here. Shaker moves to 11-3 (9-1 Suburban Council). Next game: 1/20/06, home against Mohonason.

Full Report, Hans on fire, Goooooo Vernon!, where are the fans?: Arrived at Guilderland around 7:15 for a 7:30 tip, and I was surprised to see the varsity teams already warming up. Must have been a quick JV game. Hey, look at this - this place looks a lot like the H-gym new gym! It's slightly smaller, but has the same basic setup: double doors on one end with a trophy case against the wall, large bleachers, similar banners hanging on the walls, same crappy sound system, even a scorer's table that looks remarkably like the one at Shaker. Very, very much like our familiar haunt. But wait, one side of the gym has actual seats instead of bleachers. Wow. No back pain tonight! I spot Chris Caradori and the Sheehan family sitting in the 3rd row, so we plop down next to them. Some other notes:

1) Um, where are the fans?: I know it was poor weather last night, and I know Guilderland isn't very good this year, but there is no one here. I stood up just before tip-off and took a rough count of the total attendance. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 people - and that includes the JV teams, concession workers, and bloggers. That's pathetic. It reminded me of the basketball scenes in Teen Wolf before the team gets good. Just no one there.

Put it this way: I've never been to a game at Shaker that poorly attended. It instantly made for a low-key game, both for the fans and players - there just weren't enough people there for loud cheering. Luckily, I'd say more than half of the fans were rooting for Shaker. The 6th man only had about a dozen people, and it was definitely low-key as well. But it still outperformed the Guilderland student section, which as best I could tell was just their JV team, and a co-ed cheerleading squad of 45 students. Forty-five cheerleaders. I'm not kidding.

2) I liked sitting in the 3rd row: My usual location at Shaker is the 10th row of the adult section, on the aisle closest to midcourt. And I usually try to duplicate that position at away games. But I really enjoyed sitting down low last night. You could hear the intensity of Bogdan and Griff on defense - ball! ball! ball! ball! ball! - and the ever-so-calm timeout pep talks of Coach Holmes.

3) Awesome national anthem: This girl just belted out a sweet Star Spangled Banner. Best I've heard all year. And scratch what I said above - somehow the same crappy sound system that turns the national anthem into AM radio static at Shaker came through big tonight. It's uncanny. That's the same sound system.

During warmups, I watched Guilderland. They are very small, but they sure do look like bombers. As I discussed yesterday, they've made 65 3-pointers this year. That's a lot. And they like to press the whole game. It makes for a dangerous opponent, even if they are 5-7.

1st Quarter

Shaker started Sheehan, Hans, Duclos, Griff, and - what's this? - Bodgan! Brad won the tip, but then missed a baseline jumper and Boggs was called over the back on the rebound. I don't mind that - it's aggressive and that's good. The teams traded baskets - a jumper for Guilderland and a hoop for John Hans. A few missed trips both ways, and then Hans hits a three pointer. Guilderland responds with a 3 of their own, 5-5. Shaker then goes on a 7-0 run, which includes baskets by Duclos, Brad on a pressbreak, and another three-pointer for Hans. He's on fire tonight, and he's looking to shoot. Brad misses an alley-oop dunk opportunity off a Bogdan pass that is just barely off the mark. Later, Bodgan gets a defensive rebound and I hear a cheerleader standing behind the hoop go, "yeah, Boggs!" Sweet. Guilderland then goes on its own run, hitting a basket and then a three-pointer to pull within 12-10. Duclos is fouled after a great catch on a long pressbreak pass, but he misses both free throws. Hans makes another basket, but with time running out, Guilderland gets an offensive rebound and drops a layup in at the buzzer. At the end of the quarter Shaker leads 14-12. It should have been more.

1st quarter notes:

1) All Guilderland does is press and shoot bombs: Seriously, I think they attempted 20+ three-pointers tonight. And they pressed the whole game. Luckily, Shaker seems to have gotten the hang of a good pressbreak - they are getting the ball to Brad in the center of the floor, and he is looking to pass the ball upcourt. They seem to have a mentality to punish the press and not just get the ball over halfcourt. It resulted in a few easy baskets, and they looked good doing it. I just hope that this isn't a close game in the 4th quarter - Guilderland has a few very good shooters - Googas is more impressive than last time - and they are perfectly willing to launch whenever.

2) Brad got very few touches in the post: At the 4:04 mark of the first quarter, Brad had not gotten the ball in the post yet with his back to the hoop. He only had two points in the quarter - a transition layup - and he missed a couple of baseline jumpers that he usually makes. I was surprised they didn't go right to him, but it looked like the Guilderland defense was really slumping in on him in the halfcourt set. It wasn't really a problem, because...

