Urban Legends 103, Night Owls 86
(Parts of this article will also appear on the official Kronum League website. Be sure to check out the site for additional Week 7 coverage and statistics.)
The MVP argument has always been fairly ambiguous in sports. Should the award go to the individual widely considered the best player, the player who puts up the best statistics, or the player whose team would suffer the most in his absence? Well, if Night Owls captain Kyle McGrath ever wants to construct an argument for his MVP candidacy, this round 7 game against the Urban Legends should be Exhibit A. With McGrath suspended for the game due to a controversial spitting incident last week against the Nimble Jacks, the Night Owls’ offense looked completely out of sorts and the Urban Legends ran away with the contest.
The Legends wasted no time getting started as Mike Ragan (team-highs 21 points, 8 assists) connected on a 4-point cross shot the very first play of the game. Five minutes later, Ragan sank another cross shot off a steal, followed shortly thereafter by an 8-point kronum from Kevin Clark (12 points, league-record 10 blocks). Before you knew it, the Legends had jumped out to a commanding 25-4 lead. The Night Owls climbed back into things a bit, as cross shots by Joe Tulskie (12 points) and Bill Zane (6 points) found the back of the net, but they still trailed 37-24 after one period.
The second period was more of the same, as the Owls continued to look sloppy offensively, shooting just 26.6% as a team on the game. The Legends especially locked down Quad 4 defensively, with Jordan Welles (11 saves on 21 attempts) stopping those rare balls that got through the amazing blocking efforts of Kevin Clark. On the other side of the ball, the Legends sustained their offensive efficiency, as Dan Vignola (17 points, 10 saves on 14 attempts) successfully worked the ground game, while Kevin Glover (16 points) added that flex zone dimension that was missing the previous week against the Evergreens. The lead swelled to as high as 30 points before settling at 74-46 after two periods.
The Night Owls got a spark when Brett McGlensey (team-high 14 points) banged home a kronum to cut the deficit to 79-60. However, Mike Ragan answered that strike with a kronum of his own a few minutes later to push the lead back to 91-62 and the Legends would hang on from there. Overall, the game served as the template for the Urban Legends’ success: stout defense combined with a versatile offensive attack featuring Ragan and Clark in the middle, Glover on the outside, and a host of players in the wedge zone. As of the Night Owls, Kyle McGrath better steer clear of any controversies going forward because the results without him are simply uninspiring.
Nimble Jacks 113, Evergreens 85
Many Evergreens players had their college graduation ceremonies the day before this highly anticipated matchup against the Nimble Jacks. Little did they know there was one more course for them to take: Wedgebacking 101, Professor Ben Hutchison presiding. Captain Scott Kennedy (14 points, team-high 13 assists) opted to man-mark both leading scorers for the Evergreens, Joe Petrino and Ryan Maley. With Jacks defenders Matt Charleston, Nick Caton, and Shaun Stevens absolutely shutting down Petrino (5 points) and Maley (4 points), it was left to the Jacks’ wedgebacks to stop the Evergreens’ other scoring options in numerous one-on-one situations. I think there was a smile somewhere under the intimidating scowl of Hutchison, as he relished that opportunity in recording a league-record 22 saves on 35 shots. Fellow wedgebacks Pete Weiss (17 points, 15 saves on 20 shots) and Sean Kennedy (13 points, 13 saves on 20 shots) followed Hutchison’s example in stifling the Greens’ attack. Next time Evergreens, check out Rate My Professors beforehand, Hutchison hates cocky first-years in the Kronum League.
The Jacks got off to a quick start as Jared O’Donnell (14 points) picked up right where he left off last week against the Night Owls. Pete Weiss continued his savvy scoring from the goal zone and the Jacks led 41-27 after one period. Then, the Evergreens made their solitary run of the game coming out of the gate in the second period. Dom Petrino (team-highs 24 points, 14 saves) was the Green’s best player on the afternoon, coming up with dunks, ring shots, and big saves to get the Evergreens back into it. As the Jacks’ offense continued to sputter, a Jim Oakes (16 points) cross shot tied the game at 43-43.
