Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crosstown Clash

Reyvonte Rice capped Centennial's 57-54 victory off with two free throws and almost no time left on the clock. However, when it mattered most Rice was nowhere to be found Friday night. 

Where was he during the fever pitch final minutes of the game? It gives me great pleasure to say that he was being hounded by mini-Bubba Nate Chisholm. Not only did Rice fail to get to the basket down the stretch, he was rendered relatively harmless (18 points) throughout the whole game. Surprisingly, Lavin had no response to the box-and-one put on Rice, even though it was possibly the smallest, whitest player in the area matched up on him. 

Rice aside, it was the best basketball game I've been to since "The Game" (Central vs. Decatur Eisenhower 2008). The atmosphere was as pumped up--and at times as hostile--as you hope and expect for a cross-town rivalry. There was even a standoff at half time between a dancing, blue-suited Charger fan and an indignant Central fan that had to be broken up by one of Central's deans. 

The standoff on the court, however, was the real story on the east end of town. With under a minute to play and down by two points, Central turned the ball over. Then, rather than holding the ball until Central was forced to foul, Tiger O'Neil foolishly jacked up an ugly three-pointer and banked it in to put them up by five. With the noise of the crowd reaching "C.J. Jackson just scored a basket" level, Combes Gym got even louder as Clayton Jones, who caps off the Chisholm-Jones backcourt II, answered with a three of his own. 

After a couple exchanges at the line for both teams, Centennial's James Mihm (unfortunately not the brother of Chris Mihm) went to the line shooting one-and-one with a one-point lead. 
He missed the front end, and Central's Edwin McGhee streaked down the court looking for the win. The game underwhelmingly ended on a charge call on McGhee, followed by Rice's free throws. 

Central, although not the most talented team, really me impressed me out there. Despite the charge, McGhee (19 points) put on a show offensively in the second half and took a crucial charge that put DI-bound forward Jeff Johnson out of the game. The bigs for Central were especially fun to watch (if you're like me, and you like to watch physically unimpressive guys work hard and rebound). McGhee and Purdue-recruit Jay Simpson put in a lot of tough buckets around the rim off nice entry passes, and my favorite player, #22 (think Patrick Wampler plus 30 pounds), wore Centennial's big men out down low. 

On a disappointing note, the Bleacher Bums have really dropped off and got embarrassed at their own home court by Centennial's fan section. Seriously, if I didn't know I was at Central, I would have thought Centennial was the home team. 

For Lavin nation, they escaped consecutive losses and should feel lucky they did. Hopefully Rice and company look better come tournament time than they did last night. 


  1. Sounds like a sweet game. Good write-up

    My only beef is that you're saying that Rice was "harmless" with his 18 points. I didn't see the game obviously, but puting up 18 when the score was in the 50's is pretty good. C'mon, don't get down on Ray.

  2. If you saw the game you would know what I meant. He had a very quiet 18. His buckets were spread out, and none of them came in the final three to four minutes of the game. I love Trey, as he was known when I used to thump him on the courts of Y, as much as anyone, but he didn't look like the guy who could score at will against Waukegan. Nonetheless, he's still a great player, and he'll go on to have a great rest of the season.


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