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Bookstore Basketball: Crowning the Champs

Eric Prister | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

       In an improbable upset of the defending bookstore champions, the all-freshman roster of Hallelujah Holla Back defeated top-ranked Main St. Pub 21-19.

“From day one we decided we were going to be a bookstore team,” Hallelujah Holla Back captain Jonas Gray said. “We didn’t care about sponsorship, we didn’t care about who our opponent was, we just came out and played our game.”

After trailing 11-9 at the break and 17-12 at one point in the second half, Hallelujah Holla Back went on a 5-0 run which tied the game, led by the imposing presence of 6-foot-7Joe Fauria. A rising sophomore tight end, Fauria, the tournament MVP, was the leading scorer for Holla Back, despite being double and even triple teamed most times that he touched the ball.

“We started pounding the boards more in the second half than in the first half, and it became our game,” Fauria said.

Main St. Pub, who has been known for their incredible fast break scoring and accurate shooting, looked to have the game in hand, leading by five with only four points left to score, but a tightly packed zone and aggressive defense from Holla Back’s Jonas Gray forced Main St. Pub to shoot from the outside, and they went cold.

“The weather kind of affected our shots,” Main St. Pub senior captain Alex Klupchak said. “We played really well. We had the lead, and then we just couldn’t buy a bucket late. They were huge, and there’s only so much we could do.”

After tying the game, Holla Back allowed reigning Mr. Bookstore Carl Andersen, who finished with a game-high seven points, to score the next two, giving Main St. Pub a 19-17 lead, and it looked as though Andersen was going to carry his team to victory.

But then Gray capitalized on a fast break, and Griffin Nayler hit a jumper that brought the game back to even. Holla Back’s other big man, 6-foot-4 Dayne Crist, posted up and scored to give them a one-point lead, and the Fauria put in a lay-up for the victory.

“We all play together as a team,” Fauria said. “There’s no MVP, there’s no one exceptional player. It’s all us playing as a team.”

When asked if his team would return next year to defend their title, Fauria had only three words to say.

“Hallelujah Holla Back,” he said.

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Bookstore Basketball: Crowning the Champs

Chris Masoud | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

4 Girls and a Guy outhustled and outlasted South Bend Police Squad (SBPS) to cruise to a 21-13 victory in the Bookstore Basketball Women’s Championship. Buckets were few and far between, as harsh winds and freezing temperatures forced each team to adapt to the elements.

“Playing in the rain is our game so we were glad when it started, especially in the second half,” 4 Girls guard Sierra Smith said. Smith, who finished with 8 points to go along with her tournament MVP honors, hit the game-winning shot, a turnaround jumper in the face of an SBPS defender.

“Growing up with an older brother you kind of have to acquire those shots in order to survive,” Smith said. “So I’m going to attribute it to him.”

But the game’s most dominant influence came in the form of 4 Girls captain Anna Kammrath, who carried the team on her back from the opening tip to the final bucket. Grabbing boards, blocking shots, and scoring at will, Kammrath made her presence felt on both sides of the ball.

“We had a lot of fun, it was good teamwork, everyone played well despite the slipping and the sliding,” Kammrath said. “We really took advantage.”

4 Girls came out fired up from the opening whistle, putting together a 3-0 run to start the game and giving them a lead they would not relinquish. SBPS employed a (wo)man defense to combat the aggressive style of 4 Girls, but the speed and tenacity of Smith and Kammrath proved to be too much in the first half.

But SBPS went on a run to close the half, putting together a string of buckets to bring them within 3 at the break. Captain Tiz Shadley drained a series of perimeter buckets, while Anne McDonnell was effective inside despite double teams.

But any momentum SBPS carried into the break quickly evaporated in the second half, as the the weather become a factor. 4 Girls took advantage of their flat opponent, outscoring SBPS 11-5 in the second.

But the real story of the half came on the opposite side of the ball, where 4 Girls bucked up and exhibited the fundamentals of team defense. Led by the relentless play of forward Jane Fleming and point guard Molly McCarthy, 4 Girls prevented SBPS from putting together any sort of rhythm on offense.

McCarthy’s activity on the defensive side of the ball and unselfishness on offense typify the 4 Girls’ champion attitude to basketball. The extra pass, the hustle on fastbreaks, the commitment to fundamentals – all characterize this year’s Bookstore Basketball champs.