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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: 2/9/06

Game Recap: SC 1st Round vs. Colonie, 1/31/06

Executive Summary: Shaker 62, Colonie 50. A very solid win. Shaker played pretty darn well the whole game, and used a 13-0 run in the 4th to take a 59-40 lead that sealed the deal. Hooks and Hans looked great from the outside tonight, and Brad recovered from a poor offensive first half to lead the team in scoring, including two thunderous breakaway dunks in the second half. He, Griff, and the other big men dominated the boards and intimidated Colonie on defense. Shaker started slowly, down 6-1, but then went on a 23-7 run before giving back two baskets for a 24-17 halftime lead. The Colonie stars - Hashans and Lattimer - never really got going, and the Bison continually found open men who knocked down shots. Only a Colonie run in the final two minutes of garbage time kept it from looking like a blowout. And although it wasn't actually a blowout until midway through the 4th, Shaker controlled the entire game and it never felt like they weren' going to win. Bring on Nisky! Final score: Shaker 62, Colonie 50. TU box score here. Times Union article here (holy crap, they wrote something!) Shaker improves to 16-3 (14-1 Suburban Council). Next game: 2/12/06, Suburban Tournament Championship vs. Niskayuna.

Full Report, Fake tourneys draw small crowds: Arrived at Nisky around 5:20 for the 6:00 tip, early enough to watch Shaker's pre-warmup shoot-around. There's literally no fans in the gym. Not a good sign. SJC and I have dinner at the concession stand - pizza and gatorade - and then head to our seats behind the Shaker bench. It's now 5:50 and there's still nobody in the gym. Ughh. Other notes:

1) I take back my comments: It's not so much that Nisky's gym is crappy, it's more that the whole high school is crappy. First off, the place is basically falling apart. As I mentioned yesterday, they just passed a bond issue to fix it, but that didn't help anyone last night. Second, the place is designed like a prison. Long hallways with no windows, using cinder-blockish walls and low lighting. It's disgusting. The gym itself looks good compared to the rest of the school. It's still dumpy, but not nearly as bad as I had told myself. Still...

2) What is wrong with the Suburban Council: Here's an idea: let's start a meaningless league tournament, and in order to promote it let's have the games at neutral sites on weeknights at 6pm. Just preposterous. At the time of the tip-off, there were about 1/3 the number of fans that you'd get at a Tuesday night Shaker home game. There were three people sitting in the 6th man. What is this, a scrimmage? It did fill up a bit more by halftime, but this game would have drawn significantly more fans (double?) on a Friday night at Shaker at 7:30.

3) Skip the patriotism: Inexplicably, there was no national anthem. That might be my first high school game ever where that happened. Doesn't the state require it? After the player introductions, the entire Shaker team got in their usual formation facing the flag, stood there for a minute, and then we started the game. Rock on!

4) Despite all this snarky cynicism, I'm excited: It's fun to be done with the regular season, even if these games don't mean a whole lot. Right as the game is about to start, Brian Krawiecki '93 sits down next to me with his wife. Brian played on the 1992 sectional championship team, so we'll have lots to chat about.

5) Doublehader for some people: SJC and I went to see the Niskayuna 8th grade girls game at 4:15 prior to coming over to the Shaker game, because SJC has some of the players in her class. It's actually fun to watch junior high hoops, the girls are a lot more skilled than you might imagine (Nisky won 31-18). But the real surprise is that one of the refs at the junior high game is now reffing the Shaker game! Talking about switching gears. Wow.

1st Quarter

Shaker started Sheehan, Hans, Duclos, Griff, and E. Cross. Brad won the tip, Griff got fouled in the lane and made 1 of 2. Brad then rejected a Colonie shot. Eddie and Hans both missed 3's on consecutive trips, Colonie hit a few hoops. Shaker turned it over and Colonie scored again. 6-1. Hmmm. Duclos hit a jumper, and the teams traded turnovers. Colonie missed a shot and Hooks drilled a 3 on his first touch. Yes!!! 6-6. Colonie hit a hoop, and then Hooks got a great offensive board on a Brad miss, got fouled, and made both. Next trip Hooks missed a three, Vernon got a great rebound and then hit Hooks under the hoop for an easy layup. Brad got called for a foul at the other end and Colonie made 1. The teams traded turnovers as Colonie switched to a press, and then Hooks hit a jumper to end the quarter. 12-9 Shaker.

