March Madness brings along the expected college basketball craziness...stunning upsets, wild shots and Cinderellas.
But it isn't confined to the college level.
Every year you see stories about crazy finishes in high school tournaments too.
And while I wasn't able to see it in person due to having to work, my favorite high school basketball team, the Lady Rams of Upper Cape Tech, got the Madness started a week early.
They were playing in the state vocational school tournament yesterday and today. At 18-2, they've had one of the best seasons in team history. But after they beat Bristol Aggie 55-36 last night (raising the record to 19-2), they had to face Blue Hills.
Now I could be off a bit here, but Blue Hills hasn't lost a game in something like three years. They were 21-0 going into tonight's game and had thoroughly crushed Upper Cape each of the two times they played each other during the regular season. Yes, the Lady Rams only two losses came at the hands of their title game opponent.
It would be a lie if I told you I thought they could win the game. But as Chris Berman says, "THAT'S why they play the games!"
I followed the game via the tweets posted by the Wareham Courier sports editor Adam Ellis (all photos herein are by him) who was at the game.
And what a game it was. From what I was able to gather, Upper Cape led for most, if not the entire game. With 2:25 to go, there were no more tweets. Upper Cape was up just 3 points at that time.
I was trying to find out what happened...and finally, I saw it. UPPER CAPE 55 BLUE HILLS 49.
OH MY GOD! The Lady Rams are the 2013-2014 State Vocational School Champions!
My former player Michaela (below in blue diving for ball) was said to be a beast in the game and I am so unbelievably proud of her. Now and forever, she can (but won't) add "State Champion" to the end of her name. And to think I knew her when she was just a little third grader who growled at the people she defended and earned the nickname I gave to very few, "The Hound" for her on court intensity.
But the rest of the team has been a little bit of joy to watch all season long.
And now it has all paid off with an entirely unexpected but very much deserved state title.
They have done what might've been thought to be the impossible...and that makes them mighty!
The Big Damn Heroes (photo by Wareham Courier's Adam Ellis):
Back Row (L-R) - Alex, Krystle, Amber, Alexa, Dasia, Molly and Coach Davidson.
Front Row (L-R) - Paige, Amelia, Jodi and Michaela
It amazes me how NBC can spend billions of dollars to cover an Olympics that most Americans will know the results before they are aired in prime-time. Kind of takes the starch out of watching. Don’t get me wrong, NBC does show the Olympics during the morning and afternoon, when most people are either at work or have other personal things to attend. When they do show it in prime-time the results are usually known or the Americans are not in the running for a medal.
Speaking of the Olympics, if you get a chance you need to watch American Skater Jason Brown. He might not be the best in the world, but he will be by the next Olympics. Jason puts on a show like no other in the sport today. His only draw-back is he can’t do the Quad jump. This clip is from the 2014 US Figure Skating Championship:
I watched State Farm All-Star Saturday Night and if I could sum it up in one word:
Granted they did things differently this year.
The Sears Shooting Stars had one current NBA Player, one retired NBA player and one WNBA player.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge, not exciting. It was more like a two-man relay.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. I almost fell asleep.
Sprite Slam Dunk contest. I was looking forward to it, I really was. The only excitement came in the final round, which by then was anti-climatic because I was bored.
They only great thing about it was all money earned was donated to charity.
The All-Star game was what I liked, high scoring and slam dunks.
It was a big week for BC this week as hockey and basketball were active and grabbing at least some of the headlines in the papers. They won some and they lost some.
But for the entire Boston College community, the biggest loss came when the news broke that one of their longtime employees (and BC grad) Dick Kelley had passed away after a long battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS). He spent 22 years working in the BC Sports Information office and was a huge BC basketball supporter. You can read more here: http://www.bceagles.com/genrel/021414aaa.html
As for the sports teams, the hockey programs for both the men and the women saw a huge bit of success when each of them captured the annual Beanpot tournament. It's the local tournament held each year between BC, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern. The men's team won it for the fifth year in a row while the women picked up their second straight win.