However, the Nimble Jacks showed why they are three-time defending champions, keeping their composure in the face of that surge. They answered with a 12-0 run of their own, capped by a Dan Geiger (10 points) cross shot. The Jacks regained their rhythm therafter, led by Ryan Coyne (team-high 24 points), who supplemented his usual flex zone attack with a pair of cross zone goals and a ring shot for four. The Nimble Jacks built their lead back up to 80-63 after two periods and continued to coast in the third period, leading by as many as 35 points before emptying the bench and cruising to victory.
The Nimble Jacks showed the true versatility of their team with this victory. Last week against the Night Owls, the defense had its worst outing of the season in allowing 139 points, but the offense bailed the team out. This week, the Jacks’ shooters were not as efficient as usual, but the defense was rock solid. When a team can win a game on either side of the ball, it will find itself toward the top of the standings as the Nimble Jacks have shown. Regarding the Evergreens, the Jacks may have discovered the formula for shutting down the Greens’ high-powered offense. Players others than Joe Petrino and Ryan Maley will have to score more efficiently in similar situations going forward.
Jet Sets 86, Throwbacks 85
Yankees-Red Sox, Ravens-Steelers, Celtics-Lakers, Jet Sets-Throwbacks. Every sport has its share of rivalries where teams plain don’t like each other. These two teams have been at each others’ throats across multiple seasons and you know this matchup was circled on the calendar for both teams (or whatever the modern-day equivalent is, highlighted as a Microsoft Outlook reminder maybe?). The latest clash in this rivalry was missing a few key players for the Jet Sets as captain Matt Parsons missed the game due to the birth of his child and leading scorer Jeff Regensburg was a very late arrival, finishing with just 2 points. However, there were plenty of fireworks all the same.
Though missing Parsons and Regensburg, the Jet Sets did return a pair of players to the lineup who had a huge impact on the game. Nick DeLuca assumed Parsons’ role of playmaker in the middle and finished with a game-high 16 assists. On the outside, rookie Mike Quintans did a fair Regensburg impersonation, tallying a game-high 26 points on 12-18 shooting. Overall, the Jet Sets came out with more energy than the Throwbacks in getting out to a 28-16 lead after one period.
With the Jet Sets continuing to pull away, the Throwbacks’ offense finally showed a sign of life as John Graham (16 points) hit an 8-point kronum to pull back within 12 points at 41-29. After some back and forth action, the Throwbacks closed the period with a nice run to cut the deficit to single digits, with a little help from the Jet Sets. Jet Sets wedgeback Zach Van Fossen caught a shot from teammate Ryan Skinner, erroneously thinking they needed to clear the ball out to the middle. The Throwbacks ended up getting a stop on the possession and George Price (4 points, team-high 6 assists) turned around and connected for a four-point cross goal. After Steve Botta (team-high 19 points, 8 saves on 15 attempts) rang in a penalty shot, the lead fell to 55-46 after two periods.
Botta kept that momentum going into the final frame as he heated up from the flex area, but Van Fossen (12 points, 9 saves on 13 attempts) answered with a 4-point ring shot. Then, John Graham connected on another game-changing kronum after the referees discussed whether it was deflected through the rings or just up into the chamber for four. Moments later, a Brian Marron (10 points) flex shot tied the game at 69 midway through the third period. The teams traded blows from there and two Marron flex shots were answered by Mike Quintans in the final minute to put the Jet Sets back up one. The Throwbacks called timeout with 6 seconds left and the ball. Captain Joe Ferrigno drew up a nice play to get an open shot for Steve Fariss (14 points, 4 blocks), but the attempt was saved by Van Fossen. There was a frantic scramble in the goal zone for the rebound but unfortunately for the Throwbacks, the buzzer sounded instants before the tying one pointer was kicked into the net, securing the victory for the Jet Sets.
