• Troy Sparks

    by Published on 01-27-2013 10:54 PM     Number of Views: 2642 

    MILWAUKEE - What could Golden State Warriors forward and Milwaukee native Carl Landry possibly do to make some of the BMO Harris Bradley Center fans turn against him in his return to town while he was at the free-throw line?

    You never heard of Landry being in trouble with the law. He is as humble of a human being as you can find. No, he didn't play college ball in Wisconsin, but he's one of our native sons who managed to carve out a six-year NBA career from nothing as a second round pick in 2007.

    Landry played on a high school championship team at Milwaukee Vincent as a reserve player, was a junior college All-American and an NJCAA Hall of Famer in 2012, had a good two years at Purdue and still we didn't know why he was booed throughout the Warriors game against the Bucks Saturday.

    The Warriors are benefitting from Landry's production, and coach Mark Jackson knows what he's getting out of the 6-foot-9 player who entered the game averaging 12 points a game. He scored 13 in the Warriors' 109-102 loss. Landry will be content in starting or coming off the bench. Either way, he wants to help the team win and reach the playoffs.

    Even Landry couldn't understand why he was stood up in Brewtown. "I didn't hear (the boos) at all," he said. "That's just respect. It must mean that you're doing something right. Everybody need haters."

    It was great for Landry to see his family and play well in the team's only visit here. "Anytime you get a chance to come back home, you play in front of your friends and family, that's always fun. A lot of guys (enjoy that). I'm from the midwest. I have friends and family that came to the game as well.

    "It's always fun to play here. This was the gym that I grew up watching. I never had an opportunity to play here until I got to the league. I always watched it on TV or the nosebleed, Section 499. It's always fun."

    If the Bucks traded for Landry, it would be a distraction from friends and family and demands for more tickets or other things would take away his preparation for what he needs to do to get ready for a game. It's probably good that he plays for a team other than the Bucks.
    by Published on 01-27-2013 09:56 PM

    MILWAUKEE - Brandon Jennings took one shot in the first half of the Milwaukee Bucks' game Saturday night against Golden ...
    by Published on 01-18-2013 10:49 PM     Number of Views: 2793 

    WAUWATOSA - To prove that visiting Sussex Hamilton was for real in repeating as Greater Metro Conference champs, they passed their first real test of the conference season in an overtime thriller, 39-36, Jan. 18, at Divine Savior Holy Angels.

    The game featured the area's eighth and ninth scorers in DSHA sophomore sensation Arike Ogunbowale and junior Mackenzie Latt. Ogunbowale entered the game averaging 21 points per game through 11 games and Latt checked in at 20.5 through 13 games. Both players were under their averages as Ogunbowale finished with 20 in the game and Latt had 13.

    Any motivation that the Chargers (13-1 overall, 7-0 conference) can draw to overcome the hostile DSHA crowd and a packed house was evident from the loss of one of their senior leading rebounders in Jenny Shernell, who's out for the season with an ACL injury.

    "It's got to be a team effort," Hamilton coach Dan Carey said. "Everybody's got to chip in. Jenny was one of the heart and soul players, a very productive rebounder and a really good senior leader and a rock. I feel for her as a person first and the basketball side is secondary to me."

    The first quarter went the Chargers' way as they led 7-4. However, with Ogunbowale leading the way and getting hot in the second quarter with her 15 first half points, the Dashers attacked the basket, got into a rhythm and scored 18 points in the second to take a 22-14 lead into the locker room. Latt led her team with nine first half points.

    It was still a tight game in the third quarter. Hamilton had to play without Latt late in the third when she picked up her third foul with 3 minutes 20 seconds left. The Chargers didn't panic. A basket by senior forward Tristen Hayes, who stepped in for Shernell, gave them the lead at 28-27. Ogunbowale's 3-point play put the Dashers back on top at 30-28.