Men's Basketball - The Eagles got beaten in the last second yet again this week. Against Georgia Tech, Olivier Hanlan (pictured below) hit a shot with 3.4 seconds left in the game to put BC ahead but the Yellowjackets nailed a 3 pointer with .7 seconds left and went on to win 74-71.
The loss drops Boston College to 6-18 on the season. Hanlan finished with 21 points and Ryan Anderson added 13. Joe Rahon scored 11 points, but with the team being outrebounded 31-17 for the game, the problem seems to be coming from everywhere but the offense.
Women's Basketball - The long spiral downward continued this week for the women's team. With Kristen Doherty still out with concussion like symptoms, the team once again was playing shorthanded. It's been a season long refrain, injuries sapping bodies from the available roster.
Last Sunday's game against Florida State was particularly disappointing. The Eagles were on the road and so was I. I had to take my mother to a baby shower but commandeered one of the TVs in the house and watched the game on NESN.
BC started out 12-6 but then FSU went on a 14-0 run to take command of the game, something they would never relinquish the rest of the way.
In the first half, BC was outrebounded 21-10 and turned the ball over 13 times (they were averaging 15 turnovers PER GAME.) Their interior defense was pathetic. Of the 35 points Florida State scored in the first half, 32 came in the paint. Katie Zenevitch (12 points, 5 rebounds) got exploited a number of times but even more depressing was just how bad Karima Gabriel played. She was a turnstile on defense, got her shot blocked EASILY, and turned the ball over a number of times.
Things just kept getting worse in the second half as FSU went on to win the game 72-55. They outrebounded BC for the game 46-22, including 24 offensive rebounds. Yes, you read that stat correctly. The Seminoles had more OFFENSIVE rebounds than BC had rebounds for the entire game.
While FSU's Natasha Howard had an outstanding game with 26 points and 11 rebounds, more impressive to me was the play of their point guard Cheetah Delgado. At five foot two, she's the smallest player in the ACC, yet with her speed she essentially slapped the BC defense around for the entire game. She had 6 points, dished out 15 assists and grabbed 9 rebounds. Can you believe it? The BC defense was so bad, that the smallest player on the floor had 9 boards!
While the game was pretty much nothing to really write home about, the Eagles did have one bright spot in the form of freshman Kelly Hughes. She tied her career high with 23 points and got 5 boards as well. She ended up picking up the ACC Rookie of the Week award later in the week.
By the way, you can check out the weekly press conference with coach Erik Johnson below.
On Thursday, the Eagles were at home facing off for the second time with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish haven't lost all season and that trend continued against the Eagles. After blowing them out by 40 points the first time around, I suppose the 82-61 loss suffered by BC is somewhat of an improvement. But the loss drops them to 12-13 on the season with a 3-9 ACC record.
Kat Cooper (pictured below) led the team with 13 points. Katie Zenevitch had 12 points and 8 boards. Nicole Boudreau added 9 points and 7 assists.
The post game press conference is below.
They play today against Syracuse and I'm supposed to be there with courtside seats. Hopefully I'll have a report to post afterwards.
Hartford - The Hawks dropped to 9-15 (6-5 in the AEC) after their loss to Maine 60-56. Deanna Mayza (pictured below) scored 17 points to lead Hartford. Amber Bepko finished with 10 points. Alyssa Reaves had 8 points and a career high 13 rebounds. You can see highlights of the game and the post game press conference below as well.
Missouri State - The Lady Bears split their two games this week. They beat Bradley 78-72 to start their week. Bry Snow (pictured below) had a career high 29 points to go with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Her sister Tyonna Snow scored 17 points.
On Friday night, Tyonna Snow was the only player in double figures (17 points) as MSU lost to Northern Iowa. They are now 12-11 on the season with a 7-5 conference record.