3) John Hans came to play tonight: 10 points in the first quarter, and two three-pointers. He's open on the outside and he was looking to shoot. To me, this is a very positive development. As I've said many times, a consistent three-point threat would be a great compliment to Brad's play inside the paint.

4) They have picked up their tempo: In addition to the pressbreaking, they really looked to be making a concerted effort tonight to get the ball of the court quick, off both steals and off of rebounds. The outlet passes were being pushed farther upcourt, and you could hear Holmes encouraging them to push it. I'm definitely in favor of this, within reason. The trick is to recognize when they have it and when they don't, so they don't give away opportunities on sloppy turnovers. They executed well in transition last night. I was impressed.

5) VC has now got his own chant: At the 3:04 mark, Dare, EC, and VC came into the game, and all of the sudden the 6th man let loose with a Goooooooooooo,Vern-on! scream. I like that.

6) Not a whistle in sight: no way either team gets to the bonus this half. No way.

2nd Quarter

The 2nd quarter was similar to the first. Similar but different. Brad and Griff both came alive in the post, each scoring 6 points. They connected on a great pass from Brad to Griff hi-lo in the post for a layup. I love the way Brad passes in the lane and I love the way Griff can catch anything that comes his way. Shaker pulled ahead 20-14 and I felt like they were on the cusp of running away with it, but Guilderland hit another three-pointer. All they do is shoot threes. It's unreal. Luckily, their percentage isn't great. Guilderland gets to the line for a shooting foul, and I overhear Holmes - in his very calm, very conversational vocie - say to the ref, "We get fouled too, just because we make 'em doesn't mean it's not a foul," in obvious reference to two hoops by Griff and Brad that could easily have been "and 1" trips to the line. Apparently just for Karma's sake, the very next trip John misses a jumper, Griff gets the boards and gets killed on the putback, Eddie gets the rebound and again gets killed on the putback, no foul called. Ugh. But Shaker gets some stops - including two thunderous blocks by Brad - and Griff hits a tough hoop followed by another Hans three-pointer, and suddenly its 29-22 with 1:30 to go in the half. But Guilderland hits a three - of course - and then gets another buzzer-beater offensive rebound to end the half. I feel like I'm going to throw up. 29-27, Shaker.

Second quarter notes:

1) Not many different scorers : Hans has 13, Brad 8, Griff 6, and Duclos 2. That's the total. Nothing wrong with that, it's just usally spread out a bit more. John Hans looks so confident shooting the ball right now. Just great.

2) They turned up the inside game: Brad and Griff really got going in the 2nd quarter. And the guards made an effort to look for them inside. That's good. There's not way that Guilderland can handle Brad at all, and Griff seemed to have his way muscling around.

3) The defensive rebouding is atrocious: This has been a nagging problem at times throughout the year, but it really came to life tonight. Now part of the problem is that Guilderland is taking almost all their shots from 17' or farther, and that creates a lot of wierd rebounds off the hoop. But sometimes they are getting easy hoops off missed box-outs when the ball simply comes down 4 feet from the basket. Unacceptable. And ending both quarters on putback layups is just draining.

4) That was a very frustrating first half: I thought the Bison played pretty well. They had some sloppiness, and of course the defensive rebounding was miserable, but I also thought they did a lot of things well at both ends of the floor. Guilderland made four 3-pointers, and that's tough, but Hans made three so they basically cancelled out. It really felt like Shaker should have been up by about 10, and instead they were clining to a 2 point lead. They were getting no love from the ref (0 for 2 from the line total and a bunch of offensive fouls and violations), but they still could have pulled away, either at 12-5, 20-14, or 29-22. Each time, though, Guilderland hit a three as part of a nice run.

Shaker's scoring looked like this at the break:

Brad 4 0 8
Duc 1 0 2
Hans 5 0 13 (three 3-pointers)
Grif 3 0 6

Total 13 0 29 (three 3-pointers)

Halftime notes:

1) Twix report: Finally, a road concession stand with Twix. Cost a dollar. And yup, Guilderland officially has the most low-budget food setup of any Suburban Council school. Makes the H-gym concession stand look like a grcoery store. But I guess that happens when you only have 130 people at the game. At least they had the Twix.

2) Celebrity status: All of a sudden, people in the stands seem to univerally know about Girmind's Ghost. I had people coming up to me and telling me they read it, which was cool.

3) Um, the Beastie boys?: The Guilderland cheerleading squad - all 45 of them - did a nice halftime routine. Interestingly, it was backed by the Beastie Boys Fight for your Right to Party, and included the entire cheering squad screaming the chorus at one point. Just strange. As I've said before, Shaker has the only traditional cheering squad in the Suburban council. Nisky has the X-rated routines, B. Spa has that Napoleon Dynamite dancer, and Guilderland is using party rap music from when I was in 3rd grade in 1986 . Hillarious.

