Halifax lose to Quebec, 120-102

Only 1561 people came out to see the Rainmen play their worst home game of the season. The terrible weather probably kept some people away, and its a shame because the organization did a lot of work to try to get people out. Livingston must feel really disheartened at the moment; when he does things as well as could be expected something comes in and messes things up. It’s a real shame. His challenge to sell out the venue obvious didn’t work.

The game itself was really, really ugly. My partner, Caitlin, was in the car with me after the game and she posed a good question: why don’t the Rainmen play defense before the fourth quarter? It happens all the time – they turn on the defensive grit for 10 minutes in the 4th. Why aren’t they doing this all game long? They seem to constantly lose focus and concentration and players walk in for uncontested layups, dunks and jumpshots. Lewis should really ratchet up the intensity of their D. If they were constantly pressuring, looking to trap and communicating there’d be less of these breakdowns.

I think most teams have realized that one play consistantly works to break down the Rainmen’s defense: just isolate a guy on one side, and right before he makes his move to the basket have two guys in the key clear out to the opposite side. Inevitably the Rainmen defenders follow their man out of the key while staring directly at him. The isolated guy can drive to the basket and score before the Rainmen even know the shot went up. It happens every game.

Another defensive problem: Why on earth was Silverhorn guarding Fortier for long stretches tonight? Silverhorn is an excellent scorer if he gets decent looks, but he lacks the footspeed to guard the opposition’s best scorer. Having him chase around a scored on D also wastes the energy he needs to try to get open on offense. Fortier was also a bit of a defensive liability when he was matched up against Crookshank, but the Rainmen only went inside to Crookshank once when they saw that match up and he scored and got fouled.

Halifax busted out a 2-3 zone which worked okay. I think that trying to fix the defensive problems by using new zones is putting a bandaid on gunshot wound. They need to change the defensive mentality and strategy, not just find new ways to try to force people to the corners without a plan of what to do when they get there.

Crookshank had a massive game tonight: 33 points, 20 boards, 8 assists. Almost a triple double and lead the team in all three categories. Fortier had a monster game as well but I haven’t been able to find his stats yet. Halifax consistantly has other teams’ star players put up insane, insane numbers. As much as all the talk of needing a slasher has been true, I think the more pressing issue is a lockdown defender who can stop the best player on other teams. Oh well, maybe next year.

I don’t think that Halifax lacks a slasher, I just think that players are unwilling to take it to the net, and there aren’t plays which assist in doing so. The only guy who consistantly takes it to the rim is Blandon Ferguson. Green in particular needs to stop settling for jump shots and start using his quickness to get to the net. But getting the ball to the hoop doesn’t just consist of having a guard try to beat someone off the dribble, Lewis needs to draw up some plays where people cut without the ball and a pass is tossed to them. Some sort of motion offense would definately help this, and Crookshank is an extremely gifted passer in the post.

Three major things make this game disapointing on the court:

  1. Halifax blew a 7-0 lead and never seemed to be in control after that.
  2. Quebec only brought 8 players and still absolutely handled Halifax.
  3. Wiggington Downey got in for about a minute and a half and literally 3 seconds after getting onto the court he threw a bad pass which was picked off for an easy score. What a way to celebrate a birthday. His development was seriously botched this year. You don’t learn anything by getting garbage time minutes in blow outs. (oddly enough, the boxscore does not show his turn over.)

Still no Booyer. Jimmy was okay but turned the ball over too much. I think he’ll be fine – Green was similarly eratic when he first arrived but got better as he got used to playing with guys. Jon Clark did what he needed to do in limited minutes.

It was just an ugly game.

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10 thoughts on “Halifax lose to Quebec, 120-102

  1. I have too much to go on about right now. I am very dissapointed by the turnout, the organization deserves so much better. They have really got the word out lately. Why does Lewis let Ferguson jack up so many threes? He is a terrible jump shooter and a deadly slasher, one of our “needs”. Our offense is so stagnant, shooters jacking up contested threes, Crookshank getting the ball in the post with two defenders already on him. There is no player or ball movement, especially without Anderson. No mismatches, we don’t force any switches. It is just so frustrating.