It was an encouraging performance for the Jet Sets who saw some other guys step up without their leading assist man on the field and their leading scorer MIA for most of the game. Quintans was a rookie receiving a lot of hype coming into the season that had gotten off to a slow start; hopefully for the Jet Sets, this game was the jump start he needed. However, the game has to be seen as a step back for the Throwbacks after two straight strong performance. Their offense looked slow throughout the game and they only shot 32.6% as a team. Without the two kronums, which you can’t count upon on a weekly basis, the Jet Sets would have run away with this contest.
Evergreens 128, Night Owls 127
Why so serious? Down three with time running down, someone had to step up for the Evergreens if they were to avoid their second loss of the afternoon and remain in second place. Would it be MVP candidate and team leading scorer Joe Petrino? Or how about rookie of the year candidate Ryan Maley? No, instead, it would be a veteran journeyman playing on his third team in three seasons, not exactly the man casual fans would associate with the upstart, expansion Evergreens. Down 127-124 with under 15 seconds left, Vince Rota intercepted an errant Kyle McGrath in-bounds pass in the middle and immediately threw the ball into an open chamber for 4 points and a 128-127 lead. The Night Owls then had two shots to win the game, the last of which was a wide open flex shot by Tyler Katz that was swallowed up by Rota to preserve the victory. Vince Rota was both the hero the Evergreens deserved, and the one it needed right now.
At the start of the game, Jeff Gerace (18 points) was scorching hot for the Owls. On the opposing side, Joe Petrino (23 points) and Ryan Maley (10 points) were both happy to see the last of the Nimble Jacks’ wedgebacks and field defenders; while the pair were again both man-marked, they were able to find more open room than in the previous contest. The first period ended with the Owls ahead 34-31.
The second period largely belonged to Chris VonTanhausen (game-highs 26 points, 16 assists), who was truly the most impactful player on the field in what was his best game of the season. VonTanhausen started out the period hitting a pair of shots from the cross zone as the Owls went up 48-33. However, the Evergreens would fight their way back into the game as usually secondary scoring options like Gerry Plescia (team-high 23 points on 12-15 shooting) and Harold Bolton (16 points) finally took advantage of all the open space afforded by the double man-mark defense. Dom Petrino (20 points) scored 8 straight points for the Evergreens, including a 4-point ring shot, and the game was suddenly tied again at 76. It was still the period of VonTanhausen though, as the Owls’ crosser drained an 8-point kronum at the buzzer to put the Night Owls back on top 84-76.
The third period saw both VonTanhausen connect on his second kronum, and Joe Petrino answer with one of his own to get the Evergreens back into things, setting the stage for Rota’s late-game heroics. Looking back, the Night Owls did get things going offensively, even despite Kyle McGrath (12 points on 3-14 shooting, 4 blocks) struggling with the man-mark defense some in this contest. However, the defense has to be a concern for them, as wedgebacks saved 42.6% of shots faced, exactly equaling their second-worst mark on the season. The field defenders need to do a better job forcing harder shots for opposing players and the wedgebacks have to come up with some big saves now and again. As for the Evergreens, a key in this game was guys like Plescia, Dom Petrino, and Bolton stepping up with the defense focused on Joe Petrino and Maley. They’ll need similar efforts from those guys if the Evergreens are to hold off the Urban Legends for second place.
Points – Mike Quintans (26), Chris VonTanhausen (26), Ryan Coyne (24), Dom Petrino (24)
Assists – Nick DeLuca (16), Christ VonTanhausen (16), Scott Kennedy (13)
Saves – Ben Hutchison (22), Pete Weiss (15), Dom Petrino (14)
Blocks – Kevin Clark (10), Steve Fariss (4), Kyle McGrath (4)
Steals – Ryan Skinner (3), 9 players tied with 2