Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Wednesday Musings

Since alluding to York's "d" as "porous" on this site a little while ago, it appears that the Lions have looked to address that aspect and if their game against McMaster this past Saturday night as an example was any indication, the Lions may be turning things around on the defensive end. The great York teams in the early/years of this decade were characterized by their ability to throw size at teams inside and out, typically using a long, wide zone "d" with such stalward bigs as 6'10" Jordan Foebel and 6'8" Ryan French inside and the length of 6'6" Dan Eves, 6'5" Branislav Misovic, 6'6" Scott McLeod and 6'5" Chaka Harris, making it equally difficult to score inside or get shots off over top of the wings in the zone. Against Mac, York played a zone almost exclusively, holding Mac to 43% shooting including only 2-5 from downtown. With 6'10" Stefan Haynes and 6'10 Dejan Kravic inside, York has even more size than those strong teams from earlier in the decade. The Lions started out the regular season allowing an average of 94.3 ppg in 3 losses to Guelph, Windsor and Western. Since then however, Lions held Brock to 0-11 shooting from 3 (36%) overall and then 40% for Lakehead and Mac combined, giving up an average of only 75 ppg. The Lions were right there with undefeated Lakehead only to fall as some questionable decision making at the offensive end gave the T-Wolves an opportunity for a fourth-quarter surge and stayed with #3 Mac for virtually the entire game. As York continues to stop teams, expect their potentially high powered offence to start to click and York to climb back into contention for a spot near the top of the OUA East. The Lions travel to Kitchener/Waterloo this weekend to meet Laurier and Waterloo... Speaking of Lakehead, coach Scott Morrison has done a tremendous job focusing his young group, especially after losing all-time leading scorer Kiraan Posey and the recent late-season disappointments vying for playoff spots. In 5'9" Greg Carter, Lakehead has a young floor leader who defends and is gaining confidence as a decision maker offensively. The T-Wolves appear much more committed to the defensive end and have eliminated their prior propensity to play at break neck speed no matter what the numbers in transition dictated. Thanks to Carter and others, Lakehead gets into their sets with much more purpose when transition is not available. Defense, rebounding and taking good shots is a receipe for success, especially late in games, and the results for Lakehead speak for themselves. They have outscored opponents in the fourth quarter of all six league games including Ryerson (26-9 to win by 18), Toronto (23-15 to win by 1), York (28-15 to win 13) and 23-14 to win by 9 at Laurentian. With plenty of depth up front including 6'6" Yoosrie Salhia, 6'4" Andrew Hackner and budding OUA-all-rookie-team freshman forward 6'6" Ryan Thomson (Oakville St. Thomas Aquinas) plus a fine stable of guards to play off Carter including 6'0" Cam Hornby, 6'1" Jamie Searle and 6'2" Joe Jones, Lakehead is ready to push into the Top 10 coaches poll (should have been there this week) and expect the Thunderdome to be rocking this Friday night when #1 Carleton visits... Interesting games in Toronto this weekend as Windsor and Western visit the U of T Blues and Ryerson. 6'7" Boris Bakovic continues to show he is one of Canada's top players (and remind me why I didn't include him in a Top 10 Moser candidates list) with his usual tremendous offensive performances, the latest being a 22 point first half explosion against Brock. The Rams appear to be defending with much more purpose than earlier in the year when they had some big losses, including a pasting at Western in early October. Ryerson gets their chance for redemption this weekend. All 4 games in Toronto should be very competitive.

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