Tennessee - After their 81-53 victory over Vanderbilt this week, the Lady Vols stand at 20-4 (9-2 in the SEC). Meighan Simmons led the victory with 22 points. Isabelle Harrison had 18 points. Andraya Carter (pictured below) scored 11 points while Bashaara Graves had 6 points and 10 boards.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
You can check out my two high school basketball blog updates from the past week below.
The NBA is now on their All-Star Weekend break but before those not playing in that exhibition farce went their separate ways to presumably get some R&R from the season's grind, the Celtics had 3 games to play.
Last Sunday, the Mavericks knocked off Boston 102-91. Jeff Green led the offense with 18 points, but it was Rajon Rondo who provided the gas for the entire Celtics engine. He had 15 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.
Chris Johnson added 14 points and Jared Sullinger tallied 11 points and 12 boards. He was also later named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Kris Humphries chipped in 10 points.
The Celtics beat then beat the Bucks 102-86. Jeff Green had 29 points and Kelly Olynyk had 14 points and 11 rebounds. With Rajon Rondo getting another DNP for "rest", Phil Pressey stepped up with 13 points. Jared Sullinger scored 13 points as well and had 10 boards. Brandon Bass finished with 12 points and 7 boards.
Boston then closed out the figurative first half of their season with a 104-92 loss to the Spurs. Rondo had 16 points to top the scoring column. Kelly Olynyk had 15 points and 10 boards. Brandon Bass added 12 points and Jerryd Bayless finished with 11 points. Green had 10 points.
The loss has the Celtics at 19-35. It's a bad record but in terms of what the Celtics had in mind, not bad enough. Boston Herald sportswriter Gerry Callahan even wrote an article that basically implored GM Danny Ainge be more proactive in making the team worse. He used the line from the first Rocky movie "He doesn't know it's a show, he thinks its a damn fight" to punctuate the point that coach Brad Stevens has been too damn good for the team's own good (read, high draft pick hopes).
While I understand the plan is to be bad enough to get Jabari Parker or one of the other two potential great team changing players expected to be in the next NBA draft, the fan in me finds myself disgusted by other people who WANT to lose. I know losing now to win big later is the plan and the logical part of my brain gets that. But purposely trying to be bad enough to lose and lose often...ARGHHHH!
Besides the 1980 Miracle on Ice US hockey victory over the Russians, I've spent the week try to figure out what my favorite Winter Olympics moment was. And I figured it out. I watched it as it happened and I was simply blown away by the figure skating performance of Sarah Hughes during the 2002 Olympics. She was ranked 3rd out of the three US skaters at the Games and was in fourth before the long program. And then she went out and delivered one of the most amazing skates I've ever seen. It was technically awesome and the zest she delivered it with brought the house down. And when she found out that she'd pulled off an amazing upset, her unbridled scream of joy was electric!
You can see her long program skate below followed by another link that shows all of the skates and her reaction (and that of her coach) about 34 minutes into the second video.
I remember being glued to the screen during her performance and actually cheering as she finished. And a "HOLY SH*T!" escaped my lips when she was announced as the winner. Just a classic moment.
As for the current Winter Olympics, I missed the first period on Saturday morning but caught the last two periods, overtime and the shootout between the US and Russian hockey teams.
The US caught a break late in the third period when a Russian goal was disallowed, but this was a heck of a game. With Doc Emrick on the call, everything seemed so intense. This game showed exactly why I love Olympic hockey. Each attempt in the shootout was so epic and when T.J. Oshie drilled a shot past the Russian goalie on the 8th attempt between the two teams, the US picked up the win! Can I get a HELL YEAH!!!!
TV - The television world lost one of its best known dads this week when actor Ralph Waite died at the age of 86. For those who grew up on the 1970's family dramas, you will remember him as John Walton, the patriarch on The Waltons. In recent years, he's appeared on the soap opera Days of our Lives as well as playing the father of Gibbs on NCIS and the grandfather of Booth on Bones.
Music - One of the upcoming CDs I'll be reviewing is the House of Lords album Precious Metal. The band has released a video for the song "Battle" and you can check it out below.
