Thursday, January 30, 2014

9/10 House Basketball Power Rankings

by Britton Barthold

The 9/10 House Ball Wednesday games were near perfect. Luckily, I was able to attend all but one of these games, and I can say, House was at its finest. With two overtime thrillers and another game coming down to the wire, there is plenty to say and critique this week. So once again, sit back, grab a snack, and read up. Let’s go. (Brackets indicate previous ranking)

1. [1] Stanford (7-0)
Stanford remains the unanimous #1 after continuing its winning ways this week, giving Georgia Tech the business this week with a 39-17 win. Georgia Tech kept it close going into halftime, but the relentless press and attack of the Stanford defense got to the Yellow Jackets, and there was no turning back. Sophomore Sean Edgar, one of Stanford’s top scorers, says the team “possesses the immaculate ability to turn on the second gear at any moment”. Edgar and fellow sophomore Colin Minicus continue to dominate as one of the league’s best guard combos, but it doesn’t end there. Sophomore Jack Wells possesses the great ability to grab boards and hit an open jumper, while sophomore John Foley always keeps the adrenaline pumping. Stanford has it all going at the moment, and if the scary defense of this team continues to roll, they can pull off a perfect season.

Sunday Game vs. Washington
Washington continues to struggle, and I don’t see them turning it around against Stanford. Schofield will be tough, but Stanford pulls it out.

2. [2] Missouri (7-1)
Watching Missouri play in person was pretty cool. They defeated Kentucky 40-33, and had a pretty well-rounded supporting cast. We can start with sophomore MVP candidate Timmy Graham. Graham did it all: scoring, rebounding and playing intense D. No one knows how he does it, but it’s gotta be the hair Cotton; it’s beautiful. Feathered and lethal. You just don’t see it nowadays.  Graham has some great support too out of sophomore Burke Blatney, while sophomore Tyler Grant plays phenomenal D while being a viable third option. Freshman underdog Mac Keating also added a free throw, so I’m pretty sure the next Rudy will be based on him. Blatney also had some words for Kentucky, saying, “that’s what happens when you put a mediocre team up against the house ball superpower.” Seems legit. With a dominant five along with Coach Graham at the helm, this team is nothing short of dominant.

Sunday Game vs. Syracuse
This will be a painfully close game to call, as Syracuse is hot as of late, but Missouri will pull this one out, as the tight defense will give the Drakes no room to visit 3-land.

3. [3] Georgetown (6-2)
Georgetown avoided a scary one against UConn, but managed to win the double-OT thriller in what will become a nominee for Game of the Year for the end-of-the-year awards. Once again, a high-energy performance was brought to the court by sophomores PK Brannigan and Andrew Mathew. Some stellar defense from sophomores Michael Parsley and Connor Gonzalez-Falla also helped in the win. Sophomore Mark Evanchick put himself for Big Man of the Year with an astrophysical game, dominating the boards while hitting the occasional jumper. Sophomore Andrew Clarke also played a big role on the boards when Evanchick was out, and was a crowd favorite entering the overtime periods, giving the team a much-needed moral boost. It then ended on what Mark Evanchick calls a “Dikembe Mutombo-like swat of Jack McCann.” If Georgetown can focus on a more dominant defense while continuing to score, they can be a possible winner against Stanford in the final week of the season.

Sunday Game vs. Kentucky
The attack and energy of Georgetown will be a lot for Kentucky to handle, and I think this one will go to Georgetown as they hope to rebound from a scary close game against UConn.

4. [6] North Carolina (4-4)
North Carolina found its mojo again after recovering from a two-game skid by defeating Kansas 35-33 in triple-OT. The team avoided the usual 2nd half collapse after tying it at halftime, as sophomore Jack Kniffin lead the team’s offensive attack. Freshman Emmet Sheehan played tough on the boards and continues to be the sleeper of this year’s House season. Sophomore and team leader Brendan Seiler found his groove late while a clutch tip off to start the third OT by myself allowed sophomore Kevin Klingman to hit a game-winning lay-up. Seiler had some words at the end of the game directed towards the rest of the league, saying “UNC is the most underrated team in the league. Come playoff time, no one will stop us. To all the teams that think you can beat us, ‘CHILD PLEASE’”. Words of wisdom from the team’s leader.

Sunday Game vs. Georgia Tech
Expect the Heels to start their first 2 game winning streak of the season against the young Yellow Jackets. Also, 5’1” freshman phenomenon Brett Durbin will probably dunk over Brian Keating this game. It’s going to happen. 

