Saturday, March 22, 2014

Highlight Reels Open Playoffs With a W

The Human Highlight Reels were in a state of confusion before their game began two Sundays ago.

Walking onto the big stage of the playoffs, the Highlight Reels were set to face Great 8; yet Great 8 was unavailable to play that night.

The Highlight Reels opening act was then switched to read "versus Paninis - Black".

The Highlight Reels faced this opponent before, winning by more than 10 points earlier in the season.  This contest was much closer than that.

The Reels struggled from the floor most of the evening, shooting only 31% from the field all night long (21% from three), and could only manage a tie with their new first round opponent headed into half time.

Paninis did hit a half-court buzzer beater to close out the half, but it was waved off due to the quick thinking of forward Andy Kempf, who took a charge as the shot went up.  The referee's deliberated for a minute or so until they decided to wave off the basket.

Thankfully for the Highlight Reels, Kempf had his wits about him at an opportune time.

With the three point lead erased for Paninis, the Highlight Reels locked down a little more on the defensive end and battled harder on the glass, which helped push them to a 53-49 first round victory.

Kempf also led the team on the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds. He has tallied double digit rebounds in six straight contests.

With team leading scorer Brandon Hunter struggling from the field (10 points, 7 rebounds), Jason Hunter stepped up where scoring was needed.

The oldest Hunter brother went 4 of 8 from three and scored 18 points along the way to lead the team.  The scoring output from both Hunter brothers will be relied upon in the playoffs if they want to make a deep run.

Justin Woo (4 rebounds) and Chuck Caldwell added 8 points a piece and veteran Kerry Hunter clogged up the middle on the defensive end on his way to 4 points and 3 rebounds.

The Human Highlight Reels will face NBN for their second round game this coming Sunday at 9pm.  The Highlight Reels defeated NBN earlier in the year by nine points.  Brandon Hunter led the team in both points (21) and rebound (6) in that contest.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Regular Season Review - Playoffs Await

The Human Highlight Reels finished off their regular season with a 71-60 win over Team Yuengling. The final outcome was not nearly as close, though the score not being THAT close, as the number indicate.

Brandon Hunter lead all scorers with 29 points and shot 58% from the floor.  Andy Kempf, Justin Woo, and Kerry Hunter grabbed 12, 7 and 6 rebounds respectively as the Highlight Reels dominated on the offensive and defensive glass.  Jason Hunter and Kyle Komer who put in 14 points collectively on the offensive side of the ball, pressured Team Yeungling most of the night up front that led to a handful of fast break steals and easy layups on the other end.

As a group, the team shot 40% from three point range (8/20) and 45% from the field elsewhere (21/47).  The combined group effort on both ends has started to see the team push towards the playoffs with some momentum.

The Highlight Reels has won two in a row, including four of their last five games.  During their current winning streak the team is scoring at a much higher rate - 74 points per game - than during any part of the season this year.  That is nearly 13 points above their year average of 61.9 points per game.  The Highlight Reels are also starting to find some consistency from three point range shooting 42% from deep over their past two games, also 13 percentage points over their team average this year of 31%.

A big reason for the increased team scoring output comes with a couple of hot shooters headed into the post season.

Brandon Hunter is on one of those streaks, shooting 44% (11/25) from three over the past two games and has also made 69% of his two point shots, going 9 of 13 from the floor.  Hunter has pushed his three point percentage over 30%, climbing steadily to 32% over the past few weeks.  It is somewhere he and his older brother Jason have struggled this winter season.

Speaking of Jason, he has also started to find a little bit of a touch from long range.  His three point percentage has also climbed steadily from the basement.  Just about a month ago, the oldest Hunter brother was shooting a mere 25% from three.  Over the past 5 games, Jason is shooting 56% from deep, going 9 of 16, and tied a season high in points with 18 two Sundays ago.  Hunter's three point percentage has jumped to 33% on the year which is just a tad above his career total of 32%.

Andy Kempf, who is having his best rebounding output on his career, has grabbed over 10 rebounds five games in a row, topping 15 rebounds twice.  He is averaging nearly 12 rebounds a game, easily his best mark, and is also finding some sort of touch from beyond the arc as well.  Never a strong point during his tenure in the Highlight Reels organization, Kempf has taken 14 three pointers on the year, making five of them for a career high of 36%.  He has only taken 18 three point shots over his career before this season, connecting on only three (17%).

Not to be outdone by his younger counterpart, Kerry Hunter grabbed a season high 14 rebounds two Sundays ago and his having a quality year after thinking of retirement over the past year or so.  Back problems have limited the big man to only 13 games this season but his totals are only slightly down in each category from a few years ago.  The eldest Hunter is averaging 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.  Those totals are only mere half-point totals less than during his extended time on the Price is Right where he averaged 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest.  His career totals are 8 points and 7 rebounds per game.

Guard Kyle Komer has been limited to only 10 games this season with the Highlight Reels but has again proven to be a valuable leader on both sides of the floor.  His percentages are down from just this past fall, but his totals are slightly above that same season.  Komer is shooting 44% from two point range and 35% from three, yet has pushed his scoring totals up to 8.5 per game (8.3 in the fall) and 3.5 rebounds per game (3.3 in the fall) this season.  He is also shooting a team high 80% from the free throw line.  Komer's career totals include 12.1 points per game shooting 44% from the field.

New comers Justin Woo and Chuck Caldwell has also added some more depth on the glass and guard play this season as well.  Though limited to 10 and 9 games respectively this season, Woo has made his presence felt underneath and is coming off an 8 point, 6 rebound night this past Sunday.  He is averaging 6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.  Caldwell, who had one of his better scoring total games just two weeks ago with 12 points, has solidified the top of the 2-3 zone along with Komer and Jason Hunter.  He is averaging just a touch over 8 points per game to go along with two rebounds per game.

The Human Highlight Reels will attempt their fourth playoff run tonight at 6pm in the Brunswick Rec Center.  Finishing third of fourteen team in the conference, the Highlight Reels will face 14th ranked Great 8, who only had one win during the regular season.