1st quarter notes:

1) Briiiiiiian Hooks!: Hooks has had his moments this year - against Bethlehem and certainly against Columbia - and he's usually good for a three-pointer or two a game. But the 1st quarter tonight was the first time I saw him carry this team. He was awesome. Nine points on solid shooting, and some clever rebounds as well. It's not surprising, though, because...

2) Jump shot city: Colonie, like most teams during the second half of the season, is completely collapsing down on Brad. He didn't get very many touches in the 1st quarter, and he head scoreless. He was rebounding well, but he looked a little off on offense tonight in the 1st half. The Colonie defense had two effects: first, the Shaker shooters were getting lots of open looks at the basket. Colonie is weakest at guard, and in trying to completely take away Brad inside, they gave Shaker tons of open looks. Secondly, underneath tonight, it's just...

3) A rough, rough game: There is a pounding going on inside tonight, and the refs are basically letting them play, especially away from the ball. Griff and Brad are certainly capable of holding their own in a rough game, so it's not a big deal, but boy are they going at it. Rebounds are turning into physical wars, and Brad is fighting down low for position on every trip. I was talking with Brian Krawieki '93, and when I asked him if he thought this Shaker team could beat his 1992 team, he said, "Probably, but it's so hard to compare. It's such a rougher game now. Everyone is bigger and stronger, and they really let them play. This looks like hockey compared to what we were playing." Total fouls 1st quarter: Shaker 1, Colonie 3.

4) 6th man unavailable: The crowd tonight is somber. The 6th man is growing as the 1st quarter wears on, but it's not at the critical mass necessary for chanting, or even standing up. They unleash one enormous "Goooooooo, Vernon!" when VC first checks into the game, but otherwise they are behaving like normal fans. Colonie doesn't have much of a 6th man either, but boy are their cheerleaders loud.

5) The Bison look crisp: They only won the quarter 12-9, but that included a late 11-3 run. After their slow start, I like what I'm seeing. The defense looks intense, and they are making a lot fewer mistakes than they are sometimes prone to do. They are moving the ball around well and getting open shots. If more had fallen, they'd have a huge lead. Even though they are only ahead by 3, you definitely get the sense that they are in control of the game.

2nd Quarter

Shaker almost blew them out of the gym in the 2nd quarter. Colonie got a cheap hoop on a lucky rebound to open the quarter. Then Hans hit a three. Colonie turned it over, and then Shaker got 3 offensive boards on one play but didn't score. Shaker switched to a zone and Colonie missed. Duclos missed but Brad got fouled on a rebound and made 1. Colonie turned it over and Duclos got to the hoop for a basket. 18-11 Shaker. The teams traded turnovers and then traded jump balls, and Colonie got a basket. Brad missed, but got a block at the other end. Shaker took a 10 second violation against the Colonie press, but Brad got another block and then hit a layup at the other end. Colonie missed and Vernon hit a jumper. Colonie missed, and then Brad missed but Griff got the board and the putback. 24-13 Shaker. Timeout Colonie. Colonie turned it over out of the timeout. Vernon missed a jumper, got his own board, missed, Brad got the board but missed. Colonie got a hoop, Shaker traveled, and Colonie got a hoop at the buzzer. 24-17 at the half.

Second quarter notes:

1) Could have put them away: Shaker cleraly looked like a superior team to Colonie in the 2nd quarter. The defense looked great and they were killing Colonie with offensive rebounding and solid shooting. But in the last minute, they gave alot of it back. It was 24-13 and Shaker had the ball, got two offensive boards but couldn't get a hoop. That was really the moment when they could have put the game away. Then they gave up two easy ones at the other end, and all of a suddent it's only a 7 point game at the half. Oh, well. They did go on a 23-7 run from the 5:30 mark in the first until the 1:30 mark in the 2nd. They seem comfortably in control of this game, although a seven point lead is never that comfortable. And geez, what a low scoring affair. 24-17? Part of that - for Shaker anyway - is beacuse...

2) Brad not doing much (offensively): Brad looked a little off his offensive game tonight. Shots that usually drop for him were rimming out, like his post-up turnaround bank-shot, which he missed a few times in the first half. He only has 3 points, and that's got to be his low total for a half this season. I'm sure he'd even admit that he had a pretty dreadful first half at the offensive end. It's odd, though, because...

3) Brad doing lots (everything else): Brad is really controlling the game in all other ways. Colonie's offensive seems to center around getting their athletic players to the hoop for inside looks. And that's not good for them, because Brad is just waiting there to reject their shots. He's got the Colonie offense completely frustrated. They just don't seem to have a lot of outside shooting weapons, and every time they come in the lane they are either changing their shots or getting stuffed by the Shker defense. And thank god I root for Shaker, because nothing kills me more than watching my team get destroyed by opposing offensive boards. And Shaker is just hammering Colonie on the glass. Brad, Griff, Vernon, even Hooks. It's a field day for rebounds.

