Last week I stopped by Sweet Home to see the opening week of a summer league. Tonight I checked out the semifinals at a league at Depew's Boys & Girls Club.
Man, what a difference.
It's still the summer, of course, but the Depew games were a lot more intense -- the result of having about six or seven weeks of games building up to the playoffs.
Of course, I was also on hand to sell raffle tickets for the Tom Borrelli Memorial Scholarship Fund (check this link for the details and great prizes). Many thanks to several coaches, parents and officials who contributed.
My first stop in the old building was downstairs to seek out a bathroom. With a game going on the gym floor directly one floor up, the thundering sounds above made it seem like you were beneath some sort of furniture-moving contest.
The gym is a bit under-sized -- the three-point line literally is one sneaker-length away from the sideline.
That didn't stop Depew and Bishop TImon-St. Jude from knocking down a ton of threes. I counted a combined 10 from both teams in the first half. At one point in the first half, after a Depew player hit three three-pointers, Timon's Jim Palano called a timeout and said in his usual quiet, calm tone to a player, "that guy has three threes, you think you want to check him?"
In two weeks, I've seen two coaches in flip-flops -- this time it was Depew's Larry Jones, who otherwise was in midseason form, hollering out plays and at one point filling the tiny, steamy gym with, "WHAT ARE WE DOING?!?!"
There were small groups of parents out to watch the games, many of them doing so in folding chairs that you'll otherwise see these days at the beach or the park. It was a little discouraging to see that an official had to chastize one parent for hollering during a game. That kind of riding the officials is grating during games that mean something, but we need to hear it during a summer game?
Again, it really hit home how teams are made in the offseason. Both of these teams are always quality programs, and the work the players and coaches are doing in July will pay off come winter-time. Timon had a strong finish to win the game by 10.
The second game pitted Maryvale against Lancaster. Lancaster brought a lot of players (I think there were 12) and had a fired-up following of parents get excited as the team took a lead in the second half, but then Maryvale surged back to win going away (by about 20) behind pressure defense, its usual disciplined basketball and several standout performances.
Who was the most impressive? My notebook is fairly full of notes, but I'm not letting them out of the bag until basketball season, or close to it. It's still the summer, after all.
I never made it to Lancaster because those games were postponed. Thanks much to Dave Hoch for letting me know about the games in general (and then passing on word that the Lancaster contests were canceled -- I was going to try and get to both places).
The raffle drawing is scheduled for early next week. I don't think I'll be able to continue the raffle ticket tour, but if you have a suggestion for a good summertime stop for high school fans (of any sport), drop me a line below or at email@example.com.
Last-minute requests for tickets are certainly welcome. If you'd like to buy some, email
me and I'll set aside tickets for you and give you the information
on where to send a check. Thanks.
taggedBasketball | Bishop Timon-St. Jude | Depew | Lancaster | Maryvale | Sweet Home