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Bookstore Basketball: Tournament continues with Sweet 16 action

Isaac Lorton and Brian Hartnett | Thursday, April 26, 2012

No. 5 Hoops We Did it Again def. No. 12 Super Sophs

The rain was harsh, and so was the offense and defense of No. 3 Hoops We Did It Again as it went on to defeat No. 14 Super Sophs 21-12 in a Sweet 16 game Wednesday night.

Hoops We Did It Again compiles four freshmen in Zoe Bauer, George Stainko, Darrell McLintyre and Won Edwards, as well as Notre Dame sports properties employee Beau Bauer.  The higher-seeded team started off with style on a fast break with a behind-the-back pass and a smooth layup. Most of Hoops’ points were on fast breaks, coming off steals and quick outlet passes.

Super Sophs, a team composed of sophomores Chris Trumbetta, Matt Harbrecht, Eddie Linczer, Aaron Zeese and Jon Chepkevich, had a hard time penetrating Hoops’ defense, which resulted in turnovers and early foul trouble as they tried to stop the fast breaks.

“We played a better team today,” Super Sophs captain Trumbetta said. “We had a decent run and we’re happy to get [to the Sweet 16].”

Although his team had the upper hand for the majority of the game, Hoops We Did It Again captain Bauer was not impressed with his team’s play. “We played bad actually,” Bauer said. “This was the worst game we have played so far. This is the first game where we have given up double digits.”

Going forward, Hoops We Did It Again is looking to hit its easy layups and free-throws.

“We just missed a lot of shots today,” Bauer said. “We need to make our free-throws and put-backs off of offensive boards.”

No. 1 The Legacy of Alex Klupchak def. No. 16 CZ for Days

In a law-school showdown, No. 1 The Legacy of Alex Klupchak, named after former tournament-participant and the 2011 Bookstore Basketball MVP, controlled the game against No. 16 CZ for Days and earned the bragging rights with a 21-6 win.

The Legacy of Alex Klupchak began the game with a massive block on a three-point attempt that ended up flying out of bounds and into the side street, setting a precedent of hard defense from the start. The Legacy of Alex Klupchak matched its strong defense with a hard-nosed offense, taking most of its shots in the paint.

“We play well as a team, we play hard and we play good defense,” former Ferris State basketball player and graduate student Bryan Pasciak said. “Good defense and old man know-how won us this game.”  

Joining Pasciak on the top-seeded team are graduate students John Rompf, Zander Shadley, Fritz Shadley and Mauri Miller.

Before the reseeding, CZ for Days was ranked No. 64. In their run to the Sweet 16, the team was able to defeat the No. 1 team. They had to keep facing the toughest teams as The Legacy of Alex Klupchak was originally seeded No. 2 overall.

“It was fun to be in it and get some early wins,” graduate student Patrick Cassidy said. “We were getting top-of-the-line competition and hope that [The Legacy of Alex Klupchak] will represent the law school.”

Cassidy led fellow graduate students Jason Cellier, Jason Torfin, Mike Grathwol and Kristian Weir on CZ for Days.

On the winning team, Rompf – “The Old Man” or “Seasoned Vet” as his team fondly calls him – remained diplomatic about The Legacy’s chances going further in the tournament.

“There are a lot of good teams out there,” Rompf said. “There are five or six teams who could easily win this.”

No. 5 Team Trill def. No. 12 Howard Street Foodmart

In a turnover-laden, physical contest, experienced No. 5 Team Trill relied on a combination of skilled guard play and physical presence in the post to outlast No. 12 Howard Street Foodmart 21-16, returning to the Elite Eight.

With the courts still slick from a rainstorm, both teams struggled to maintain possession of the ball early in the first half. Team Trill jumped out to an early 5-1 lead behind the strong cuts and sharp jump shooting of senior guards J.P. McCabe and Joe Mezyk. The team maintained a five-point cushion for much of the half, taking an 11-5 lead into halftime.

Howard Street Foodmart senior forward Kyle Obendorf said the wet court made it difficult for his team to generate offense in the first half.

“The conditions certainly didn’t help,” Obendorf said. “Usually, we look to get in the post and work it around a lot, but it’s easier to turn the ball over when you’re passing a lot in these kinds of conditions.”

Howard Street Foodmart gained some momentum early in the second half, scoring the first four points out of the break behind some long-range shots from senior forward Matt Knapke. This momentum was soon put to a stop by imposing Team Trill senior forward Will Gesicki, who made several low-post shots, en route to leading all scorers with nine points. Gesicki also spurred the team’s defense with multiple blocks.

Gesicki credited the guard tandem of McCabe and Mezyk for his success in finding open shots.

“It was the first team we played that had two pretty tall guys, but we did a pretty good job with Joe [Mezyk] setting screens down low,” Gesicki said. “I made some pretty easy layups because they would both jump for Joe, and I was just wide open.”

With the victory, Team Trill advances to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive year. Gesicki said he is confident his team can break through to the Final Four this time around.

“We’re definitely hungry to get on, move to the Final Four, and eventually make the championship,” Gesicki said.

No. 10 One More Time for Old Time’s Sake def. No. 7 The Twine Ticklers

In a game loudly interrupted by Mother Nature, No. 10 One More Time for Old Time’s Sake kept its dreams of a Bookstore championship alive for at least one more day by rallying to a 21-19 comeback win over No. 7 The Twine Ticklers.

The game got off to a fast-paced start, as both teams utilized a strong perimeter game and saw many of their long-distance jumpers fall. The Twine Ticklers broke a 7-7 deadlock by feeding the ball to lengthy junior center Erik VanEperen, who scored four of the final five points of the half and led the team to an 11-7 halftime lead.

“I just try to work hard without the ball, and my teammates find me when I’m open,” VanEperen said. “They do a really good job of giving me an opportunity to get open shots, and it’s just a major part of our offense.”

Juniors Matt Kilgannon, Joe Williams, James McClay and senior Matt Cirillo joined VanEperen on the Twin Ticklers.

The second half had barely come to a start when the skies opened up, and the teams were forced to the sidelines for a fifteen-minute delay. Coming out of the break, One More Time for Old Time’s Sake senior captain and forward Brian Schafer decided to switch his team’s defense from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man.

“We went man [early] in the first half and they tore us apart,” Schafer said. “But I felt once the weather changed, it was a little bit more wet out and they struggled to shoot the ball, so the man-to-man was more effective.”

The defensive switch proved effective initially, as One More Time for Old Time’s Sake cut the lead to 14-13. But Williams soon opened the lead back up to four with an array of jumpers.

Despite the deficit, One More Time for Old Time’s Sake maintained its focus on settling for good perimeter looks and began to chip away at the Twine Ticklers’ lead. A coast-to-coast basket by Schafer off a steal tied the game at 18 and a subsequent made free throw by Schafer gave the lead back to the No. 10 seed. Senior guard Ed Redden iced the game for One More Time for Old Time’s Sake with a layup off a forced turnover, giving his team the improbable comeback win. Schafer and Redden have seniors Joe Idaszak, Wes Howard and Corey Scott as teammates on One More Time.

“We’re the underdog, originally being seeded 14th, so winning this round was getting past where we expected to be,” Schafer said. “We’re just going to do the best we can moving forward.”

Bookstore basketball action continues tonight with Elite Eight action beginning at 5 p.m.

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu and Brian Hartnett at bhartnet@nd.edu