Saw a great McDowell-Prep game tonight. McDowell was huge underdogs, which may have accounted for the less-then-stellar turnout. Two years ago, you couldn't find a seat in the Aud. when Prep and McDowell played. Now it was three-quarters full. McDowell came out all fired up and really passed the ball beautifully and hit open shots and built a 10-12 point lead.
The only other game I have seen Prep play under the current "Bump" Flanagan staff was his first game, and like this game Prep got off to a miserable shooting start. The team held together and never panicked and came back and lost that game, but won tonight. Their defense really jacked things up toward the end of the third quarter and McDowell stopped getting the open shots and folded. Prep outmuscled them over the long haul. It was an interesting contrast in styles, as McDowell moved the ball brilliantly for most of the game with quick passes hitting the open man, while Prep relied mainly on slashing and driving and individual skills. In the end Prep had the horses, while the Trojans proved to be but foot solidiers that couldn't hold off the cavalry. (Aw, some good old fashioned sportswriting, what do you say? Where's Chaneable Sue when I need her?)
Also, do you believe what Gannon basketball coach John Reilly was quoted as saying the other day in John Dudley's column? This was after the team had pulled out a close win over arch-rival Mercyhurst in its final game of the season: "This season is over. We didn't bring in these guys. We brought in forward Aurimus Truskauskas, and he epitomizes what this team is going to be like in the future." Hold on a second there chief. First off, what baskebtall coach uses the word "epitomizes?" Second of all, why would you castigate (how's that for a word?) your team like that after they just came up with a huge win - one that you can at least lean on a little for the next six months.
Now I know Rielly has to be upset after finishing 12-15, and Gannon fans, and Rielly himself are used to better. Reilly, after all, was an assistant under the legendary Tom Chapman. But, he also been coaching in the all-Kentucky league or something for the last 10 years. Not that they don't play good ball in Kentucky... but at least, let's give your D-II players some respect. I attended several of the games, and it sure didn't look like they weren't trying... alright, maybe they weren't trying up to Reilly's expectations and when he gets his own players in there, they'll win 25 games and go to the D-II finals and all that... but maybe not. Not every coach is successful on the next level. Look at Chapman at Bonnies. I guess all I'm saying is can't we at least be a little kinder here? It's just a game. (And you just won one.)
Last thought on this, (quickly, because the whole story has already been played out in the paper including an interview with a couple senior, one being Damondi Johnson who came back from an enlarged heart to play for Reilly this year), but Truskauskas really was not all that great of a player. Yeah, he seems like a stand-up guy (after I game where I saw him leave several of these little jump hook things short, he had the insight to admit "I didn't go up strong enough") and got some good rebounds, but he didn't seem like much of an inside defender and he missed a lot of short shots and hit only like 50% of his free throws. Maybe he'll be better, as he, like Reilly, was stepping up a level in play this year, but really, based on his performance this year, I don't think you were winning much with five Truskauskases in the line-up.
I think I'm ready for bed.