5. [4] Duke (4-3)
Duke was without superstar sophomore guard Jack Murray on Wednesday, causing sophomore big man Aidan Coyle to take over the duties of the guard position. Coyle did a solid job, dishing assists like he was working at a soup kitchen, but in the end, they fell short to a hot Syracuse team. If Murray had attended, the result may have been a bit different, but he didn’t, and Syracuse took advantage and won it out. Duke is still a legitimate contender coming in a few weeks, but attendance needs to be more consistent, so that Coyle and sophomore Gianni Filippone don’t have to carry the team alone.

Sunday Game vs. UConn
Duke will win this if Jack Murray shows up. If not, UConn could pull off another upset to send Duke on a two game skid.

6. [8] Syracuse (4-4)
Syracuse defeated Duke last night 42-39. Yet, I don’t give them I higher ranking due to if Jack Murray had shown up, this would’ve been a different story. The battle between sophomores Aidan Coyle and Dolan Gregorich was entertaining for those watching, but in the end, the 3-balls from sophomore twins Matt and Chris Drake, along with freshman Logan Buckner’s threes, were too much against the Duke defense. After starting 1-4, ‘Cuse is on a three game tear, beating UNC, Washington and Duke during the span. The Blue Devils were the perfect opponent to defeat to give Syracuse the respect they want going into the final stretch of the season.

Sunday Game vs. Missouri
Unfortunately, this three game win streak will come to an end against a hot Missouri. The defense of Tyler Grant will prove too much and will not allow for an open shot for the Drakes.

7. [5] UConn (4-4)
UConn put up a legit fight against Georgetown, but early mistakes proved fatal for the Huskies. UConn started the game 0-5 from deep, but sophomore Jack McCann stopped this nonsense with two deep balls that were NOT bank shots. McCann’s overall play was good, good enough to maybe put him in the end of the year polls for Offensive Player of the Year, or maybe—generously—MVP. UConn was down by six at the end of the game when freshman Nick Percarpio drained two threes to put the game into overtime. However, in the final OT, McCann’s game winning shot fell short due to the disgusting block by Andrew Mathew. UConn definitely has grown and learned over the past few games, and if McCann stays hot, they can make a push in the playoffs.

Sunday Game vs. Duke
Like I said before, if Murray doesn’t show, McCann could have himself a game, as his current play is his best all season. Even if Murray shows, it should be a tight one, but UConn may fall short. I’m going with Duke here, but I wont be surprised if UConn pulls it off.

8. [7] Kentucky (3-5)
Kentucky caught a tough break against Missouri this week. They only lost by seven points, showing that this team can finally find its groove. Sophomore twins Christian and Bobby Trifone played some great basketball, handing out assists and nailing jumpers. Kentucky, however, needs to get more shots out of sophomore Lee Gardella and freshman Dillon Jones while the Trifones are out. Sophomore Andrew Mercein should continue to play physical, as Graham’s height was a bit unfair for Mercein. Kentucky has the talent and the strength with the Trifones and Mercein, and a good shooter in Gardella (if he takes advantage of the opportunities). I can see the Wildcats being a great team for an early round upset of a higher ranked opponent, so don’t take these guys too lightly.

Sundays Game vs. Georgetown
Kentucky has had a tough schedule, and playing Georgetown after Missouri proves it. Georgetown will take this one, but Kentucky has two light games to end the year. Look for two straight wins there.

9. [11] Miami (2-5)
The U showed up this week, as the ball movement was key in this game. Connor Mulliken continues his great season, but freshman Peter Marren was the story here, putting up 18 points along with a huge three late in the game to close it out. If this keeps up, Miami can maybe get a better seed heading into the playoffs to get a better chance at making a run this post season. They have a pretty decent schedule ending the season, facing Kansas, UConn and Syracuse to end it off. If they can take two out of three of those, which they can, they can easily catapult themselves into a better position for the postseason.

Sunday Game vs. Kansas
This should be a good one, in a good and bad way. But I think in the end, Miami will finally get a win streak going and improve to 3-5, regardless if “someone” comes for Kansas.

