Friday, July 29, 2011

Rivals Creating a Buzz on the West Coast

Rivals 5-0 in LA if you count Vonleh's NBA Jam win with the Lakers over the Clippers.
Rivals Move to 4-0 at Best of Summer Classic
- In their final pool-play game this morning, the Mass Rivals went up against 805 basketball out of the Santa Barbara area.  This one was all-Rivals from the opening-tip, as they opened the game on a 13-2 run and never looked back, winning the game by a score of 51-31.  It was a balanced attack for the Rivals in this one.  Ryan Hartung continued to have a hot hand and led the scoring with 14 while Zach Auguste added 13, and Holder added 10.  Dimitri Floras was very efficient and dropped six or seven dimes...he is really improving in terms of making his teammates better.  Noah Vonleh played an excellent floor game and scored when the opportunity was there.  And Cedric Kuakumensah threw down a vicious one hand dunk on the break and registered yet another double-double.  Mike Carbone also was solid in this one, knocking down several long range bombs and playing tough physical defense on the 805 shooters.  With the win, the Rival finished 3-0 in Super Pool A and earned a top seed in the Best of Summer Championship Bracket.

Best of Summer Championship Bracket 1st Rd
- In the 1st Rd of Bracket Play, the Rivals matched up against the Danny Granger Hurricanes, a team with two of the deadliest shooters we have seen this year on the circuit.  The duo was terrific in knocking down difficult long range shots against tough defense and their play was enough to keep the Hurricanes in the game for the opening 6 or 7 minutes.  But after that, it was all Rivals.  They simply overwhelmed Danny Granger's squad and ended up winning by a score of 61-42.
Noah Vonleh was sensational in the 1st half, going for 19 points (22 for game) on 3 trey balls, two dunks, and several moves in which he went up outside of the key, keeping his shoulders square to the baseline so that his body was between the ball and the defender, and then absorbing contact and hanging in the air before banking it home softly off the window.  Vonleh also made a play that sent the gym into an absolute frenzy.  He had the ball in a 1-4 set on the left side of the floor just inside halfcourt.  After making a move and beating his defender hard right, Vonleh took two steps and took off a step inside the foul line.  As Vonleh elevated, a brave Hurricane defender stepped in and challenged Vonleh right inside the dotted semi-circle in the paint.  Vonleh went over the top, rising high above the defender to throw down what would have been a crazy dunk had he not spiked it off the back rim.  On another play, Vonleh rotated from the weak side to challenge what would have been an easy little bank shot from the block for a an attacking Hurricane guard.  Sensing the shot-blocker closing in, the crafty Hurrican guard attepmted a to put a high floater up and over Vonleh and softly off the glass.  Vonleh went up and got it right as the ball was about to hit above the square on the backboard.  The Danny Granger coach pleaded for a goaltend, but they credited Vonleh with the block and play went on.  In addition to Vonleh, Zach Auguste also had a field day against what quite honestly was an inferior front line.  Auguste finished around the rim, crashed the offensive glass with authority, and attacked from the perimeter, torching the Hurricane defense for 17 points on six dunks.  Also for the Rivals, Jamie Holder had his best game of July.  After a career at NH's Milford HS in which he was unstoppable, Holder is still learning how to tailor his talent and ability to a high-level of basketball and in this ball game, he did his best job to date of keeping his game simple and allowing scoring opportunities to materialize rather than trying to force opportunities.  He is starting to learn to use his ability to take care of the ball and create opportunities for his talented teammates, rather than try to force his talent down the throat of the defense every time he touches the pill.  Although he is an older player, and an older guard at that, who will be doing a post-grad year at Notre Dame, Holder has a lot of room for improvement and will become an intriguing prospect if he can play like he did today more consistently.  Lastly for the Rivals, Steve Haladyna was again solid from the wing, knocking down open shots, slashing to the basket in transition, and getting easy buckets cleaning up on the offensive glass.

College Coaches in  Attendance:  Brown Coach Jesse Agel was present again for Big Cedrick along with Adam Ginsberg from UMass, and assistants from URI, Holy Cross, UVM, Yale, James Madison, Penn, and Iona (some of whom who here also for Steve Haldyna)  Syracuse Asst Gerry Mac, Joe Dooley from Kansas, and two assistants from UCLA were there for Noah Vonleh.  In the bleachers for Zach Auguste were Auburn, Providence, Boston College, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Marquette.  Also present were Weber St., UC Davis, New Mexico St. and more.

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