It was a really, really good game. Close and down to the wire and both teams played well. Some thoughts in bullet form:
– Four Vermont fans made the trip up and they were awesome. They were older than me, but probably much louder. Every time the Heaves scored there were cowbells, and there was even more cowbell during Halifax free throws. They definately love their team (13+ hour drive in the snow!) and they were really friendly. We had a lot of back and forths and they were good natured. Their cowbells defeated our negativity tonight.
– Vermont sent their radio announcer up for the game and you can listen online here. The game itself doesn’t start until about the 28 minute mark. I also saw the Frost Heaves fans with a video camera.
– Halifax played well and were much more consistant than in previous games. No big runs by Vermont. Box score is online here.
– Vermont are very good. Great even. The main thing is that the have incredible depth. Their whole bench got a significant amount of playing time and everyone contributes. They’re also very well coached and Coach Voigt is intense as all hell. I gave him a hard time about it, but I really respect a coach that cares as much as he does. He also has a lot of good players buying into a system which works. I can’t wait to watch another Vermont-Manchester game online.
– The crowd was small. I’d say it was another 800 person night.
– I appreciate the Rainmen’s efforts, but I don’t get what this Ladies Night promotion was… no one knew what it was and everything was the exact same. Give the Weather girls a night off and get some dudes breakdancing, make the 13th man some sort of local heart throb, advertise that it’s ladies night, or something. I also am sort of sick of the 20 minute intro at the begining of the game. Just keep it short. We don’t need every single bench player announced, we don’t need so much video stuff, etc. People just get bored.
– In today’s paper Coach Lewis said that he was hoping Anderson would take more shots and make more risky passes… that was a pretty terrible strategy. He took way too many contested shots, particularly in the fourth quarter. He is a great pass first PG, and we have good scorers at every position (including Silverhorn who can do nothing except score).
– Lewis also let Silverhorn guard Konare all night. It was a bad idea. I was surprised Konare didn’t rip him to shreds, but he did cause havok in Halifax’s defence. While I am complaining about coaching: God, we need more plays. It is driving me nuts. We only have one inbounds play and three halfcourt plays (and we run the same pick and roll every time). I just want something else… anything. We have a lot of scorers on the team, lets give them a chance other than just going down low and hoping the defence collapses or they just let Crookshank dunk.
– Vermont press really, really well. I was shocked that Halifax didn’t turn the ball over more. Vermont don’t just run a single press but have at least three distinct full court presses that they switch up pretty regularly. I can’t imagine having to play against that, it would be hard to read. Fortunately, we have Anderson.
– ABA reffing is really bad. Not really biased… just plain bad.
– Dennie Oliver is by far the best Atlantic Canadian player. He plays much bigger than 6’6 and is a great offensive player. He has great range and is efficient (7-11 shooting). He’s also reasonably good at handling the ball and helped us break the press a few times.
– The Rainmen were down by 4 with 4 seconds left when Konare missed two key free throws, and Crookshank threw a football pass to Anderson who laid it in with 0.3 seconds left. Don’t these guys know the ABA’s rules?! We still could have tied this with a halfcourt shot! It’s worth 4 points! It’s the ABA!
– oh yeah! I almost forgot! During introductions, when Lantrice Green was announced the image and the name on the jumbotron was HARDY RILEY. It was awkward as all hell.
– Chad Lucas’ thoughts on the game are up on his blog on the Herald website. He makes a particularly good observation in this post: this loss was more impressive than either of Halifax’s wins. He came up and introduced himself before the game and we talked about my blog and the Rainmen in general for awhile. He’s definately a good guy and I think we share a whole lot of the same views about the ABA as a league. One thing about the Herald is that the have excellent, excellent beat writers. Lucas is a great basketball reporter; Rick Conrad who was their old education reporter (now doing online stuff and still writing his pet column!) was probably the best reporter I’ve ever met, he was knowledgeable, fair, and did his research; and Stephen Cooke is probably the best music reporter East of Montreal (to be fair, I consider Cooke to be a friend, so I may be biased).
– Newspaper links: Chris Kallan at the Daily news with a game recap (of course some jack ass made a non-funny comment about the ABA in the comments section… shocking). Kallan also interviewed Rainmen owner Andre Levingston for another article. I am always impressed with Levingston and his commitment. I think he was definately committed to losing money in the first year, but that the sketchiness of the ABA did take him by surprise. I think that if anyone has the guts to start up an alternative circuit, it will be him. Lucas’ article in today’s Herald is also online.