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By: Tuesday and Friday
Steve Lane, the driver of the Cinderella carriage, said: “I’m proud of my team. They did everything they needed to. They went up against the Pinkerton pressure. They handled it and attacked it superbly….. Then Geo Baker happened. He’s a heck of a player.”
There’s your quote for the game: “Then Geo Baker happened.” Geordano Baker-Occeus (Last time I’ll call him by his full name) scored 30 points, had 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. This included an 8 – 14 performance from 3 Land. Yes, he had 30 points, not 33. Any box score you see with him having 33 points is wrong. A made 3 in the deep corner by Drew Green was credited to Baker by the Lundholm scorer. I gave thought to having my headline for this game say:
Drew Green scores 3 points to lead Pinkerton past North 63 to 58
This would’ve accomplished 2 things: 1) I would’ve had Drew Green’s back. 2) This would’ve been out of respect to Chris Shuker and Tommy Ameen who were ready to storm the official’s scorer table to alert them of this egregious mistake (Insert smiley face).
All righty then back to the game. So, Pinkerton has 3100 students and NONE, ZERO AND NADA of them were there for tip-off of this game. I think this is what would be known as the 101 Exit 7/125 bottleneck. I’m sure this claimed the whole Astro student body driving to the game. It was a stark contrast to see a healthy Titan student body at tip-off, but nary an Astro student body representative there.
Pinkerton took control in the first period by shooting comfortably, including 8 Geo points and shooting to a 17 to 8 lead. It was if the cavernous Hackler Gym on the Pinkerton campus prepared them for the cavernous Lundholm Gym on the UNH campus. With about 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter and Pinkerton in control with a 23 to 16 lead a spine tingling turnabout occurred. North went on an exhilarating 18 – 0 run to close out the half. Pinkerton turned the ball over, missed shots and generally looked dazed and confused as North seized control.
Sophomore Ronnie Silva shot 4 – 4 from 3 Land to lead North during this frenzied 18 – 0 run, including a buzzer beating 3 to give North the 11 point halftime lead. North was jumping up and down with adrenaline pumping momentum while the Astros walked off the court with their heads down being told they were in last place in the dance competition of the Lundholm Ball. North was 9 – 9 from the field in the 2nd quarter. Fans were buzzing at halftime after the North run. It seemed the glass slipper was becoming a really comfortable fit and might not be in danger of falling off the Titan foot this evening.
Pinkerton still reeling from the end of the 1st half North onslaught missed their first 2 shots and David “Always in foul trouble” Faulks picked up his 3rd foul. At 6;16 Nathan Hale slams down a resounding dunk and the Titans take their largest lead of the game at 36 to 23. At this point Pinkerton went to the 3 ball to get back in the game. They netted 6 of them, including 3 by Geo, 2 by Morris and 1 in the deep corner by Drew 'T & F has your back' Green. Your welcome Chris Shuker. Down 46 to 43 with 15 seconds left in the 3rd Pinkerton receives a steal and ensuing dunk by Geo, a Titan turnover and a 3 at the buzzer by Morris to take a 48 to 46 lead heading into the 4th.
There was great back and forth basketball to start the 4th. This action was highlighted by an alley-oop from Geo for a thunder slam by David 'Always in foul trouble' Faulks at the 6:49 mark to give Pinkerton a 50 to 48 lead. Over the next 4 minutes became more meticulous with their possessions and were probably growing weary of the big moment. With 2:53 left sharp shooting Brennan Morris canned a deep 3 to give Pinkerton a 56 to 53 lead. It was a lead Pinkerton wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the well-played game. 2 Faulks FTs gave the Astros some much needed scoring margin breathing room at 58 to 53 with 2:18 left.
North tried in vain to mount a comeback and came within got it to 58 to 56 when David “Always in foul trouble” Faulks fouled out (What a shock) with 1:44 left. Geordano Baker-Occeus, just had to do the full name 1 more time, scored the last 5 Pinkerton points on 3 FTs and a layup to send Pinkerton into the title game.
Pinkerton looks very good in this playoff season. They have a very pliable lineup which is tough to matchup with. They can go big with Faulks, Romick and the Olson Bros and pound you in the paint. They can go with a shooting lineup with Morris, Rizzo and Geo and hurt you from 3 point territory. Pinkerton was 14 – 31 for 45% from 3 Land in this game. They can go quick and defensive or hold the ball and let you foul with Green, Geo and Rizzo taking care of the ball and knocking down the icing on the cake FTs in the last couple of minutes when they have a lead. I have a hunch the Astros are very much looking forward to their rematch with undefeated Londonderry in the Title game.
North had a great playoff run. They were much better than a 15th seed. They upset the defending champ Central at their place and then went on the road to beat a tough Trinity club. North wore the slipper rather well this playoff season. The Titans have a good crew coming back next season led by Hale, Rodriguez and Silva. Their JV and Frosh teams went a combined 8 – 0 in their respective playoff tournaments and captured their tournament crowns. There is no doubt North will be competing hard to be in the Top 4 of D1 next season.
The stage is now set for a great showdown for the title this Saturday between the Astros and the Lancers tipping off at 3:00 pm. It would be nice of the Pinkerton student body, all 3100 of them, to get the memo and avoid the 125 Epping Bottleneck.