SA Express #4 and #5 teams squared off last night when Brennan beat Johnson 52-42. Game notes follow:
Tanaeya Boclair(Brennan)- Boclair has been championed on this blog as the best post player in the city despite being a 2014. Boclair was Player of Week last week for the city and looked unstoppable in the first half. She showed a wide array of offensive moves that had college coaches taking note. She made a left hand jump hook and followed that up with a step through. She then hit a 17 foot jumper that found nothing but the bottom of the net. She finished the night with 17 points and 22 boards. Boclair was at one point considered a HoopGurlz 100 player, a player considered to be among the best 100 players in the COUNTRY. She fell out of the Top 100 but that will change soon.
Alyssa Crockett(Brennan)- This blog wrote:
"One of the few guards who gets to the free throw line more often than physical bigs"
"Her tenacious attitude and play makes her one of the toughest guards to contain in the city. She will live at the free throw line"
"Her constant attacking style will guarantee her multiple trips to the free throw line"
The game proved what has been written on this blog numerous times, Crockett is a free throw making machine. Her style is rewarded in the city like former John Jay star Julissa Garrett. Crockett scored 11 of her 15 points from the free throw line, the majority of them in the clutch.
First Blow- Johnson inexplicably came out in a 2-3 zone that enabled the well coached Brennan team to pick them apart with passes, ball reversal and low post touches for Boclair. Johnson sat back and did not pressure the Brennan guards even though the strength of the Jags this season is the ability to pressure full court and speed up the pace. Brennan plays a ball control, half court style of play that slows tempo. The Johnson defense played right into the hands of Brennan's style. Brennan struck the first blow and had Johnson down 10-0 to start the game, an insurmountable lead.
Guts no Glory- Johnson's Recee' Caldwell started slow, came on strong to bring her team back and finished with not enough in the tank. Caldwell, who shot 19 times a game last year while averaging 20 pts, has sacrificed her shots this season and is averaging close to 18 points on 14 shots. Last night, she shot her team back into the game while going 4 for 5 in the 3rd quarter. She then went ice cold and missed her last 6 shots while trying to keep her team from falling further behind. She also went 0-3 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, even though she is an 80% free throw shooter for the season. Caldwell played the entire game for the second game straight while facing the concentration of the defense. She finished with 19 points on 21 shots. She is averaging 6 assists this season but only had 4 dimes last night. For a player that usually comes up big in big games, she did not have enough in the tank and came up short last night.
Non-Pacifist - Johnson dug themselves a huge hole and fought tooth and nail to tie the score twice late in the game. They lost because of their poor shooting and passive defense made it a very tough night. However, their efforts to overcome the early flaws were hampered by horrible officiating. Here is a fact, 4 out of the Top 5 teams in the city have coaches that "lobby" for calls. They are not pacifist.
Stevens, Churchill and Brennan, all have coaches that protest often when calls do not go their way. Reagan coach Terry Barton does not usually protest loudly but does make his point early and often. Steele's Kari Wallace loses her voice questioning every call. (During the Meighan Simmon's years, she made sure to do her part to make sure Simmons shot a ton of free throws. You do not score 3000 points without earning the respect of the refs!) There was an interesting exchange last night.
Johnson Coach Audra Bredemeyer was calmly protesting a call. The referee told her to "shut up", literally. The appalling thing was that he told her to shut up in front of her players. The same ref then got a verbal lashing by the Brennan coach and gave him time for a conference to make his case. The foul count was 7 to 1 after that exchange in favor of Brennan. Brennan shot 30 free throws to Johnson's 15, even though Johnson attacked the paint as often as Brennan.
Compare Bredemeyer's non-confrontational approach to that of one of the coaches of one of the Top 5 teams in the city. In a game last month at Wagner, this visiting coach jumped in the face of a hearing impaired ref and yelled at him that he "was not going to work anymore of his/her games". When the ref pointed to his ears to indicate that he was hearing impaired, the non- pacifist coach yelled, "I don't care, you can read my lips". This coach is one of the best in the city at gaining 50/50 calls in favor of his/her team. He/Her looks at the crowd like Hulk Hogan and raises his/her hands for support. His/Her antics work! I doubt that this same ref that told Bredemeyer to "shut up" last night would have disrespected this coach that way. Coach Bredemeyer is one of the nicest people you would ever meet, and her kindness is being mistaken for weakness.
Randy Evans is not nearly as boisterous as the above mentioned coach but surely gets the respect of the refs. His guards shot most of the free throws in the game last night, not his bigs.
Johnson a year Away- This blog wrote, "Johnson could be the best team in the city. However, they are probably still a year away".
For some of the above mentioned reasons, Johnson still has a way to go to be the best in the city. The former doormat of 26-5A has yet to earn the respect of the city's referees. They still have a young team, led by 3 D1 kids, two sophomores(one recently turned 15) and a freshman. They are missing the presence of Brie Foresman, a tough proficient scorer, who hurt her knee in a 30 point blowout last week. Against tough teams like Brennan, Johnson has to work too hard for shots if they are not turning teams over with pressure. Come playoff time, easy shots pay huge dividends, especially after a 35 game season.