Battle of the Birds

Prologue
To Cooper for the 1st initiation this season of the annual rivalry between Cooper and Armstrong.  Cooper kids wearing "Battle of the Birds" shirts with scores from the last 4 seasons on them (5 straight Cooper wins).  This season's score listed as "Why Bother".  LOL.  Crowd control necessary as Cooper students getting anywhere near the Armstrong students were mercilessly booed and then sent back to the Cooper side.  Too many good chants to mention but this sequence won the night's award.

Armstrong - "No more Rodney!" (note that Rodney, Kenquane Brown and Tubby Smith were all in attendance)
Cooper - "We don't need him!"
Armstrong "Yes you do!"
Cooper - "We've got Calvin!"

That's Calvin Godfrey who was in uniform and eligible contrary to the weekly rumor mill.  John Moore and Tim Theisen looking on.  Great pizza as a huge slice for the standard $2 was the best food value of the young season. 

We had to suffer through the girls game to get to the good stuff.  Armstrong girls in a rout 77-43.  With a overheated building and too much yapping here, "Let's Get It Started In Here, HOT!"

Game Time
No Godfrey in the starting lineup as Brandon Harrison gets the start at center for Cooper.  They also have soph Darrin Hebert starting and he's going to be a good guard for them.  5-2 Armstrong when Godfrey is the first one off the bench at 13:28 and the Cooper crowd erupts.  That sparks an 8-0 run with Charles Williams getting a dunk and a Godfrey putback and foul.  10-5 Cooper at 9:16.  Andy Seidlitz with a sweet high bank over Godfrey on an inbounds curl.  10-9 Cooper at the 8 minute mark.  Seidlitz keeps it going with a backdoor cut for a 3 point play.  He adds a free throw and then a steal.  Marquel Curtis converts the Seidlitz assist.  15-14 Armstrong back on top at the 3:10 mark.  20 all at the half and the offenses aren't pretty.  Godfrey 2 points on 1-6 with 5 rebounds for Cooper.  Curtis 6 points but 3-10 and Seidlitz 9 points but 3-11 shooting.

Darry Jones heats up for Cooper in the 2nd half with their 1st 6 points.  Cooper up 4 but Seidlitz right back with a 3 and a jumper.  He adds another triple for a 32-28 Armstrong lead at 13:40 to cap a 10-2 Armstrong run.  Then 2 free throws and a drive that picks up the 4th foul on Godfrey.  That gives him 2 more free throws.  37-33 Armstrong with 11:54 to go.  Godfrey has to sit.  Seidlitz with 14 of the 17 Armstrong points in the half.  Armstrong now with the 2-3 zone.  Jones with a triple and a free throw to tie the game at 39.  Brandon Harrison then picks up his 4th foul at 9:18.  Both bigs on the bench now for Cooper.  Jones joins them at 8:24 with his 4th.  Seidlitz scoops for 2 and Levi Abercrombie adds a layup off a turnover.  46-41 Armstrong with 7:30 left .  Where is the Cooper offense going to come from?  Cooper gets a quick layup from Charles Williams and 2 free throws from Phillip Fanjul at 7:04.  Godfrey returns in a bit of a gamble but Cooper needs the jolt but they've weathered the foul trouble since they're only down 1.  The jolt is there.  Godfrey runs the floor, beats his defender and makes the bank with the foul in a big momentum play.  Jones returns at 5:57 but a strange off the ball defensive push on Godfrey finishes his evening at the 5:26 mark.  Williams puts back a miss at 4:45 for a 49-46 Cooper lead.  Hebert with a tough finish for 2 at 4:20 to finish a surprising 10-0 Cooper run.  Curtis cuts the lead to 2 at 2:05 with a quick called post up for 2.  That's the first Armstrong field goal in 5:25 seconds.  Elijah Swen with a layup at the other end and 2 free throws sandwiched around an Armstrong miss.  Curtis with a step back triple with 58 seconds left.  56-53 Cooper.  Armstrong gets no closer as Cooper makes free throws to win it 63-55.

For Armstrong, Andy Seidlitz finishes with 27 points but nothing in the last 7:43.  Marquel Curtis 16 points but he never got it going in this one.  For a team that doesn't have a noteworthy post presence, when they don't make shots, its going to be tough.  Disappointing loss as I'm sure the Falcons feel this one was very winnable with that 5 point lead late.  The Falcons have a couple of winnable games against Anoka and Moorhead next week before hosting BSM next Saturday.

For Cooper, Darry Jones leads the way with 15 points, all in the 2nd half and despite sitting with foul trouble.  He needs to be a scorer and tonight he came up big.  Charles Williams and Elijah Swen also hit double figures with 10 points.  As for Calvin Godfrey, 6 points and 6 rebounds on my sheet.  His fouling out may have been a blessing as he was 0-5 from the charity stripe.  3-8 shooting.  Cooper was a different team with him on the floor as he controlled the paint on the defensive end despite only 1 block.  He's got some muscle to him, runs the floor well and can definitely block shots.  Raw on the offensive end but that will come.  With guards like Hebert and Jones to score and a productive big in Brandon Harrison and the rest of their athletes, Cooper is going to have a nice season.  Next up for the Hawks is the Minnetonka tournament vs Sibley on Friday.

The rematch between these teams is January 21st at Armstrong

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