4) Halfcourt shots: So after the cheering display, one of the female cheerleaders takes a basketball and starts launching halfcourt shots, rimming out on her first two attempts. At first the "crowd" was stunned - what is she doing - but then the 6th man really got into it, banging on their chairs and hooting, and on the 7th attempt she hit it! What a sideshow. Fit right in with the Guilderland theme of bombing endless three pointers. Plus, absolutely no explanation from the announcer. What was that? Kept me entertained, that's for sure.

3rd Quarter

The third quarter was basically a disaster, even though they only lost it 15-14 (By the way, the Times Union box score is incorrect - they gave Guilderland a second quarter basket that actually belongs in the 3rd). Guilderland opened the quarter on a 6-2 run to take their first lead since 2-0, and it was largely due to Bison turnovers and more offensive rebounds for the Dutchmen. You started to get that ominous feeling like, hey, they could actually lose this game. Not good. Shaker then ran off 5 points of their own on a Griff foul shot and two post moves by Brad to make it 36-33 Shaker. But then Guilderland scored three straight baskets, picked up the pressure, and Shaker looked to be in disarray. Timeout Holmes. 39-36 Guilderland. Yikes. Off the timeout, Shaker got the ball to Brad in the post, and he put on a great spin move ending in a monster dunk. He was looking directly at the Shaker bench (and us behind it) and you could see it in his eyes as he jammed the ball. We're not losing this one so let's get going RIGHT now. Vernon put in a basket to make it 40-39 Shaker. Guilderland hits - what else - a three pointer, but Hans struck back with a three-pointer at the buzzer, and it was 43-42 Shaker at the end of three. Finally - finally - we got the momentum shot at the end of a quarter.

Third quarter notes:

1) Old habits die hard: Somewhere in the middle of the quarter, they stopped attacking the press and started just trying to get the ball over midcourt. I don't know why it happens - I don't think it's conscious. I think Guilderland just turned their press up a notch and Shaker pulled back a bit into a shell. It's not good - they make a lot more turnovers and they just encouraged Guilderland to get more aggressive with the press.

2) Brad really got going, Hans was clutch: They were looking inside to Brad on almost every trip, and he got 8 points in the quarter off post moves that he executed with ease. John Hans' three at the buzzer was a very important shot. It really stemmed the Guilderland rally and shut the crowd up, too. Shaker ended the quarter on a 7-3 run just as Guilderland might have had thoughts of building a significant lead (at 39-36)

3) Continued trouble with defensive rebounding: Just killer, two huge Guilderland hoops on easy putbacks. This is clearly the number one issue right now. Not the pressure, not the turnovers. Defensive rebounding.

4th Quarter

Shaker took over in the 4th quarter and was very impressive. Tom Kahlne opened the quarter with a tough defensive rebound and then a nice basket in the post. Guilderland hit a shot to make it 45-44 Shaker. The teams traded missed trips twice and then the Bison went on a 8-0 run, starting at 5:03 and ending at 2:42, that basically decided the game. Brad scored all 8 points. First he hit a nice post move, and then a thunderous dunk on the next trip. I mean thunderous. Hooks then had a great steal playing individual defense on Googas, and that turned into another Sheehan dunk. After a defensive stop, Brad banked in a soft one. 53-44 Shaker. Just like that. Guilderland finally got a basket, but then a Shaker got a fast break. They threw a lead pass to Brad, who caught it with one hand and amost layed it in all in one motion. It rolled off the rim, but Hooks was right there for the easy putback. Guilderland tried to hurry down the court, but then the ref blew the whistle, and we waited 6.5 minutes while one of the Dutchmen players looked for his contact lens. Hysterical, but more on this in the notes. Guilderland then was the beneficiary of one of the worst calls I've seen in a long time. EC fouled a kid who was shooting on the left wing from about 16 or 17 feet, and the ref awarded him three foul shots, saying it was a three-point attempt. It was really ridiculous. If Shaker had been only up 2, Holmes would have completely lost it. Instead, he just exploded. Guilderland made 2 of 3, and then EC took a great pass from Brad in the lane and got fouled while making the layup. 57-48 Shaker, 1:35 to go. They made their foul shots down the stretch, and broke the press for an easy Hooks layup. Final score 65-54.

4th quarter notes:

1) Brad's barnstorm: The 8-0 Brad run was the quintessential example of him just taking over a game. All four times he got the ball, you just knew he was going to hit. There was nothing Guilderland could do about it.

