Sunday, October 26, 2008

We're Back... and We're Better!

Reading, MA - Origins Unknown has had a rough session as their record stood at 2-4 heading into Thursday night's match-up with 5-1 Nothing But Net. One of the major issues with this OU squad has been lack of depth. Since the loss of Dr. J Greg Robinson to a torn quad, OU has played the majority of games with only four players, which left little room for error when playing good teams.

On Monday, Cap'n Mike addressed this very issue, with the signing of free agent (and Cap'n Mike/James "Stretch" Hogan IV buddy) Jay Wandtke. Wandtke, a 4 year starter at St. Michael's College who ranks 3rd in career blocks and 7th in field goal percentage, hadn't laced up the high tops for several years, but agreed to give his legs and lungs a test by joining the OU bunch for Thursday night's match-up.

As J-Dub came off the bench five minutes into the game, it was clear that this was a new look and a very dangerous OU team. Wandtke proceeded to immediately impact both the offensive and defensive ends of the court and gave OU a dynamic presence that had been lacking recently. The floor opened up for the OU gunners and slashers, and his defensive prowess let the perimeter defenders pressure the ball with limited damage if their opponent got by them.

The rest of the OU crew did their part as well. Shu-ter Patel banged down some jumpers, and Hogan matched Wandtke's versatility as he flew all over the court. Danger Dan Fisher and Cap'n Mike also did their part, as the OU team built a quick 10-point lead in the first half. First half highlights included some great blocks by OU's new addition, as well as optimally timed three-point bombs to match the Nothing Buy Net gunners.
Nothing But Net is a dangerous team with two dead-eye shooters, but even as they drained some long three pointers in the second half, the OU team kept the pressure on and never relinquished the lead. The final of 84-70 showed that OU would be a dangerous team down the stretch, even with the lackluster record of 3-4.

Friday, October 03, 2008

OU Just Misses Big Upset

Reading, MA - Origins Unknown and the Crusty Muskets got together for a memorable battle Thursday night at the Burbank YMCA. OU's fearless foursome of players brought their best efforts but came up two points short, losing on two free throws with only four seconds left.

The game was a match of size vs. speed, power vs. movement, and evil vs. all that is good in the world. The Crusty Muskets came into the game with an impressive 3-0 record, with all victories being 20 points or more. OU has also started strong at 2-1, with only a 1-point fluke loss to Evans as a blemish.

The first half belonged to OU... Although mismatched down low, OU held their own in the paint. Shu-ter Patel and James "Stretch" Hogan IV were tasked with shutting down big Doug and his thick cousin. While this allowed CM to get to the bucket on offense, it also opened up the floor for OU on the other end of the court. Hogan slashed to the bucket trip after trip, and also stepped out to the perimeter to screen for Cap'n Mike to pop and pull some jumpers.

As the clock moved, so did OU's lead. Defensively, they were only giving up tough buckets to the Muskets, while sharing the ball and running to a 5 point lead at the half.

The second half started slow for OU, and a five-minute drought left them down two with 15 minutes left. At that point, Chris "Big Country" Johnson sauntered into the gym after his work function. Unfortunately, he was wearing a shirt and tie, and not his OU uniform. While OU could have used Big Country's help, they tightened their sneaker laces and kept at work.

There was nothing pretty about the game's final 10 minutes, but OU managed to keep the game tight. After starting slow, Shu-ter Patel nailed two giant three-pointers to give OU the lead. On the other end, Leroy Johnson was struggling and the offensive load was back squarely on Doug and cousin's shoulders. They proved to be tough to handle, and after some free throws with under a minute left, took a three point lead.

OU came down and worked the ball around to eventually find an open Cap'n Mike beyond the three point line. For the first time in the second half, he finally buried the shot and tied the game with under 20 seconds left. The Muskets came down and moved the ball around, eventually deciding that brute force was the only way to go. The big cousin drove the lane, and as Hogan jumped in front of him, he was fouled and headed to the line. He calmly sank both free throws and after a last second heave by Hogan, the game was over.

OU looks to bounce back next week against league newcomers, Stiffler's Mom.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Reading, MA - The Hustlers and Origins Unknown hooked up in the late game battle Thursday night, with OU at full strength for the first time this session. OU's balance and excellent defense led to an impressive 61-40 win, moving them to 2-1 on the season.

The 40 point effort by the Hustlers is the second lowest point total of the session, and with solid offensive weapons - this can be attested OU contesting every shot and severely out-rebounding their opponents. Meanwhile, OU used sporadic, but balanced, scoring to wear down the Hustlers on the offensive end. All five players were at or above double figures, as no one player dominated.

The teams were locked in a fairly close game for most of the first half. The Hustlers worked the ball to their big man, who used a nice mid range game to keep Chris "Big Country" Johnson on his toes. Johnson returned the favor in the post on the other end, finding his way to the hoop and establishing the post presence. Meanwhile James "Stretch" Hogan IV and Danger Dan Fisher motored around the court like bumper cars - bouncing and spinning their way to buckets.

The second half was when the clamps went down on the Hustlers, and OU held them to only 13 points. OU never made a huge run, but steadily built the lead until the game was no longer in doubt. It was a decent effort by the OU crew, and one they hope to build on as the leaves start to change. "I feel like we're coming together," said Cap'n Mike. "The summer was disappointing for us, but we usually play better and more consistently in the fall and winter."

OU takes on the first place Crusty Muskets in their next match up.