MDI basketball: Girls fall in quarterfinals; boys advance with upset

first_img Hugh BowdenExecutive EditorHugh writes editorials, covers Hancock County sports and helps out where needed in The American’s editorial department. When he’s not on the sidelines, he enjoys playing jazz and tennis. hbowden@ellsworthamerican.com Is this the kind of government we deserve? – July 10, 2017 Bio Latest Posts Latest posts by Hugh Bowden (see all)center_img BANGOR — Ask 100 people as they entered the Cross Insurance Center earlier today which Mount Desert Island basketball team would advance to the Eastern Maine Class B semifinal and odds are that 99 of them would have said the undefeated Trojan girls. Instead, it was the 12th-ranked Trojan boys, who entered Saturday’s quarterfinal with a record of just six wins and 13 losses for the season and moved on by upsetting the fourth-ranked Gardiner Tigers 57-53.On the girls’ side, the Trojans, who were picked by many to claim their second straight Eastern Maine title after cruising to an 18-0 record in this year’s regular season, ran into a ninth-seeded Gardiner team that was ready, willing and able to play the role of giant killer. The Tigers did just that, jumping out to a 6-0 lead on back-to-back three pointers by senior guard Morgan Carver and freshman forward Logan Granholm. They never let that lead get away.The Trojans started out cold from the floor, missing shot after shot, and they never really warmed up.Sophomore guard Darcy Kanu came off the bench to gift the Trojans a brief lift late in the first period, picking off an errant Gardiner pass and racing down the court for a layup, then scoring on a drive to the hoop and converting the ensuing foul shot to leave the Trojans trailing only a single point, 14-13, at the buzzer.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textBut that was as close as MDI would ever get.After Gardiner senior Savannah Vinton-Mullens opened the second period with a three-pointer, MDI twice cut the lead back to two points. But the Tigers got another three-pointer by Carver and a pair of foul shots from sophomore Mary Toman late in the quarter to take a 27-21 lead into the halftime break.The Tigers opened with a roar in the third period, scoring 12 unanswered points to build a 39-21 lead. Meanwhile, the Trojan shooters continued to struggle and before the period was over, Gardiner held a lead of as many as 21 points.MDI finally put together a rally in the fourth period, with a driving layup by senior guard Sarah Phelps, a pull-up jumper by junior forward Kelsey Shaw, a drive to the hoop by senior forward Molly Carroll and a three-pointer by Shaw, cutting the Gardiner lead to 52-40 with 5:04 to go.But for the rest of the way, each time the Trojans scored, the Tigers would match them.And with MDI losing junior guard Sierra Tapley, Shaw and Phelps on fouls, the firepower just wasn’t there to cut further into the Gardiner lead.Shaw, even though frequently off the mark with her shots, finished with a team-high 20 points, and Kanu and Phelps each added eight for MDI. Tapley, frequently one of MDI’s leading scorers, managed just six points for the game, all of them in the first half.For the Tigers, who upped their record to 9-11, Carver led all scorers with 23 points, Granholm had 13 and Toman finished with 10, all in the second half.As for the Trojan boys, they gave MDI fans plenty to cheer about in the first game of the afternoon session, where they edged away from the Gardiner boys in the final minutes of the fourth period to notch their second upset win of the tourney. The youthful Trojans, with just two seniors on the squad, knocked off the fifth-seeded Ellsworth Eagles 52-45 in a preliminary playoff just three days earlier.The boys’ quarterfinal was a tight battle from start to finish with no more than six points ever separating the two teams.The Tigers edged in front 11-9 in the first period and pushed the lead to 15-9 on back-to-back baskets by senior forward Bradley Weston and junior center Jordan Lamb to open the second period.But a pair of sophomores gave MDI a 16-15 lead as Gus Reeves scored from underneath the basket and Riley Swanson followed with a driving layup and a three-pointer.Lamb put the Tigers back in front on a drive to the hoop, but sophomore forward Graham Good closed the period with a conventional three-point play to give the Trojans a 19-17 halftime edge.The two teams matched basket for basket through the third period before Swanson knocked down a three-pointer to close the quarter with a 34-31 Trojan lead.MDI pushed the lead to five points three times in the early moments of the fourth period, but each time the Tigers battled back and with two minutes to go, the Trojans were clinging to a 49-47 lead.Sophomore forward Russell Kropff came off the bench after an MDI time-out and scored eight points in the final two minutes, wrapping up the scoring with a driving layup after senior forward Seth McFarland, who had 14 second-half points and 18 for the game, put the Tigers just two points back at 55-53.Eight players contributed to the scoring for MDI. Swanson led the way with 17 points. Kropff and sophomore guard Aaron Snurkowski each finished with 10, with Kropff’s points all coming in the second half.MDI will now face the top-seeded Medomak Valley Panthers in semifinal action on Wednesday at 8:35 p.m. Like he did in the ’60s, Noel Paul Stookey sings out in troubling times – December 27, 2017 GSA surges in 4th to win Northern Maine title – February 26, 2017last_img read more

