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Chillin' with Dylan

December 8, 2011

The Skill of the Swat    
        I was hoping to avoid the cliché of simply writing a column about each statistic in basketball after discussing assists last week, but that was before I witnessed Adams Central put the “laughter” in slaughter at the Hangar on Tuesday night when they beat Union City to a useless pulp, 86-25.
          The game really got away from the Indians after AC’s first possession during a play that has worked on more than one occasion for the Jets. High-flying Maverick Baumer cut towards the basket after a back pick freed him up allowing Kyle Fawcett to launch the alley-oop perfectly at the rim for the Jets’ first of many baskets at the rim that night.
         That got the gym rocking. The student section was full, the parents and other fans were on their feet in unison and officially (for me at least), AC was on the map for the basketball this season.
        This team is athletic, tall, long, and easily ten deep. Plus any one of coach Aaron McClure’s rotation could go off at any time on any given night, making the offense one of the most potent in the area.
        But oddly enough, that’s not what intrigued me about this Jets squad. It was their defense. That’s right. I was impressed with AC’s 86, but I was more focused on Union City’s 25.
        How does a team score only 25 points in a game? I have seen middle school games that went into the 50’s and they routinely end up around the 40-point range. So what made this team of varsity boys look so bad that their JV scored more points than they did?
        I didn’t really take notice until the fourth quarter. Those that saw the score by quarters will notice it as well. They tallied just four points in the final quarter, while the Jets padded their 61-point win with more than 20 in the frame.
       The Jets were in double digits in blocks against the post-impaired Indians. Baumer was a major reason why. He had six swats in the game (personally I think he had more, but with the amount of stats in this game, I know it must have been exhausting keeping up with the Jets so…not hatin’ on you, Mike). Fawcett had one or two, Ben Snider had at least three, and I’m sure that a few other Jets had may have cracked the category.
       The stat that stuck out to me was that there was only one block in the fourth quarter. I think this is directly related to the poor shooting of Union City in the final period because I noticed that they were fading away on EVERY SINGLE SHOT. They took a shade over a dozen shots in the last quarter and not counting the attempts well past the three-point line, all were off-balanced.
        That’s what this Jets’ defense will do to teams, especially late in the games when they get tired of getting their shot blocked into the third row full of AC fans jeering about how embarrassing the play must have been for the shooter. AC will make shooters hesitant to try any shots within 12 feet and if they do, just the presence of the Jet defender will alter the attempt.
        I realize that there are teams with good post players on them that will make the Jets work harder, but I watched in anguish (and a little hint of pride being a former Jet myself) for these poor Union City kids who actually were very fundamentally sound around the hoop just get trounced and knocked around inside.
        I love defense. It can spark offense, and more than a good shot can, it can spark a ravenous crowd. I’m the guy at the professional sports games holding up the “D”, while my friend has a sign in the shape of a fence sitting right next to me (chain link, not picket, to quote the comedian Daniel Tosh). 

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