Friday, March 30, 2007

Muskets Backfire, OU on Fire

Reading, MA – Origins Unknown was down. Their shots were not falling. Their defense was not defending. Cap’n Mike was launching up off-target scud missiles from all over the court. And, Leroy Johnson was hitting from all over the court.

But, faced with a nine-point halftime deficit, OU did not stay down. Instead, they rallied to tie, and then blow past the Crusty Muskets in the highly anticipated match-up.

The game started out as an even contest, with OU relying on James “Stretch” Hogan IV, Dr. Greg Robinson, Danger Dan Fisher and Chris “Big” Johnson. The Muskets were missing top guard Dan Johnson, but OU was without the services of Shu-ter Patel, who continues to recover from a knee injury. The teams battled to a 8-8 tie, but the Muskets then found the hot hand of Leroy Johnson midway through the first. Leroy used screens and his step-back jumper to go on a one-man run, pushing the Muskets lead up to double digits. OU tried Cap’n Mike on him to start, and then Dr. Greg gave it a shot, but Johnson was in rhythm and knocking down everything that went up. Meanwhile, on offense, Cap’n Mike was in danger of breaking the backboard with some of his long distance shots. Luckily, Big Chris and Stretch were keeping OU within striking distance. As the half came to a close, Danger Dan found a back-cutting Cap’n Mike for an alley-oop lay-up, which felt like a mini-victory, even with the Muskets leading and controlling the game.

The second half was a COMPLETELY different game. OU came out firing on all cylinders, and Cap’n Mike went from being horrendous to en fuego. OU kept the tempo and pressure on, and quickly pulled even with the struggling Muskets. The defensive pressure also started to take it’s toll on their opponents, as shots started to bounce off the rim and into the hungry arms of the OU bunch. There were plenty of second half highlights as OU shot well over 50% from the floor, including when Big Chris stepped out to nail a three pointer pushing the lead even higher. There were well-executed fast breaks, pin-point pick and rolls, and a few dagger-like threes to be found as well. In the end, OU struggled a bit from the line, but pulled off the great comeback to win.

The loss was the first in over a session and a half for the Crusty Muskets.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Legendary Effort By Three Hundred, or Three

Reading, MA - Special to Bloggin' and Ballin' by Shu-ter Patel.

The number one movie in America this week is “The 300”. It tells the story of 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae vs. an army of 10,000 Persians.

The Spartans held the pass at Thermopylae for 3 days before eventually succumbing to the vastly greater numbers of the Persias. Origins Unknown played and lost in what can only be called a legendary loss if such a thing can exist. Origins Unknown, started the game vs. Northwestern Mutual, with only 4 regulars. The game started with a quick pace, but turned sour after 2 minutes as Himanshu Patel had to leave the game with a knee injury. He said he heard a pop.

OU made the decision to play with 3. The score was 4-4. With Patel out, OU went onto put up a 12 point lead, while playing 3 v 4. OU played with tremendous courage. Danger Dan was slicing his way for jumpers and lay-ups. The Dr. was driving to the hole and Stretch put on an offensive clinic with spin moves and back to back 17 foot jumpers. He finished with 29. OU was amazing breaking the 2-2 zone that Northwest Mutual played, it seems they learned to play defense from Thiery Henry.

OU maintained the lead until 12 minutes left to play, when Northwestern Mutual put on a run,when fatigue set in and the jumpers were short for OU. Northwest Mutual eventually tied the game, with 8 minutes left. Then it was a back and forth game.

With 5 seconds left and the game tied at 69, OU’s defense put the ball in the one guy they wanted to shoot the last shot, earlier in the game this guy air-balled a free throw and had missed almost everything he threw up, but with time running out, he threw up a jump shot that hit the front iron and rattled in. putting them up 71-69 leaving a OU with 1 second for a desperation shot. The shot fell short.

The final was 71-69. Amazing considering the game was played 3 vs. 4 for 38 minutes. Northwestern Mutual had 2 subs. Much like the 300 Spartans who did fall at the Battle of Thermopylae, the Spartans returned in greater numbers to win the war.

Game Notes:
Patel spoke to the orthopedist, and it’s a strain of the MCL, he’s on the DL for at least 4 weeks.

Friday, March 09, 2007

well rOUnded win

Reading, MA - "Well-rounded" is a term that can mean a few things. For instance, it can sometimes be referring to the mid-section of middle-aged basketball players in the Reading YMCA League. It can also be a term that describes a team that successfully shares the workload of offense and defense. While there did appear to be a few well-rounded players on the Warriors last night, Origins Unknown looked svelte, and well-rounded, on their way to a 72-47 win.

The Warriors came into the game with a 2-2 league record, and a penchant for keeping games close. OU entered the contest unable to put a solid two halves together since they lost in the championship last session. At the outset, it looked like this game could be more of the same, with the Warriors jumping out to a quick lead in the first 10 minutes. The Warriors used a combination of 2 tall (and well-rounded) post players, and one decent shooting forward to torch the nets at the start. Their hot shooting, along with some missed opportunities for OU, resulted in a 24-16 Warriors lead when a time out was called midway through the half.

From that point, however, OU used a balanced, consistent, and well-rounded attack to go on a double digit scoring run which quickly evaporated the lead and vaulted OU back into control. Chris "Big" Johnson, fresh off of his honeymoon in Hawaii (Congrats ya big hula girl), was in a groove posting up, knocking down mid-range jumpers, and quickly passing out to open shooters waiting in the wings. James "Stretch" Hogan IV again controlled the paint, and showed his quickness by picking the pockets of indecisive Warrior players when he had the chance.

In the second half, Dr. Greg Robinson may have invented a new shot to add to his collection of patents, when he took the ball to the hole and flicked a no-look finger roll through the net. The game got out of hand quickly as both Danger Dan Fisher and Cap'n Mike both started to heat up from beyond the arc, pushing the lead up to 20 with eight minutes still remaining. In the end, OU let off the gas and coasted to the 25 point win against the gracious Warriors squad.

The win pushes OU's record to 4-1. They currently sit in 3rd place, behind the undefeated Muskets and the 4-1 Celtics (who currently own the tie-breaker). Next up is Northwest Mutual next Thursday at the Y.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

American Towers Collapse Under OU Pressure

Reading, MA - Origins Unknown was back in action, Thursday night at the YMCA, pasting a new-to-the-league American Towers team 77-52.

OU finally seemed to have some bounce back in their step, as they ran their way to a quick lead in the first half. Pacing OU was James "Stretch" Hogan IV, as he ran through the shoddy AT defense, and controlled the game through his defensive presence as well. Hogan may have scored the years first triple double, with double-figures in points, rebounds and blocks.

Scoring was balanced, as Danger Dan Fisher, Shu-ter Patel and Dr. Greg Robinson also had hot hands. The two-week layoff did leave both teams sloppy, with turnovers coming from both teams. Cap'n Mike felt especially out of sync, unable to get passes to his cutting counter-parts. "I was a second slow on everything I did tonight," said Cap'n, "I think Max would have helped us a lot more out there."

Max's Mama and Max were kind enough to grace us with their presence at the game. Max seemed thoroughly into the game, cheering on OU and also crying when his Dad missed shot after shot.

The second half was more of OU running roughshot over AT. Hogan continued his dominance, and Danger Dan also started to get his legs, shooting himself out of a recent slump.

OU finished strong, and heads into next week with a 3-1 record.

For game photos, courtesy of Mama Max, click here (GAME PHOTOS). No need to sign in, just click on the link that says view pictures.