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Bookstore Basketball: Saltines, Mean Girls to meet for championship

Matt Gamber | Monday, April 21, 2008

No. 2 Main St. Pub Saltines 21, No. 4 Bumped 10

Junior Carl Andersen scored a game-high 10 points, including eight in the first half, to lead the Saltines to a blow-out victory over Bumped.

The Saltines jumped out to a 3-0 lead and Bumped never got closer than that, trailing 11-5 at the half before getting run off the court by the smaller but quicker Saltines.

“We usually try to take our chances,” Andersen said. “We’re usually pretty good at rebounding and we can get it up the court quickly to [senior Chris Lund] and [senior] Steve [Joyce].”

The Saltines weren’t intimidated by the imposing presence of Bumped’s twin towers, 6-foot-7 Paul Duncan and 6-foot-6 Mike Turkovich – both offensive linemen for the Irish football team. Duncan was held scoreless and Turkovich scored three points – but none after his jumper from the elbow made it 6-4 Saltines midway through the first half.

“Obviously they had about 3,000 pounds on us, so we were just trying to use our quickness to our advantage,” said Lund, who scored five points. “They were playing off me a lot, guarding me with a guy who was a lot better, so that helped a lot. Carl [Anderson] was able to get me the ball and I just hit a few shots.”

Lund made a living on the glass, scoring three times off of offensive rebounds and corralling several more on the other end. He scored the final three points of the first half to transform an 8-5 lead to an 11-5 advantage heading into the break for the Saltines.

But Andersen stole the show, establishing his presence by scoring the game’s first point on a mid-range jumper before stealing a pass on the defensive end and weaving through three defenders for a transition lay-up for a 2-0 lead.

“It was tough because anytime I could get a step of Carl [Andersen], the rest of the guys were quick to come in and swarm on me,” said sophomore Nick Fessler, who led Bumped with six points. “I played with him last year and he’s probably the best player out here. It’s tough playing against him because he’s such a good competitor and such a good athlete.”

The compliments went both ways, though, after a fast-paced, physically intense game between two of the tournaments’ more athletically gifted teams.

“Give credit to those guys, the day after the Blue-Gold game to keep playing,” Andersen said of Duncan, Turkovich and fellow football player junior Kyle McCarthy, a safety. “They were obviously tired, and Turkovich was saying his ankle hurt.”

After not playing together a year ago, the Saltines are just looking to clean up some unfinished business in tonight’s championship game at 8 p.m.

“My sophomore year, we lost in the finals, so we’ve been looking forward to this day for two years,” Lund said. “We’re just hoping this year we can end it the right way.”

No. 7 Mean Girls 21, No. 5 Insurance Waivers 17

Mean Girls used some tenacious defense and a few timely jump-shots to close the game with a 4-0 run to send the higher-seeded Insurance Waivers home.

Junior Alex Klupchak, wearing a sizeable knee brace and sporting a bandaged right hand, showed off his scrappiness by getting on the ground for several steals in the final minutes to set up the win for Mean Girls. Senior Garret Flynn scored a game-high nine points, including four of the last five for the victors.

“I was dead tired and just trying to spend all my energy on defense and getting rebounds,” Flynn said. “I guess I was kind of lazy [on the offensive end] and they got off me a little bit, and they got me the ball and I just shot it. I just wanted to end it.”

He did so with a running lay-up after the last of Klupchak’s backcourt steals. Klupchak, who also scored six points, made it tough on Waivers guards Rob Heroman and Joe Marnell all afternoon, but especially late in the game to prevent a Waivers comeback.

“We were having some trouble in the half-court scoring, so we were just trying to pressure as much as possible to get out and score some easy baskets,” Klupchak said. “[Flynn] made a great finish there at the end, but they played great defense so we had to work hard to get our baskets down the stretch.”

The game might have turned out differently if it weren’t for a controversial call that went against the Waivers with Mean Girls leading 19-16. The Waivers patiently moved the ball around the perimeter before finding senior forward Matt Gibson alone under the basket for an easy lay-up that would have cut the lead to two.

But the referee had blown the whistle to stop play as the ball from the women’s game at the adjacent court rolled onto the men’s floor. The basket was discounted, despite protests from the Waivers players, fans and even the referee from the women’s game, who was heard advising the men’s official to count the basket.

“Any bad call is tough, but we’ve got to play through it,” said Waivers senior forward Matt Hamel, who scored a team-best six points. “The refs don’t determine the game, the players do.”

Senior Nick Possley, a former walk-on wide receiver for the Irish football team, scored six points for Mean Girls, who are looking forward to a tough title match-up.

“[The Saltines] are a real talented team,” Flynn said. “We’re going to play some good, solid ‘D’ and rely on some fundamentals and hopefully [Klupchak] can take us home.”