2) The contact lens hunt: Obviously, since this is just high school basketball, it makes sense to stop the game when a kid loses his contact. Luckily, it wasn't a tense game at that point - Shaker was pretty much wrapping it up. But I can imagine this same thing happening at the sectional final with like 35 seconds to play in a tied game, and it being just a complete debacle. As it was, it was pretty funny to watch 5 Guilderland players, three coaches, and two refs crawl around on the floor near midcourt for 4 minutes.

3) The lack of love from the refs ended up helping the Bison: Guilderland only had 2 team fouls in the 2nd half when they started fouling to stop the clock with 2:05 to go. It took them almost 40 seconds to get Shaker into the bonus. Since the Bison had no real trouble inbounding the ball, this really worked in their favor.

4) Vernon acknowledges the 6th man: In a Bodgan-esque moment, Vernon looked up at the 6th man and smiled with about 1:05 to go after another great Goooooooooo, Vernon! was unleashed. That, of course, set the 6th man off, first cackling with laughter and then screaming with disdain - Get your head in the game, Vern! - at the object of their affection.

5) Nice job handling the press down the stretch: They broke the late game press with relative ease, getting a few easy hoops and not turning it over in the backcourt. A couple of times I got worried they weren't going to make the 10 seconds, but they never got called. And they look more confident on their inbound plays.

Here is the partial boxscore, discussion below:

NameFGFTFTAFT %3-PtPoints
Eddie Cross100--02
Vernon Cross122100%04
Tom Duclos1020%02
John Hans200--416
Brian Hooks200--04
Thomas Kahnle100--02
Griff McLoughlin41250%09
Brad Sheehan1222100%026


Shaker 14151422 65

Four major things to sum up:

1) They got the job done: And that's what's important. The 4th quarter was well done, as was their response to the Guilderland charge in the 3rd. Not the prettiest win, but a solid effort. 11-3 is very good, and if they keep this up they have a real shot at 17-3. They need to play better to beat the better teams, but you could see signs of their potential last night.

2) The TU box score (above) is way off: Bodgan definitely made a layup as time expired, and those two Vernon foul shots are actually Eddie's. I think they gave Bodgan's basket to Griff.

3) When Brad gets on fire, just give him the ball: And they did. It's important to recognize when he's on a tear, because he's literally unstoppable.

4) Get John Hans more shots: It's clear that Hans has the confidence and the ability to make big three-pointers, so maybe it's time to design (or run) more plays that give him open looks. He had just a tremendous game tonight, the boxscore doesn't even do it justice. I think he was 4 for 6 from 3-point land. That neutralized Guilderland, which went about 5 for 20 from out there.

Summary and notes

Holmes used a somewhat tighter rotation tonight, although Schaller played quite a bit in the 4th quarter...Tom Kahlne was impressive in his short stint...The Bison are close to wrapping up the Suburban Blue division, up 3 games with 4 to play...Friday night against Mohonason I'm demanding a blowout, it will be my first weekend home game since CBA...

Final score: Shaker 65, Guilderland 54. TU box score here. Shaker moves to 11-3 (9-1 Suburban Council). Next game: 1/20/06, home against Mohonason.
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At 9:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

yeah you can shut up about guilderland not "having enough fans" or the concession being shit. but our cheerleaders can still kick your ass :0)    

At 3:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

The reason Guilderland doesn't have fans and that they didn't go to the game is because it was valentines day. Everyone was out to dinner with their dates. There was a sectional Hockey game that night. And thirdly The Guilderland administration does not let the fans yell or shout at all. They are allowed only one cheer..."Defense!" because the administration has said that everything is else is too mean to the opposing team. If someone is yelling or shouting too much, they are excorted out of the building.    

At 4:24 PM , Blogger Matt said:

I was writing about the game against Shaker on January 17th, not the Valentine's day game against Saratoga.

However, I can sympathize with the administraiton problems, that's garbage. Shaker has dealt with similar nonsense this year, although nothing as severe as what you describe.    

At 5:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Im pretty sure you shoule learn to count theres 25 members of the Co-Ed varsity team and i dont see your cheerleading team going to florida every year ... or getting grand champs at comps... so i'd shut your mouth if i were you    

At 5:49 PM , Blogger Matt said:

At what point did I say anything bad about Guilderland cheerleading?

If you read the post again, you'll see that I said they did a nice halftime routine, but it was a little strange that they used the Beastie boys to back it? I thought that was strange. I then said that it wasn't traditional.

Do you disagree?    

At 10:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

I know this is a little late, but matt, i'm proud.

you're right.

'nuff said.    

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