Books - I picked up the Rhys Bowen mystery The Family Way this week. It is the latest paperback release in her Molly Murphy series. The series is set in the early 1900's with Irish immigrant Murphy as she winds her way as an unlikely PI in New York. Each book has been highly entertaining and I'm so glad I discovered her books.
I also discovered by virtue of an excerpt printed in Sports Illustrated that there is a new book about the 1985 Chicago Bears out. It's called Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football. The author is Rich Cohen and after reading that excerpt, I am definitely adding it to my want list.
Try as I might, I really can't work up much enthusiasm for the Winter Olympics. I'm not usually as much of a fan of the Winter Games as I am the Summer Games but with the utter debacle that is the news coming out of Sochi regarding how unprepared the city (resort town) is, you have to shake your head.
Stray dogs, unfinished rooms, rooms without the basic necessities like toilets that flush toilet paper, water that comes with a warning (as if the yellow color wasn't enough of one) to not put it on your face.
You have to wonder if the Russian leader Putin planned it this way so the world's press would be distracted by the "small" stuff and ignore the bigger stories about how much of a dictatorship Russia is back to being.
I'll be interested in how the Olympic hockey tourney goes, but I'm usually only interested in events that the US does well in. Yes, I'm a homer in that regard.
There were two bits of news this week regarding the WNBA. The first story was the Phoenix Mercury announcing a new uniform sponsor. They'd lost Lifelock and have now replaced them with Casino Arizona. You can see the home jersey below:
The bigger news revolved around the future of the Los Angeles Sparks. When the previous owners bailed out, it looked like the Sparks would most likely move to the San Francisco area after being bought by Joe Lacob, the owner of the Golden State Warriors of the NBA.
But the Sparks will be staying in LA after the news broke that the investment group led by Magic Johnson and his partner in owning the LA Dodgers bought the team.
I joked on another forum that if this keeps up, Johnson might just buy the entire city of Los Angeles at some point. But this is a good move for the Sparks and the WNBA. Johnson and his partners have been pretty successful at their business moves and if they can make the Sparks into an even more viable entity, that can only improve the future for the league as a whole.
The news coming out of the Celtics this week is a three game winning streak. The record is now 18-33 after the wins and suddenly the Celtics look reasonably good again.
Yes I know the record stinks, but the entire Eastern Conference beyond the Heat and the Pacers stinks too so it isn't like the Celtics are completely out of the realm of possibility to make the playoffs...if they keep playing THIS way.
Things started off with a 96-89 win over the Orlando Magic. Jared Sullinger led the team with 21 points and 12 boards while Brandon Bass had 19 points and 9 boards.
The game also saw Rajon Rondo's first breakout game since his return from injury. He had 19 points, 10 assists and 10 boards.
Next up was a rematch against the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston edged them out 114-108 as Jeff Green had another explosive offensive night with 36 points (and 8 boards). Sullinger added 19 points and 10 boards. Bass scored 18 and grabbed 6 boards. Rondo dished out 11 assists.
On Friday night, with Rondo given a DNP-CD to rest, you might've expected a different result but the Celtics got it done against the Sacramento Kings 99-89. Jared Sullinger (pictured below on defense) scored a career high 31 points and had 16 rebounds. Jerryd Bayless finished with 19 points including 4 three pointers. Green added 17 points and Kelly Olynyk hit for 11 points.
And while he'll be down the list of reasons why the Celtics won this game, Gerald Wallace played a really big role in the win. He had 8 points, 12 boards and 9 assists. That kind of stat line demonstrates why he is a "glue guy" kind of player.
You know he isn't happy coming off the bench in a reduced role but he does everything that's asked of him. When he was running off at the lip early in the season it was slightly annoying but say what you want about that, he's doing his job in a remarkably effective way.
Speaking of that, another player doing a great job in the role provided him is Chris Johnson. And the team rewarded that effort by guaranteeing his contract for the rest of the season. He had been on his 2nd 10 day contract with the Celtics and league rules say that you can only sign two of those deals with any one team before they have to pick you up for the year or let you go.
