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Brent Parsons
05/22/2014 1:18 PM

Last week was Championship Week for the ACRA Men’s Basketball League. UpCountry Hardware entered Sunday’s championship game against the undefeated Hammerheads as underdogs. They had lost two fairly close games to the favored Hammerheads during the season but, as competitive players think, “If I play up to my potential, along with a couple of my teammates, we can win.”

That is true only if the opponents’ potential is not as good or if enough of the opposing players have “off” games to make your team relatively better that night. A few players on both teams did have “off” nights Sunday and a few had good ones.

The game was close and physical. The teams stayed within single digits of each other almost the whole 40 minutes. Both teams have accurate three-point shooters and, after playing each other twice, the defense knew who they were and fought through screens to contest every outside shot.

Paul Neville, Shane Crow and Taylor Parsons didn’t get one from long range, which was out of character. Nick Dani and Caleb Cagle had only one. Mike Phillips had a couple and Brian Hulsebosch nailed three. That is a very low cumulative total for any game. However, the game was not particularly low-scoring which means the action was in close, with the big boys and drives to the hoop.

Phillips started and finished hot for UpCountry, with 16 points, and his teammate, Colin Deuell, took it to the hole throughout, ending with a team-high 20.

The Hammerheads countered with Nick Baatrup, who did his damage down the stretch, when it was needed. He scored 16 points, 14 of them in the second half. The two centers, Jan Dee Cranford, for UpCountry, and Geoff Eltringham, for Hammerheads, banged, pushed and rebounded all game. Apart for Mitch Glavenich mixing it up underneath a few times with a few pretty spin moves, there wasn’t much room in Cranford’s and Eltringham’s house.

Cranford had three blocks and drew a like number of offensive fouls as he took a charge from anybody willing to deliver one. In the end, the Hammerheads walked away with a six-point victory, 78-72.

As much as I hate to admit it, three losses to the same team, no matter how tight, make a pretty clear statement — the best team won. Other scorers in double figures were: Josh Coy, with 12; Altringham, 21; and Cranford, 17. The two teams are looking forward to a rematch in the fall.

There were three games before the championship. SRI Hosting won the first game. Basket Brawlers won the second and won the consolation bracket. And Davenport Properties won the third game to take third place in the league.

The Amador County Recreation Agency would like to thank the Jackson Rancheria Casino and Hotel for generously sponsoring the league again.

Copyright © 2016 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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