Monday, December 27, 2004

Random High School Game of the Week: Waukesha North at Cedarburg

This past Wednesday night took me to the Cedarburg High School gym for a non-conference showdown between Cedarburg and Waukesha North. The game itself wasn't a particularly interesting matchup, but I've wanted to see North's dynamic duo of Steve Shirley and Tom Erdmann, and my last (and favorite) coach from my playing days has been the coach at North for some time. I had never seen him coach a game since he took the job something like 8 years ago. Since not much else worth seeing was going on in the area, it seemed like the right time to check out a game. My thoughts below:

1) So I go to the game with the primary goal of seeing Steve Shirley, and then he doesn't get off the bench until the second quarter. That was a bit confusing, but at least he eventually got in the game. I'd have to assume that perhaps he missed a practice for holiday week or something. I always like to assume the best.

2) I'm not sure what to make of Steve Shirley at this point. He's got a very nice shot. He battles well when he's in traffic (which he gets caught up in too much, by the way). And he doesn't look like a typical basketball player. His arms and legs are fairly short, and I'd say that if he were a few inches shorter, he'd be a good high school wrestler. I wasn't blown away by much more than his shot, but when a guy's scoring upwards of 20 points per game, who am I to critisize.

3) Shirley's early absence allowed me to watch more of North's other 20 point-per-game scorer, Tom Erdmann. I really liked Erdmann. He was a heady player, and though he was physically fairly thin, he could do a lot of things on the court. It sort of looked to me at times like he could give a bit more work to his left hand, but overall I was very impressed on all areas of the floor. And it also bears noting-it's pretty cool when a skinny, 6-foot tall guard throws down two dunks in a game. Who would have thought a guy that looked like that would even be allowed to dunk in a game?

4) Waukesha North runs a nice trapping defense. I was sort of trying to see if my old coach was still running things that my JV team ran back in the day, but I didn't remember much of what I saw, which I attribute partly to my poor memory, and partly to the fact that things probably have changed quite a bit in the past 10 years. The trapping defense was a nice touch, though, and given that Waukesha North's three best players are guards (their point guard was pretty good, too), trapping seemed like a naturaral way to go.

5) I walked into the gym right behind famed Sheboygan North coach Tom Desotell. For a moment, I thought that the noted basketball junkie had picked an odd random game to attend. Then it occurred to me that Sheboygan North has a game later this year against Waukesha North. So I guess some scouting was going on. My first clue should have been the video equipment that Desotell had with him. Now that's dedication.

6) The coaching bench for Waukesha North was an interesting sight. As I noted, the head coach was my old coach from my Tosa East JV days, but he was also accompanied by a JV coach who had done a bit of coaching back at my old school, and coaching legend Jim Rebholz, a longtime coach and gym teacher at Tosa East. It was a weird, retro feel looking at that bench. The only difference from the past was that the power structure was reversed, and the young guys were now in charge. It was kind of neat to see, but really, after the first quarter, there was enough action to watch on the floor that I pretty much ended up ignoring the bench.

7) Cedarburg big man Jake Asplin has been a solid scorer each time that I've seen the Bulldogs play. He's a tall skinny guy, and I found myself thinking of old of the old videos of Tom Burleson that I've seen while I was watching him. Which I suppose is to say that both were tall guys that didn't look like much just standing there, but they were surprisingly effective when they hit the floor. Sure, Burleson was a good 8 inches taller, but you see my point.

So eventually, Waukesha North won a game that was closer than it should have been, and I headed back to watch the UWM-Kansas game that I had recorded. It would indeed be a good night.


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