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Tom Brady: The best, or part of the system?

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Robert Burack
Sports Editor/Webmaster

After one of the most memorable Super Bowls in recent memory, the storylines and “hot takes” are in full swing. The one question that is blowing up sports media today may not stop anytime soon: Is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all-time?
The answer is simple: No, no, no!
Brady now has a ring for his thumb and he is clearly a great player. However, he fell into what now looks to be the greatest system ever.
Let’s break down Brady’s record five Super Bowl victories.
In the first one his team – yes, he actually has a team – won 20-17 over the St. Louis Rams. While everyone is quick to credit Brady for this victory, it was actually his defense that was the leading factor.
After all, his coach, Bill Belichick, is known as the best defensive coach ever. In the game, the so-called “G.O.A.T.” failed to even eclipse 200-yards.
There is a case to be made that Brady’s most memorable play in this game was a spike; he spiked the ball with seven seconds left, to set up a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Now, on to Brady’s second Super Bowl. This time around, Brady put up much better numbers. But so did everyone!
In an offensive-based game, Brady was extremely fortunate to get help from his entire team, including 137-yards rushing from his backs.
This game, like the first, was won on an Adam Vinatieri field goal.
In his third Super Bowl, Brady wasn’t even the Super Bowl MVP. It was in WR Deion Branch.
What does all this mean?
Much like Vinatieri and Branch, he was just another good player on a great team. Take nothing away from Brady, but those first three rings were a complete team effort.
This begs the question: What quarterback couldn’t do this?
Now, on to Brady’s fourth Super Bowl, which he only reached after losing two Super Bowls in the interim. (In one of these lost games, his high-powered offense put up 14 points total).
Everyone here knows the story. If it wasn’t for what most would call the dumbest play call in Super Bowl history, the Seahawks would have handed Brady his third Super Bowl loss.
Just recently, though Brady won his fifth ring, his team was down 28-3. All the hype is about how he came back from being down 25.
What about being down 25 in the biggest game of the year? What about failing to score a touchdown in the first half? What about his pick-6 that put them down 21-0?
Fox Sports radio host Clay Travis referred to Atlanta blowing the game, calling it, “the biggest choke job in sports history.”
If not for the Falcons failing to avoid negative plays later in the game, they would be champions. A later holding call put Atlanta out of field goal range.
Tom Brady is one of the greatest to ever play, but he also is one of the luckiest. If it wasn’t for a play call and a hold, he would have had four Super Bowl losses.
Another thing to look at is what Brady’s team does in his absence. In the year Brady was forced to miss the entire season, the team went 11-5.
For those who do not know, 11-5 would have made the playoffs in the vast majority of years. When Brady’s arch rival Peyton Manning was out for the year, Manning’s team went 2-14.
This year, Brady was suspended for the first four game of the season. Their record in that time was 3-1. They also used two different quarterbacks.
Both teams played far better than most would have when put in that situation. In fact, Jimmy Garoppolo was so impressive that ESPN is reporting the Cleveland Browns may trade the first overall pick for him.
Matt Cassel – who replaced Brady and went 11-5 – also cashed in and became a starter in Kansas City. His record there was 19-28.
Brady isn’t so great without the system.
Despite Brady’s ability one area, he does not match up against the other all-time greats. His arm fails in comparison in other quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Dan Marino, John Elway, Dan Fouts, and Drew Brees. None of them, however, had this system.
Based on pure talent, Aaron Rodgers blows all of the completion off the field. He also holds the highest passer rating in NFL history at 104.1
Coming into the NFC Championship Game, Rodgers took one of the worst defensive teams in the league, with a running back that is not even a running back 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl.
Tom Brady will go down as one of the best to ever lace them up, but before deciding he’s number one, imagine him and other all-time quarterbacks trading places…
Picture Manning with Belichick, Rodgers with Belichick, and Brady with a bad defense…

