2011-12 Season Opener

Prologue
Welcome to the kickoff of the 2011-12 Minnesota boys hoops season.  My trip takes me to one of my favorite restaurants, I mean buildings, for White Bear Lake at Park Center.  The Park Center Pizza on the menu and tough to turn down.  But the Walking Taco is outstanding and I mixed it properly (an underappreciated part of the enjoyment and taste).  It was pricey at $3.50 but Park Center is usually pricey and they won't be accused of being the most affluent school in the Osseo school district so I'm glad to contribute.  As to the game its speed and guards for Park Center (Quinton Hooker and Treyton Daniels) vs the inside play of Zach Meyer for White Bear Lake.  Will someone cut Samson's hair?  I hope not.  A teammate gave it a nice tug during the intros.  A great opening course with the WBL JV opening up a 25 point halftime lead and then sitting 3 kids for the 2nd half (varsity and they were needed).  Park Center came all the way back and had a chance to tie in the last minute before falling 68-62.  3rd Rock From the Sun Guy working both games and he was a major factor.  I bring back the Song of the Day for this season and with it being opening night and me being a Phil Collins fan, In The Air Tonight would be fitting but since I'm trying to go with more modern selections this year (Wipe off that grin, I know where you've been, its all been a pack of lies).  So with that insane logic out of the way and the fact that this was the 1st tune on the PA system tonight, without further delay, this is my jam, gonna watch games into the AM.

Song of the Day
Flo Rida - In The Ayer

Game Time
Park Center has added Coon Rapids transfer Isaac Matthews and that gives them a presence inside.  Josh Tismer at the 2 for WBL with Nick Wieland mostly running the point.  This game early was all about fouls.  Meyer gets 2 in the first 38 seconds on the offensive end, both touchy as Lithgow is going nuts with the whistle.  Daniels gets his 2nd only 98 seconds into the game.  Both will sit and both coaches spend the half trying to buy guys time.  The 3 JV kids for WBL who sat the 2nd half are almost immediately thrust into the action.  Hooker gets off to a quick start making his first 4 shots for 9 points.  His 3 gives the Pirates a 13-5 lead at the 14:50 mark.  Eric Gebeke steps up big for WBL with Meyer in foul trouble.  His play inside and on the glass (both ends).  3 putbacks for him in a 19-4 Bears run   24-17 WBL at the 7:35 mark.  Hooker trying to take the game over with a pair of buckets and Gebeke keeping pace.  32-28 WBL with 4 minutes left in the half.  37-32 WBL as soph Isaiah McKay scores for PC.  WBL would finish the half on a 7-1 spurt with a nice Beau Smit reverse layup and off a turnover, Tanner Hinck (1 of the 3 JV kids) buries a 3.  44-33 Bears at half.  25 fouls combined.  White Bear Lake only 10-18 from the charity stripe.

The Bears continue the run in the 2nd half.  Weiland for 3, Gebeke with an assist for a layup, Meyer on the post and a Tismer skip to Weiland for 3 more.  Timeout Park Center after the 12-2 run (19-3 in about 4 minutes spanning halftime).  56-35 WBL with 15:30 left.  Out of the timeout, a Pirates turnover for a Weiland layup and Hooker smacks the board and gets the T from Lithgow.  WBL would miss both free throws and not score on the possession.  Meyer with a putback at 14:25 to push the lead to 60-37 but he follows up with his 4th foul (all 4 tough calls) and sits.  Hooker struggling with his shot in the 2nd half but Treyton Daniels playing well after the first half fouls.  Pirates cut the lead to 18 before a Daniels jumper.  69-53 WBL with 7:10 left.  Then in the span of about 2 minutes 3 different kids go down and stay down.  Hooker gets helped off after a pretty reverse layup cut the lead to 14.  Then another Park Center player is down.  Finally Meyer gets a nice lob pass over the top on the SLOB, has an easy layup and goes down in a heap.  The left knee buckles and early indications are that he'll miss some time as was helped off and didn't return.  Huge loss for the Bears if he misses major time.  Meanwhile, Daniels with a drive on the right baseline and the lefty finish going to the basket followed by a pair of freebies.  72-59 WBL with 5:33 and here comes Hooker back into the game.  Then a Park Center steal for a basket and intentional foul with 3:18 left.  The 2 free throws are no good and Hooker couldn't convert on the possession.  WBL misses a front end and Hooker takes to the rack and scores to cut the lead to single digits.  72-63 with 3 minutes left.  19-5 Park Center run over 7:30 with Daniels doing damage.  WBL scores the next 6 with free throws and a pair of layups to put it away.  5 late Hooker points don't impact.  White Bear Lake wins 80-68.

Post Game
For the record, Mr. Lithgow is a very respected official and worked on an all-star crew last year at state.  Its not that he called a bad game, yes he missed a few but overall the calls made sense.  He was consistent on both ends calling it very very very tight (as tight as I've seen in a long time).  My issue is 2 fold.  First, the concept of advantage/disadvantage has to come into play.  If there's contact that can be a foul but doesn't impact play, then calling a foul just disrupts the flow.  I say play on.  Bigger issue is that his partner was calling a very loose game.  That just doesn't work well to have a crew that calls the game in totally different ways and it frustrates the heck out of everybody.  I'd like to see officials associations or whoever is responsible for assigning do a better job of grouping officials who call similar games and who can work to make each other call the game as close to the same as possible whether that's tight or loose.  As most coaches would tell you, just be consistent and then the players can adjust.

For Park Center, Quinton Hooker with 29 points and 9 rebounds on my officially unofficial stat sheet.  20 of those in the 1st half.  No assists and 5 turnovers but he had at least 3 or 4 nice passes that could have gone for easy scores that weren't converted.  I had him 12-26 shooting with the first 4 and last 2 makes.  He had 2 or 3 chances lefty at the basket that just didn't fall.  Treyton Daniels all 10 of his points in the 2nd half where he played very well.  He's under the radar now but keep an eye on the junior wing.  Isaiah McKay also with 10 points.  The Pirates visit Columbia Heights in a battle of coaching pals on Tuesday.

For White Bear Lake, Zach Meyer 8 points and 5 boards despite foul trouble and the injury. Eric Gebeke with 18 of his 22 in the first half and he had to have double figure rebounds.  Big step up performance from him and he'll need to keep that up.  Beau Smit 13 points, Eric Weiland 11, Lucas 10 as the Bears end up with 4 in double figures.  They'll be disappointed they didn't put away a 23 point lead with 10:40 to play.  18-34 from the foul line in a game with 45 total fouls (24 on PC) is something they'll look to improve on.  Don't sleep on the guards for the Bears.  Weiland and junior Alex Rost are a quality point guard duo.  Josh Tismer is experienced and can play either guard spot.  Smit can shoot and score.  The Bears continue their difficult stretch of 5 of their 1st 6 on the road with trips to Lakeville South and Wayzata next week.

1 comment:

  1. ....Hooker had 5 steals to off-set his 5 turnovers, he also took 2 charges in the lane which would give him +2 in the turnover/take away stat.,...gutsy performance after suffering severe leg cramps late in the game, to return and finish the battle!

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