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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

Sectional 1st round recap

Sectional Recap, round 1: This post is going to be a little different than the usual recaps, because there's so much to talk about around Section 2. I'm going to keep the Shaker recap a bit shorter - because it was such a blowout last night - and spend some time discussing the other games and the implications for Sunday. That said, we'll still start with Shaker...

Executive Summary: Shaker 54, Queensbury 26. And it could have been a lot worse if Shaker didn't let up in the 2nd half. An absolute mismatch. I have know idea how Queensbury beat Troy last week. The Bison just completely overpowered them. It was 31-12 at the half, and the starters were pulled with 5:30 to go in the 3rd and the score 41-14. The second team cruised the rest of the way. It's hard to say how Shaker looked - the turnovers were way down and the rebounding was good, but against a team like Queensbury, it's just tough to tell. Final score: Shaker 54, Queensbury 26. TU box score here (it's wrong). Shaker improves to 17-4 overall (1-0 sectionals) lose and your out. Next game: Sunday, 2/26,, sectional 2nd round vs. Albany, 4th game of the quadruple header at UAlbany (5:30 scheduled start).

Full Report, The only blowout: Arrived at Shaker at 6:35 for the 7:00 start. Noticed a few things:

1) It's not going to be a big crowd: From what I hear, all around the tournament last night it was a small crowd - the combination of school vacation, midweek games, and quite a few mismatches on paper tends to do that (check out the bleachers at Albany High in this picture from last night.) Shaker was no exception - the adult section filled up to normal capacity, but the student section only ever got about 1/2 full. Throw in that the 6th man wasn't about to rub it in Queensbury face if Shaker got up a lot early, and it looked like a serene night. Plus, the cheerleaders weren't there.

2) Queensbury looks like a JV team: Watching Queensbury warm up, I knew it was over. They might be an AA school, but the kids on the team look like a Class C varsity, or a Class AA JV. They just look young, not big, and not strong. The roster says they have a kid who is 6'5", but I don't see anyone matching that description on the court.

3) I forgot my camera: I'm such an idiot. I forgot my camera again. That's three games in a row since I decided I should bring it. Stupid. Email any photos you have to me and I'll put them up.

4) Brad is hurt: Brad sprained his ankle on Sunday. It was wrapped halfway up his calf last night. Watching warmups, he looked a little tentative on it, but it didn't seem to affect him in the game. Which is nice because...

5) Brad closing in on 1,000: Brad needs 31 points to get to 1,000 for his high school career.

5) Caradori is announcing: And because the crowd is small and quiet, you can actually hear him pretty well. The 6th man started a "We want Elkin" chant, and Chris responded by accidentally making the mic feedback louder than it has all season. Hillarious.

1st Quarter

Shaker won the quarter 14-6, despite not shooting very well as a team. The exception was Brad, who was hitting everything in sight. He scored Shaker's first 8 points, Hooks added a jumper, Griff 2 fouls hosts, and Tommy Kahlne had a layup.

1st quarter notes:

1) Game over: Sometimes an 8-point lead is a close game, and sometimes it's over. This is over. The Bison didn't even play that well - lots of missesd open looks. On the other hand, they had very few turnovers and the Bison were getting every rebound - Queensbury was only getting one chance on offense. Too much talent, too much height, and too much team. Queensbury cannot stop Brad, period. A very pleasing result for the first round, especially compared to what happend arond the rest of the tournament (more on that later).

2) Quiet crowd: Everyone knows it's over. The 6th man is sitting down - there's not a whole lot of them and it would be impolite at this point to mock the Spartans. People are applauding politely, but this is going to be a golf match for the spectators.

3) Bison press: About halfway through the first, Shaker used a full court press. I liked that.

4) Deep bench: Holmes is using a very deep bench already - VC, Hooks, Schaller, Kahnle, and Fallon all saw action in the first quarter. I don't think the starters will be around much in the second half - especially Brad because of his ankle.