10. [9] Georgia Tech (2-6)
Georgia Tech played the best team in the league and had them on their knees at halftime. Sophomore Mark Schmidt and freshman Brian Keating brought it early, but the relentless Stanford attack was too much in the 2nd half for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets failed to produce 20 points, putting up 17 against the league’s best defense. Georgia Tech remains a mystery, as they’ve beaten two pretty solid teams in Duke and Syracuse, but have been smacked around by teams like Miami and Washington. The size factor doesn’t help, though Keating makes up for the lack of height with some sort of strength, and Schmidt makes the occasional shot. They need to feed it more to sophomore Nick Murphy in the post, and allow for other shots to get open.

Sunday Game vs. North Carolina
The sheer size of North Carolina will be too much, but the trio of Seiler, Kniffin and Klingman on the shot will also be a lot to handle. It will be close, but in the end, Tech drops to 2-7.

11. [10] Washington (2-6)
Washington lost a close one to Miami this week, spoiling a much-needed win for this Huskies squad. Sophomore Jamie Schofield continues to have an MVP season, and with the return of sophomore defensive freak Sam Giorgio, this team can finally find a few wins to close the season. The shooters are there for Washington, with production coming from the brotherly duo of freshman Teddy and sophomore Charlie Burke, along with Schofield and sophomore Conor Raymond. The high scoring is also there, but there just has to be a little more support on the defensive side of the ball, as one man can’t do it all unfortunately. Things get a bit worse, as they play Stanford and North Carolina next, and finish off the season against Kentucky. Hopefully, they can grab one of those games and with it hopefully avoid taking last in the final standings.

Sunday Game vs. Stanford
Stanford is a fast-paced, dangerous team, and I think Washington will stick with them early and often. But the 2nd half is where Stanford does work, so I expect the Cardinal to take this one and for Washington to drop four straight.

12. [12] Kansas (1-6)
This mostly all-freshman team has been having a down year. They’ve come so close to winning in so many games, yet fall short time and time again. However, they are probably the biggest team in the league if you take all the heights and average them out. They dominate the boards, yet only have one true scoring option in sophomore Dylan Griffin at the point. Freshman Charlie Wright provides some insurance for Griffin, but this team still needs that definite second source. The great big news now is that Kansas has acquired sophomore sports legend Matt Sealy. Some even doubt his existence, but I’m pretty sure he exists. This is exactly what Kansas needs, but I still don’t think it’s enough for this team to get a close shot at the title.

Sunday Game vs. Miami
Hopefully, Sealy makes his debut, but I still believe either way, Miami can grab this win and continue to push for a higher seed.

That’s it for this one, but I have a bit of news that some people will hopefully like. The 9/10 House Ball Awards will be given out at the season’s end, with awards being such as:
Most Valuable Player
Freshman of the Year
Big Man of the Year
Best Three Point Shooter
Mr. Bank Shot Award
Game of the Year
Mr. Put the Team on my Back Award
Moment of the Year

League members will vote upon the awards. Any other award ideas would be greatly appreciated, and any nominees you can think of, please let me know. See you on Monday for the new rankings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Girls Indoor Track Team Races at Yale Invitational

by Caroline McKay

Friday, 1/17, members of the Girls Indoor Track team raced at a Yale Invitational meet. The meet continued onto Saturday, 1/18.

Darien came in 10th for Connecticut schools in the 4x800 meter relay. Sophomores Caroline O’Brien, Grace Harmon, Kristen Mayhew, and junior Kate Halabi ran that relay. Darien came in 4th in the 4x200 meter relay, a group consisting of juniors Anna Sulger and Elizabeth Fucigna and seniors Brittany Henry and Dillon Schoen.

“The Yale track is the only banked track in Connecticut, and it was really cool to run on because it allows for more speed and bounces, giving runners more spring. Watching some of the best runners in the state was amazing, and the meet was rapid fire, with heats starting continually,” junior Kate Halabi said.

Catch the girls’ FCIAC meet Wednesday, 1/29 at 4:30 pm at Floyd Little Athletic Center.

A shot of the Yale track that Darien ran on earlier in the month

Monday, January 27, 2014

Midseason 9/10 House Basketball Power Rankings

by Britton Barthold

Yes sir. They've returned. The 9/10 House Ball Power Rankings are new and updated. The playoffs are closing in, and with dominating squads and struggling crews, you never know what will happen, because a 60 year old Rocky once said, “It isn’t over till its over.” So sit back, read up, and don’t get offended by my sarcasm.

