Sunday, August 10, 2008


Reading, Ma - For the first time in the storied history of the franchise, Origins Unknown was knocked out of the playoffs in round 1 by the patch-worked Hustlers, 68-65. OU had their chances to move on, but were undone by an early deficit and a flurry of late mistakes and missed opportunities.

Two weeks prior, OU had dismantled the Hustlers by nearly 20 points - and did so with only four players. But, the Hustlers brought a slightly different team to this game, highlighted by a slashing Stretchy-esque figure, with some serious wheels and hops. OU had issues with their new addition's quickness out of the gate, and quickly fell behind.

The game was back and forth, but the Hustlers clearly had things going their way, as even their thick-necked captain was hitting running half-hooks and jumpers. OU, meanwhile, was off the mark. Jump shots were streaky, and none of the OU bunch seemed to find their rhythm as the half came to an end. With the clock winding down, the Hustler slasher stole a pass and covered 3/4 court in less than 3 seconds to give the underdogs an 8 point lead at the half.

OU made their run in the second half. Cap'n Mike connected on some long jumpers, and the OU defense clamped down and neutralized the Hustler's new runner. While he was somewhat-taken out of the game, however, the other Hustlers lanky guard worked OU over for an impressive four minute stretch. He knocked down a three in transition, and then drove for an and-1, keeping OU on their toes. A gritty comeback in the making, the OU crew tied the game with less than two minutes left, but two quick fouls by Cap'n Mike would be his last, and he was forced out of the game with five total fouls. OU had a chance to tie, as Shu-ter Patel went to the line for two free-throws, but both shots bounced off the rim. A turnover by OU on their next trip up the court was another missed opportunity. OU quickly fouled, and the Hustlers went to the line to build the lead to 2. Danger Dan Fisher drove the ball hard on the next trip up the court, but just missed a pull-up. He appeared to get fouled as he corralled his own rebound, but there was no whistle. The Hustlers ended up with the ball, and after a foul, headed to the line for the third time in less than a minute. Once again, they missed, and James "Stretch" Hogan IV snatched the rebound and quickly passed the ball up to Fisher for a last second three-point attempt. The ball looked good in the air, but front-rimmed and the upset was complete.

OU will attempt to rebound from the disappointing end to the session, after a few weeks of golf...

Friday, August 01, 2008

It's The Little Things That Count

Reading, MA – Little things sometimes make a big difference… As was the case Thursday night at the Burbank Coliseum when first place Origins Unknown took on second place Intervale. This time around, Intervale got the best of OU, 78-73. And, if a few little things played out differently, the game could have had a different outcome.

The game was expected to re-unite old college buddies, with Intervale’s Mark Mulvey taking the court against OU’s Cap’n Mike and James “Stretch” Hogan IV. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) Mulvey, who won the 1997 Bob Cousy Award for being the top college player in New England under 6'0", regardless of division (6th in career points, 5th in assists, 1st in free throws, and 5th in three-point percentage in St. Mike’s history), didn’t make the game. But Intervale still trotted out a stellar squad including one of the league’s best guards, a solid small forward, and a solid big man.

OU countered with the usual suspects, minus Shu-ter Patel, but with Craig Andrews in his place. Intervale has a completely revamped team – and one which went from worst to first in the span of one session. This was OU’s first look at the new team, and Intervale’s athleticism out of the gate took some time to get used to. A flurry of three-pointers by Intervale helped propel them to an early lead. Intervale’s point guard used some quick crossovers and pull-ups to frustrate OU’s defenders. On the other end, OU was struggling with turnovers and pace, and didn’t establish Chris “Big Country” Johnson the way they had in recent weeks. The combination of these things had OU down double digits within the first ten minutes. Once OU got their legs underneath them, the teams battled evenly, but the early gap remained 9 at the half.

The second half belonged to OU almost entirely. Cap’n and Andrews nailed several three pointers and pull-ups, and OU seemed to sense that the momentum was shifting. Intervale looked haggard, and unwilling to commit on the defensive end. Danger Dan Fisher continued to feed off the positive energy, as he came off the bench to hit a pull up jumper and a fast break three-pointer. Intervale called a timeout, and just like that, OU had climbed back within 1 point of theie suddenly vulnerable opponents.

Out of the timeout, Intervale went back to their big man and their point guard offensively. But defensively, they were having trouble keeping up with the movement of OU. OU used several picks and slides to find gaps and eventually take a lead with under 5 minutes to play. “I really felt that was our game to win and that they were on the ropes… unfortunately we made some mistakes down the stretch which ended up being the difference,” said Cap’n in his post-game media session. The teams went back and forth until Intervale took a small lead, with under a minute left. OU missed their opportunity next trip up the court, and after a foul and two made free-throws by Intervale, OU was on the ropes. OU missed another three on the next trip up the court, and that was... just...about... all she wrote... Like Manny, they were gone.

The loss knocks OU down to second place, headed into the playoffs. Now that they have seen every opponent, OU is optimistic about their chances for success in the postseason. "I know we can play with any team in the league," said General Manager Max Nolan, "It's about guts, and I know we have what it takes to win it all".