We're nearing the forty year mark of the three point shot in the NBA but it wasn't until the guy from Davidson came roaring onto the scene that the three pointer changed the way they game is played and perceived. Now it's almost a certainty that anywhere you go where there are young, impressionable people and a hoop, there will also people be people chucking the ball up. We don't know the last impact that Steph Curry will have on the game but for one night at least, I saw a refreshing brand of basketball that goes against many of the current trends.
When it was learned that Valley City was rolling east on I-94 to Fargo South, a quick decision was made to take in the game. After the Christmas/New Year hiatus I was excited about taking in some more high school ball but as I already eluded to, the way that the game played out went much differently then I was anticipating.
It boiled down to a single facet of the game - defense. Fargo South ran a full court press that consistently lead to passes that could have been stolen and resulted in quick transition baskets. To their credit, the Hi-Liners managed to break the press more often then not but that could be the next step in the process for the Bruins. Using their 3/4 to full court pressure and forcing turnovers in bunches. I was so taken by it that all the offensive plays made by each team pale in comparison, as far as I'm concerned.
Now I know that without offense, victory can't happen in any sport that doesn't allow for 0-0 ties. And offense is fun and popular. Whether it's a highlight reel dunk, a seemingly impossible pass or one of those funky three pointers, more and more people like to score. Nothing I saw would lead me to believe that any of those high school students differ from that trend but Fargo South's defense was the best part of the game.
And I suspect that it wasn't a one game plan of action yet probably also wouldn't be much more then a footnote in game recaps about the Bruins because people are so into box scores and buckets. I'm not indifferent or opposed to great scoring plays but I have an appreciation for great defense that I think surpasses many of my contemporaries.
A blocked shot
A trap in the corner 85 feet away from the ball handlers target.
A steal or tipped pass.
Going over screens while defending the ball handlers.
These were just a few of the elements that I was able to identify and capture during the Bruins win last night. But defense is still only as good as the teams ability to score on their opportunities.
The leading scorer for the home team was junior Kiir Mabor. His 19 points were accompanied by 15 from Charles Bennington and 13 from Isaiah Johnson. In contrast to that balanced scoring, Valley City had a single true scoring option: Matthew Lyter with 20 points, which lead all players, but he got little help from any of his teammates.
But before you scroll through the snap shots, let me reiterate: all the offense that could be mustered still pails in comparison with the defense that the Bruins were running. It simply doesn't get any better than that!