I think it is a smart move for the Celtics as it gives them another quality role player who fits in with the team quite well and works his tail off when on the court.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
You can check out the two high school basketball updates I did this week, including news on one of my ex-players hitting the 1,000 point mark via the following links:
And before I forget, here's the official team photo for the Upper Cape Girls varsity team.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Hartford - The Hawks split their two games this week. They won their 5th game in a row when they knocked off Stony Brook 61-48. Amber Bepko scored her season high of 19 points (to go with 7 boards. She was a perfect 10-10 at the foul line.
Morgan Lumb (pictured below) had a career high 17 points and was later named America East Rookie of the Week. Alyssa Reaves added 10 points.
The statistical oddity of this particular game was that Hartford won despite getting outrebounded 48-38.
The win streak ended on Friday night when Albany crushed the Hawks 90-68. While they played an even game in the second half, it was a 47-25 first half that killed Hartford's chances.
Morgan Lumb had 16 points to lead the team while Bepko scored 11 and Reaves finished with 10 points for the now 9-14 (6-4 AEC) Hawks.
Missouri State - Using their defense to force a season high 29 turnovers, the Bears crushed Southern Illinois earlier this week 76-58. This despite actually losing the battle of the boards 39-34.
Kenzie Williams had 12 points to lead the team. Bry Snow added 11 points and Hannah Wilkerson finished with 10 points. But it was a career night for Lexi Hughes who established 3 new career highs with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in the game.
On Friday night, a thoroughly balanced attack led the team to a 66-41 win over Loyola. All 12 players scored in the game and none of them hit double figures. It was Williams who topped the scoring chart with 9 points.
The team is now 11-10 with a 6-4 conference record.
Tennessee - The Lady Vols had two wins this week and surprisingly enough the games were actually relatively close affairs.
They beat Alabama 64-54. They were down in the game by as many as 15 points. But a career high 20 points to go with 11 boards from Cierra Burdick (pictured below) helped mount the successful comeback. Burdick went on to be named SEC player of the week. Isabelle Harrison had a double double with 11 points and 11 boards.
In what was the 100th win that Lady Vol player Meighan Simmons has been involved with during her time at Tennessee, the Lady Vols beat Ole Miss 77-65 for their 5th straight win and a 19-4 (8-2 SEC) record. Simmons had 20 points in the game. Harrison scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Burdick added 12 points, 8 boards and 5 assists.
BOSTON COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Women - The week started out bad for the women's team as they dropped yet another game they should've won. The 70-63 overtime loss to Virginia Tech was particularly galling since they had beaten them earlier in the season.
Worse yet was that BC was winning by 5 at halftime. Kelly Hughes continued her sensational freshman year with 22 points and Katie Zenevitch added 15 points and 9 boards (5 turnovers out of the team's 17 total TO's though).
What killed them in this game was the disastrous first three minutes of the overtime period. They turned the ball over 6 times in that time frame and managed just 1 point for the entire OT.
As demonstrated, that will simply not get things done.
The weekly press conference with coach Erik Johnson is below.
With BC heading in the downward direction and Virginia looking as though they were on a move up, you would be forgiven if you though their game on Thursday would be a Cavalier undertaking.
But after being down by 9 points at halftime and 15 points with 11:05 remaining, the Eagles used a 19-2 run to not only get back into the game but take it over down the stretch. That big run was keyed by 7 points from Kelly Hughes (pictured below 1st) and 6 points from Karima Gabriel.
Those 6 points were the only points that came from the BC bench. The starters provided the rest of the offense and that was with Kristen Doherty out of action for the game with an injury.
A key to the game in the second half was the Eagles committing only 4 turnovers in the half. Shooting 10-23 for the game from three point range didn't hurt either.
Hughes finished with a career high tying 23 points. Nicole Boudreau (pictured below 2nd) had 13 points and 5 assists while Kat Cooper (pictured below 3rd) scored 12 points. You can also check out highlights of the game in the video below.
