Friday, March 7, 2008

Girls 5A Final: Redan vs. Stephenson

Final Impressions: 
The Stephenson girls won by a final score of 58-43. As expected, the entire team rushed the court, showing the kind of genuine excitement you only see at the high school level. Jylisa Williams led the way for the Stephenson bunch, both scoring the basketball and keeping the team under control. The impressive Stephenson victory had nothing to do with game plan or even execution; they just simply had the Redan team out-manned. Another noteworthy observation: I can't remember the last time I saw a team record more blocks than Stephenson did today. In the end, they were simply just too tall and athletic for the Redan girls. 

Fourth Quarter Action:
With only 2:48 left and a 49-33 lead, Stephenson is playing smart, keep-away basketball. They will simply run out the clock and capture the 2008 state championship with relative comfort. 

Redan has made the change to a full-court press and it has worked extremely well. The score now is 44-29 Stephenson. However, there is only 4:38 left in the game, so Redan has a lot of work left in their comeback attempt. 

Alisha Andrews has had herself a nice start to the fourth quarter, bringing her team to within 20 at 23-43. It is too little and way too late, however. 

Third Quarter Action:
More of the same to finish out the third. Stephenson just has way too much height and athleticism for Redan to deal with. Notably, Stephenson recorded at least ten blocked shots through three. They now hold a 43-20 lead with one quarter remaining. The inevitable Stephenson state championship will be prolonged for only one more quarter. 

With such a big lead, Stephenson has really looked to slow the game down in the third. They have used their height advantage to get good looks pretty regularly and have played swarming defense, limiting Redan to only four third-quarter points. With 3 minutes left, Stephenson leads 41-18.

It seems I spoke too soon. There is 4:45 left in the third and, since my last post, Stephenson has reeled off 8 straight points to build their lead to 39-18. 

Redan begins the second half with a quick steal and layup from the diminutive Alisha Andrews. 
Stephenson has had two possessions and no shots. The score is now 31-18

First Half Impressions:
Yasheeka Jones and Jylisa Williams are having a solid first halves for Stephenson. Alisha Andrews, Redan's go-to scorer, is struggling and looks as though she may actually be sick. 
Stephenson totally dominated the first half, taking a 31-14 lead into the locker room. They are not winning because they are controlling pace or inflicting their will; they simply have bigger, stronger, faster athletes and have used them to get loads of offensive rebounds, double-digit blocks and more than enough easy looks at the basket.

Second Quarter Action:
Redan closed the second quarter the same way they began it: struggling to find good looks. 

You can tell Redan is now making a concerted effort to get the ball into the post and has done a great job doing so. Stephenson has piled up block after block, however, leaving Redan with no results for their hard work. We are two minutes away from the half with Stephenson leading 25-12

Redan is really struggling right now and the biggest reason behind their problems is they simply can't keep Stephenson off the offensive glass. Stephenson is getting two to three shots every time down the floor. They now lead 25-10 with 3:30 left in the half.

Redan is playing solid defense, but just cant seem to score, even when they are getting open layups. 
Stephenson is hitting the boards and has taken twice as many shots as Redan. With 4:44 left in the second, they hold a comfortable 21-8 lead.

Stephenson is red hot from the outside, but is getting good, high-percentage shots. Redan, on the other hand, has been forced to shoot from the outside, and has been ice cold doing so. 

To start the second Stephenson has switched to a zone defense, trying to force Redan to settle for the outside shot; it has worked. Meanwhile, Stephenson has managed to get good high-percentage shots, usually in transition off Redan misses. They lead 17-8 with 6:30 left in the second. 

First Quarter Action:
Redan has managed to get a lot of good looks in at the basket, while Stephenson has mainly feasted off of outside shots, though they did get some easy layups just before the end of the first. Alisha Andrews has done a good job using her speed to beat the Stephenson press. As the first quarter  came to close, Stephenson began imposing their will on the Redan bunch with solid defense and good transition offense. They lead 14-8 after one. 

Both teams have settled down a bit with only 2:30 left in the first. Jylisa Williams for Stephenson just hit a pretty pull-up jumper to give her team an 8-6 lead.

Alisha Andrews gets out on the break, is fouled and makes one of two. All tied up at four. 

Alisha Andrews hits the first basket for Redan with 5 minutes left in the first, making it 4-3 Stephenson. Andrews was hot in warmup from the left side of the court and found that same spot just moments ago.

5:39 left in the first. Stephenson is up 4-0, with a layup and two made free-throws

Both teams seem to have the jitters early. Stephenson is playing playing a full court pressure defense, making it hard for Redan to get into their offensive sets.

Redan won the tip with Alisha Andrews missing her first attempt. Redan has elected to openthe game play man-to-man defense.

Pre Game action:
We are only three minutes away from tip now and both teams are a bit more subdued than before. The fans have all arrived, but have been quiet up until now; let's call it the calm before the storm. 

We are currently 13 minutes away from tip-off. Both teams are running layup lines. 

It's 6:40 and both teams have taken the court. The girls from Redan look loose and relaxed, like their having fun and ready to go. 
Stephenson seems to be wearing the pressure a little bit more; they are playing the role of favorite with a very business-like approach