1. Stanford (6-0)
The Cardinal have been, simply put, disgusting. Disgustingly good. Starting on the defensive side of the ball, Stanford statistically is the #1 defense in the league, allowing only 27 points a game. The reasoning? A relentless press put on opponents by sophomores Sean Edgar and Colin Minicus. Even with this outstanding defensive attack, they still manage to put up another league best 42 points a game. They’re the L.A. Raiders of House Ball. They’re loud, they have style, they talk, and they win, a lot.

Wednesday Game vs. Georgia Tech
Expect the #1 team to roll by the struggling Yellow Jackets, as the #1 offense takes on the league’s worst defense.

2. Missouri (6-1)
Missouri has no doubt the most raw talent out of any other house team this year. And with only one loss to Stanford, this team continues to keep pushing towards house ball supremacy. The quartet of sophomores, consisting of Timmy Graham, Spencer Stovall, Burke Blatney and Tyler Grant is just too powerful for any defense. However, Mizzou seems to always keep it close, with only one double-digit win, a 15 point smacking of Washington. Every other game they've won by an average of 4 points. But a win is a win; a 6-1 record is good in my book.

Wednesday Game vs. Kentucky
Missouri will take this one, playing a Kentucky squad lacking a legitimate defender for Timmy Graham in the paint. Expect Graham to be red hot (yes, pun intended) in this one.

3. Georgetown (5-2)
Georgetown rolls in at #3 with a collection of impressive wins over some of the league’s middle contenders. They kept it close with Missouri and their only other loss came in their opener against Kentucky. They’ve got major depth, so I still see this team making a major run. Three sophomores are the reason why. Michael Parsley drains 3's, PK Brannigan doesn't run out of energy in House ball games, and no one can match Mark Evanchick's power. Unless you can stop those three things, you'll probably lose to these guys.

Wednesday Game vs. UConn
UConn lacks a big man that matches the power and height of Evanchick. So Georgetown will take this one, and I fully expect Andrew Mathew to posterize someone.

4. Duke (4-2)
Duke plays the dark horse in the middle of the three major teams in House. But they're still good, almost matching Georgetown's record if they hadn't had a game cancelled early in the season. Duke has everything they need in their sophomores; a dynamic big man in Aidan Coyle, a solid shooter in Gianni Filippone and speed in Kevin Pidgeon. They also love to score, scoring at least 42 points in all their wins.

Wednesday Game vs. Syracuse
This is a hard one to call, since Syracuse has been rolling as of late. If big man Dolan Gregorich shows up, it'll be a battle in the paint but in the end, I'm going to go with the underdog in Syracuse for this one.

5. UConn (4-3)
UConn has been up and down this year, but after straight losses to North Carolina and Stanford, they rebounded with two big wins against Georgia Tech and Kentucky. Sophomore Jack McCann brings the talk to the court, jawing at opponents before the games, but backs it up with the occasional bank shot 3-pointer. The Voigt twins bring defense to this team, and with four pretty well rounded forwards, they dominate the boards against smaller teams.

Wednesday Game vs. Georgetown
UConn will drop to 4-4 on the year, as the relentless fastbreak and energy of G-Town along with Evanchick in the paint will prove fatal to the Huskies.

6. North Carolina (3-4)
The Tar Heels are making the mid-range jumper cool again, because, with the exception of sophomore Jack Kniffin’s driving assault, that’s all they do. The Heels have some pretty legit talent, but struggle on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve allowed 40 points per loss, but also became the closest to taking down the Cardinal. Three sophomores have led the team: with Kevin Klingman’s touch on his floater, Jack Kingman’s mid range jumper, and emotional support out of Brendan Seiler, they can fight for the #4 spot in the playoffs in February.

Wednesday Game vs. Kansas
North Carolina will win a close one vs. Kansas Wednesday, as the speed and size of the Heels will prove too much.

7. Kentucky (3-4)
Kentucky only gets this spot over Syracuse because they beat them, before anyone flips out. Kentucky has a few problems, one being they lack any other big name players other than the Trifone twins, two sophomores. Fellow sophomore Andrew Mercein’s strength in the paint is something to consider though, but their offense has been, well, bad. They’ve played three games where they couldn’t break 20 points. Their defense has shown up, however, so if they can get some support out of their offense, they can grab some wins heading into playoff season.

8. Syracuse (3-4)
Syracuse is coming off an emotional 2-0 win over Washington after only three Husky players showed up. Dolan Gregorich said of the win that “we came out on our grind, it was a team effort and we got the dub.” This game goes up for Game of the Year, just saying. In all seriousness, Syracuse has been good as of late, with an impressive win over North Carolina, even without Gregorich. Along with the Drake twins (both sophomores) making a living off the 3 ball, they can post a .500 record at the end of the season if they continue to improve.