Shaker's scoring looked like this at the break:

Brad 1 1 3
JH 1 0 3 (one three-pointer)
VC 1 0 2
Hooks 3 2 9 (one three pointer)
GM 1 1 3
TD 2 0 4

Total 9 4 24 (two three pointers)

Halftime notes:

1) Hershey bars!: Knowing full well that Niskayuna doesn't stock Twix, I head out for a Hersehy bar. One dollar, thank you.

2) Krawieki on Shaker: Chatted some more about the team with Brian Krawieki '93. He thought (not just based on 1st half) that Shaker - and Suburban basketball in general - was lower scoring nowadays than when he played. He though they might have averaged in the high 60's in 1991-92, whereas he though they were in the high 50's now. I think that's probably right. Brian was also ambivalent about the Suburban tournament (didn't exist in the 90's) - he thought it might be better to just prepare for sectionals, although I think they are going to have something like 10 days off anyway.

3rd Quarter

Both teams picked up the intensity - and the scoring - in the 3rd quarter. Shaker turned it over to open the quarter, Duclos got a foul, but then got a steal. He missed a jumper. Colonie missed and the Shaker turned it over and Hans fouled the Colonie player on a breakway layup, he made one but Colonie got the board. As they reset, Brad got a steal that went to Duclos, who hit Brad for a monster breakaway alley-oop jam. The teams traded misses for two trips, Shaker turned it over, Griff got a block but Colonie made the putback. Hooks hit and Colonie got a hoop. 28-22 Shaker. Brad made 2 from the line, and Colonie hit a three. Brad got a post-move jam and Colonie made a hoop. 34-27. Shaker then ran off three hoops in a row on a jumper by Hooks, a runner by Hans, and then a 2-pointer by Hans that I swear was actually a three. 38-27 Shaker. Colonie got a quick hoop and then a three, but Brad and Vernon hit in the final minute for a 42-32 Shaker lead at the quarter.

Third quarter notes:

1) Awaken the Shaker offense: Brad, Hans, and Hooks looked really good offensively in the 3rd. Shaker got the ball in the post a lot more, and Brad made better use of his touches, getting to the line once and hitting a nice shot. I said yesterday I was going to watch John Hans tonight, and he just looks so confident out there with the ball right now. Early in the season, he wasn't really looking for his own shot. Now he wants the rock. It's great. Hooks continued his great play, he looks real confident, although his one post-up attempt in the 3rd (he didn't actually get the ball) was pretty funny. And I can't say enough about the ball movement, these guys are getting open looks. But best of all was...

2) Throwing them down: Brad's two dunks were definitely of the highlight-reel variety. The first was an alley-oop pass from Duclos on a fast break. Duclos was on the right wing and tossed the ball over a defender into the lane, not particularly close to the hoop. Everyone saw that Brad had a shot to dunk it, but I thought he was just going to catch it and come down for the layup. Wrong again! He just leaned into it and rammed it home. Impressive. The other dunk was your garden variety baseline spin-move. I say garden-variety, but we probably won't see that again at Shaker for a decade. How much we take for granted. Of course, the first dunk was an obvious snapshot moment, but...

3) I forgot my camera:
I'm such an idiot. Yesterday I said I was definitely going to start taking pictures, and then I forget my camera on the night there are two thunderous dunks and I'm sitting in the 4th row. Stupid. But both of those dunks were so telegraphed that someone must have taken a picture. Email any photos you have to me and I'll put them up.

3) Vernon got bonked: After a whistle, someone took an extra shot at the hoop for practice, and the rebound landed squarely on Vernon's head. A good laugh for the crowd, and a big smile from VC, who always seems to be able to take such things in stride...

4) Shaker looks good: It's only a 10 point lead, but I can't imagine them losing this game. They are frustrating Colonie's star players, breaking the press pretty well, and they seem to be in control of this thing. And remember, Colonie's no slouch. This is a good team that they are beating pretty well.