    "It was the first start of (Hayes') career," Carey said. "Tristen is working very hard to be in this position when her number is called. She just steps in and does her job. And that's a great lesson for anybody that might not get any playing time is to keep playing and keep trying to get better. Unfortunately, with (Shernell's) injury, the opportunity came and she's taking advantage of it."

    In the fourth quarter, DSHA (11-2, 5-1) held a 34-30 lead with 3:42 left in regulation. Hamilton caught up when the game was tied at 36-36 with 46 seconds remaining and the Dashers with the ball. Ogunbowale, on an isolation play, ran the clock down but couldn't get off a good shot. The game went into overtime with the score still tied at 36-all.

    "We have to stick together and we have to play together," junior guard Hannah Menzia said. "That's how we got those (second half) runs."

    In overtime, Hayes made 1 of 2 free-throws for a 37-36 Hamilton lead and freshman guard Taylor Klug made the final basket on a layup from an out of bounds play. "To run the out of bounds play," said Carey, "all five of them have to be doing their jobs for it to be right and that's what they did."

    Just when the game appeared to be over for good, senior Shaylan Reardon was fouled with 0.5 seconds in overtime. She made the first free-throw, but when she missed the second one. Menzia grabbed the rebound to seal the deal.

    Hamilton has a 1 1/2 game lead on DSHA with surging Brookfield Central right behind. After the weekend, don't be surprised if Hamilton is the area's top team and DSHA falls a few notches below. The Dashers were this week's top area team and the Chargers were No. 3. The rematch is Feb. 21 at Hamilton in the last regular season game and it may decide the conference championship again, which Hamilton won last year.
    by Published on 01-11-2013 11:58 PM     Number of Views: 1108 

    By Troy Sparks

    You can't blame ex-Bucks coach Scott Skiles for the team's continuing roller coaster ride. Skiles was let go early in the week and replaced with assistant Jim Boylan. And the team breathed a sigh of relief and even won back-to-back games at home against Phoenix and at Chicago.

    With those two wins at their peak came the valley, Jan. 11, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center against the visiting Detroit Pistons. This was the same team that beat the Bucks at home not too long ago. They have a losing record and really had no business stealing a win on the road and taking the home crowd out of their comfort zone in the second half. So what happened to the Bucks after intermission when they had a 49-41 lead?

    "It was our third game in four nights," Boylan said. "It seemed like our legs got a little heavy in the third quarter, and it was pretty evident that we missed a lot of open good looks that we had throughout the game."

    Boylan counted at least 10 open shots in the first quarter that the team missed, which allowed the Pistons to hang around and take a 25-20 first quarter advantage. The starting lineup that Boylan trotted out there to start the game couldn't find the side of the barn at times.

    Milwaukee shot 40 percent from the field. The starting lineup of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings shot a combined 18-for-49 in the game. Ilyasova was 4-for-14 and was the main guy who couldn't hit the side of the barn. He had some open looks at the basket.

    "For us, like a lot of teams, when you struggling offensively, it can bleed into other areas of your game, and it looks like that's what happened tonight," Boylan said.

    Boylan pointed out that the Pistons have something that's missing from his own team. They have a couple of wide, rugged bodies in Greg Monroe, who scorched them for 26 points, and Jason Maxiell. The Bucks have length but not enough brute strength.

    So maybe it's time to make some deals before the trade deadline to get some muscle on the court. If that's what it takes for the team to make that push for the playoffs, then go for it. Otherwise, the Bucks will continue to be like the little guy who keeps getting pushed in the sand by the muscleman. They have to match physical strength with physical strength.

    Shots were missed in the second half by the Bucks, and their matador defense gave Detroit an 83-62 lead about two minutes into the fourth quarter. Getting away from what they did to win two straight doomed them in.

    "We started dribbling too much," Boylan said. "And everybody wanted to make a play. Good intentions, not necessarily the way that we play and the way we're successful. I think a little bit of fatigue creeps in and decision making becomes blurry.

    "We talked about it in time outs, to get a little more ball movement. For a couple of possessions we would and then we just kind of revert back to everybody trying to do their own thing a little bit."