Syracuse looks to improve offense against stingy Virginia defense

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ DURHAM, N.C. — The prevailing answer to Syracuse’s offensive futility on Saturday night was that the Orange has to “keep taking good shots.”But the biggest problem in SU’s 19-point loss to Duke was that “good shots” were at a heavy premium. The Blue Devils’ man-to-man defense all but physically shrunk the court while holding Syracuse to just 19 makes on 62 attempts — with a focus on keeping drivers out of the paint and the ball out of Rakeem Christmas’ hands. And if any team is built to duplicate, or even one up, Duke’s defensive clinic, it’s Virginia. The Orange (18-11, 9-7 Atlantic Coast) welcomes the No. 2 Cavaliers (27-1, 15-1) for a 7 p.m. game in the Carrier Dome on Monday night, when the conference’s best defense will meet one of its coldest offenses. UVA holds opponents to a 35.2 percent shooting clip — the country’s second-best average behind No. 1 Kentucky — and the SU guards will need to step up after stumbling at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “We just have to move the ball better and really attack it better,” SU guard Trevor Cooney said after the Duke game of facing Virginia’s defense. “Our movement wasn’t there tonight and because of that our other stuff wasn’t there.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When we’re moving, when you look back at games, that’s when we’re at our best offensively. Just movement wasn’t there.”After Saturday’s game, SU head coach Jim Boeheim looked at the open shots his team missed instead of the ones it couldn’t create. He mentioned missed transition 3s by Cooney, Michael Gbinije and B.J. Johnson, and added that Syracuse had to “make some of them, if not all of them, to be in the game.”That will also be the case against Virginia and, since the Cavaliers also pride themselves on top-notch transition defense, there could be even less open shots to go around. “We know they’re good and have a really, really good defense,” Christmas said on Saturday. “That’s what we know.”Like the Blue Devils defensive approach on Saturday, UVA’s man-to-man is capable of taking away the low post, perimeter and penetration all at once. The Cavailers’ pack-line defense emphasizes helping in driving lanes, doubling down on big men and closing out hard on shooters, which doesn’t bode well for an Orange team dependent on a small handful of scoring threats. With this defense, the Cavaliers have held three teams below 40 points and three below 30 this season. If SU doesn’t move off the ball, shoot better and ultimately improve the way it lagged against Duke, it could join one of those clubs. “We didn’t spread it out enough tonight and we couldn’t get inside off the dribble,” Gbinije said after the Duke game. “… It’s nice we get to turn around and play right away, and we’ll need to fix those things against a tough Virginia team.” Comments Published on March 2, 2015 at 12:20 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesselast_img read more

Men’s basketball: Hayes’ 32 points not enough as Panthers down Badgers

first_imgNigel Hayes finally looked like an All-American.Unfortunately for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, they needed him to be a superhero Wednesday night.While the junior forward looked absolutely unstoppable at times, Hayes’s 32 points were simply not enough to avoid the upset, as the Badgers were unable to hold off UW-Milwaukee, losing 68-67 after a Bronson Koenig three-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.It was a tale of two halves, as the Badgers came out active and aggressive in the first period, starting the game on a 12-3 run as a product of good outside and determined offensive rebounding.And while the Badgers were unable to really extend their lead, they didn’t let the Panthers crawl back into the game, as they never held a lead under nine points after that moment in the first 20 minutes. At the end of the half, Wisconsin had a comfortable 40-29 lead.A big part of that was Wisconsin’s work on the defensive end, as they allowed UWM to shoot just 29.6 percent from the field and limited their second-chance opportunities. The Badgers ended the half winning the rebound margin 25-13.The second half was a different story, as it was UWM that came out hot, opening the half on a quick 7-0 run. The Badgers lacked the urgency and aggressive play they had to start the first half.“We said that in the locker room at halftime, that the first four minutes of the second half would determine the rest of the game,” Hayes said. “We didn’t come out with a big enough sense of urgency.”But it didn’t take long for Wisconsin to counter, as a Hayes layup and an Ethan Happ dunk brought Wisconsin’s league back to eight and set off what would be a 9-2 run for UW.That dunk gave Happ his fourth double-double of the season with 15:45 still left to play in the game — he finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds — and the Badgers appeared to have regained control of the game after a 9-2 run.But the Panthers would storm back again. This time, even stronger than before, as an 8-0 run brought UWM to within two with around nine minutes remaining, and the Badgers were hanging on for dear life, a situation Hayes said the team was in because they failed to execute a scouting report.“We did not do our job well enough for our coaches who work extremely hard to give us the recipes for wins,” Hayes said. “When you don’t execute, this is what happens.”What happened was with just over three minutes remaining, the Panthers had tied the game, and just a minute later, they had taken the lead, a lead they would hold on to until the final buzzer sounded.UWM road on the coattails of starting point guard Jordan Johnson, who scored a team-high 22 points and dished out four assists in 39 minutes.“[Johnson] was fabulous tonight,” UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. “He really attacked the rim and aligned the giants and really made some plays for us.”Forward and leading scorer Matt Tiby also performed admirably, recording a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes.But despite Milwaukee’s efforts, the Badgers still had one more chance, as they were only down one point following a Koenig triple. On the ensuing inbounds play, UWM was called for a travel after J.J. Panoske mishandled the inbounds pass.Wisconsin was unable to take advantage, as Koenig, who finished with 16 points on a poor 5-of-16 shooting from the field, could not be the hero for a second time in a row, and UWM pulled off the unthinkable.“We were in the double bonus,” Koenig said. “I probably should have drove and got some contact and got to the line.”The Badgers have a quick turnaround, as another in-state rival in Marquette comes to the Kohl Center Saturday with tip-off set for 12:30 p.m.last_img read more