Wednesday Game vs. Duke
I made this bold prediction earlier, and I will stick with it. Syracuse can beat Duke if they win the battle in the paint, and if the Drakes make things happen deep, then it’s all theirs.

9. Georgia Tech (2-5)
This mostly freshman team has been… good? I think? You can’t really explain what Georgia Tech is, because when they win, they average 55 points. When they lose, 33 points. Oh, and not to mention they are statistically the worst defense in the league, allowing 40 points a game.  So when they figure out how to stay consistent, maybe I can describe them a bit better.    

Wednesday Game vs. Stanford
The #1 offense takes on the worst defense…. Stanford wins it.

10. Washington (2-5)
There can be a lot done to this team. First, they should work on showing up to their games. After that, they should be good, with just a few other fixes along the way. In their defense, they’ve had probably the toughest schedule, already playing Missouri, UConn, Duke and Georgetown. They get a lighter end to the season, so they should be able to grab a few down the road.

Wednesday Game vs. Miami
The Schofield-Mulliken battle should be a good one, but this one will go to Washington, as their defensive freak Sam Giorgio will look to tee off with steals against Miami.

11. Miami (1-5)
They’ve got a wicked fan base, to be honest. When you have a kid running on the base line with a giant cut out U while screaming during free throws, you can say you have yourself a rowdy student section. They’ve also got style, due to the matching coordination by the coaches. They look good, so they own the intimidation factor, but they haven’t played well, and that kills them. They don’t have a good supporter to back up the skill of sophomore Connor Mulliken, and lack any real size other than fellow sophomore Colin Corcoran. However, they tested Missouri this week, losing 44-41, so look for hopefully what is a break through into the playoffs.

Wednesday Game vs. Washington
Like I said, Schofield vs. Mulliken should be entertaining, but I think the defense of Washington is too good against Miami. 

12. Kansas (1-5)
Kansas has struggled ever since an impressive win over UConn. They started 1-1, and then dropped 4 straight to get to the point they are now. Their best shot at a playoff run is probably giving the ball to freshman Charlie Wright, who’s got speed, height and ball skills to score and play some wicked defense. Sophomore Dylan Griffin can provide some deep-ball insurance, but can also drive into the paint when needed. They have plenty of depth, so they can be good; they just have to play well.   

Wednesday Game vs. North Carolina
North Carolina is the wrong team to rebound against, as the size and speed of the Heels will prove too much against a smaller Kansas squad.

Game of the Week: Syracuse vs. Duke
Two giants battle in the paint and the “three-ball” gets taken to a whole new level. It should be a good one.

Watch out for Friday’s Power Rankings for the Sunday games.

Mid-Season 11/12 House Basketball Power Rankings

by George Reed

We’ve hit the mid season mark of the house season, and the race towards glory is heating up … fast.

1. Wizards (7-1)
It should be obvious to most who follow the league that the most dominant team thus far has been the Wiz. The magic (pun intended) being produced by these young men is truly a spectacle. I have been able to personally witness many of the beatdowns that the Wizards are laying upon helpless teams. Keep in mind the one loss this crew had was a forfeit. Junior Mikey Maccarone is running the show with help from fellow junior and two-sport star Peter Archey and senior stud Graham Helgans. Maccarone has a knack for distributing the rock at opportune times to his big man, junior Jack Garfield, and the style in which he does so is extraordinary. I’m a fan of this team and only see good things from them in the weeks to come, especially when the man directing these young athletes is prominently known as the best in the league (Coach Archey).

2. Nuggets (7-1)
The nuggets have been fantastic in the early portion of this house year. Austin Crane has led this team to 7 victories and the one loss coming at the cruel hands of the Wizards. The one thing that this team lacks is a consistent scoring option, but they usually make up for it with the tremendous defense from the Traver brothers. Junior “Bigolas Nicholas” Wildish has had a breakout season thus far, stroking the midrange jumper like he’s draining home alone in his driveway. If someone can step up and become a viable scorer, then don’t be afraid if you see the Prep Rep wearing a ring.

