Wednesday, December 01, 2004

High School Ball in Cedarburg

Early evening took me out to Cedarburg high school to watch a game between Cedarburg and Tosa East. I was feeling pretty tired from a Monday night spend at Lambeau Field attending the Packer game, but nonetheless, I wanted to see this game for two reasons. First, an accountant that our firm works closely with has a son on the Cedarburg team, and the kid’s supposed to be a pretty decent post-player. So I wanted to check him out. Second, I wanted to see how Tosa East would look against a team that wasn’t Pius, so that I could gauge how good Pius is. Tosa East’s blowout win told me–Pius is darn pretty good.

1) The accountant’s son looked okay, in the 7 minutes or so that he played. He was saddled with foul trouble, though, and most of his fouls were based on pretty poor decisions. His 4th, for example, came as he used his right arm to toss a defender off of him in the post. Not a smart play at all.

2) Watching Cedarburg play defense only reinforced for me how good Pius was. Cedarburg wasn’t stopping much, and took awhile to get into a zone. It’s strange that watching Cedarburg play could make me appreciate Joel Claassen’s coaching ability more, but that’s what happened last night. Cedarburg does not lack talent, but there was something else missing. That was surprising to me, since their new coach brought with him a pretty good track record from Oregon (I'll spare everyone talk of the well-publisized controversey over his hiring).

3) Tosa East’s bench got a workout last night as George Haas continued to run players in and out to find the best fit, particularly at the guard spot. The starting point guard played only a few minutes in the second half, and although I have not been impressed by him so far, I don’t think this benching was for any reason other than to see what everyone else could do in a game situation. Changes could occur later on (particularly with a breakout game from E.G. Ortiz occurring last night), but it looks to me like Haas just wants to know what he has at this point.

4) One of my favorite Haas mannerisms last night was his desire to quickly bench post players that were doing something that he didn’t like. Time after time, he’d get angry, and throw in a young man by the name of Zach Buske. It was great. Whenever Haas looked pissed off, you knew who he was going to. He’d shake his head, look at what he had on the bench, and say "Buske, go in for ________." And for the most part, the kid did his job. He’d be a nice post player, if he was bigger than 6'2" or so.

5) I loved the Cedarburg student section, but they were far from the traditional, spirit-filled student section. You knew this was going to be a special group of fans when, upon an early Jerry Smith breakaway layup, they began chanting "Throw it down!" and yelling at Smith to dunk more. A later Smith dunk resulted in Springer-like chants of "Jerry" from the Tosa students, only to be followed by the same from Cedarburg. It was like they were cheering against their own team. The icing on the cake came later when the Tosa East students, off of a time-out, began chanting "We can’t hear you!" at the Cedarburg students. The Cedarburg students promptly turned their backs to the Tosa East students and began chanting "We can’t hear you!" into the wall, as if to summon some invisible fans behind them. They could not be pissed off by taunting, and displayed little to no passion for the game itself. I’ve never seen a high school student section pull off such great, intentional comedic work. Nice job, Bulldogs.

6) Okay, it needs to be said–did Tosa East really need a new set of uniforms this year? If memory serves me, they had a new set last year, and the set before that wasn’t exactly ancient. All the teams have shiny, semi-new uniforms. When I was in high school, I had ill-fitting uniforms that had been in use for at least 10 years. Due to the disproportionate size of my thighs in comparison to my shorts freshman year, I think I broke obscenity laws in 2 of the 3 counties that we played in every time I stepped on the court. I’m glad that kids today don’t have to go through this, but could we ratchet down the purchase of new uniforms to at least every 3-4 years? The schools are in a budget crisis, you know.


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