Friday, December 12, 2008

A Plate Full of Sports

Man was there a lot to digest last night. The Flyers, the Holy War, a football game and more basketball than you can imagine. It was tough trying to keep up with everything.

I began the night watching the Flyers play Carolina for the 700th time this season. Seriously, why the hell have they played Carolina so damn much already? Doesn't make sense. Anyway, I saw the Flyers give up a goal almost immediately, and the only other thing that really happened in the first period was this.

The second period began much like the first, with the Hurricanes scoring just minutes in, so I focused my attention on the St. Joe's-Nova game at the Pavilion. Man, did St. Joe's come out fired up. With just 250 students in attendance, as we were reminded quite often by Steven Lavin, the Hawks came storming out of the gates.

Ahmad Nivins was playing like a man possessed, and I gotta say, he was quite impressive. He was dominating on both ends of the floor, scoring and setting up teammates with ease, and erasing shots with some incredible blocks.

The Hawks jumped out to an early lead and went into the half up 9. The folks at the Pavilion had no idea what just hit them.

Meanwhile, over in Flyerland, I happened to switch over just as Jeff Carter fired a shot near the blue line toward the net that Scott Hartnell deflected beautifully past Canes goalie Michael Leighton on the power play. But 11 seconds later, the Flyers gave up an ugly 2-on-1 and the Canes capitalized, going back up by 2. That was it for me. The St. Joe's-Nova game it was the rest of the way.

I have to say, I wasn't disappointed watching that game either. Out of the half, Nova began to creep back in it, and you could sense this was going to be one of those classic Big 5 matchups. The Wildcats came back, and the Pavilion crowd started going wild. Now the game was on the see-saw.

St. Joe's went away from Nivins, but Darrin Govens found his stroke from three, providing a punch-counter punch exchange in the second half.

I did flip over to the Flyers to see how they were doing, and the score was 5-2 Hurricanes in the third. Yikes. Glad I missed all that. But then, for some reason or another, I decided to flip back during a break in the action of the Holy War, and the fucking game was tied, 5-5! What the fuck just happened? Turns out, this guy went off:

While I was banishing the Flyers from my television and focusing on college basketball, Hartnell scored twice more in the third, one shorthanded, the other even strength, to make it 5-3. Then Scottie Upshall made it a one-goal game with less than 5 minutes left, and Simon Gagne continued his fabulous season, tying the game with 1:44 to go.

Naturally, I fired up the split-screen and watched the overtime intently with the Nova-Hawks game getting second billing. The Flyers played to a stalemate with Carolina, meaning the dreaded shootout was upon us. We all know how that works out for the Flyers.

Meanwhile, Scottie Reynolds, who I somewhat admonished the other day, was taking over. He put the Wildcats on his back, bringing them back in the lead of a tight game. It was exactly what a player like Reynolds is supposed to do in a rivalry game in front of his home fans.

Before the game was in its waning moments, however, the Flyers were set to shoot it out. Right off the gate, Simon Gagne made a gorgeous moved, deked Leighton and put the Flyers on the board.

Antero Niittymaki came up with a big save, meaning the captain could put a lot of pressure on the Canes with a goal. Well, Mike Richards did not disappoint, roofing a backhander to make it 2-0.

Former Flyer and fan-favorite Rod Brind'Amour needed to score to keep this charade going, but Niitty said no. Somehow, after trailing 5-1, the Flyers came back to win, gain two points and sit just 4 points behind the Rangers.

Whew! That was fun for once. And as a bonus, we get the end of the Nova-St. Joe's game. And that was pretty freakin great too. Scottie just took the Wildcats on his back, his some big shots, made some big drives and hit his free throws to ice the win. Well, actually, the steal by Dante Cunningham on a curious inbound play iced the game, along with his free throws, but it was Scottie who did the heavy lifting. Great games all around.

Those games were so exciting I didn't even get to see the Saints-Bears game, even after the two games I was watching were over. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked. ESPN played the high school game between powerhouses Duncanville (TX) and Lincoln (NY), which meant Lance Stephenson on the TV.

For those of you who don't know who Lance Stephenson is, he is one of the best ballers in the nation and has been playing with the best of the best since he was real young. In fact, he was one of the players highlighted in "Gunnin for that #1 Spot" at just 15.

Here's what i had to say about him after watching the film:

Lance Stephenson is the Known Commodity at Rucker Park. A New York kid, Stephenson has been labeled a phenom since he was 12 years old. The film does an outstanding job capturing the neighborhood pulling for him, and the kid is sick. At only 15, he shows no fear going against the older high school kids, and he will be the most coveted high school senior in the class of '09.

Last night, he showed exactly why he's been heralded since such a young age. On the court, he was a man among boys, dominating inside, outside and setting up teammates. He had a thunderous dunk and was hands down the best player on the floor.

The problem is, Stephenson was going up against a team with four D-I recruits, and Duncanville handled the game. Shawn Williams and Roger Franklin were tremendous for Duncanville in a game was fun to watch. I can't wait to see these guys on the next stage, especially Stephenson.

All in all, a good night of sports for sure.

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