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Bookstore Basketball: Field narrows to the elite

Observer Sports Writer | Wednesday, April 24, 2013

No. 9 Onions!!! def. No. 8 Amish Guard

In the battle between No. 8 Amish Guard and No. 9 Onions!!!, Onions!!! managed to fend off the Guard’s inside attack and pull off the Sweet Sixteen victory by a score of 21-13. 

 Early on, the Amish Guard, composed of Irish Guard members, seemed to have the advantage, as it dominated the boards to start the first half. However, Onions!!! kept it close with strong mid-range shooting. After falling into a 10-7 halftime deficit, Onions!!! opened up a second half lead with a 6-0 run.

Onions!!! senior captain Chris Herlihy led the way for his team, shooting three-for-eight from the field to score a total of six points. Despite his individual efforts, Herlihy cited his team’s second half defensive and rebounding efforts as the main reasons for its big win.

“The way we played defense in the second half was a big difference,” Herlihy said. “Also, our rebounding in the second half was a big reason why we won.”

Despite ending the game with 24 rebounds compared to Amish Guard’s 32 boards, Onions!!! actually out-rebounded its opponent in the second half after suffering a -13 rebounding differential in the first half. 

Onions!! will take on No. 1 Sophomores at Holy Cross tonight at 7 p.m. in the Elite Eight.

No. 4 D.G.P def. No. 13 #Team43

Out on the rain-soaked Bookstore Basketball courts, No. 4 D.G.P and No. 13 #Team43 faced off for nearly an hour before D.G.P pulled out the 21-15 win. 

The rain was not enough to hold back the frontcourt tandem of first year law student and former Irish offensive lineman Chris Stewart and men’s basketball assistant coach Harold Swanagan, who took over the paint in the second half. Scoring most of their points inside, Stewart and Swanagan seemed to be difficult matchups at times. 

In fact, Swanagan told two-sport star and #Team43 coach sophomore Pat Connaughton, ‘I’m about to go to work, take notes,’ before backing his man down for a bucket.

#Team43, however, put up a tough fight, only trailing by three at the end of the first half. Despite their efforts, D.G.P proved to be too much to handle, as its second half surge gave the team the lead. 

Late in the game, #Team43 tried to battle back, making shots and preventing inside passes. But the shooting of second year law student Bryan Pasciak, a former basketball player at Division II Ferris State, sealed the victory for G.D.P.

No. 11 Uncle Drew def. No. 6 Burn Dogs

With strong gusts of wind and rain that gradually picked up as the game progressed, the matchup between No. 11 Uncle Drew and No. 6 Burn Dogs was determined by the quality of both teams’ defense, and Uncle Drew ultimately made enough stops to take the 21-19 victory.

The game was close throughout its duration, as neither squad led by more than three points. The night’s main matchup came in the paint between Uncle Drew third year law student Kevin Brooks and Burn Dogs freshman Patrick Mazza, who led his team with eight points. The pair clashed on each possession, fighting for every rebound and trying to stop the other from getting an easy shot.

Uncle Drew senior Ryan Murphy said those exchanges echoed his team’s strong defensive performance throughout the rainy game.

“Defense is key anytime, especially when you struggle on offense to get buckets because your hands are wet and it’s hard to shoot,” he said.

Football assistant strength and conditioning coach David Grimes scored a game-high nine points for Uncle Drew, utilizing a combination of long-range jumpers and circus-shot layups. Murphy, Brooks, sophomore Tyrell Atkins and senior Eric Roth contributed to Uncle Drew’s winning effort as well.

For the Burn Dogs, which consisted of Mazza, freshman Brian Spahn, graduate student Ryan Richter, senior Conner Wright and second year law student Henry Ciocca, just getting to the Sweet 16 this year was not enough.

“I’m not impressed [with our run],” Mazza said. “We should’ve gone further.”

With this victory, Uncle Drew moves into the Elite Eight, where it will play Team 3 tonight at 6 p.m.

