Right now I'm even angrier than some of those Jamestown fans seemed to be with me last night, because I just had a big 'ol blog vanish when my browser crashed. I just threw a tantrum that was worth at least one technical.
** Great night: I don't know which performance was more impressive on a very entertaining Thursday night at Buffalo State for the Class AA semifinals: Niagara Falls dominating Sweet Home or Jamestown's David-vs.-Goliath act in beating Frontier in overtime. First check out my game story and the live blog from last night (but Jamestown and Falls fans should also check out today's paper -- their editions have slightly different versions of the game story).
Niagara Falls was scary good in overwhelming Sweet Home, which came into the game fired up. Falls just wore them down -- they were too good. The Wolverines were unselfish and disciplined on offense, scoring inside and out and on the break. Rahshon Tabb, T.J. Crittenden and Kelvin Agee all did a little of everything. When they missed, Eric Spanbauer, Mike Crumpton or Myron Respress led the rebounding effort. Defensively those three big men caused problems inside.
You had to love Jamestown's little guys taking it to Frontier time after time, especially senior 5-5 point guard Marcus McAffee. He drove right at 6-5 Jake Fladd and 6-6 Jason Norsen -- and beat them both -- for a buzzer-beating layup to end the first quarter. At the end of the second, he was right in the middle of the Raiders' 8-2 finishing flourish, including a late steal-and-layup in which he again beat two taller players to the basket. At the end of the third, he canned a three-pointer with Fladd and 6-foot Mike DiRosa speeding towards him so fast that they collided after McAffee released the ball. In the third McAffee also blocked an apparent open layup by 6-6 junior Jason Norsen, getting a hand on the ball to earn a tieup and give the ball to Jamestown.
** "Stay away, Keith McShea:" That's what one of the signs read in the outstanding Jamestown student section, which apparently was fired up over my blog regarding the end of the Jamestown-Riverside quarterfinal. Just before tip-off, a member of the "Rowdy Raiders" handed me a photocopy of the photograph of the play which ended the quarterfinal, one in which there was a foul call that I called "questionable." "Questionable? Are you serious McShea?" read a note at the bottom of the photocopy.
** Close call: Speaking of fouls at the end of games, I had no vantage point on the one at the end of regulation of the Jamestown-Frontier game, the one after which Frontier hit 1 of 2 with 3.8 seconds left to send the game to overtime. So I can't comment on it although several told me it was a good call. Let's just say that final possession wasn't the prettiest ever -- I'm just glad the game wasn't ultimately decided at the foul line.
** Starred in my notebook: Plenty to mention after the best night of championship week (so far) ...
-- It's been clutch shot after clutch shot this postseason for Jamestown senior Joe Spencer. He hit a three-pointer with 80 seconds to go to help the Raiders come back against Riverside, and he had the three in overtime that put Jamestown back in control of the Frontier game.
"He's been unbelievable -- and just ask him, he'll tell you all about it," said Jamestown coach Ben Drake. "All week he's been talking and telling everyone how great we are and how great he is ; at this point I just tell my assistants, let him go, let him have fun. Because at this point of the season, we're going to need him making plays and playing with confidence."
-- Top plays: Falls' Rahshon Tabb hit three three-pointers in the first half, including a nice step-back shot to get him started in the first quarter. "I love playing here," a smiling Tabb said. "It's my gym." ... Tabb was equally as impressive in the second half in a different way, zipping great passes to open teammates -- at one point he did it four times in five possessions. ... Falls' depth appears as good as ever: 6-foot-8 sophomore Myron Respress is a force at both ends while 5-9 sophomore Davon Marshall hit three three-pointers. And 6-3 senior Bobby Daniels does a little bit of everything. ... A great fast break in the fourth quarter had Marshall passing to Kelvin Agee to Tabb, who streaked in from the right side and banked in a shot high off the glass. ... Again, as impressive as anything was the passing: Agee found Respress in the lane with a nice look and seconds later made a cross-court pass to Marshall for a three. ... Jamestown 6-foot freshman Darin Butts had a wow of a finish,
spinning the ball off the backboard and in from well under the basket
while being fouled. ... Norsen was tremendous for Frontier as their go-to guy. Great touch on jumpers and in the post, and just as smart on the defensive end.
-- Back in black: Sweet Home showed off some flashy black uniforms in the game, which made their debut in the quarterfinal win at Williamsville North. ... Coach Paul Schintzius sure gets his team up for the big game. He gets up, too. "Believe! Believe!" he urged to one player out of a timeout. And that loud sound you may have heard twice in the game was the coach giving a stern kick to the Buffalo State scorer's table. ... Hardworking senior Ali Ramadan was again the personification of Schintzius' competitiveness and he hit several nice floaters and pump-fake finishes in the lane. ... Junior Donald Watkins showed off a great first step and finishing ability.
** Poll check: Jamestown not only knocked off the top seed, it foiled the pick of 56.8 percent of 74 voters; Falls' romp was picked by 77.8 percent of 72 voters.
** Program check: Finally, programs were being sold Thursday at Buffalo State. But it's still absolutely pathetic that the year-end showcase for Section VI basketball goes 0-for-3 to start the week. That makes it six teams (and their fans) who have come and gone without the opportunity to buy a program (and make Section VI some money).