Men’s Varsity Basketball, Week in Review (2/7/11)
Three up and three down for the men’s varsity basketball program this week, but despite the losses, it was one heck of an exciting week on the hard wood. With games on consecutive nights coming down to the wire and a third game much closer than anyone predicted, this final week truly showed the progress and hard work this team has made throughout the year.
In the first of three games this week, the Hyde Phoenix took the floor hungry for their first win and starting to click as a team. Following the trend that has been present all season, the team got out to a slow start, finding themselves down by 9 at the end of the first quarter. Rather than crumble and let the lead get further and further away from them, the Phoenix decided it was time to put up a fight. Evander Lenardson ’14 sparked his team with some early buckets and eventually ended the game with 13 points, leading all Hyde scorers. Ben Burlock ’13 followed with 7. Hyde ended the first half only down by 5 and looked to build on that momentum going into the second. Herman Gao ’12 helped the team early in the half to claw back into the lead, the first second half lead of the season in league play for the team. Trading the lead on a one point margin, the Phoenix eventually fell victim to youthful inexperience. Frustrated with the disappointing turn of events, the team spirit was low at being so close to their first league win.
A.R. Gould: 53
The following night, Hyde took the floor again to face off against an AR Gould team that had beaten them by 17 earlier in the year. Riding the disappointment of the previous night, Hyde got off to another rocky start, but this time they relied on their defense to keep the game close. The gap at the end of the first quarter was only 4. In the second quarter, Wilson MacMillan ’14 found the range from three-land. Converting two three’s in that quarter and five in the game he lead all Hyde scorers with 17 points on the night. Behind this offensive performance the team rallied. Going into the break only down 5 points, there was a chilling realization that this night was very similar to the previous. Burlock chipped in a cool 16 points to help MacMillan with the offensive burden and Conor Ketchum ’12 snatched rebounds on both ends of the floor. Peter Higgins ’13 put in a solid effort with hustle and determination. Hyde fought back to tie the game and then watched it quickly slip out to a nine point deficit with 7 minutes remaining in the game. After a time-out, the Phoenix decided they wanted to win this game. Causing turnovers and converting on the other end, the gap closed again. Down by one, Hyde fouled to send AR Gould to the line with 4 seconds left. They converted both to make it a 3 point margin. Pushing the ball up the floor the three point attempt rimmed out leaving the Phoenix with another barn-burner loss.
Two nights after the battle with AR Gould the Phoenix were on the floor again to try their luck against a Valley team that had beaten them by 34 points in the first meeting. Spurred on by the energy of it being the last game of the season, Hyde held its first ever lead at the end of the first quarter. A little shocked by their own success, the second quarter was a little less controlled and dribbling took over the more effective passing offense that had gained the team the lead in the first. Burlock stepped up for his team pouring in 15 points to lead his team in that area. Jack Xu ’14 controlled the tempo of the game finishing with 8 points on the night. His handle came back to bite him and then team in the third quarter as the turnover bug struck again. A Valley lead at the half was quickly stretched to a bigger lead in the third quarter as Hyde only mustered 4 points on the quarter. Down 12 going into the final frame, the Phoenix still had hope. Having been down by 10 with only seven to play in the previous game, there was a spring in their step as they took the floor for the last time as a team. However, it was not meant to be for this team. Despite renewed energy and intensity they were unable to crawl out of the hole. Higgins showed some range, burying a three late in the game, but it would not be enough.
Athlete of the Week:
This week’s mention goes to Conor Ketchum. Conor is not a leading scorer on the team. Nor is he someone who really looks like a basketball player when he is out on the court. Frankly, he is awkward and lanky but his hustle and determination earned him a starting role on the squad. He snatches rebounds from opposing players and gave his all in every situation this past week. His attitude is much improved from the beginning of the year and suddenly Conor is a basketball player.
Looking forward, this young group of basketball players has much to build on. With only one senior on the roster, the team has much to be excited about next year. Going from losing games by 30, 40 or even 50 points to a stretch of three games to end the season when all games were within 16 points and two of the three were within 10, the team has much o be proud of. Everyone in the community should be proud of the effort and determination that these players showed in the face of adversity this past winter.