Grizzlies Advance to Semifinals

8 03 2010

March 6, 2010

Last night was a change in shooting scenery (I’d like to remind you that I use this term in relation to video cameras, not guns).  I had the opportunity to film the Montana Grizzlies Big Sky Tournament quarterfinal game against Northern Arizona.

First off, it was such a nice change in athleticism, as it’s much easier to shoot higher levels of basketball because the game is played much more fluid.  The play develops properly and thus it’s easier to follow the action within it.  Secondly, it was a pleasant change to be able to shoot the entirety of a game and not just pieces of it.  It’s easier to tell the story of a game with just a short highlight sequence when you’re able to see the whole game.  Thirdly, it was the largest magnitude of a basketball game I’ve shot as it was collegiate playoff action.  Finally, it was great because for the third time this season we kicked the crap out of NAU, winning 81-60.

The game was well in hand the whole way as Montana took an early double digit lead and never looked back.  Although Anthony Johnson was by-far the most prolific scorer in the game, registering 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting, the team was firing on all cylinders.  Freshman guard Will Cherry was just one board shy of a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds.  Raason Young hit double digits as well, dropping in 11 points after shooting 5-8 from the field.

Editing the highlights for the Griz games is always way more enjoyable.  A) Because there are always way more plays worthy of making the highlight sequence than in high school ball and B) because I get a full minute of highlights to show, making the process less restricting and allowing me to get in nearly every bucket I deem important and/or thrilling.

Following the victory, the Griz will face off against Northern Colorado on Tuesday, March 9th, in a Big Sky Tournament semifinal game.


Unexpected Barn-Burner

18 02 2010

February 17, 2010

It’s normally fitting to expect a 3-seed and a 6-seed to play each other fairly tightly.  However, this was not something I was expecting when I walked into a Districts quarterfinal match between the 2-16 Superior Bobcats and the 13-5 Missoula Valley Christian Eagles in Hamilton, Montana.  I’d explain my reasoning but my argument was well-stated when I mentioned the teams’ records just now.

The game started out exactly as I pictured, as the Eagles jumped out to a quick 22-6 lead.  However, the Bobcats began to scratch and claw the lead away during the second quarter.  The lucky bounces seemed to be blessed upon the Bobcats tonight as they were able to cash in on many second chance points while out-rebounding their opponent 43-24.  In fact, Superior was able to pull within 6 points at 25-19 before vacating the court for halftime.

The second half of action, and particularly the final quarter, was as close as any basketball fan can hope for.  Nearly every basket down the stretch caused a tie or lead change.  Every possession become more and more precious and every second gone made the mood more and more tense.

In the final climactic moments of the matchup, Superior in-bounded with just 20 seconds to go, down by two points.  Eric Steinebach, who had just hit a pivotal three moments earlier to give Superior a lead, threw up an awkward jumper that didn’t fall.  Teammate Ryan Bowers, who finished the game with 16 rebounds, grabbed the offensive board and converted the layup to tie the game up at 47 with just 12 seconds to go.

However just one quick breath later, Valley Christian’s Andrew Schmautz gets fouled while receiving the inbounds pass… taking him to the charity stripe for two attempts.  With ice in his veins, Schmautz drilled both his shots to put the Eagles on top 49-47.  The Bobcats were unable to even get a desperation shot off, turning the ball over out of bounds as they raced down the court.

A Bobcats squad that had suffered such an unimpressive season had been just one play away from making a very impressive upset… however at the end of the night the final score had to label a gutsy and heart-broken Superior team as the contest’s inferior team, as is the only duty a scoreboard knows.   The Bobcats can surely expect greener pastures in future seasons as they move forward.

As for Valley Christian, they are still puffing sighs of relief over their near-loss on the court today.  Short-term memory is a must for the Eagles however, as they will face an extremely talented 17-1 Florence Falcons squad in tomorrow night’s semifinal.