Sunday, 16 March 2008


Many are speculating on where last night's second semi-final ranked in terms of greatest CIS games ever but in my humble estimation, given what was at stake, the drama, the twists and turns and the atmosphere, I haven't seen a more memorable affair ever. For virtually everyone I talked to who was there, it was an unbelievable night. Here are some of my observations: No doubt that Acadia made several big shots including white-hot 6'1" Peter Leighton having the game of his life, 6'1" Paolo Santana ringing in a long 3 that hit the backboard bounced around and in and the long (10 feet behind the line) three by vastly underrated 6'2" point guard Andrew Kraus. But the key to last night's game was the tremendous work on the defensive end by 6'8" Ach Lual on Moser Award winner 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp. Lual's length gave Doornekamp problems all night, whether it was flying out at him to put a hand in his face on three pointers or forcing him into much more difficult turnaround jumpers from the low block. Lual showed why he was AUS Defensive Player-of-the-Year in a dominant defensive effort where, last night, his athleticism was too much for Doornekamp. Kraus had another solid effort despite cramping up late in the game. It was critical for Acadia to get off to a strong start for their confidence and to keep the partisan crowd at bay and Kraus set the tone with a solid move off the dribble and a 15 footer to start the game. Of course, the big shot that ended the third quarter from one of the "a"'s on the Pizza Pizza marking was critical as well, after which he calmly walked stonefaced into the huddle with a look that said "we've haven't done a thing yet". But Kraus's biggest contribution could have been his leadership, especially just after a scrum that resulted in Santana wanting to get at a Raven which would have cost the Axemen dearly. Kraus showed tremendous toughness in grabbing Santana with two hands and helping him corral his emotions at a time when losing them could have cost Acadia the game. Kraus, the son of long-time Markham, ON coach George Kraus who coached both of his sons in high school, has elevated his game both physically and mentally to an elite CIS level. Leighton's ability to knock shots down was instrumental in creating more space in the low blocks for 6'5" Leonel Saintil in the high low game. With Leighton a threat, it was riskier for Carleton's guards to pinch down to help out in the low post, where usually the Ravens surround the ball on a low post catch. With more time and room to operate off the high/low, Saintil was able to get free to score and keep balls alive on the offensive glass. Santana flashed his tremendous athletic ability, scoring in transition, getting into the lane and wrecking havoc defensively in spurts. Coach Les Berry used Santana properly, substituting for him when it appeared that he was going away from the offensive game plan but without a doubt Santana was one of the keys to the win. Having said all that, Carleton had the Moser Award winner on the line in the second overtime with two shots to tie the game and possibly send it into the third overtime. We'll have more on the Carleton perspective later but again family calls this morning.

One final note: for those wishing to watch the game again, it has been archived and is available for viewing on the Streaming Sports Network web site I had the priviledge to work with Mark Masters helping describe the game and both Mark and I agreed the game would be impossible to forget. Great job by the SSN crew and Mark in making this game available - as always we welcome your feedback on the production, commentating and anything else associated with the web cast.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey! I'd just like to say I enjoyed the webcast. You two know what you're talking about and you had fun with it too. Good work. :)