MCA survives Centaur Scare

The final week of the regular season in 08-09 takes me to Maranatha for a non-conference tilt with Brooklyn Center. An interesting night tonight for our friendly public address/timer guy. He introduces the zebras as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, HA. But then he goes after the BC cheerleaders for waving barely waving their pompoms behind the basket during MCA free throws. Not that I don't agree with his point of view, but it seemed really out of place for him to be the guy. That's what coaches and officials are for.

MCA out to a quick 6-0 lead in this battle of young point guards. MCA's frosh PG Darian Pittman finishes the run with a steal and layin. BC soph PG Freddie Young stops the run with a layup of his own. 11-10 MCA at the 11:53 mark before BC gets 7 in a row in the next 1:08. Very sloppy stretch there for MCA. But they show a 1-3-1 zone and go off on a 12-1 run over the next 6 minutes. BC survived some of that stretch with 4 bench guys on the floor so it could have been much worse. But the Centaurs find an answer for the zone and counter with their own 7-0 run over the last 4:47 of the half for a 27-23 halftime lead. In the battle of point guards, Freddie Young with 9 points on 4-8 shooting, Darian Pittman with 8 points on 2-5 FGs and only 4-8 FTs. Jay Higgins already with 10 rebounds.

11-2 MCA to start the 2nd half thanks to 7 Josh Hanson points and a huge block by Matt Eickmann. SaVaughn Jordan finishes the run with a putback and the foul. 34-29 MCA with 14:13 to play. Freddie Young with back to back triples in the Centaurs column. Another bucket forces an MCA timeout. A turnover for 1 bucket and a Shawn Edwards jumper force another MCA timeout 90 seconds later. 43-38 Centaurs with 9:30 left. Young then finds frosh Mahari Wilson with 7:45 left and its 49-40 BC after a 20-6 run over 6:28. But MCA won't go away at home. Pittman with a 3 from the left corner, Hanson with a blk that turns into a 3 point play for Jordan at the other end. That puts a spark in the MCA zone defense as they've played 1-3-1 most of the half. Young with 2 free throws at 5:37 for a 52-47 Brooklyn Center lead. Pittman with a drive for 2 and then Higgins with a 3 point play to tie it at 5:08 and this one has turned out to be a far better game than I anticipated.

The teams have an offensive drought but Wilson breaks that with a layup with 2:30 left. Higgins thru a player for a post 2 (flop/charge? probably a good no call). Then he steals an entry pass to the wing and hits Pittman for a layup and MCA leads 56-54 with 1:45 left. BC misses a layup at 1:15 but Jordan steps out of bounds against a trap with 53.6 left. Antone Darrington misses with 35 seconds left and may have been fouled. BC takes an awfully long time to foul before they send Pittman to the line with 15.1 left. He misses the front end and BC has the ball in the front court after a timeout with 10.3 left. Against the 1-3-1 they elect to start Young on top, enter to the wing and then dribble away attempting to throw back to him in the corner. He gets an OK look that goes long. Wessah Teah runs it down and throws up the 10 foot fade away at the horn and its good to tie the game at 56. BC celebrating like they won the game and I can't blame them. Mighty mo is with them for the OT.

To the OT, Hanson with a putback after a set play on the tip missed a layin. Higgins ends up with Young on him in the post and that earns him 2 FTs with 2:55 left in the OT. 60-56 MCA. Edwards with a tipin at 2:30 to cut the lead to 2. MCA travels on the next possession. Edwards with a nice cut and gets fouled. He makes 1 of 2 with 1:57 left, 60-59 MCA. Pittman banks home a runner from outside the left box with 1:28 left. Darrington goes baseline for 2 with 1:05 left. 62-61 MCA. MCA goes weave to kill the clock and they almost turn it over before calling time with 33.4 left. Very strange that they call a high screen/roll for Pittman and he throws up a tough scoop shot that's no good, but Hanson grabs it and makes 1 of 2 FTs with 24.5 left and we're back on an even number. Young penetrates and finds Darrington with 12 seconds left to tie. MCA right back the other way. Higgins misses a tough shot from the right baseline but Hanson cleans that up too and converts the bunny with 2.2 left. Young no good from halfcourt after a timeout. MCA survives a major scare 65-63.

For Brooklyn Center, Freddie Young leads the way with 17 points. I had him unofficially 6-13 from the floor with 3 assists. Shawn Edwards with 14 points and 6 rebounds as their 1 inside presence. Yuriy Malashenko from Jordan may go for 2o boards on them tomorrow in a possible 4AA west preview game. But their quickness did bother MCA and caused problems for them getting into their offense.

For Maranatha, Josh Hanson with the 2 clutch plays late. He finishes with 18 points and I had him for 8 rebounds. Darian Pittman with 18 points (5-12 FTs though, can't have that from a PG). Jay Higgins with 11 points and 16 rebounds on my sheet. SaVaughn Jordan is only listed at 6'0, but he was a very effective power forward on this night. I had him for 14 points and 10 rebounds. I was surprised at how much zone they played, specifically 1-3-1 with some 1-2-2 and 2-3 thrown in. In the past they've used an amoeba like 1-1-3. MCA only loses 1 senior and they have only 2 juniors of note. Very young all the way around. This preserves their #1 seed in the west half of section 4A. (BTW, how does Spectrum get sent to the east subsection when PACT is in the west?)

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