  2. Does anyone else think that it is ridiculous that we were 12-29 from free throw line? how can we win games if we consistantly shoot about 40-45% from the line?

  3. If we made even a reasonable percentage from the linbe we would have been either ahead or within striking range the whole game. It’s frustrating. And our offence is really terrible without Anderson.

  4. Lucas called us out for bringing a varsity player to the game. Which in outr defence we brought becasue we thought they were bringing one and we needed a match up. we fun for him to dunk anyway

  5. Re: percentage from the line. Eric had the majority of the foul shots and his percentage is the worst on the team, at 0.381. He didn’t even do that well in this game, sinking only 5 of 14 (0.357).

    I was surprised to actually hear Coach Lewis remind Eric to shoot off his fingertips. I thought that it would be unnecessary to remind him of this technique, considering Eric’s experience and obvious talent on the court, but unfortunately he needs help. The angled spin that Eric puts on the ball is the ugliest free throw move I have ever seen, along with the almost non-existant arc that sometimes happens. I wish Eric would stop doing that. Quite often the sideways spin makes the ball rim out, when a straight backwards spin would cause it to go downward through the net. These are just observations from a non-professional. I have a lot of respect for Eric as a player and a person.

    Re: Defence. Watching your opponent go uncontested for lay-ups time after time is ridiculous. Not getting rebounds (Except for Eric, who had a good game except for the FT%) is crazy. I see that the main difference between us being 8-16 instead of 16-8 is the lack of rebounding, both offensively and defensively. We can go-head-to-head with any team in this league, even the mighty Frost Heaves, but for some reason, Coach Lewis has drilled into the Rainmen’s heads that all 5 players MUST be in defensive positions as soon as possible, regardless of the potential for boards.

    Why not leave one guy under the net, or 2, if the opposition has strong defenders, to get that !#%$@ ball? With the exception of Eric’s performance, our offensive boards are almost extinct. As others have said on this blog, we need more than one guy to consistently take it to the hoop and stay with it until that ball goes in. Defensively, we aren’t too bad on some nights in keeping the opponents from scoring for the first few tries, but then the opposition draws our guys clear of the net, making that move that Chris referred to in his post , which leaves one guy open, who goes in uncontested. That happened way too many times in this game.

    I am going to say it again, for like the fourth time: How about having someone in under the net to pick up the errant 3-point shots? If we had great shooters who consistently drain it, then fine, let it go and get ready on D, but our guys seem to have good nights and bad nights. I think it is imperative that the coaching staff actually coach each game as it unfolds and make changes as necessary. I know that seems to fly in the face of what is currently happening, but give it a try! Please!

    I cannot believe that this lack of rebounding has not been observed by the owner Mr. Levingston, the coaching staff, or the players. Why do they let this keep happening? Guess what: if we score more points because of rebounds, we don’t have to concentrate so much on having so many defenders in place, waiting for the opponents.

    OK. Time to take my soapbox and go home. Good luck to the Rainmen in Boston and Vermont. We’ll see you next week.

  6. Phil: I agree and disagree with you on this. I think that there is a severe lack of offennsive rebounding, but I think you have the reason for it wrong.

    Halifax’s players don’t all rush back to their side – they actually freeze in place whereever they are and watch the shot go up. This is why Halifax has a dreadful, dreadful transition offense. Just look at how many 3-2s other teams get on the Rainmen.

    The issue with offensive rebounding is that:
    a) Players don’t move when a shot goes up. They neither crash for rebounds, nor do they run back to defend – they just stop dead.

    b) This is made worse by the fact that Halifax takes a lot of early shots off of the first pass. This means that the defense has not been forced to rotate so everyone is manned up against their proper assignment and they’re between their player and the hoop, ready to box out. Since there are no screens or cuts there have been no switch offs. The early shot also means that our good offensive rebounders (Richard and Crookshank) are often not set up downlow because the contested 3/long 2 goes up with one pass and 16 seconds left on the shot clock.

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