4th Quarter

One semi-scary Colonie run, but another great Bison effort. Colonie opened with a hoop, Hans hit a jumper, Colonie hit a three. 44-37. Brad got a post-move hoop, and Colonie got a hoop and foul. 46-40. It was tense for about 20 seconds. Because after that, the Bison just exploded. A 13-0 run to seal the game, and they scored on 5 straight trips. Hans was fouled on a three and made all three. Colonie missed and Eddie hit. Colonie turned it over and Brad made two foul shots. Then Brad blocked a shot at the three-point line and took a pass ahead of the field for another thunderous breakawy dunk. 55-40. Game over! Colonie turned it over, Brad then made 1 of 2 after Lattimer foulded out. Eddie hit a hoop, and it was serious gar-baaage time, as Marv would say. 59-40 Shaker. Colonie ran up their total with Shaker's starters on the bench, so the final was a respectable 62-50, but make no mistake: this was a blowout. Yeahhhh!

4th quarter notes:

1) Finishing off: It looked like it might be another tragically close game when Colonie made their run to cut it to 6, but boy did the Bison respond. It happened so quickly, you didn't even realize it. All of a sudden the game was just over. I know they scored on 5 straight trips, and it might have even been 6. Probably their best single run of the whole season. Awesome.

2) Huge, huge boards: I wrote down in my notes that Shaker was "toying with them with about 3 minute to go, just getting tons of boards." And you won't see it in the boxscore, but Griff had a great night. Only 3 points, but some serious heavy-duty work on the glass, just battling with them all night. By the middle of the 4th, Colonie was a beaten team. Shaker just wore them down. And that's been a recurring thing in the second half, lots of...

3) Boards and bonus shots: For most of the year, but particularly the second half of the season, Shaker has consistently gotten themselves in the bonus faster than other teams. It was huge last night. Colonie never got in the bonus all game, but Shaker was shooting just two minutes into the 4th. Throw on top of that all of the offensive rebounds, and it just makes a killer combination. Even if we aren't shooting that well, there's lots of opportunities.

Here is the partial boxscore:

NameFGFTFTAFT %3-PtPoints
Eddie Cross21250%05
Vernon Cross200--04
Tom Duclos11250%03
John Hans333100%112
Brian Hooks422100%113
Thomas Kahnle100--02
Griff McLoughlin11250%03
Steve Schaller01250%01
Brad Sheehan671070%019

And here's the quarter log:

Colonie 981518 50

Brad really bounced back offensively in the second half. Hans and Hooks were great from the field. And Griff was a bull on the boards. Everyone else chipped in, too. They really are getting good variety in their attack.

Four major things to sum up:

1) That's ten in a row: This is the hottest team in section 2 right now. No doubt. It's time to keep the momentum going. Remember when they were 6-3, right after the downtown debacle over Christmas break? Seems like a lifetime ago.

2) This is the best team in the Suburban: I don't think there's any doubt about that after AP dropped another game last night to Niskayuna. They seem to be in a freefall. Shaker just needs to...

3) Let's put in another good game Sunday: Niskayuna certainly isn't going to roll over Sunday afternoon at HVCC. I'm expecting a war, but I'm confident the Bison will prevail. They are playing well right now.

3) Who predicted this one!: Check out my predictions from yesterday. I said Shaker 65-52 and Nisky 58-54. Actual results: Shaker 62-50 and Niksy 52-49. As long as I'm hot: I predict that Shaker wins the section state federation title.

5) It's go time, for the fans: This is a straight reprise of what I wrote a week ago. I'm not one to quote Public Enemy, but it is absolutely time to Bring the Noise. Sectionals are too close for people to be sitting around like they're at a picnic in Washington Park or something. Ridiculous. And Sunday is a great opportunity. It's the last non-elimination game. It's probably the seniors last Suburban opponent. I'm requesting that the place be packed and the place be loud. There's no excuse at this point. You have to realize three things:

1) Shaker hasn't had a basketball team this good in a long, long time.
2) HVCC can be an intimidating place to play...
3) Especially if you feel like you're in a visiting gym, and...
4) No team ever won sectionals getting polite golf claps.

Thefore: get over yourself and start screaming your lungs out. Q.E.D

So come out to the game Sunday. And bring your brother. It's go time.

Summary and notes

I'm done writing recaps in this style for the year, no more notebooks. From now on you'll only get the "essay style" recap, because I'm going to concetrate on cheering...I would have liked a second crack at AP, but oh well....I think the Bison wrapped up last night the best Shaker regular season record since 1981, when they were 19-1...

Final score: Shaker 62, Colonie 50. TU box score here. Times Union article here (holy crap, they wrote something!) Shaker improves to 16-3 (14-1 Suburban Council). Next game: 2/12/06, Suburban Tournament Championship vs. Niskayuna.
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