No. 3 Team 3 def. No. 14 Glory Days

Playing through a steady rain that never let up, No. 3 Team 3, formerly known as the Concrete Mixers, never relented in its Sweet 16 matchup, as it defeated resilient No. 14 Glory Days, 21-18.

Behind a strong nine-point performance from former Irish basketball player, senior Mike Broghammer, Team 3 held the lead for the majority of the game, quickly recovering from a brief deficit at the start of the second half. The squad consisted of Keough residents Broghammer, seniors Joe Williams, Matt Kilgannon, Erik VanEperen and James McClay and junior Mark Coyne.

With a pair of tall players in the frontcourt, Williams said feeding the ball down low was his team’s goal for the game.

“[We focused on] emphasizing the post game,” he said. “We are lucky to have two very talented forwards in Mike Broghammer and Erik Van Eperen.”

Though Team 3 maintained a consistent lead, Glory Days, made up of MBA students Drew Bedward, Tony Niemeier, Chris Caverly, Brian Martin and John Baranowski, played hard until the 21st point, tallying three late scores and putting up a strong defensive front to cut their final margin of defeat to only three points.

“[I was impressed with] our defense,” Bedward said. “They had really big guys, and we had to collapse and double team them, so we fought hard though we were overmatched.” 

Led by its formidable frontcourt, Team 3 will meet Uncle Drew today at 6 p.m. in the Elite Eight.

No. 7 Former Team 13 def. No. 10 The Show

The rain was pouring down, and so were No.7 Former Team 13’s interior shots, as former Irish basketball player senior Jack Cooley helped the team scrape out a 21-18 victory over No. 10 The Show in a very physical game.

Former Team 13, which consisted of Cooley, juniors Chris Vanderschans, Andrew Sauerwein and Paul Frierott and senior Tim Whelan, attempted to feed Cooley the ball from the get-go and use the bruising center to exploit The Show’s relative lack of size.

The Show, an all-sophomore team comprised of Nate Burggraf, Matt Hegarty, Kurt Wemhoener, Ryan Prom, and Brett Dolan, held its own defensively against Cooley in the first half, as Cooley made only one of his first four shots.

Players on both teams agreed the rainy conditions had a negative effect on the play, as there were several occasions when the ball slipped out of players’ hands as they went up for shots.

“We’re an outside shooting team, which makes it tough,” Prom said. “Since it’s wet, you can’t get up off the ground like if it were dry, which hurts against someone like Cooley.”

Though Cooley got off to a slow start on the offensive end, he affected the game on the defensive end with eight blocked shots, which forced The Show to hesitate before driving into the lane.

“No one even attempted to shoot inside against [Cooley],” Vanderschans said. “If we keep playing zone with him in the middle like that, we’ll be in good shape.”

In addition to his interior defense, Cooley also scored eight points in the second half, finishing eight-of-11 from the field and adding two free throws to end with a total of 10 points. It wasn’t all a one-man show, though, as Frierott also pitched in seven points of his own.

“It helps when you have a first team all-Big East player,” Prom said. “[Former Team 13] has a lot of other good players, but he’s definitely the reason it won.”

Former Team 13 will play Romeo Medical Clinic tonight at 5 p.m.

No. 1 Sophomores at Holy Cross def. No. 16 The Big Mirks

The No. 1 vs. No. 16 matchup was an all-Holy Cross affair, as No. 1 Sophomores at Holy Cross easily handled No. 16 The Big Mirks, 21-9.

Sophomores at Holy Cross consists of four sophomore members of the Holy Cross basketball team – Darrell McIntyre, Alajowon Edwards, Zoe Bauer, George Stainko – and Notre Dame Sports Properties employee Beau Bauer. 

Another member of the Holy Cross basketball team, senior Mike Vander Ploeg, led The Big Mirks, scoring the bulk of his team’s points.

Sophomores at Holy Cross raced out to an 11-4 halftime lead, taking advantage of The Big Mirks turnovers to score easy transition baskets. After Vander Ploeg scored the first three buckets of the second half and narrowed the gap to four points, Sophomores at Holy Cross stepped back on the gas pedal, outscoring The Big Mirks 10-2 to close out the game.

