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Bookstore Basketball XXXVI: Trimming the field

Bill Brink and Lorenzo Reyes | Friday, April 27, 2007

And then there were eight.

The 2007 Bookstore Basketball tournament is coming to a close. The quarterfinals will take place tonight at the Bookstore courts starting at 6, while the Final Four will be played Saturday afternoon with games at 3 and 4. Based on today’s Sweet Sixteen games, the weekend is sure to be action-packed.

South Bend Orthopaedics 21, The Legendary Broskis 17

Both lightning and tempers flared during No. 15 South Bend Orthopaedics’ victory over the Legendary Broskis. The game, which took a 45-minute break due to lightning in the area, was tough, physical and evenly matched throughout.

SBO, led by Joe O’Connell and Matt Henry on the perimeter, did a good job hitting the outside shot. Its strategy was to pass the ball around often until finding an open shot – a strategy that benefited the team due to the steadily increasing rain it played through.

“The rain forced our strategy,” O’Connell said. “But it didn’t affect us too much. We still attacked spots in the zone.”

O’Connell, Henry, Tim Capecchi, Pat Lopez and Casey “Pistol” McGushin were able to draw defenders to the ball and find the open man effectively. This strategy played right into the Broskis’ game plan. The Broskis’ 2-3 zone wouldn’t let SBO get inside and did a good job of forcing longer shots.

The game started point-for-point, with neither team leading by more than one until SBO scored four straight to stretch the score to 10-7. At that point, lightning forced the players under shelter near the Bookstore and torrential rain drenched the court.

After the delay, gameplay changed significantly. The ball made a dull thud on the wet court, and bounce passes took a much different path than intended.

“We couldn’t dribble,” Henry said. “We also couldn’t use the backboard.”

After the break, the Broskis scored three straight and went into the half down just one. It was in the beginning of the second half that conflict arose.

The guards on both teams argued heatedly over fouls called – and, at times, ones not called. At one point, a Broski even began threatening a fan. The Broskis’ mantra, which they repeated often to SBO players, became “don’t start something you can’t finish.”

“It got a little heated, a little physical,” O’Connell said. “But it was just two teams working hard.”

SBO did finish, however, scoring eight of the last 11 points to seal the win. Along with perimeter shooting, both SBO and the Broskis did a good job crashing the boards. Ten of SBO’s last 11 points came on put-backs or short jump shots.

Kramer Properties 21

Team 110 12

The tournament’s top seed proved it deserved it Thursday.

Kramer Properties’ entire team hit shots from three-point range.

Chad Knapke, Brad Phillips, Scott Smith and D.R. Amato not only shot well but also locked Team 110 down on defense. Knapke said that while the team’s athletic advantage may be different from other teams, it presents a formidable obstacle.

“We’re not the biggest team out here. We feel like we’re a lot quicker than some other teams,” Knapke said. “We try to use our quickness to our advantage on defense, get in the other man’s face, make them make mistakes, pretty much.”

The game was close early, with both teams playing to their strengths. Kramer Properties found the open man, either in the lane or on the perimeter, for baskets. Team 110 sank some jump shots, with the free-throw line being the spot of choice. Kramer Properties jumped ahead 4-0, but 110 battled back and its deficit was 11-7 at the half.

The intensity picked up in the second half. Kramer Properties started creating more turnovers, which led to fast breaks, offensive rebounds and put-back baskets. Team 110 was not done, however. It scored three straight points to cut the score to 16-12, one coming on a textbook pick and roll from the right side, and another after 110’s third consecutive offensive rebound.

Eventually, Kramer Properties took control of the game and scored five straight points for the win. The last point ended dramatically – the rebound from Kramer Properties’ shots went out of bounds twice, only to be blindly flung back inbounds and recovered. Finally, Kramer Properties sank a jumper from beyond the arc to end the game.

Turtle Creek 21

Original Pancake House 14

Not even the rain could stop Turtle Creek’s defense Thursday against the Original Pancake House.

In what was a fairly even matchup on the slippery Bookstore courts, Turtle Creek overcame Original Pancake House’s size advantage due to its ball movement and tight defense.

The first half started with Turtle Creek juniors Joe Marnell and Rob Heroman hitting a series of jump shots, which were set up with excellent ball movement around the perimeter.

Down low, Turtle Creek looked to get juniors Matt Gibson and Matt Hamel involved as well. Original Pancake House fought back with a string of jumpers to tighten Turtle Creek’s lead.

On offense, Original Pancake House tried to go down low with its big men and an occasional outside shot.

Turtle Creek did a great job of stepping into the passing lanes to create turnovers, and on one occasion, it led to a fast break concluding with a series of passes including a behind-the-back dish for a layup.

Although the tempo slowed in the second half, Turtle Creek continued to frustrate Original Pancake House. Tempers flared when Hamel blocked a shot, causing some shoving and trash talking.

However, with good shooting down the stretch – including a pair of jump shots from Marnell – Turtle Creek was able to take care of Original Pancake House.

After the game, Marnell, Gibson and Heroman spoke about their keys to victory.

“We came out looking to rotate the ball,” Marnell said.

“Our main thing was to come out with intensity,” Gibson said. “We wanted to execute good team defense, and play as a team.”

But they both attributed their success to their fan support, mainly their team dad, J.J. “Sauce” Cappa, and team mom Courtenay “Nay Nay” Moran.