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Bookstore Basketball: Undermanned teams face off

Allan Joseph and Matthew Robison | Friday, April 9, 2010

Team Melissa played the first half missing a player and could not recover from the disadvantage, falling 21-16 to Float like cinderblocks, and sting like foam rubber.

Team Melissa senior Nick Berlin was meeting University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh and showed up at halftime, leaving senior teammates Sierra Smith, Matt Meckes, Kim Bugos and captain Molly McCarthy to face the Cinderblock squad of freshmen Danny Waytula, Manin “$” Dhingra, Scott Johnson, Ted Docherty and captain Michael “Boss” Landron.

Both teams had to contend with cold, wind and rain, making dribbling, passing and shooting the slippery ball difficult at best. This especially hurt Team Melissa, which tried to overcome its numbers disadvantage by pushing the ball up the court and looking for fast-break and secondary-break situations to score. Cinderblock, however, tried to slow the game down as much as possible on offense, using their moderate size advantage to go inside against a team that included three defending women’s bracket champions. This strategy worked well in the first half, as Cinderblock was able to take an 11-6 lead at halftime on the strength of its offensive rebounds.

Desperate for a fifth player, Team Melissa called on Finance professor Carl Ackermann, who was present to watch another game. Ackermann laced up a pair of borrowed sneakers, took off his tie and suit jacket and was ready to play before Berlin arrived at the end of halftime. Team Melissa seemed energized by his arrival and played hard till the end, with McCarthy even blocking a taller Cinderblock player. Berlin’s arrival was too little, too late, however, as Dhingra broke free for a breakaway layup to seal his team’s victory.

Despite his team’s win, Waytula said he was not happy with its performance overall.
“We didn’t do well against the zone and didn’t execute like we wanted to,” he said. “We came out with the win, and that’s what matters, but if we play like this again, we’re not going to win.”

Cool Runnings 21, Go Meat 15
From the teams’ height disparities alone, this game appeared to be an overwhelming mismatch in favor of Cool Runnings.

However, Go Meat used a numbers advantage in the first half and an unusually lax Cool Runnings defense to push Cool Runnings to the end, doomed only by the snow and its height disadvantage.

Freshman captain Matt Lynch’s Cool Runnings squad of freshmen Rob Bauer, Mike Nolte, Drew Weltus and David Gorenz was at a disadvantage early when two players didn’t show up until halftime, leaving their teammates to play 5-on-3 for the first half.  The junior girls of Go Meat, including Megan McGarry, Ari Cassani, Anne Allare, Mary McKeever, Kristen Wall and captain Sarah Ceponis, were not intimidated by their opponents’ size, braving the snow in nothing more than shorts and basketball jerseys and playing with high energy.

“They were good-looking and tall,” Ceponis said, laughing. “Unfortunately, height is the one thing you can’t overcome in this game.”

Because of their numbers disadvantage, Cool Runnings started the game in a triangle zone but were not able to close out quick enough on open shooters, allowing Go Meat to stay close by scoring at the same clip as Cool Runnings. When Cool Runnings had the ball, however, they utilized their size through repeated high passes to get open looks underneath the basket and to knock down midrange jumpers. 

With the game tied at 6-6, Cool Runnings began to dominate, as the cold began getting to Go Meat — at one point, Ceponis could be heard shouting “My muscles are freezing!”
Despite the cold, the game began getting chippy just before the half, with Go Meat committing some hard fouls on Cool Runnings layup attempts and using swarming defense made possible by their extra players. At halftime, Cool Runnings led by just three points over a hard-fighting Go Meat team.

The arrival of the missing players, however, energized the Cool Runnings squad, who began passing the ball up and down the court and using superior athleticism to go inside for points. Cool Runnings was able to jump out to a lead, riding a run to game point. Go Meat fought hard until the end, however, scoring multiple points on game point before finally falling on a layup. Ceponis said that the loss was hard to stomach.

“It was a heartbreaking loss. As juniors, we thought this would be our year,” she said. “We played well and we’re, well, done.”

Pandamonium 21, Partee-Moore Wedding 6
Complete with a bride, a groom, a bridesmaid, a flower girl and a presiding priest, the Partee-Moore wedding came ready to celebrate their nuptials against the black and white clad Pandamonium.

Consisting of Brandy Mader, the flower girl, Caitlin Brown, the bride, Andy Tran, the groom, Grace Ho, the bridesmaid and Joe Serafin, the priest, the Partee-Moore Wedding never let the disparity on the scoreboard, or the miserable weather, stop them from celebrating their joyous day.

Even though Pandamonium, consisting of juniors Paige Gesicki, Kelly Pierson, Neva Lundy, Drake Hepp and Will Gesick, took a commanding 11-3 lead into halftime, that did not stop the Partee-Moore Wedding from celebrating with a toast at halftime. When she felt the mood getting too tense, Mader would throw flowers into the air or blow bubbles to cheer everyone up.

“It was the perfect day for the wedding,” Ho said. “It was everything we dreamed of and more.”

“We couldn’t get the date we wanted at the Basilica,” Tran said. “So we got the next best thing — Bookstore.”

Pandamonium, who had its noses painted black in homage to the gentle giants of the Far East, was satisfied with its victory Thursday, but wanted to keep the winning alive.
Their mindset coming in was for “complete and total domination,” Pierson said.
Pandamonium has a much tougher task ahead of them, but they are going to face the challenge head-on.

“We’re going to practice every day,” Pierson said. “Drake Hepp will lead us to victory.”

Super Troopers 21, Brittney’s Beat Down 17
The Super Troopers and Brittney’s Beat Down, a reference to Baylor’s Brittney Griner and the haymaker she laid on Jordan Barncastle, battled the rain, sleet and snow, as well as each other in one of the closer games of the day.

The Super Troopers, consisting of juniors Tom Haddard, David Adams, Donald Kafka, Erich Wolz and Alex Cota, got on the scoreboard first.
The score was close early on, but once the Super Troopers built a lead, they never looked back.

Brittney’s Beat Down made a valiant attempt at a comeback, cutting the lead to two points in the second half, but just could not convert on the offensive end with any consistency.
Cota attributed his team’s victory to their stingy defense.

“Our defense kept us in it,” Cota said. “Our offense struggled at times, but we made a run late in the game that won it for us.”

Brittney’s Beat Down, consisting of Brian Malloy, Pat Lloyd, Kevin Rahill, Connor Wills and Thomas VanVolkenburg, appeared physically drained after dealing with the wet and cold for almost an hour and coming up empty handed.