Men - The men's game against Virginia was on TV the other night and I watched some of it. But they were getting hammered early. They went on to lose by "only" 10 points, 77-67, but with Duke coming to town Saturday night, they could've used a win over a slightly lesser light in the ACC. Ryan Anderson had 20 points and 7 boards to lead the Eagles with Olivier Hanlan (14 points) and Lonnie Jackson (12 points) also contributing.
As for the Duke game, the Eagles played the Blue Devils surprisingly close in the first half. They were down just 4 points at the break.
But an 18-0 run in the second half by Duke killed any chance for the Eagles (6-17, 2-8) to pull off what would've been a tremendous upset.
Olivier Hanlan scored 25 points to lead BC. Ryan Anderson (pictured below) added 12 points and Joe Rahon hit for 11 points.
Duke's Jabari Parker put on quite a show in front of the Boston crowd which included Celtics GM Danny Ainge. He finished with 29 points and 16 boards.
THE SUPER BOWL
Well, if you weren't a Seahawks fan, that was one crappy championship game I'd say. I was totally wrong on my score prediction last week. Thankfully I didn't actually watch the game as the ass-kicking was on pretty much from the opening kickoff.
Denver looked completely unprepared for Seattle in every respect.
For those that don't pay attention, the Seahawks win is not the city's first major championship since 1979. The WNBA's Seattle Storm won titles in 2004 and 2010. Call it lazy reporting by every single media outlet you can think of.
Movies - I'm probably going to see a movie at some point today but I have no idea what that might be. The new George Clooney movie The Monuments Men looks interesting but I don't know if I want to see that in the theater or just wait for the film to come out on PPV/DVD.
As many people know, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died this week. I know some think it is crazy to see so many people that didn't actually know him be upset about his death and generally I agree with that viewpoint. But I did like some of the movies he appeared in and that is what I'll miss about him.
It also doesn't lessen my disgust with him over his drug use that led to his death. Particularly since it leaves his three children without a father.
TV - During the Super Bowl, Fox ran some promos for the return of the TV series 24. The 12 episode "event" series Live Another Day starts May 5th and I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Jack Bauer.
You can check out one of the quickie promos below.
And don't forget that tonight is the return of The Walking Dead on AMC. And for those so inclined towards comic books, the Kevin Smith show Comic Book Men returns later in the evening as well.
Funny thing about that show is how bad it makes us comic book fans look but much like a roadside car accident I can't stop watching it.
Comic Books - I somehow missed that one of my current favorite comic writers, Brian Wood, had a series prior to when I started reading his work (Conan, Star Wars, The Massive). It is called DMZ and it set during the second Civil War and the location is New York City. Obviously there is more to the story but I picked up the first trade collection yesterday (the entire series is collected in 12 trade paperbacks) and if this story is anything like his outstanding work on the three titles I mentioned above, I might just have a new series to add to my collection.
While the reaction wasn't immediate, it came as no surprise to anyone when the Boston Red Sox announced this week that Red Sox reporter Jenny Dell had been taken off the job as a game sideline reporter. The reason? Her now public relationship with Red Sox player Will Middlebrooks.
Of course, other female journalists are not happy with her actions. I think it seems kind of stupid to actively court losing a job all for the sake of "love", but since I'm probably the least romantic or sentimental person I know, my opinion likely shouldn't count for much.
Dell is still employed by NESN but as a studio host now. It seems Boston's female sideline reporters don't know how to stay away from the players they are supposed to be covering. Wasn't Hazel Mae dating Ricky Davis when he was with the Celtics.
I know that most sideline reporting duties aren't exactly the heights of quality journalism but doesn't anyone tell the reporters to do their jobs...not the players?
It's official. David Stern is no longer the commissioner of the NBA. After a 30 year run and presiding over the most successful period in the league's history, he's turned things over to Adam Silver. You can check out an interview with Stern that was done by SI.com's Jack McCallum here:
Another week in Celtics land and you can add three more losses to the team's record.