Bauer and Edwards carried the scoring load for the Sophomores of Holy Cross. Bauer was seemingly unaffected by the torrential rain, using his midrange jumper to finish with six points. Edwards led his team with seven points, as he attacked the basket at will.

Vander Ploeg said his opponent’s ability to handle the elements made the difference in the game.

“We just had trouble handling the ball,” Vander Ploeg said. “It’s slick out there, and there are puddles everywhere, too, which made it really tough.”

Sophomores at Holy Cross will play Onions!!! tonight at 7 p.m.

No. 2 Romeo Medical Clinic def. No. 15 The Drones

No. 15 The Drones came up just short in their upset bid against No. 2 Romeo Medical Clinic, falling 21-17 after it led for much of the game.

Romeo Medical Clinic came into the game looking to use their height advantage and tenacious defense. The team of juniors Tom Hickey, Dom Romeo, Jack Gardner, Tyler Sonsalla, and Kevin Timperman said its take pride in the fundamentals.

“When we can, we like to run and push the ball, but also play hard half-court defense,” Gardner said. “Teams try to play zone on us … so we just try to move the ball quickly and get it inside.”

The Drones had other plans, however, coming out in an aggressive man defense to take advantage of the slippery conditions and heavy rain. Holy Cross sophomore Matt Mackowiak led the team with 11 points, draining several deep shots in the first half to give The Drones a 11-10 lead at the break. The Drones’ other team members, Notre Dame juniors Michael Bradley and Kevin Fink and Holy Cross seniors Adam Arsenault and Lavarr Barnett fought with their taller opponents for every loose ball. In the end, however, the height mismatch was too much to overcome for The Drones, as it fell by four.

“They hit the boards hard,” Mackowiak said. “They had size on us, and just were able to make more plays. [Still] it was a blast, and I had a lot of fun.”

With the game tied at 16, Romeo Medical Clinic went on a 5-1 run behind Romeo and Sonsalla, who had seven and six points, respectively. That run provided the winning margin for Romeo Medical Clinic, but the victors said they weren’t satisfied with just moving onto the Elite Eight.

“[This isn’t] a team, it’s a family,” Romeo said. “We’re going to keep playing together and keep winning.”

Romeo Medical Clinic will face Former Team 13 tonight at 5 p.m.

No. 5 RD.NC.JR.KG.TP. def. No.12  Charlie Keller

No. 5 RD.NC.JR.KG.TP. used a fast-paced offense and balanced scoring to run No. 12 Charlie Keller off the court in a 21-5 victory.

Charlie Keller, made up of Campus Ministry Program Coordinator John Paul Lichon, Center for Research Computing Associate Director Paul Brenner, Notre Dame Vision Director Lenny Delorenzo, and ACE program teacher Andrew Hoyt and senior Ben Turk was not able to keep up with its younger counterpart. Charlie Keller’s captain, Fr. Pete McCormick, C.S.C., was unable to attend the game, leaving the team with only five players. RD.NC.JR.KG.TP., composed of senior Ryan Dunbar, junior Nate Carr, junior Jeremy Riche, freshman Travis Pate and sophomore Kevin Gates, credited its success to its team chemistry.

“We have a lot of chemistry together,” Dunbar said. “We all lived in Keenan at some point, and have played interhall [basketball] together. I think that helps us move the ball well and create some open looks.”

That familiarity helped RD.NC.JR.KG.TP. jump out to a quick 4-0 lead against Charlie Keller, and the team never looked back. It took a halftime lead of 11-2 behind Carr’s stellar shooting and strong team defense, which allowed them to score transition baskets. Carr led the way with seven points in the game, while Brenner and Lichon each scored two for Charlie Keller. Each member of RD.NC.JR.KG.TP. scored at least two points in the winning effort.

“I’ve been playing for 14 years, and these guys were just amazing,” Delorenzo said of RD.NC.JR.KG.TP. “They shot lights out from outside, and were really big inside. They have a shot at the championship.”

Dunbar said his team has its eyes on the ultimate prize.

“We missed it last year, so it’s championship or bust [this year],” Dunbar said.