3. Nets (5-3)
Those in attendance on Sunday, January 26th in the New Gym witnessed a classic. The rejuvenated Nets took on a highly ranked Lakers squad in a game that needed two overtime periods to settle. The game started with fireworks and ended with them, as junior Anthony DiMeglio’s 21 points (5-6 from downtown) and my 22 points willed the Nets to a victory. DiMeglio has been nothing short of outstanding recently, particularly with his production from moneyball territory; he has been drilling threes at a high rate and with consistency. With 13 seconds remaining in regulation, DiMeglio found his favorite spot on the floor and nailed a 30 footer to tie the game at 45 a piece. The Nets then went on to win in double overtime. The status of senior leader and point guard Dan Murphy remains unseen after a hand injury in this contest, but sources have it that his finger has been realigned and a return is immediate.  Many say that this team is just getting started as they are 3-0 when all players have been removed from the disabled list ;) .

4. Lakers (5-3)
The aforementioned Lakers have let their opponents know loud and clear their intentions: to brutally assault opposing teams on the defensive end. The Lakers have brought a press to the league that is unmatched as a superior amount of athleticism rests on the shoulders of seniors Brendan Donahue and Zach Basu. These two individuals utilize the talents of junior Matt Sherwood and others to the fullest potential in order to put up a large amount of points from a lot of different contributors. If Sherwood can find his game on the low block, and the press is effective, this team is going to be very difficult to beat.

5. Mavericks (6-2)
The Mavericks remain a mystery in this year’s House League. Strong performances by juniors Danny Siemers and Sam Bowtell have lifted this team to a number of key wins. However, this team does not “show up” week after week. The Mavs have a physical advantage with stud-athlete and senior Myles Ridder and junior giant James Fox, but lack the overall scoring talent that is inevitably necessary to be productive in such an offensive-oriented league. Look for the Mavs to steady their pace of play and feed the big men who are hungry on the block.

6. Cavaliers (4-4)
The Cavs have climbed the ladder of House Rankings as they have put together a beautiful month of January thus far. With another win over the Heat on Sunday, Blake Lange’s squad has moved into position to make a dive into the top 5 in the following weeks. The Cavs have a style of basketball that allows them to put together solid performances week in and week out, and no team should want to face them in the near future.

7. Knicks (4-4)
The Knicks are the most radical team in the league this year. Seniors Carter Watt, Chris Chiamulera, Dylan Carruthers, and Jack Foley have a tendency to not “bring it” week in and week out. I assure you that if the attendance and effort were there, the Knicks would be a dominant force in the league. League sources report that Carruthers is starting to find his offensive game. If this holds true, look out for the Knicks, because a hot Carruthers could mean sheer hopelessness for opposing teams.

8. Bulls (3-5)
Junior Calvin Crosby’s Bulls have been lackluster as of late. Crosby’s outstanding marksmanship from all over the court has not been enough to will this team to victory week in and week out. Junior Kevin Pendo’s style of play needs to complement the play of Crosby better if this team is seeking victories in the month of February. At least this team has separated themselves a wee bit from the remaining four teams with a win over a solid Mavericks team this Sunday.

9. Jazz (3-5)
The Jazz picked up a key win on Sunday as senior Harry Gillespie and the boys took down the Knicks. Thus far in the season, junior Dylan Cunningham has played Goose to Gillespie’s Maverick quite well. Cunningham and Gillespie are teaming up to form a solid scoring duo. Two-sport star Andrew Nault also is just starting to gear up for this year’s season, and the influence he could have on this team may be immeasurable.

10. Heat (2-6)
The question on everyone’s minds thus far into the house season still remains unanswered: how will junior Charlie Travers affect the league? At this point in the season, there is no fair answer. Travers has put on a show in several games, but has also been unable to will his team to many W’s. Look for Travers to take it seriously and turn it on in the upcoming weeks.

11. Thunder (1-7)
The Thunder got the winless monkey off their back this week with a smacking of a weary Celtics gang. Junior Conor Davey walked the walk and talked the talk as he directed this team to a lopsided 54-34 victory. The margin of victory is the only thing keeping the Thunder from being the lowest seeded team in house. Davey, junior Jamie Schwartz, and perhaps injured junior Cooper Drippé need to work together if the Thunder have intentions of making a playoff run.