2nd Quarter

Shaker won the quarter 17-6 to take a 31-12 halftime lead. They looked pretty darn good, too, although if the shooting hadn't taken a vacation it could easily be 45-12. Griff opened the quarter with a hoop, Hans hit a three, Brad got an inside hoop, Vernon got a basket. 23-9. Queensbury got it to 23-12, and then the Bison ran off 8 points to close the quarter, on baskets by Vernon, EC, Brad, and Hans. Nice job. I headed down the bleachers for a Twix.

Second quarter notes:

1) Queensbury can't hit the ocean: They only get one shot each trip because of Shaker's rebounding dominance, and their shots aren't falling. They only have 5 baskets in the first half.

2) I like the Shaker defense: In particular, the guards are really hounding Queensbury. Hans is all over his man, and since Queensbury hasn't gone inside all game, it's really disrupting their offense.

3) I assume Brad is pretty much don: As are the rest of the starters. Brad has 12 at the half, so he'll probably have to wait till Sunday to get 1,000. His ankle didn't look like it bothered him very much.

Shaker's scoring looked like this at the break:

Brad 5 2 12
Griff 1 2 4
EC 1 0 2
VC 2 0 4
Hans 2 0 5 (1 three)
Hooks 1 0 2
Kahnle 1 0 2

Total 13 4 31 (1 three pointer)

Halftime notes:

1)Youth 6th man: Sitting behind me tonight is not the usual junior high 6th man, but instead what looks to be a 3rd-grade 6th man. The rountine they've come up with is to reverse the Shaker score and then act accordingly. They began at the half by yelling to each other that Shaker is only up 13-12 (reversing the 31). They kept this up for the remainder of the game. Ahhh, 3rd graders.

2) SJC shows up: My wife was helping my sister with something, so she didn't get over to Shaker until the half (I know, I know, why wasn't my sister '99 at the game? I tried to get her to come. I think she's coming Sunday). She took one look at the score, asked if Brad was playing, and then announced, "you haven't been stuffing yourself on candy, have you?" because we hadn't eaten dinner. Bill Hooks had given me two Twix just moments before, but I had luckily not opened them. I showed SJC the unopened Twix, and scored some praise for that. Yeahhhh!

3rd Quarter

The starters began the quater, immeidately went on a 9-2 run, and then were promplty removed for the rest of the game with about 4:50 to go in the quarter. Eddie and Brad did all of the scoring on the run. Duclos added a foul shot before leaving. Queensbury then "ran off" 4 points and Hooks closed the quarter with a nice three. Shaker won the quarter 13-6 and took a 44-18 lead into the 4th.

Third quarter notes:

1) It's so relaxing to watch a blowout: This is really what I needed on the opening night of sectionals. Laying back in the bleachers and enjoying the game, I surmise that elsewhere around Section 2 there are top seeds having a tougher time (turns out I was right) and that makes me smile.

2) Quick, quick game: The refs are calling fouls, but the action is moving along at a fast pace - there aren't that many out of bounds or other clock stoppages. We'll be home by 8:30.

4th Quarter

Serious 2nd team time. Marv would certainly call it garbage time. Hooks made a hoop, Kahnle made a hoop, Schaller hit a three, and Bodgan hit a three. And then, Holmes got Haris Fazlani in for his first minutes of the season, and then got JV call-up John Weinheimer in for some time too. This generated the biggest roars from the crowd, and the team tried to get them shots, but neither was able to connect on a basket. Queensbury ran off the last 4 points and the game ended 54-26.

4th quarter notes:

1) 2nd team nervousness: I feel like the 2nd team looked a little nervous or out of sync last night. They played fine overall, but they didn't look like they were playing with a lot of confidence last night on offense. That's weird, because they usual do look confident, particularly individually when they are playing with the starters. On the other hand...

2) Some real good moments: First, Hooks is the exception to the above comment - he looks very confident right now. Both of his shots in the second half were identical - catch the ball on the wing, square to the hoop, and knock it down. Tommy Kahnle looks good too - very strong and all business. Fallon had a huge block as well.

