Bookstore Basketball: No. 1 The Legacy of Alex Klupchak heads to Final Four
| Friday, April 27, 2012
The Legacy of Alex Klupchak def. You Knew It
Relying on its size and experience, No. 1 The Legacy of Alex Klupchak narrowly avoided the upset, taking down No. 8 You Knew It 23-21.
The game was even from the start, as both teams exchanged baskets from fast breaks and strong post play. The Legacy of Alex Klupchak jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but You Knew It returned fire with points in the paint from senior Taylor Williams and points off drives from senior J.T. Breveard.
Due to the windy conditions, players were forced to drive to the basket or make put-backs off of offensive rebounds. As a result, the physicality of the game escalated quickly.
“It got really physical, but everybody just played hard and that’s the reason it got that physical out there,” Breveard said.
Both teams racked up fouls near the end of the first half. Consequently, You Knew It made four-straight shots from the charity stripe to head into the half up two.
Free-throws proved to be the difference in the second half, as both teams entered the bonus by the time the score was tied 14-14. The Legacy of Alex Klupchak, composed of graduate students Bryan Pasciak, John Rompf, Zander Shadley, Fritz Shadley and Mauri Miller, combined for five free-throws in the second half, including the game-winner by Pasciak.
“Defense and free-throws wins championships,” Pasciak said. “Zander Shadley hit a very big free-throw down the stretch, and that’s what you have to do to win games.”
The game swung back and forth, with nine ties and four lead changes in the second half alone. Despite strong play from Holy Cross students Willliams, Breveard, junior Yama Kader, sophomore Brendan Burke and senior Zac Cook on You Knew It, six points from Pasciak led the top-ranked team to victory.
“That was a very good team,” Pasciak said. “It was a great test for us and a great way to get us ready for the Final Four.”
No. 1 The Legacy of Alex Klupchak will look to take one step closer to a tournament title when it faces No. 4 SWAG on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Final Four.
Mendozer Bulldozers def. One More Time for Old Times’ Sake
After the tough loss, tenth-seeded One More Time for Old Times’ Sake senior Joe Idaszak could only describe the No. 2 Mendozer Bulldozers’ effort in the 21-6 win with two words.
“They’re good,” Idaszak said.
The Bulldozers featured three seniors in Chris Jung, Griffin Naylor and captain Patrick Kelly, as well as sophomores Thomas Hickey and Tyler Sonsalla. The Bulldozers dominated the game on the defensive side of the ball and converted that energy into instant offense. The Bulldozers had suffocating defense using switches on the ball.
“We played really solid defense and we turned that into points on offense,” Hickey said. “During the entire tournament, our goal has been to stop the other team from scoring.”
One More Time for Old Times’ Sake was made up entirely of seniors in Idaszak, Corey Scott, Ed Redden, Wes Howard and captain Brian Schafer. One More Time had difficulty breaking down the opposing defensive switches.
“Today wasn’t our best effort, but we weren’t meant to make it this far anyway,” Schafer said. “But either way, we played hard and I’m really proud of our team.”
The Bulldozers used their defensive acumen and size and ball-handling capabilities to dominate the paint on the offensive side. Combined, their skill on both ends of the floor was enough to overwhelm One More Time.
One More Time tried breaking the defense with isolations late in the game, but good footwork and defense in the paint from the Bulldozers prevented any runs.
“Honestly, I think they’re the best team left in the tournament,” Schafer said. “They have size, defense and great ball-handling. They have everything you need to win this.”
SWAG def. Real Decent
In a brutal physical matchup that featured tough calls prompting crowd outrage, fourth-seeded SWAG earned the victory by forcing No. 5 Real Decent to commit turnovers and turning them into offense.
SWAG – comprised of juniors Tebo Barnett, Ryan Dunbar, Nate Carr, Mike Broghammer and senior Tim Van Harmelen – focused on taking advantage of its size and pounding the ball down low. Dunbar and Van Harmelen provided balance with good outside shooting coming off of screens.
“Our size was definitely our biggest asset,” Carr said. “It helped us get easy buckets on offense.”
Seniors Will Gesicki, J.P. McCabe, Bobby Huffman, Joe Mezyk and captain Garrett Quinn made up Real Decent. The team struggled to get the ball on the inside against the 2-3 zone from SWAG, but in total, their energy and quickness kept the team in the game.
“It was tough out there with Broghammer and all the size they have,” Quinn said. “But we still did a pretty good job out there on defense. We definitely beat up on Broghammer and Dunbar a bit.”
Each team played physically throughout the game and throughout the first half defense dominated the game. Although SWAG’s size started to pull away late in first half, two loud blocks from Gesicki turned into fast break points to keep the score close.
In the second half, the physical play continued, and the referees were forced to make tough calls. The crowd heavily supported Real Decent and almost stormed the court.
Midway through the second, SWAG’s defense became the difference-maker. With Real Decent struggling to score inside against SWAG’s height, Dunbar and Van Harmelen became aggressive and forced turnovers on the perimeter that lead to five second-half points that helped seal the victory, 21-16.
“Our offense was directly sparked by our defense,” Dunbar said. “That was a big part of our win.”
Hoops We Did It Again def. The Killer Fraileys
Freshman Darrell McIntyre’s emphatic dunk to finish the Elite Eight matchup exemplified the type of game Hoops We Did It Again played all night – aggressive and dominating.
Utilizing their length, leaping ability and transition offense, Hoops We Did It Again defeated The Killer Fraileys 21-8 to move onto the Final Four.
Hoops We Did It Again sprinted out of the gate, going on a 6-1 run to start the game. The Killer Fraileys struggled to keep up with Hoops We Did It Again’s transition offense, which generated a majority of its points throughout the game.
“We are pretty upset with the way we came out,” Killer Fraileys junior Ryan Robinson said. “We started out the game flat. We thought we came out in the second half better, but they are a real good team.”
While Hoops We Did It Again headed into halftime with an 11-3 lead, the Killer Fraileys, composed of juniors Robinson, Chris Herlihy, Brian Dunlap, Kevin Dunn and senior Steve Brown, displayed its resiliency in the second half by trading baskets with Hoops We Did It Again until the score increased to 15-7.
But Hoops We Did It Again pulled away, making use of its length and athleticism to close the passing lanes, get steals and contest any shot by The Killer Fraileys.
“I think we rebounded well and got some steals and played solid defense,” McIntyre said. “We were missing a lot of easy shots. We covered the lane more, and tried to get rebounds and try to get the ball out.”
Freshmen McIntyre, George Stainko, Alajowon Edwards and Zoe Bauer and Notre Dame Sports Properties employee Beau Bauer make up the No. 3 Hoops We Did It Again, whose goal for the tournament is very clear.
“It’s tough competition but we expect to win the whole thing,” McIntyre said.