12. Celtics (2-6)
The Celtics have not had much to offer as far as competition in the league since December. The last time the C’s found themselves on the favorable side of the win column was all the way back in 2013, falling in six consecutive games to various teams. Junior Phillip Rech needs to do something radical and he needs to do it fast in order for this team to be successful.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blue Wave Basketball Loses a Heartbreaker

by Brad Magnusson

This past Thursday, January 23, the Blue Wave Boys Basketball team lost on a last-second buzzer-beater three pointer to the Trinity Catholic Crusaders. The Wave held a slight lead for nearly the entire game and rallied behind the massive turnout from the DHS student section. Senior Matt Staubi led all scorers with 25 points and was complemented by senior Chima Azuonwu’s double-double performance. Nearly everyone who attended the game thought that it was all over with 15 seconds left and a 6-point Darien lead, but after a few missed free throws and a crucial travelling violation, Trinity was put into position to take a last second desperation shot. Coach Kyle Marian was stunned at the result but knows that his team is capable of bouncing back from such a stunning loss, saying, “This is routine for us in a sense that you get used to the adversity.”

Senior Matt Staubi attacks the basket during a game versus Greenwich last season

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sophomore Golf Sensation Christian Ostberg Conquers Course…and Captaincy

by Cameron Van de Graaf

Darien High School sophomore Christian Ostberg first picked up a golf club at the tender age of three. He showed remarkable aptitude and affinity for the game, practicing regularly in his basement and backyard. As Ostberg grew older, he graduated to the course he still belongs to today: historic Apawamis Country Club in Rye, NY. Honing his swing under the head of instruction there, he won his first tournament at 11.

Last season, Ostberg burst onto the FCIAC golf scene with panache rarely seen in a freshman, garnering a 39 stroke average on the difficult Darien courses and helping to lead his team to a one loss season and top-3 finishes in the state and conference championships. Perhaps more impressively, Ostberg was elected captain by his teammates at the conclusion of the season, joining seniors Mac Koorbusch and Cameron Van de Graaf to lead the 2014 campaign.

In the offseason, Ostberg has shown dedication and sedulousness in improving his skills –the sophomore says he “likes to hit balls for about 2 hours, progressing through each club and then spend about an hour each on short game and putting.” The time invested has paid dividends; in 2012 Ostberg won the Met Junior PGA Championship and placed 2nd in the player of the year race in.  Last year, he came in tied for fourth in a nationally recognized American Junior Golf Association event.

Despite his past success, Ostberg remains focused on the task soon at hand, saying, “both myself and the entire team are really excited to get this season underway. The team hasn't won states since 1932, and we’re looking to change that this year. Something tells me we can make this year a special one.”

Ostberg putting in a 2013 competition

Girls Hockey Wins Over Wilton in 6th Straight Victory

By Amanda Sload

The Darien Girls Hockey team beat Ridgefield this Saturday (1/18) 3-0. Although the team was slow to start, it adjusted and was able to prevail. After playing all the FCIAC teams, the team is undefeated in FCIAC play and has only let up one goal in the 7 FCIAC games, outscoring opponents 46-1. As senior captain Shannon Hall said, “We’ve… proved every game that we can put points up on the board. I think most of the girls on our team have scored at least once, which goes to show how talented our players really are across the board… We show up to work regardless of who we’re playing.”

After its last five games, which were all won by a margin of 6-0 or greater, the team was a little slow to adjust to the competitiveness of the fast Ridgefield team. Goaltender Hall kept the team in the game until senior captain Ellie Bennett outraced a defender to the puck and picked the lower corner for a 1-0 lead to get the team going.

Although the Tigers had occasional chances, Darien was dominant in the second period. Sophomore defender Katie Zaro scored with a rising wrist shot that glanced off the crossbar and in, making the lead 2-0 eight minutes into the second. The Blue Wave had 18 seconds in the period, taking advantage of power plays to test the Ridgefield goalie.

In the third period, both teams came out strong; Ridgefield was working hard to make it a 2-1 game, and Darien was playing strong defensively and trying to expand its lead to 3-0. Daien’s third goal came about halfway through the period when senior captain Sage Thacher made an aggressive pinch in the offensive zone to gain control of the puck. She took it deep and made a centering pass to junior Sammy Nielsen, who had fought for position in front of the net and shot it home.

Strong Darien defense  as a team as well as relentless shooting, 51 shots overall compared to Ridgefield’s 10, led to the shutout. Come support the Girls Hockey team as it takes on rival New Canaan this Monday (1/20) in what should be a competitive game at Darien Ice Rink at 6:20.

Darien’s Thacher stops the puck behind the net and centers it to Nielsen, who scores the third goal.