With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back in town with the Brooklyn Nets, the sentimental stuff was flowing strong and long for the two players. With all the positive press they were getting, you'd almost forget that they were on the opposing team.
The Celtics organization handled things quite well with each player getting a great video presentation. Pierce and Garnett said all the right things after the Nets 85-79 win as well.
Leading the Celtics was Brandon Bass with 17 points and 8 boards. Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 8 assists and 8 boards. Of course, when your point guard ties for the team high in rebounds you have to hope it is one of those statistical flukes or else you really have to worry about how your bigs are playing.
It probably comes as no surprise that the New York Knicks were looking for a little payback when they faced off with Boston this week. The last time the two teams met, the Celtics kicked their collective butts. Consider the favor returned as the Knicks demolished and likely demoralized Boston on their way to a 114-88 win.
Jeff Green had 14 points and 7 boards as the lead man for Boston in the game.
And just to add insult to the week, there was the Celtics 95-94 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Sure it was a close game, but the Celtics lost the game on a Evan Turner layup at the damn buzzer! ARGGGGHHHH!
Jared Sullinger had a big game with 24 points and 17 boards. Jeff Green added 18 points and Kris Humphries had 13 points and 9 boards.
While the win-loss record took yet another beating (they are now 15-33), there was at least one positive note to be happy about. The Celtics signed Chris Johnson to a second 10 day contract. Johnson (late of the NBADL) has been impressing the team's coaches and brass with his day in and day out hustle. For those of us still paying attention via the game or the reports on the games, his efforts have been noticed as well. He had 12 points each against the Nets and Knicks and played his way through a sprain. He knows he has limited opportunities to show people what he's got and he's been capitalizing on those opportunities. The question now becomes will those efforts be enough to convince the team to sign him for the rest of the season once his 2nd 10 day contract ends?
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
You can check out my three blog posts recapping the latest high school basketball results for the teams I track below.
I know I'm in the minority of football fans, but I pretty much don't care about the Super Bowl this year. But for the sake of pretending to be in with the in crowd, I'll give you my pick for which team I think will win the game.
Surprisingly, I actually watched a couple of men's college games this week but for the life of me I can't remember who was playing.
As for the women's teams I follow:
Tennessee - The Lady Vols picked up two more wins this week to improve their record to 17-4 overall (6-2 SEC).
Meighan Simmons scored 26 points to lead the Vols over Texas A&M 76-55 in her home state return. It was Simmons and Ciera Burdick (pictured below) scoring 16 points each to lead the team over Arkansas 70-60 late in the week. Burdick added 7 rebounds as well.
Hartford - While by no means assuming that their season could possibly turn around after their disastrous start, the Hawks have been looking a little better as of late. They knocked off Vermont 64-51 this week and improved their overall record to 8-13. More importantly, their conference record is now 5-3.
The win came in a rather unorthodox way. The Hartford bench had a 43-14 scoring advantage over Vermont's bench and it was three reserves who led the team in scoring for the game. Cherelle Moore had 14 points and 8 boards, Morgan Lumb added 12 points and Taylor Clark scored 10. It was a 14-0 run early in the second half that pushed Hartford ahead to stay.
Missouri State - Another solid week for the Lady Bears has them nearing the .500 mark once more. They beat Illinois State 75-72. They had a 12 point lead but blew that. Then they regrouped to win the ballgame in the final minute. Tyonna Snow had 14 points and Kenzie Williams scored 13, though she did turn the ball over 6 times. Bry Snow added 11 points and 5 boards while Katie Palmer finished with 10 points.
On Friday night, MSU got 21 points from Kenzie Williams to knock off Evansville 87-70. The win moves them to 9-10 overall and 4-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Tyonna Snow had 17 points in the game to go with 7 steals while Katie Palmer added 13 points and 6 boards.
BOSTON COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Women - Last Sunday it was Alumni Day at the BC women's game. There were a number of former coaches and players in attendance including Carolyn Swords and Corey Rusin. Unfortunately, the current team lost a heartbreaker to Wake Forest 56-50.
