Boys: Collingwood vs. STM
An intriguing matchup, both in terms of the teams and equally intriguing coaches duo. None other than coach Aaron Mitchell and Andy Wong lining up to go to battle. The coaches banter starts early with Coach Mitchell taking note of Andy’s left-handedness, looking to make any attempt and getting into the head of Coach Wong even before the game starts.
#8 Karmali for the Collingwood gets the scoring started with an early three, not to be overmatched #10 Di Girolamo for the STM Knights comes right back to hit a three. In typical Coach Mitchell fashion, he is ensuring the refs are aware he is in the gym and willing to engage in conversation at anytime it fits their schedule. Thus far, the refs seem to be pre-occupied. The Cavs have come out with a ton of energy, and that could be just pure excitement playing in your home gym on a Friday Night, but more likely it is a result of the handful of the infamous ‘No Regrets’ Donuts the players were devouring pregame. Let’s see how long this sugar high will last. Both teams are working hard on the defensive end and making things difficult for the opponent. This has kept the game close, but extremely low scoring early. Back to the coaches - Andy Wong goes full hockey mode by taking off all 5 of his players and replacing them with a fresh set of legs at each position. The new look has taken the Knights by surprise and has the Cavs up by 8 late in the first quarter.
Coach Mitchell is having fun rotating his under 6 foot post players to battle it out down-low with the taller Cavs bigmen. Might see that smile on Coach Mitchell’s face get a little bigger if his team can knock down a few of these three attempts to get his squad back into this game. Another three by the Cavs increases their lead to 11 early in this second quarter. #13 Arbogast for the Cavs is making it look easy from deep, knocking down his fourth three of the game. The Cavs are looking to mix it up by dropping back into a zone D, and it proved effective by forcing the Knights into a frenzy just getting a shot up before the shot clock buzzer. The hockey game continues with Coach Wong making another 5 for 5 full shift change midway through the second quarter. The Knights are hoping their three point shooters get hot to break this zone D down. We may have just witnessed the most athletic move we will see all day, as #4 Collins just went Jackie Chan mode to get himself up off the floor… I just pulled a back muscle watching that maneuver! The struggles on offence for the Knights has left them with a significant deficit to fight back from in the second half. Halftime score: 32-15.
Halftime Fun Fact 1: Coach Mitchell coached Quinn Keast on the provincial team back in 2004.
Halftime Fun Fact 2: Cavs’ #23 Lane has recently been given the green light from his coaching staff to shoot his free-throws underhand in an attempt to increase his free-throw percentage. Apparently he still prefers the traditional shooting method as he confidently nailed both of his free-throw attempts in the first half.
The struggles offensively for the Knights has not led to a reduced effort level, but they are going to need someone to step-up and make a few buckets to get some positive momentum in their favour. I offered my services to Coach Mitchell thinking I can probably stay safe a ways behind the three point line and just shoot threes, Coach Mitchell confirmed my deepest fears… I am a washed-up out of shape old man who should stick to game story writing. A few strong possessions in a row has led the Knights to a quick 5-0 run and started to get some of that positive momentum they have been looking for. Coach Mitchell is still actively looking to learn a bit more about the refs, but not surprisingly they are uninterested in engaging in conversations with Coach. The Knights have made this game interesting by going on a nice run to bring themselves within 11 points of the Cavs with a few minutes left in the third quarter. A strong finish to get the lead into single digits heading into the fourth would be promising for a Knights team that has pushed hard to get back into the game. End of the third the Cavs are up 39-28.
Both teams have come out in the fourth with a few nerves which have led to turnovers, but both teams have been unable thus far to capitalize on the turnovers; the score is still sitting at 39-28 a couple minutes into the quarter. STM cuts the lead to 9 with a bank three by #11 Carolan from a tough angle, and he was not done there by coming back with another three on the next possession. The half court zone D from the Cavs has forced the Knights to scramble in the offensive zone, but when they have successfully penetrated the first layer of the zone it has led to open three point opportunities. In what appeared to be a game headed for a blowout has turned into a game with an entertaining finish. To the Knights credit they never threw the towel in and fought hard to the final whistle, but the Cavs size and aggressive D was the difference maker. The Knights were able to cut the lead down to 8 relatively late in the game, but that was as close as the comeback came as the Cavs end up winning 54-39.