The Super Bowl is set

super-bowl-51-logo-240px-superbowllilogoRobert Burack
Sports Editor/Webmaster

After a season filled with scandals, injuries, suspensions, blow-outs and thrillers, it is now down to two teams.
On Sunday, Feb. 5, the New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons.
One team is centered around a quarterback/coach combo looking to close the discussion on who really is the greatest. Another team is riding high with an offense that looks to be nearly unstoppable.
That quarterback/coach combo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be starting a record-setting seventh appearance. Though they earned four victories in the big game, there could be a case made that their two Super Bowl losses haunt them to this day.
Both of those losses came at the hands of the New York Giants. Both were a result of two unbelievable catches. As some would say, “the ball was caught in the receiver’s face mask.”
Earlier this year, Brady was suspended for four games after the league’s commissioner found him guilty in the never lasting “Deflategate.”
With the chance to have that same commissioner hand him the prized Lombardi Trophy, the guy known as “Psycho Tom” for his insanely intense drive may be more determined than ever.
They will be without Brady’s top target, Rob Gronkowski, however. They have not had Gronkowski for much of the second half of the season, but they still managed to have the best record in the league at 14-2.
In two postseason games, the Patriots were not ever in much danger of heading home, except when Houston played stout defense in the first half. In the AFC Championship game, the Brady-led squad looked unstoppable, dominating the Steelers in all three phases of the game.
Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick is known as a “defensive ace,” the one coach who can game plan and take out the top player on any team, anywhere, anytime. ESPN’s Max Kellerman calls him the “first coming,” saying his legacy will never be touched.
Belichick may face his greatest test yet, as he takes on the juggernaut of an offense led by MVP-frontrunner Matt Ryan.
Ryan is playing the best of his career, but he is not alone. He is surrounded by some of the best-skilled players in the league. His wide receiver, unlike other top wideouts, is not spending his off days on a boat in Miami. He just balls out on the field.
Julio Jones may be the toughest one-on-one cover in the league today. Belichick is known for doubling players of these standards; however, if he chooses to do so, his defense may get blown out of Houston.
Doubling Jones will only open the field for the other arsenal of weapons at the Falcons’ command, including two of the most versatile running backs in the league, who torment any defense they face.
Atlanta comes in red-hot after dominating their two playoff opponents with 36-20 to the Seattle Seahawks and 44-21 to the Packers, who were led by possibly the best player in the league, Aaron Rodgers.
The Patriots come in with the number-one scoring defense, while the Falcons come in with the number-one scoring offense.
According to Oddshark, the Patriots are currently a three-point favorite for the Super Bowl in Houston.

The Flawed Committee

Robert Burack
Sports EditorCFB-Playoff-Vertical Signature_RGB

Many Michigan fans are still moaning about the loss to their arch rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and are still upset about finishing in 6th place. They, however, are not the only fan base dissatisfied with how the committee ranked their team on Sunday. The new college football playoff system that takes the top four ranked teams remains much, much better than the controversial, scandalous system known as the BCS. However, the new system still remains highly flawed.
The most argued point this year is Penn State being left out and placed 5th and Ohio State making the playoffs while holding down the number three spot in the country. The big outcry is that on Saturday, Oct. 22, Penn State, at home, defeated the Buckeyes. Not only that, but this result led to Penn State making and winning the 2016 Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State stayed home. In defense of OSU, they did finish with an 11-1 record, compared to PSU finishing 11-2. (The additional game was the result of the Big Ten Championship). The PSU supporters say, “we won the head to head” and “we are the big ten champs,” leaving out a brutal lost to Michigan (49-10), who OSU beat, and a loss to a Pitt team that finished twenty-second.
The issue with the committee isn’t that they put OSU in. OSU earned it. OSU beat Michigan and they beat non-conference opponent Oklahoma who finished 7th. Beating the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma is not easy. Not to mention that they had the best loss in the country, to Penn State at Penn State. The committee messed up by putting Clemson in over PSU. Yes, that is right, both Ohio State and Penn State should have made the third annual playoffs.
Let’s break it down. Clemson, the ACC Champions, played a weak schedule. The win over Louisville, who was number three at the time, was impressive, but Louisville showed later on that they were actually not very good. Clemson even struggled against Troy. If NC State didn’t miss a chip-shot field goal, Clemson would have also that game. Pitt beat them, they struggled against Virginia Tech, and they lack any dominate wins. Penn State had some flaws, but they were playing much better down the stretch than Clemson.
Washington went 12-1, are Pac-12 champs, and they should not be in either. College football is the only sport to not let teams get better. The Huskies only lost one game, but it was a huge game against their arch-rival USC. Forget the 26-13 score. USC didn’t just beat them, they embarrassed them. USC – 400 total yards, Washington – 276. USC – 113 yards rushing, Washington – 17. USC looked like the best team beside Alabama going down the stretch. All three of their losses came in the first four weeks. That was then, this is now and they are much better than Washington. Don’t forget, that game was at Washington.
Michigan also has a case to be in the ranking because as they outplayed OSU for three quarters and were victim to some outrageous calls.
The college football honchos need to make one change to settle all this on the field: an eight-team playoff. The best way to do it? Give all five of the conference champions a spot and give three wild cards spots. Do not let this be settled by old college football committee members.