    That, my friends, sounds like a team that's out of disarray and going through the motions without a main leader as a bench coach. Boylan as interim coach is like a long-term substitute teacher who's there to plug the leaks for the time being.

    Some of the bench players actually got some floor time, like Samuel Dalembert and Drew Gooden, who were in Skiles' doghouse and lost in the shuffle. They played the entire fourth quarter. Boylan said both were a little rusty from sitting on the cushy chairs too much, but they broke a sweat to score a combined 14 points when the 103-87 Detroit win was already decided.

    After a trip north of the border to Toronto, the Bucks head west to Los Angeles, Phoenix and Portland. "We have to find a way to win some games on the road," Boylan said. "Toronto is playing very well right now, so a tough game out of the gate. The Lakers are the Lakers. Phoenix, we haven't won (there) since FDR was in office (actually the last 23 or 24 years). I think we have our hands full all the way through.

    "And then we go up to Portland. Terry Stotts, Terry's team is playing well too. They just beat the Heat (recently). It's not an easy trip, but we'll see what we can get done." Good luck with that trip.
    by Published on 01-08-2013 10:08 PM     Number of Views: 2986 

    It wasn't your typical Milwaukee King-Milwaukee Vincent boys basketball game at Vincent, Jan. 8. The star presence from both teams was missing, unless you include Marquette signee Deonte Burton from Vincent and Austin Malone-Mitchell from King. There were multiple stars from the teams in the past with Div. I scholarships already in their back pockets.

    Both teams entered their contest with a 2-0 record in the City Conference. It's a shame that they only meet once a year. The Vikings took this year's rivalry with a 69-60 win.

    What was billed as a showdown became a one-sided advantage for Vincent. It took all the might they had to hold off the Generals, who didn't have a starter over 6-foot-2. It doesn't matter which gym they play in because it will always be a packed house.

    The lead went back and forth in the first quarter with Vincent holding a 12-11 lead, but both teams could've scored more points if not for the sloppiness on both ends of the court. And the out of control action wasn't chalked up to nerves.

    Burton and Malone-Mitchell did what they could to keep their teams in front. The Generals were up four points early in the first half and the Vikings came roaring back to take a 29-28 lead into the locker room.

    The breakaway dunk by Burton started the second half scoring for Vincent, and they didn't look back. Bad shooting by King and an 11-0 run by the Vikings left the Generals in shock almost halfway through the third quarter, looking up at a 40-28 deficit, eventually going into the fourth quarter down 13 at 47-34.

    Leave it to Malone-Mitchell to intensify the rivalry a little bit, even if his teammates weren't caught up in the action. There was some jawing and a little shoving and some one-on-one shooting between Burton and Malone-Mitchell. The officials had to stay within inches of the two.

    Malone-Mitchell was trying to fire up the troops and get the Generals back into the game before they were ready to wave the white flag. You can never accuse any of King coach Jim Gosz teams, no matter how undersized they are, of giving up.

    If there was a rematch, it would've been more intense and drama-fueled than this game. King was ready to play for about 3 1/2 quarters, and no one else on that team besides Malone-Mitchell had that mean mug look on their faces and that warrior mentality.

    So far, Vincent has the inside track on the conference title and they still have to play Milwaukee Riverside at home, Jan. 18 and at Hamilton, Feb. 15. They are sitting pretty in the conference with a 3-0 record and 10-1 overall while King fell to 2-1 and 9-3. Don't be surprised if the Generals lose their No. 2 area ranking next week and the Vikings move up from No. 4 to No. 2 and leapfrogging Milwaukee Hamilton, who sits at No. 3.
    by Published on 01-04-2013 11:31 PM     Number of Views: 2962 

    By Milwaukee King boys basketball standards, they didn't play well against visiting Milwaukee Bay View. Maybe the team is still recovering from the Beach Ball Classic over the holidays in South Carolina. Whatever it was, they didn't play like a No. 2 area team at home.

