Rainmen Lose to Manchester, 105-118

The Rainmen lost a heartbreaker after playing a fantastic first half.  They jumped out to a ten point lead in the first thanks to some excellent ball movement and very good defense, but Manchester stormed back with huge third quarter and Halifax simply weren’t able to get the stops they needed.

The Millrats were undermanned and way undersized (they brought just eight players, but two ended up injured and played the whole game with three guards on the floor) but shot better then I think I’ve seen a team shoot from beyond the arc (63%!).  They also came out after the half and made some adjustments (a trapping defense to take advantage of Halifax’s laziness in bringing the ball up the floor) and figured out Halifax’s offensive sets.  Halifax look much better on offense than they did under Lewis, but the problem is that they only really know the first option on most of their offensive sets which means that once people figure out the first option Halifax have nowhere to go since they don’t know what plan B and C are.  To make matters worse, Halifax were unable to break Manchester’s very simple 2-3 zone, or use their size advantage in the post.

On defense Halifax were sloppy in transition and in the half court were slow to rotate, the end result was a lot of uncontested, or barely contested, three point attempts and Manchester were shooting the lights out. Manchester’s shooting was certainly helped by Halifax’s insistence on going under high screens and just allowing Manchester to shoot off the dribble.

Individually I thought Crookshanks played well except for one thing which he has done consistently since coming to Halifax:  He insists on dribbling the ball up the court in transition and turning the ball over.  Just give it to a guard!!!!!!!!!!!  I have no problem with him passing from the high post, but he should handle the ball in the full court.  That’s why we have guards.  It was infuriating as he played great defense and caused a number of turnovers/battled for tough rebounds only to toss the ball away.

Bennett played well and I thought he was going to light up in the fourth quarter and lead the charge back… but he couldn’t quite get it going.  He did miss a breakaway dunk off a steal that then resulted in a Manchester three pointer.  That dunk would have cut the lead to 3 but instead ended up in an 8 point Manchster lead, and Halifax never got any closer.  It was bad.

Millien had his best game as Rainman, scoring 19 points including two three point attempts.

Silverhorn was hurt and didn’t dress.  Zach Ramey warmed up but didn’t play.

It’s officially the end of Halifax’s slim play off hopes.  I guess I’ll have more thoughts on that another time.

The pre-game brunch for season ticket holders was really nice.  It was a good, professional spread and Andre and Jad greeted everyone at the door.  Twyman and Eric showed up to thank everyone for coming and there was a whole lot of very good food.  Certainly a meal of a monetary value which greatly exceeds the cost of a student ticket.

We rode Rob Spon, the Manchester coach, pretty tough all game and once it was clear that they had the game in the bag he was not shy about giving it back to us.  There are two types of coaches/players who do that:  the kind that are just angry about it (think Randy Gill) and the kind who see it as funny and are good spirited about it:  Coach Spon and Millrats GM  Ian McCarthy fall into the second category.  They’re both good guys who had a sense of humour about the belligerent Halifax fans, and I wish the Millrats the best of luck in the play offs.

Attendance was 3,743 which is the third highest of the season.  It’s also the highest ever total for a game that wasn’t either the season opener or promotional night (i.e. no kids night/BOGO night).  The Rainmen have averaged 2,812 fans per game this season with a total of 26,237 people coming out over the course of nine games.  The organization can crack the 30,000 tickets sold mark by getting 1,882 people per game for the last two games.  I would certainly call this a successful year 2 at the gate, and I would be shocked if the Rainmen didn’t make the jump into the 3,500 range next year.

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11 thoughts on “Rainmen Lose to Manchester, 105-118

  1. Some great highlights in this game, and Halifax was tearing it up on fast break points. It was good to see Millien stepping up, and Bennet did his thing. The Rainmen also owned the offensive boards -making for some exciting tips and second shots.

    Biggest concern for Halifax in this game was playing set defence, especially down low – the ball pressure seems good, and produced some nice steals, but there were quite a few layups and short jumpers along the baseline.

    This will likely be the last game for me this season — and I have to say I was pleased with the play and thoroughly enjoyed another season of Rainmen Basketball. I think Halifax is ready to really support this team.. just keep up the heart and the heat! Go Rainmen!

    How about a year-end blog for people to list their top 5 suggestions for the 2010 season? I have a few in mind.

  2. I think the day after the final game will be interesting.

    It’s hard to talk about who won’t be/shouldn’t be back until the jerseys are hung up for the season.

    This team needs an overhaul that’s for sure.

  3. TR, I think you can’t read too much into last Thursday’s game since we played two non-Millrats and three bench players most of the game. I think you’ll see a real battle next Thursday in NH.

    Let me first say that Halifax is a first-class organization and you guys are lucky to have had Andre Levingston to bring pro hoops back to the city. The fan support is great to see as well and if he figures out how to pick a more balanced team next year I think 6000 a night will be the norm. We always enjoy coming out here.

