Friday, November 20, 2009

OUt Performed

Reading, MA - Origins Unknown, winners of five or six Reading Men's League Championships ended the fall session the way they started it - with a loss to Kickin Time. This time around, there are no playoffs though, and OU finishes with - gulp - a sub-.500 record. All is not lost this session, however. The boys reunited after taking a summer off, and also added two new important pieces to the puzzle for next session - which should lead to more success next year.

In their final game, OU was sent to their fate by a solid, yet unspectacular, Kickin Time team. OU once again brought only 4 to the court, and this time their lack of gas at the end of the game sealed their fate. The teams were pretty even through the first 35 minutes as OU seemed to outwork KT, but saw their opponents keep the game close through well-balanced scoring.

After falling behind by a couple early, OU scraped together a small lead in the first half by playing solid team defense, and making just enough shots. As the second half commenced however, open looks became harder to come by and OU started to lose their fluidity. Cap'n Mike, who made several first half three pointers, suddenly got cold. Danger Dan Fisher, who created space with his dribble-drive in the first half started to suffocate in the corners. And, some of the passes that were on the money to James "Stretch" Hogan IV and Shu-ter Patel in the first half bounced off their hands, or flew over their heads when it mattered most.

With less than three minutes to play, OU scraped to within 2 points - but could get no closer. More off target shots, and missed connections sealed their fate as KT rallied to win 76-67. With Doubleteam Dan Rasanen and Brian Buzz Jones, the outcome would have been far different - but OU will have to wait until next session to find out for sure.

On another note, big ups to Howse Corp who pulled off a major upset in the 8:00 game, knocking off previously undefeated Intervale. Intervale had not lost in a few sessions (since their winless inaugural season with a different lineup?), and Howse pulled out a 2 point win to end their own season.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

OU Goes Old School

Reading, MA - The year was 2004. And, on the slippery YMCA court was a scrappy bunch of 20-something year old guys from all over the map running and gunning. It was a team patch worked together from as close as Nantucket (backwards 4 muscle), and as far away as India. But, at the center of the group were four guys who would stay together for six more years, countless Budweiser drafts, some hair loss, and some really good wins.

This past Thursday, Origins Unknown - a team made up of now full-blown-middle-aged buddies won a game reminiscent of 2004. With only four suited up including the original four horseman (Hogan, Fisher, Patel and Cap'n Mike), OU was matched up against a big Nothing Buy Net team, which had been terrorizing folks with their three low post offensive set. And, while OU started out a bit slow - they certainly finished strong.

After matching NBN hoop for hoop for the first 10 minutes (and taking some shots down low), OU went on an old-school run that vaulted them into a double digit lead. The run was complete with steals, fast breaks, offensive rebounds, and more than a few long range bombs. Feeding off their own energy, OU took the lead to 12, then with under five seconds to play in the half - Cap'n Mike hit a 24-foot pull up dagger to exasperate the point. OU was rolling.

It wasn't that NBN was having a particularly bad game. It was just that OU was working like a well-oiled group of veterans...

OU expected an NBN run to open the second half, and it came in the form of patient post isolation. While the small run came quick, it was over just as quickly. It was simply OU's night, as they continued to pile on and spread the lead - frustrating the NBN team to no end. The lead swelled to almost 20 with less than five minutes left, and eventually NBN threw in the towel.

With their third win in four games, OU moves to 4-5 on the session with one week remaining in the regular season.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Warriors Knocked Off By OU

Reading, MA - Origins Unknown and The Warriors, led by a fiery point guard who plays like a cross between Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul, played for what felt like the 23rd time in the league's history this week at the Burbank Coliseum.

The teams haven't changed much in the past several years. OU still has the core of James "Stretch" Hogan IV, Danger Dan Fisher, Shu-ter Patel and Cap'n Mike. The Warriors still have the feisty point gaurd, the mid-range specialist, the long-range lefty, and at least one of the big guys from the original team is still patrolling the paint.

As any faithful Bloggin' and Ballin' reader knows, OU has also added Brian Buzz Jones and Doubleteam Dan Rasanen to the mix, and the sum of the OU parts proved to be too much for the veteran Warriors bunch, as they fell 66-55.

Both teams are near the bottom of the standings this session, but each plays hard every game - as was the case this night. OU came out cold as ice - correction, Cap'n Mike came out as cold as ice - and their slow start allowed the Warriors to jump out to a quick lead. After Cap'n missed his 4th or 5th straight shot to start the game, he dragged his butt to the bench for a sub and hung (or is it 'hanged') his head in disgust. If you're following this session, you're aware that this has been a 'tough' shooting session for Cap'n - and this game was no different.

Of course, while the Cap'n struggles - everyone else picks up his slack. Patel played great defense on the perimeter and down low, while spreading the court offensively. Hogan was his usual two-way self shutting down their mid-range specialist. And, Fisher and Jones were all over the court with defensive and offensive pressure. Meanwhile, Rasanen was expertly trailing the transition offense and knocking down three-pointers where needed to build the lead.

After their early issues, OU played a strong second 10 minutes in the first half, and started to pull away a bit. The second half was similar to the first, and OU kept a 10 point cushion throughout most of the game. The Warriors kept it close, as their lefty gunner made several contested hands-in-yo-face three pointers, but it never got much closer than 6.

OU moves to a paltry 3-5 with the win, with two games remaining.