Field is set for Bookstore Basketball Final Four
No. 1 Finnigan’s def. No. 8 St. Andrews
By Joe Everett
Top-seeded Finnigan’s overcame an early deficit to No. 8 St. Andrews to win 21-13, continuing its march towards a third-straight Bookstore Basketball championship Thursday evening.
Although Finnigan’s entered as the heavy favorite, St. Andrews came out firing — hitting shots from all over the court to build an early 6-3 lead. Finnigan’s adjusted by switching to a zone defense, which disrupted St. Andrews’ offensive rhythm — allowing Finnigan’s to begin imposing its will upon the game. Pulling ahead by halftime by a score of 11-8, Finnigan’s wore down its opponent in the second half, eventually reaching the free throw line and effectively sealing the game. Finnigan’s senior captain Conor Colpoys said his team performed well against stiff competition.
“I thought we played well,” Colpoys said. “[St. Andrews is] a good team, one of the few teams that have two big guys, and we like to pound it inside, so that was a tough matchup for us — they play really physical. We got off to another slow start — down [three points] was the largest deficit we’ve faced — but then we settled in a little bit. We were able to get out in transition and switched to a zone, which I think we settled into nicely, got a lead by halftime and then held them off from there.”
Finnigan’s, which includes Notre Dame varsity walk-on graduate student Patrick Mazza, is the prohibitive favorite in the tournament, but now has a target on its back every game. Colpoys said he is aware of the challenge of going for a three-peat.
“It’s tough,” Colpoys said. “Three of us have been playing together and we’re trying to get three straight. I know Holy Cross did it but I don’t think any Notre Dame team has done it, so that is the goal. We’ve got two more to go, and the next game should be really tough, so we’ll take it from there.”
No. 2 Team 2 def. No. 9 4 Sick Bodies, 1 Sick Bode
By Brenna Moxley
Second-seeded Team 2 topped ninth-seeded 4 Sick Bodies, 1 Sick Bode 21-5 in the final game of the Elite Eight on Thursday.
Captain of Team 2 junior Reed Hunnicutt led his team with his strong ball-handling skills and dynamic layups.
Team 2 was on top from the get-go, but the momentum slowed down when the opposing squad continuously tipped the ball out of bounds or caused Team 2 to turn the ball over. Both teams relied on their speed in the game, but 4 Sick Bodies, 1 Sick Bode took a more aggressive and physical approach, while Team 2 used its height to its advantage.
After halftime, Team 2 went on an impressive run, advancing the score to 15-5. Team 2 did not stop there, and went on a 6-0 run to finish the game 21-5.
Hunnicutt was impressed with his team’s performance and emphasized the team’s defensive strength.
“I think the game went really well,” Hunnicutt said. “I loved our defensive pressure and even though we gave up two easy layups and made a couple of small mistakes tonight our defense was impressive overall.”
Hunnicutt said he feels confident going into the Final Four, explaining that if Team 2 works together and does its best, it can reach the finals.
“If we play our best we can compete with anybody,” Hunnicutt said. “We have really great chemistry and we are facing a good team with great athletes in the next round, but if we try our best we can come out on top.”
No. 11 Menard def. No. 3 Big Bodies
No. 11 Menard upset No. 3 Big Bodies from Holy Cross College during Thursday’s quarterfinal game, 21-14.
Menard opened up the scoring with back-to-back layups, putting it up 2-0 early in the game. From there, the game would go back and forth as both Menard and Big Bodies patiently used the inside paint to score their points.
As the first half progressed, the game got physical, but both defenses stood their ground. The first half concluded with Menard leading Big Bodies 11-6.
Menard captain Declan Zidar said that the wind was a challenge throughout the game.
“We made layups, but it was too windy to make jumpers,” Zidar said.
To open up the second half, Big Bodies came out firing, led by Holy Cross junior Madison McCaffrey, a guard for Holy Cross varsity team.
Despite a brief comeback attempt, Big Bodies fell short, falling to Menard 21-14.
Zidar was pleased that his team finished with a win.
“We’ve made plenty of layups and back cuts throughout the game,” Zidar said. “We were hitting the boards hard.”
For Big Bodies, senior Thomas Rowe was happy with his team’s overall performance over the course of the tournament
“Our team was a very good team,” Rowe said. “We were fortunate to receive the No. 3 seed. I wouldn’t change this team for the world; they were great teammates to me and it’s been a great time out here.”
Zidar and his team now looks to prepare for the Final Four.
“We just need to work on our rebounds,” Zidar said. “We’re not the biggest team, so we would have to box out and rebound.”
No. 4 Truman Jobs def. No. 5 Closet Cliques
The No. 4 Truman Jobs defeated the No. 5 Closet Cliques in Thursday’s Elite Eight matchup, using their dominance on the glass to seal the 21-15 victory.
The tough, physical game started off close, with the game tied at 6-6 after the first 10 minutes. The Closet Cliques got into foul trouble early, committing four personal fouls before the Truman Jobs recorded any fouls.
The Truman Jobs used their size inside to grab offensive rebounds, rarely ending a possession without at least one. Senior Jacob Matuska led the team in scoring and rebounding, providing the push it needed to take an 11-8 lead at the half. Truman Jobs senior captain James Ganas said Matuska was a key to the team’s success.
“Jacob Matuska was the MVP,” Ganas said. “He came up with the most points and came up with the most rebounds. He did everything for us today.”
The second half went much like the first, with the Truman Jobs controlling the glass. They converted several free throws after the Closet Cliques put them into the bonus.
The Closet Cliques threatened to come back with a quick 3-pointer, making the score 15-12, but the Truman Jobs hung on.
Thanks to a big performance from their center, the Truman Jobs won the game 21-15. Ganas said the dominance on the boards by their younger players led to the team advancing to the Final Four.
“The freshmen were key today,” Ganas said. “They played the game of their life. They came up with the rebounds and played bigger than they are. They just sealed the deal.”