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A Hoops Day

March 19, 2010 - Al Stephenson

I decided to start my March Madness season with a trip to Columbus to the girls state tournament.  I wanted to see two games in particular.  Liberty Benton v. Smithville in Division III, and Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit v. Hathaway Brown in D-II.

My interest in the Liberty Benton game was sparked by wanting to see Catie Craft perform.  Her brother Aaron is heading for OSU and both kids are the offspring of John Craft, a pretty good player in his own right and a friend of mine.  The sophomore didn't disappoint as she scored 23 in the Eagles semifinal win.

In the Division II game I wanted to see the team that dispatched a pretty talented Columbian team fairly easily in the regionals.  I also wanted to see their sophomore Rachel Theriot, who is rumored to be getting interest from some big time college programs, including UCONN. 

Theriot, at first glance, was a little disappointing.  She showed great court awareness and ball handling skills, but she did not attempt a shot in the first half.  She was also sent to the bench just past halfway in the opening quarter and remained there for several minutes.  It appeared she and her coach were not on the same page and that bothers me - being an ex-coach.

Later her shooting touch was evident, particuarly at the foul line and I think it is fair to say that Hathaway Brown did a good job on her defensively.  I saw some flashes of brilliance and would certainly keep tabs on her if I was a college recruiter.  She is 5'9' but very thin.  I hope she will be able to take the pounding in college.  I also hope the percieved riff between player and coach was a figment of my imagination.  Trust me when I say that Gino Auriemma (or any coach for that matter) will not put up with players being a problem.

The day was filled with trips to the TV's located throughout the Schottenstein Center as NCAA basketball was in full swing.  The crowd shouted as Murray State hit the last second shot to beat Vanderbilt.

How about those Ohio University Bobcats!  A number 9 seed in the MAC tournament, they knocked off Georgetown convincingly.  A 14 seed beating a 3.  I listened to that game on the radio on my way home.  A buddy called with the halftime score.  Another called three minutes into the second half.  My daughter called as the final horn sounded!  They all wanted to make sure I was aware of what was happening.  Believe me I was.

All in all it was a great day for hoops.  So what about today.  Oh yeah - today is a repeater.  I may not be going to Columbus again, but the NCAA will be on my tube.

The view from my seat suggests that this is a great time of year for hoop fans!


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