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Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Terrapins crowned tournament champs

February 15, 2006

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The second- and third-grade Hoopster championship game featured one team who had been the favorite to take the title all year and another team that struggled all season just to get a victory.

In the end, the Terrapins' swarming defense and tough play in the paint allowed them to prevail with a 35-4 victory over the Blue Devils Wednesday at the East Lawrence Center.

"It feels good to have won the game," forward Keegan McKinney said after his eight-point, 12-rebound performance. "We won tonight because everyone on the team was hustling and getting on the floor."

Terrapins Spencer Grob, left, and Joel Spain fight with the Blue Devils for the loose ball Wednesday at the East Lawrence Center. Despite the lopsided score both teams fought hard for every possession thorughout the championship game.

Terrapins Spencer Grob, left, and Joel Spain fight with the Blue Devils for the loose ball Wednesday at the East Lawrence Center. Despite the lopsided score both teams fought hard for every possession thorughout the championship game.

The Terrapins came into the championship game undefeated, having won the regular season crown and beating their opponents by an average margin of 24 points a game.

The Blue Devils, on the other hand, had some momentum of their own after beating two teams they had previously lost to during their 0-4 regular season campaign.

"Coming into the game we knew the Blue Devils were hot and playing well at the right time," Terrapin coach Joe Keating said. "We played hard every possession and weren't selfish with the ball. Our team chemistry was important to our success this season.

"This is a fun team to coach," Keating continued. "Winning the championship is by far the best thing that has happened all season."

The Terrrapins won the tip, and two offensive rebounds later McKinney layed the ball in to give his squad a lead it would never relinquish. On the next play Terp Andrew Keating got a steal and took the ball to the hoop for a lay-in and the foul. Keating converted the conventional three-point play and sparked the Terrapins to a 14-0 spurt to open the contest.

A solid defensive effort by the Terrapins held the Blue Devils scoreless in the first quarter by disrupting their offensive sets and stealing the ball numerous times as the Devils dribbled up the court.

Devil Marcelino Cortez works against Terrapin Andre Keating to get the ball to the basket.

Devil Marcelino Cortez works against Terrapin Andre Keating to get the ball to the basket.

"The team executed the help defense, got into the passing lanes and most importantly protected the basket," coach Keating said.

The second quarter opened up with more of the same as the Terrapins added to their advantage. Joel Spain got in on the action with a defensive rebound and drew a foul in the lane.

On the other end the Blue Devils continued to struggle to get the ball to fall their way. A mishandled pass resulted in another Devil turnover, and coach Stan Skwarlo called a timeout to settle his team down.

Despite the big deficit, Skwarlo said that his team never gave up.

Terrapin Spencer Grob secured two key rebounds for his team and then recorded two steals midway through the second quarter. Moments later Keating converted a rebound into a basket off the dribble to extend the score to 20-0.

Blue Devil Parker Kirkpatrick got his team on the board with a putback off an offensive rebound. His shot seemed to ignite his squad as Sam Skwarlo followed with two steals. But neither theft turned into any Devil points, and the Terrapins held a comfortable advantage at the break.

"These boys have been playing together a couple of years and they really understand the game, which helps them play great as a team," coach Keating said.

In the second half the Terrapins continued to play well together. Kyle Hoffman came off the bench to get a rebound and sink a jumper. The Terps held the Devils scoreless again in the third and closed the quarter on a 5-0 run.

The start of the fourth saw both teams getting a little sloppy with the ball. Finally Blue Devil Bradley Kincaid stayed under control to sink his team's second bucket.

Despite the lopsided loss, coach Skwarlo said he saw his team's skills progress a great deal over the course of the season.

"My team is made up of a fantastic group of young men that have continually progressed in their skills throughout the season," he said. "It's unfortunate it ended the way it did, but as was the case in every game they played - they never gave up."

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