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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

Today (3/5) in 1980

Today (3/5) in 1980: The question looming on everyone's mind, delivered as an above the fold splash cover story in the Times Union:

The article first reviewed Shaker's amazing dominance this season: An undefeated record, an average margin of victory of 29 points, only three games that included meaningful 4th quarter play,and only one victory by less than 12 points. It then turned to the question at hand. Could Troy, Mont Pleasant, CBA stop Shaker short of the state tournament?

The article interviewed three coaches (Don Bassett of Catholic Central, Damian Fantauizzi of Saratoga, and former Bishop Maginn coach Don Weaver). Here was the general consensus, offered by Weaver:
"I don't feel Shaker will get beat this year."
However, the coaches did agree that anything was possible:
"Any high school team is beatable when you get down to this part of the season," said Bassett."
Still, it was going to take a particular set of circumstances to pull of the upset:
All three coaches feel that if anyone is capable of preventing Shaker from comleting a second consecutive perfect record against Section II competition, it will have to be Troy or Mont Pleasant.

"CBA just gives away too much height," said Bassett. "They would have to take the air out of the ball, and even that will be very difficult."
The three coaches were then asked what it would take to beat Shaker:

Bassett: "It's not going to be easy...Troy [Shaker's semifinal opponent] will have to try to beat Shaker down the floor, and use some halfcourt traps...And Mont Pleasant will have to keep Mitchell out of foul trouble...Shaker can get by with Perkins on the bench, they can just move Cain inside...you're not going to beat Shaker by shooting from the outside - and you can't go into the game thinking you're going to beat Perkins by taking him away from the basket on defense. You have to score from the inside, but you have to pick and choose your spots for going to the basket." Bassett also thought Shaker might actually be easier to beat this year, despite having a much more dominating season that last year. "Last year, if you collapsed on Perkins, Mike Sally would just kill you from the outside. I don't think either of Shaker's guards this year [Brundige or Meehan] have that kind of range."

Fantauzzi: The key is to collapse on Perkins and pressure the ball out front. "You have to deny Shaker the easy pass...and your guards have to be able to hit from the outside, that will open things up. But you have to be patient."

Weaver: He thinks the key to beating Shaker is smart defense. His Maginn team had Shaker on the ropes during the previous seasion [a 50-49 Shaker victory] and he shared his game plan with the paper. "We forced Perkins to the outside wing, which was exactly what we wanted to do. Unfortunately, he made 9 of 10 long ones to beat us. But that is what you have to do. Double Perkins and try to box out their forwards...Mont Pleasant might have the best chance...Maybe Mitchell can contain Perkins. The real question is whether their forwards can matchup with Cain and Tuecke."
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