    Most of the players, staff & Andre himself wished us well in the playoffs and asked us to represent the Atlantic Division well which is exactly what we are planning to do. We will see you guys again next year!

  4. Agreed Ian. Good luck Millrats.

    This team made a lot of strides this year. Hopefully they can build on the strong attendance and better record next year.

  5. Wow, that was a game. Spon, I am sleeping on your floor! Anyway, the long shot dream fell apart with a miserable second half. The game was exemplified by the bennett missed dunk, but really we should have been up by 16-20 at halftime. We missed so many putbacks, alleys, dunks etc that we didn’t deserve to win. Manchester didn’t seem to be moving that well off the ball, but they displayed a clinic on how to properly use the high screen.

    At least the Rainmen got to the boards in the first half, especially after an amazing first four minutes that included a clinic by George and Currie from Manchester. Finally we got Strick off of him and he slowed down for a little bit. Our four PFs rocked in the second quarter, moving the ball relatively well and getting lots of easy looks inside. Strick shooting 2-2 at the stripe to start was just amazing. We looked focussed. We got inside and I felt we were bullying them in the paint, but not finishing all the chances. Lots of inside points for EC (who I agree had a good game) and AJ. I liked the lineup from the perspective of the athleticism on the court and crashing boards.

    A few things stuck in my craw after half.
    1) Guys running up the court when we didn’t secure the rebounds
    2) Guys whoopping like they won the game and then Manchester shooting the 3 past us.. embarrassing
    3) Having to call a TO when we had no help for jimmy bringing up the ball.
    4) Trying ridiculous entry passes against a zone that was giving us open looks on the permiter and even allowing us to get inside
    5) Consecutive picks off Jimmy passes to Strick and EC where he blatantly telegraphed the pass, that was bad.

    Anyway, it was fun from the dunking, blocking perspective. Manchester shooting 15-24 from 3 was ridiculous, what games by Currie and Mitchell and at least we got our FT percentage to 64%. Anyway, a good game to watch if not heartbreaking because we could have put them to bed in the first half, closure of games v Manchester and Vermont have cost us this year but it has been FUN.

    Great work by the team with the event beforehand, I was expecting much less and was pumped by the care they put into the event.

    Sorry if we scared the kids in the front row, I am still pushing for a kid free section in 23, although with no chris next year, it may not be as bad (lol).

    Here’s to looking forward to big minutes for Ramey, Mcneal and Millien next week..

  6. Its hard for me to imagine that the Millrats came to Barre last Thursday without the intention of winning. But what do I know?

  7. Was going through the Herald’s sports scores. They have the Rochester-Buffalo game reversed. Rochester beat Buffalo 156-111, not the other way around; Buffalo is 1-17, not 2-16. I am glad I was sitting down when I read it in the Herald. I sure hope this isn’t a forerunner of the results of cutbacks at the paper.

    Reading Fin’s blog entry, I think he is gunning to help write Section 23 during Chris’ absence next year. Good commentary, bro!

  8. It’s too bad they lost – I think attendance would have been better next weekend however if they had won.

    Very different to read the different reporter in the Chronicle today. I think Lucas was familiar with the game, team, organization, and what it meant to Halifax other than the rest of them.

    Really pleased with the play of Millien – first time he seemed to log good minutes on the floor since heading to Halifax. Interesting that he was a point leader when he gets the minutes. George was a nice surprise as well – disappointed Bennet missed that dunk. Was shocked Strick made those first two foul shots – I think he was too.

    It was interesting to see the break down in the third – I don’t think it was over confidence for the win – I think they lost their grove playing together. It’s hard to play on a team where the players are constantly changing. I noticed Anderson (? – new #7) was WIDE open a few times at the three point line and no one passed two him. Was this the result of not having trust in your team mate?

    On a seperate note, it is good to hear they are having season ticket holder events, it is making me consider buying them next year, rather than just game day. I wasn’t going to because they didn’t seem to be a great value, and tickets seemed to be going on sale all the time so I didn’t want to – but if I didn’t read this blog I don’t think I would know about a lot of that stuff. As well, it’s interesting to see what they do for their volunteers. It seems to be the same people working the games all the time and some of them have VOLUNTEER written on their shirts – it’d be nice to think they do something for them as well. I think that they probably get tickets, but let’s face it, they probably deserve more than tickets since they end up working the games and don’t get to enjoy them. It’s nice to see you support your season ticket holders, but a lot of these events and things wouldn’t take place without the volunteers. I hope they do stuff for them too.

  9. thanks Phil, the reality blog of who replaces Chris is on.. I am actually in favour of by committee.. with chris’s flair watching the online version and building consensus.. who am I kidding.. Chris must watch every game online and comment.. or else!

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