3) Comic relief: With about a minute to go, the funniest play of the season occurred. The Bison had the ball on offense and a rebound came off toward the corner near the Bison bench. Someone went to save it (I think it was Bodgan) but couldn't quite get it in time and ended up passing it toward the Shaker bench, right to Griff, who happened to be standing up in front of his seat. Without missing a beat, Griff caught the ball and threw a quick pass to Fallon in the post, generating huge laughs from the bench, the crowd, Holmes, and even the refs. It kinda summed up the lighthearted nature of the 4th quarter and the relaxing aspect of the victory.

Here is the partial boxscore:

NameFGFTFTAFT %3-PtPoints
Eddie Cross222100%06
Vernon Cross200--04
Tom Duclos01250%01
John Hans100--15
Brian Hooks200--17
Thomas Kahnle200--04
Griff McLoughlin122100%04
Steve Schaller000--26
Brad Sheehan73475%017

And here is the quarter log:

Queensbury 6668 26

Note that the boxscore is incorrect. They gave Bodgan's three to Schaller, and they don't have Fallon's missed foul shots. Otherwise, I think it's ok. And geez, that's some nice balanced scoring, eh?

A few things to sum up:

1) Blowouts are nice: As you'll see below, Shaker had one of the only blowouts of the night last night. That's a good thing...

2) A good effort: It was very hard to judge how well they played because Queensbury just wasn't up for much of a fight last night. But overall, I thought the effort was good, definitely better than against Nisky in the Suburban tournament.

2) On to the big time: No more H-gym new gym and no more games that are blowouts on paper. Starting Sunday, it's a war. But more on this below...

Final score: Shaker 54, Queensbury 26. TU box score here (it's wrong). Shaker improves to 17-4 lose and your out. Next game: Sunday, 2/26,, sectional 2nd round vs. Albany, 4th game of the quadruple header at UAlbany (5:30 scheduled start).


Here are the scores and TU summaries from last night (higher seed in caps):

SHAKER over Queensbury, 54-26
ALBANY over Shen, 75-52
NISKY over Amsterdam, 67-43
SCHENECTADY over Bethlehem, 73-61
Catholic central over COLONIE, 65-59, OT
MAGINN over Ballston Spa, 66-62, OT
COLUMBIA over Lasalle, 63-62
CBA over Guilderland, 59-49

A few points:

1) The night of the almost-upsets: It really could have been a bloodbath last night. Bethlehem hung tough with Schenectday, Guilderland was beating CBA at the half, Maginn needed a furious 4th quarter rally to catch B. Spa in overtime. Only Nisky, Albany, and Shaker played comfortable games, which is a reminder as to how easy it can be to lose in sectionals.

2) The Suburban holds its own: The Big 10 won 5 of the 8 game, which is about what I expected and predicted. And it was certainly a better showing than many people had thought, especially since some people were predicting 7 wins for the Big 10. In fact, if the two overtime games go the other way, the Suburban wins 5 of 8 games. It's probably still true that the Big 10 is a better conference at the top, but it's hardly clear anymore that the Big 10 is better top to bottom. It looks to me like the conferences are pretty evenly matched.

3) Results for predictions: I got six of eight correct from my predictions earlier this week. I got Columbia wrong and Colonie wrong. I should never have picked Colonie to get to the final four - I was just shaky on Maginn (I still am). But I'm still surprised CCHS beat them last night. The Columbia-Lasalle game, as I've said, could have gone either way. Where I was really wrong was in not believing that B. Spa could give Maginn a game. That surprised me quite a bit. Other people probably did better with their brackets, although the closeness of a lot of the games means that no one could have been that far off in their predictions.

All of this means that the bracket now looks like this:

Don't let anyone tell you that those aren't four good games, either. It's possilbe that any of them could be blowouts, but except for the CBA game I wouldn't be shocked about any results. In fact, I think there's a pretty darn good chance Nisky is going to beat Schenectady on Sunday. I'm really excited about that game. I'll have my quarterfinal preview up on Saturday, and I'll dissect each of the matchups.

My gut predictions right now are: Shaker, Nisky, Maginn, CBA. I reserve the right to revise them by Saturday.
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