Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mailmen Updates; Playoffs Begin, Team Works for Win

The Mailmen have had some ups and downs the past few weeks.

It started with a injury to Mike Giardina. He has been out for nearly three weeks with a high ankle sprain. Mike missed the teams first playoff game last night and is still in doubt for the playoffs

Then, the Mailmen suffered their worst loss of the year 60-43 versus Boston Road. The good guys only hit on 17 of 66 shots (26%). Brandon and Jason Hunter combined for a 7 of 25 showing from three point range (28%).

Next, the team, missing Jason Hunter, Mike Giardina, yet added back big man Kerry Hunter (his first game in over a month), soundly defeated Presley 70-9 for the biggest point differential of the season and for the league. The first game back for Kerry after a long recovery process, he scored 10 points off of 5 of 6 shooting and grabbed 8 rebounds. Brandon added 23 and 7 while Pat Cripple scored 18. Andy Kempf continued his dominance on the glass with 9 rebounds.

Finally, yesterday, the Mailmen started the playoffs right with a 56-45 win over the leagues "sleeper pick" Tune Squad. The game didn't start off the right way with Tune Squad hitting on 4 three's to start the game. The Mailmen found themselves down 16-5 early, but battled back and held a two point lead 28-26 at the half.

"We found our stroke in the later half of the first and brought it into the second," captain Jason Hunter said, "our second half has been our most dominant throughout the years I've been with the organization. This night was one in the same."

The Mailmen had a rough first half, turning the ball over time and time again. They found open lanes inside, but tried to fight tough passes in, often times too many passes, that led to tips, fumbled passes, and breaks the other way.

The second half, was a different story.

The team found Kerry Hunter in the middle of the 2-3 defending zone and cut through, scoring layups and hitting open threes. Jason had one of his better nights of the season, hitting on 4 of 8 from three and 3 of 6 from the rest of the field. He also made all three of his free throws.

"I felt great, comfortable," he said, "smile on my face. I was never worried."

Brandon Hunter (15 points, 14 rebounds) added to that sentiment, "It was good to see. I struggled a bit from the floor, so having him hit the shots he should...it adds another dynamic to our team. We are tough to beat if everyone is on their game...especially when other people aren't."

The Mailmen also dominated the glass. Three members, Brandon (season high 14), Kerry (season high 19), and Andy Kempf (third 15) found rebounds all around them. The smaller Tune Squad rarely got second chances, if any, at all.

Andy Kempf has been more than stellar on the glass with 62 rebounds over the past 4 games. That's over 15 a game.

"Just doing what I am supposed to do," Kempf smiled, "my job is to battle the glass and play great D."

His smile broadend, "...and hit the occasional three."

"One all year!" Pat Cripple yelled from across the locker room.

"One more and I'll be shooting better than you!" Andy cried back.

Cripple shakes his head with a grin, "Two is still better than one."

The Mailmen will have to wait some time until their next playoff matchup. The team will likely face M&M Buckeye, who the Mailmen beat by only 2, 42-40, earlier this season.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Brandon Hunter hits season high as Mailmen roll on to 10-2

Brandon Hunter was in rare form this past Sunday night, totaling 41 points on 15 of 26 shooting from the field. He added 4 rebounds and helped lead the Mailmen past Shawn Kemps Kids 78-41.

The Mailmen saw over 50% of their three pointers fall hitting on 11 of 21. They were 7 of 10 from behind the arc in the first half, pushing to a 42-11 lead.

The Mailmen went into cruise control as they finished out Kemps in a 78-41 route.

"We were locking down defensively and Brandon couldn't miss," Coach Jason Hunter (9 points, 6 rebounds) said after, "I love our defense, but we lost a key part early tonight when Mike went down. Hopefully he can come back within the next few weeks."

Guard Mike Giardina went down early in the first half with an ankle injury jumping for a defensive rebound. He did not return and will be doubtful for the next few weeks team officials said.

Mike was icing the ankle in the trainers room after the game, "I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. But when I came down, I knew it was bad, swelled up pretty quick."

Reports on the ankle after the game were unofficial, but players were describing that it looked like the size of "a baseball" on the way back from the game.

"He twisted it up pretty good," Kerry Hunter said, "he will be evaluated by team doctors later in the week."

The rest of the Mailmen contributed in style as well. Andy Kempf recorded his second double double in as many game with 12 points and 15 rebounds. "Probably my best game ever," Kempf said.

John Reminder added 10 more rebounds and a slew of block shots, Pat Cripple went for 10 and 5 rebounds. He also, to quote himself, "hit a three finally". Cripple had been 1 of 12 from beyond the arc before the game.

The Mailmen take on a tough test this Sunday, facing Boston Road, who had recently lost their first game of the season this past weekend. They are 11-1 on the season.


Giardina doubtful for game against Boston Road
Preliminary tests on Mike's ankle showed no signs of a break, but the ankle is still "pretty sore and swollen" according to team doctors. He will most likely miss tomorrow's game and will be re-evaluated during the week.

Clinton Weigel will have increased minutes in Giardina's departure.

Cripple's fine "paid"
The team reported that Cripple decided to pay the team back in his own way following this past Sunday's game.

"I took the team out, we hashed things over....we had a good time."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mailmen Score Big, Win Big; Move to 9-2

Brandon Hunter paced the Mailmen with 27 points (13 rebounds) as the team went on for a 74-41 victory against Firehouse.

It was a similar result to the last time these two teams played, Firehouse has not won a game this season.

The Mailmen dominated in every aspect of the game. The 74 points is well above their season average of right around 60. The Mailmen crashed the glass as well, totaling 49 rebounds, 12 boards over their season average this year.

"You can't look past anyone," Coach Jason Hunter (10 points, 3 rebounds) said after, "I wanted to make a statement and I believe we did. Firehouse came out in the first half and hit some early shots, got us going. We may have cruised a bit the latter half of the game, we just need to make sure we keep our head straight moving forward. We need a good push into the playoffs this year."

Kerry Hunter agreed, "I get to see a lot of the action now being in street clothes, and we look pretty solid. We want to press on defense and work for good shots on offense. I think our defense will really push us deep into the post season. We are looking to add a press defense in the upcoming weeks, just another piece of our team that we think will help."

The Mailmen found scoring and rebounds from everyone. Pat Cripple added 13 points, John Reminder 13 rebounds, Andy Kempf recorded his first double double this season with 11 points and boards, and newly signed Clinton Weigel added 7 points and 4 rebounds. Mike Giardina was out due to a family situation.

The Mailmen will battle Shawn Kemps Kids who are 7-4 on the year.


Cripple's fine lifted

After a further investigation into Pat Cripple's ankle injury, it was reported as a miscommunication between the organization and Cripple's agent. Cripple was competing in a charity basketball game when he rolled his ankle a little over a week ago. The team and Cripple have reached an agreement and the money from the fine will be matched by the team and sent to the charity event for next year.