They shot 2-20 from three point range and just 8-13 from the foul line. Kristen Doherty had 12 points and 5 rebounds to lead the team. Kelly Hughes added 8 points and 7 boards. Karima Gabriel had 17 minutes of game action (the most she's had this season) and scored 4 points to go with 6 boards.
You can see the postgame press video below.
The team's weekly press conference is below.
Despite leading by 10 points at halftime, the Eagles then dropped another heartbreaker. This time they lost to Pitt 67-65. Lauren Engeln and Nicole Boudreau each had 15 points in the game. Kelly Hughes had 14 points and 9 boards and Kristen Doherty added 12 points.
But the Eagles dropped to 11-11 overall and to 2-6 in the ACC. This further dampens if not dooms their hopes for a postseason playing opportunity. Setting aside the notion of a string of upsets in the ACC tournament for the conference automatic bid, their best hope was for a WNIT invitation but losing to Wake Forest and Pitt does nothing to bolster their chances.
Men - The Eagles picked up a 76-52 blowout win over Virginia Tech to start the week. They tied a Conte Forum record by hitting 14 three pointers in the game.
BC came out on fire with a 16-7 run to start the game and the Hokies never got closer than 6 points for the rest of the game. At one point, the Eagles led by 30 points. The win improves their record to 6-14 and 2-5 in the ACC.
Joe Rahon (pictured below on the right of Patrick Heckmann) had 20 points and 6 assists to lead BC. Ryan Anderson added 18 points, 8 boards and 6 blocks. Heckmann scored 14 points and Olivier Hanlan finished with 11 points.
On Saturday afternoon, the Eagles squared off with Notre Dame and got pretty well hosed at the end of regulation.
I'm not normally one to specifically put blame on the refs but they blew the call at the end of regulation which gave Notre Dame the opportunity to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Irish were down by 1 when Eric Atkins was supposedly fouled by BC. He went to the line, hit the first shot to tie the game and then missed the second free throw. A quick put back attempt failed and the buzzer sounded.
The only problem was that he never should've gotten the foul shots in the first place. Atkins should've been called for an offensive foul. As he was coming down the court with the ball, Atkins quite clearly pushed a BC defender with his arm. You could see it as it happened and it was blatantly clear on the replays too.
But instead the trailing ref completely blew the call and gave Notre Dame a new life. The Irish capitalized on that extra chance when Atkins hit a soul destroying three pointer with .8 seconds left in OT to give the Irish a 76-73 victory.
For the Eagles, they had plenty of chances to take control of the game in the second half as they led for a majority of the time including building a 9 point lead right out of the halftime break. But they never managed to quite put the Irish away and then came the bad call and while it didn't affect their overall play in the OT period, you can't help but be ticked off because they never should've been any extra time in the first place.
This is why there is no such things a moral victories. ARGGGHH!
The loss drops the Eagles to 6-15 with a 2-6 ACC record.
Ryan Anderson (pictured below) scored 21 points and grabbed 6 boards to lead Boston College. Lonnie Jackson hit 3 three pointers (of the team's 7 on the day) on his way to 15 points. Joe Rahon finished with 13 points.
The 5th season finale of the show White Collar aired this past week and once again, it was a humdinger. They did a great job of wrapping up the season long storyline and then did a terrific cliffhanger to entice you back for next season.
Books - I received a copy of the Terry Hayes book I Am Pilgrim in the mail this week. It is the book I was tracked down on the Net by the publicity director for Atria Books in order to have me do a review. Once I finish reading it that is. When I first looked at the book I was a bit wary because the darn thing is 600 pages long. But I'm more than 150 pages in so far and it has been an interesting read so far.
I also picked up the Star Trek Voyager novel Protectors by Kirsten Beyer.
Music - The self-titled debut album from Red Dragon Cartel was released this past week. It's the return of guitarist Jake E. Lee (Badlands, Ozzy Osbourne). I've got my copy and a review will be forthcoming.