    What could've been an easy blowout win was instead a 52-44 squeaker over the Redecats. Too many turnovers from a team that usually force more than they commit. It was part of the reason the Generals should've won the game by at least 20 points.

    About three minutes into the contest, Bay View made two three-pointers to take a 6-0 lead. It looked to be the recipe for the Redcats to spring the upset on the road. Once King warmed up to pressuring Bay View in the first quarter, they rallied and led 29-20 going into the half.

    The turnovers from King gave Bay View some momentum in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter after staring at a 15-point deficit at 38-23. The Redcats capitalized on some of the Generals' mistakes and outscored them in the quarter 21-14, but it was a little too late.

    Both Carlin Dupree and Austin Malone-Mitchell didn't disappoint for their teams. Dupree's 14 points for Bay View led all scorers and Malone-Mitchell led King with 12.

    The battle in the post between Bay View's Brandon Eckford and King's Chris Robers never happened because Robers was in and out of the game and missed some close baskets around the rim, but he finished with six points. Eckford scored 10 for the Redcats but couldn't stay in the game long enough to help his team mount the upset.

    Eckford was already in foul trouble in the first half with three. He was put in the game to start the second half and quickly picked up his fourth after a King player drove the lane and drew contact to Eckford. Coach Tyler Podall lobbied to the referee that Eckford stood his ground.

    Instead of Podall taking Eckford out, an easy decision, he let his big man stay in the game. That gamble backfired, and Eckford was out the game with his fifth foul in the third quarter with plenty of time still on the clock.

    Dupree tried to pick up as much of the slack as he could, but to no avail. He made a spectacular play late in the fourth quarter when he dunked on two King defenders and raced down the court to block a shot by Robers. With a 12-man rotation, King wore down shorthanded Bay View, who dressed nine players.

    The race for the City Conference title will be between King, Vincent, Hamilton and Riverside. Those will be big games when all those teams play each other. Take your pick: There will be enough hype and drama and those games will be filled to capacity.
    by Published on 01-02-2013 10:40 PM

    Every one of the players on the Marquette men's team believed that they could pull off their first conference win to start the new year on a day when they played their Big East game against visiting UConn, Jan. 1, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. And they had to find away to beat the Huskies without their head coach, Buzz Williams.

    Williams served his one-game suspension for a rules violation that was committed by a former assistant coach. With Williams unable to have contact with his team during his suspension, the Golden Eagles had to reach for something from within to make it happen.

    An underdog such as Marquette, who's picked to finish seventh in the Big East, had to show people what they were made of in their 82-76 overtime win over UConn. Senior guard Junior Cadougan created the miracle shot in regulation.

    "When I had the ball in my hands with five seconds left, I knew I had to get a couple of rhythm dribbles in and shoot it to make it," he said. "It was a great feeling." His three-point shot forced overtime with the game tied at 69-all.

    That win by Marquette gave Brad Autry, Williams' fill-in as head coach, a feeling of euphoria. "I really as much (enjoyed) the win, and I'm estatic to win," he said. "I'm just so happy that I feel like we've turned the corner into who we are with this team, not what last year's team was or two years ago but this team."

    Autry said that he didn't talk with Williams for about two days. "I guess when the time limit is up, we'll have plenty to say," he said. "I know that he'll be excited. I know it's hurting him a great deal (being away from the team) and I miss him and we'll be glad to have him back."

    No one knew if Williams watched the game on TV, but if he did, then he was proud of how his team fought throughout the game, especially when the lead seesawed back and forth between both teams. Marquette pulled one more miracle from their bag of tricks after the Huskies took a 69-66 lead with seconds remaining in regulation.

    Ah, that's life in the beast of the Big East where no game is a lock to win and you have to bring your lunch pail to work. The Golden Eagles have another battle on Saturday when Georgetown rolls into town to try to put an end to Marquette's 17-game home winning streak going back to last season.
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