Germantown vs. Whitefish Bay: A Pleasant Tuesday Night Diversion
Last evening I took a break from reading about Jeronne Maymon (more on that in the coming days–needless to say, the more information that comes out, the less impressed I am with his decision), headed out into the cold, and took a trip out to Germantown to see the Warhawks host Whitefish Bay. Normally I’d have been pushing for a trip to the Marquette-Tosa East game, but there were a handful of compelling games in the area last night, and frankly, I didn’t care which of them I saw. So I let my friend Kevin choose the game, as I trust his opinion as much as anyone's in terms of picking out a high school game to see. He made a good call, and I got the chance to get out of my box a bit and see two intriguing North Shore Conference teams play. My quick thoughts below:
1) Germantown broke out what seems to be a dying concept these days–the pep band. It was sort of a double-edged sword to have the pep band there during the pre game and first half. On one hand, the band was impressive, belting out tons of pep band standards (who doesn’t love “Hey, Baby”), and generally setting the atmosphere for the game. On the other hand, Germantown has always been ahead of the curve in terms of using its PA system to play amusing sound cues and songs during breaks in the game (who doesn’t love to hear chimes after made free throws, like at Bucks’ games?), and the band supplanted the usual AV creativity during the early parts of the game. I guess any way you slice it, Germantown has turned into a nice place to watch a game (a far cry from my feelings about the place back in high school, when I was scolded by an annoyingly sarcastic supervisor for bringing a soda into the gym.)
2) My friend Kevin had seen Germantown prior to last evening’s game, and noted that it was a much different team from last season. He wasn’t lying. Last year the Warhawks were anchored by two big men, including outstanding forward Ben Averkamp, who has since taken his talents to Loyala. The new-look Warhawks start four sophomores and a junior, and look to be most talented at the guard spots, with highly regarded Zak Showalter and aggressive defender Josh Mongan holding down the backcourt. The frontcourt has some promise too, though, and Germantown will be a team to watch in coming years, once the players get a bit more experience under their belts. They’re actually not too shabby now, even though last night’s game wouldn’t be the best example of their talents.
3) Kudos to the young man in the Germantown student wearing the sweater with built-in Christmas lights. Awesome look. Yesterday when I went to Germantown High School’s website to find the address of the school, I happened to notice that the school was having some sort of holiday spirit week and that yesterday was ugly sweater day. Glad to see that this carried over to the game a bit, as terrible holiday sweaters are generally fun (the trend of ugly Christmas sweaters will likely be a tired one in the near future, but we’re not there yet).
4) I was not expecting to be nearly as impressed as I was by Whitefish Bay big man Jamie Schneck. During warm-ups, he looked like a skinny, fairly nondescript player, save for his 6'7" height. Then the game started. Early on, Schneck found himself leading a fastbreak, and showing off far better ball handling skills than a 6'7" center for Whitefish Bay should have. Throughout the game, he showed far more confidence, aggressiveness and court instincts than I would expect out of a player just starting his junior year. I’d not heard of Schneck before last night’s game, but his is a name that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I can’t wait to see what he does over the next two years.
5) One confusing aspect of the evening was that it was parents’ night at Germantown last evening. So, we got to sit through the ritual of players and dance team members being introduced and handing a flower to their parents. While I certainly have no problem with an evening to honor parents, it has generally been my experience that parents’ night comes later during the season, and not during the first few weeks of the season. I guess if we want to get mom and dad out of the way, last night wasn’t a bad way to do it. But it felt weird to see such a display when it wasn’t part of winding the season down.
6) The score doesn’t indicate it, due to a mini-run of sorts by Germantown during the closing minutes of the contest, but Whitefish Bay controlled this game from the opening tip and had a large cushion for most of the game. I would love to see a shot chart of this game, because Whitefish Bay scored the vast majority of points on shots no more than 3 feet away from the hoop. (Actually, I’m not sure I’d want to see a shot chart, as I’d just end up feeling sorry for the guy taking the chart, who had nowhere else to draw circles after awhile.) What made the rout by the Blue Dukes particularly impressive is that Germantown is far from a bad team. Bay just played a great game last night, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the next time these two teams meet the game goes down to the wire.
And with another one in the books, I headed back out into the ridiculously cold weather and headed home as quickly as I could. After all, I had to see if more Jeronne Maymon news had broken...