Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Wauwatosa East vs. West Allis Hale: The Big Conference Showdown

Tonight's going to be short and sweet, since I still have the Illinois-Michigan State game to watch. I just got back from the Wauwatosa East-West Allis Hale showdown, which would likely put the winning team in the driver's seat for the Greater Metro Conference championship. Tosa East is now in that driver's seat, after a well played game by both teams. You've got to love high school hoops. Though there was plenty to comment on at this game, like I said, I want to keep it short, so here are my absolute, most key points for the game (perhaps a few will follow tomorrow):

1) The West Allis Hale gymnasium is one of the worst places that I've been to to watch a high school game. The layout is fairly inefficient, and thus, the gym doesn't hold the number of people that it's supposed to. Additionally, no one has yet had the foresight to hang signs directing where specific groups of people should sit (i.e., "Home Students" of "Visiting Adults"), and thus, any visitors are mightily confused upon entering the gym. As this glitch has in the past, this evening it led to a clash between late-arriving students who intended to stand throughout the game, and adults who had been sitting in the same section before the students began standing. Who can blame either party? As an adult, I don't want to keep the kids from standing, but I also don't want the seat that I've been sitting in for 30 minutes to suddenly become worthless 5 minutes before gametime because the people in front of me want to stand. To the Hale supervisors' credit, portable bleachers were set up on the side for students, but it never should have come to that--4 signs would have solved the problem.

2) Notable attendees at tonight's game included Milwaukee King coach Jim Gosz, likely scouting Tosa East for a potential Sectional 8 showdown, and Wisconsin Badgers assistant Rob Jeter, back on the recruting trail of Jerry Smith.

3) If you wanted to see the stars tonight, you got your $3 worth. Jerry Smith, despite being shutout in the first quarter, tallied something in the neighborhood of 25 points. Smith shot the ball well from beyond the arc, largely because his defenders were playing off of him anticipating a drive. He also pulled down a slew of rebounds, and really took the game over on offense for much of the second quarter. Though the guy in the next point had an even better second quarter.

4) I was going to talk about him with Smith, but John Rybak deserves his own paragraph tonight. I'm not sure if I'll ever see him play high school ball again (though I think Hale has a better than average shot at the state tournament), and he will be missed. If there's a better shooter in the state, I'd like to see him. An unofficial total from the guy sitting in front of my friends and I had Rybak at 37 points tonight (the entire team scored in the 50s). Because the guy in front of us was wielding a pen, and resembled a team manager that I vaguely recall from my early years of high school, I tend to believe his total. Rybak scored from the post, he scored from the line, and oh man, did he score from the outside. I lost count of how many 3's he sank. On this past week's Preps Plus television show on Milwaukee's channel 4 (a hilarious show, by the way), Rybak was the featured athlete of the week, and one video clip showed him in practice continually sinking shots from a point in the gym that the narrator noted was 2 feet beyond where the NBA three point line is. I thought it was just a novel trick--something to show off in the feature. Well, tonight he pulled up twice from the exact same line that was visible in the piece, and the shots swished through. Rybak's been a joy to watch, and I hope that at least for a game or two more, he still will be. Maybe next year I can find a way to recieve games from Akron, his school of choice.

That's it for tonight's analysis. More on this game, and the Illinois-Michigan State game which I'm hoping not to doze off during, if and when I get the chance tomorrow evening.


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