By developing his weak hand, Tyus Battle hopes to score more and boost draft stock

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Tyus Battle, Syracuse’s leading scorer over the past two seasons, knew exactly where he needed to improve entering his junior year. Feedback from NBA scouts after the 2018 combine focused on two main focal points: his shot and his weak hand.Since Syracuse lost to Duke in the 2018 Sweet 16, Battle’s improved left hand has flipped opposing team’s defensive approach. Now, they shade the natural right-hander to the right. Syracuse University assistant coach Allen Griffin even said he was “stronger” going to his off-hand. On the wings, some defenders urge him to drive right, despite it being his dominant side.Battle’s said he’s always felt comfortable going left, even as a 10-year old. He developed his signature stepback jumper going left, giving him a new scoring element away from his dominant side.Yet, last season, Battle noticed a lot of his points were on dribbles to the right. When he’d get into the paint with his left, he previously tried to finish with his strong hand. But it wasn’t always there. For Battle, a junior guard for Syracuse (12-5, 3-1 Atlantic Coast), his weak-hand development represents the latest refinement in his evolving game. Polishing both his abilities to get to the rim via either hand, then finishing up close, could provide a slight boost to his draft stock, players and coaches said.“Ever since I was young, people would force me left. Now I feel really comfortable with either hand,” said Battle, who’s averaging a team-high 18 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting. “Over the summer and now, I’ve been working on my left hand a lot, finishing at the rim. It seems to be paying off.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDaily Orange File PhotoLast summer, Battle worked with renowned trainer Drew Hanlen, who has dozens of NBA stars as clients. In addition to the progress on his shot, Battle practiced dribbling with his head up, and pounded basketballs to the ground from his weak side to make him virtually ambidextrous.Battle, who averages 1.5 turnovers per game despite playing 36.3 minutes per game, has always been strong with the ball in his hands. But his off-hand ability was the missing piece.“He’s a big lefty driver, very good at going that way,” Griffin said. “He just looks comfortable that way. Actually, I think most teams try to force him right.”After bolstering his left-handed dribble strength, Battle went further. As a teenager, he’d begun to develop the ability to stop in place when driving — even when going left. Change of speed and direction, regardless of hand, makes him more unpredictable as a driver and ball-handler.Then, Battle added another dimension to his weak-side development through constant practice: finishing. A lot of college players favor one hand, several players and coaches said. Among the small pot that use both, even fewer players feel comfortable going all of the way to the rim and finishing with their weak hand. But players said that’s where Battle excels.Consider his and-1 in SU’s win over then-No. 16 Ohio State on Nov. 28, which Battle said epitomizes his left hand development. With one minute remaining, he drove left into the lane and floated a left-handed scoop shot in traffic. Battle weathered contact and rolled the ball off his fingertips to extend the Orange’s lead late.While SU begins to hit the thick of conference play, Battle and Syracuse’s success hinges in part on his ability to tweak, fine-tune and add layers to his game. As the Orange’s most important player over the past two seasons, he knows unpredictably and aggression are two of his greatest assets. Going left helps him do both.“Last year, I remember he preferred one hand,” said freshman guard Buddy Boeheim. “Now he’s doing both and that makes him a lot harder to guard. He’s growing, fine-tuning areas of his game, which is scary to think about. When he attacks the basket off the dribble, we seem to have a good rhythm.” Commentscenter_img Published on January 17, 2019 at 12:42 am Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

Call for changes to Under 21 championship structure in Tipperary

first_imgThat’s according to the vice chairman of the County Board John Devane, who is hopeful efforts to improve the situation will bear fruit in 2016.A number of U21 fixtures at divisional level are due to be played on St Stephen’s Day.While he admits that intercounty success is always going to affect club schedules John Devane thinks a slight tweaking of the competition structures would be a great help.last_img