Tuesday, March 3, 2015

You know what's bush league?

Not the footwear worn by some of the Juarez Eagles in last night's game against Proviso East. (I know -- I'm old.)

No, what I thought was in particularly bad form was the way the Pirates ran up the score against the underdog Eagles. In the fourth quarter, Proviso East was hitting three-point shots en route to a 107-47 victory over the No. 22-seed Juarez.

Let's back up a little: why did I go to this game?

It was only my third high school basketball game of the year (for a partial explanation, read this), but it's playoffs time. And since I live midway between Whitney Young and St. Ignatius I thought I'd follow the Berwyn-Cicero (Morton) Sectional in the hope that the two programs would meet in the finals of the Regional next Wednesday. 

The Dolphins (Dolphins?), with a record of 17-9, are the No. 2 seed in the Sectional; the Wolfpack, at 20-8, are seeded No. 6. What's more, Young is ranked No. 40 in the state by MaxPreps while Ignatius is only two spots lower, at No. 42. That could be a heck of a matchup! (And for bragging rights in the neighborhood, too.) 

With that in mind, I plan on attending Young's game tonight with Lincoln Park and Ignatius's game on Wednesday with the winner of last night's contest. And, since I'd only seen two games this year, I thought I'd get an early look at the Wolfpack's opponent.

Got all that?

So I hoofed it over to Ignatius last night and caught the final minute or so of the Lane Tech - Roosevelt game which Lane won, 78-56. What a lopsided score! I thought. (Little did I know.) 

I had walked into the gym with a guy who works at Juarez (he pronounced it, Ha-wahr-ez) and he told me they were a young team who were surprised to even be in the tournament. I did a little quick research online (there wasn't a whole lot to be found) and discovered that Benito Juarez Community Academy is in Pilsen and is named for Mexican President Benito Pablo Juárez García. (Shouldn't it be called Benito Garcia? Oh, well.) 

According to Wikipedia, the Eagles' colors are grey and gold, although the team I saw last night wore brown and gold, as in the picture above. (And don't get me started on that whole dress thing!) The Juarez squad was 1-8 in their conference and 4-14 overall and ranked No. 626 in the state by MaxPreps. Which begs the question, What are these guys even doing in the postseason?

Proviso East, meanwhile, was 6-6 in the West Suburban Gold conference and 12-13 overall. The Maywood school, which once had a storied program, fired its long-time coach, Donnie Boyce, a few weeks ago after some altercation in the lunchroom. (Yes, you read that right.) According to MaxPreps, the Pirates are ranked only No. 125 in the state (how the mighty have fallen!) and I'll bet that had more to do with Boyce's firing than anything else. (Just a hunch, but they were probably looking for an excuse to dump him.) In the program they handed out at the door, under "Coaching Staff," only "Cedric McCullough, Assistant Coach," was listed. (Ironically, the back page read: DO WHAT'S RIGHT IN SPORTS! SPORTSMANSHIP BEGINS AND ENDS WITH YOU!)

So I'll assume it was McCullough who was responsible for the shameful display I witnessed last night, and if there's any justice in the universe, this guy will never make head coach anywhere

Up by 43 points at the end of the third quarter, 72-29, I wondered if Proviso East would end up scoring a hundred points. (But I wasn't serious, was I?) And in the fourth quarter the Pirates started shooting three-pointers in a deliberate attempt, I thought, to get to the century mark and completely humiliate their opponent. The Proviso East players were smiling broadly and celebrating on the bench as they closed in on their goal. I couldn't believe it! Was this the first time they'd ever dominated an opponent? It was one of the most disgraceful performances I'd ever seen. (The players are just kids, but the coach should have known better.)

Proviso East will now face St. Ignatius tomorrow night at 7:30. Guess who I'll be rooting for.

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