Another loss for the Skippers

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Schoolcraft wins against both Men’s and Women’s teams
Jason Watts II
Staff Writer
The St. Clair County Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams both suffered losses against Schoolcraft College in very close contests. Starting with the Men’s team in one of the final games of their season, the Skippers took the mindset of “it’s time for payback” and stuck with that state of mind. Although early in the first half the Skippers were down 17-2 in the first 6 minutes of action, the Skippers struggled to put the ball in the basket. They found a way to battle back to close the gap to end the half by the score of 30-35. The shooting woes continued for the Skippers as a team they shot just above 30% for the game.
On to some positive notes for the game, Chris Parker lead the way with 12 points, 5 rebounds and also 5 assists. Jason Watts had 8 points and 4 rebounds, and Rico Cook 8 points and 4 rebounds. Finally, after the game, I was able to catch up with Skippers assistant coach Mike Davis for comments. Schoolcraft hit 4 straight threes to start the game. Although our scouting report was to be aware of their top 3 point shooter, we allowed him to hit the first three and get hot. Our close outs of his threes were minimal, we ran out but didn’t get our hands up on shots. But we battled back and cut the lead to 5 points at the half. We battled in the second half but we could never get the lead under 6 points. Schoolcraft moved the ball well on offense and when took quick shots. They capitalized on it by scoring on the other end.
On to Women’s team who had a similar fate like the men’s team. The Lady Skippers lost by a score 66-52. By the half the Women’s team were down 34-39, once the second half started Schoolcraft to pull away as they went on a 14-4 run in the 3rd quarter that put the game further out of reach for the lady skipper. Once the 4th quarter arrived the ladies fought back in the game but struggled to take care of the ball late in the game. On a good note Briann Alspaugh lead the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Leah Humes had 11 points 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and finally Madison Valko had 10 points 3 rebounds and 4 assists.

Skippers get back on the winning trail

Both teams win against Alpena Community College
Jason Watts II
Sports Editor

The Skippers men’s team picked up a much needed win against Alpena Community College after having suffered 3 straight losses. The score margin wasn’t that big because it was a very good game, the final score came out to 90-82 with the Skippers being the victors.
Leading the way for the Skippers was sophomore Chris Parker, he had a total of 18 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Following him was Tarayle Cates and Xavian Edwards each with 13 points. Jay Springs put up 11 points, followed by Antonio Dupree with 10. These great performances by the Skippers lead them to the much needed win over the Lumberjacks.
The valiant efforts of the Skippers didn’t just stop at points being scored, as we all know a large part of winning a game is defense. Defense wins games. The Skippers were lead in rebounds by Jason Watts II with 8 rebounds followed by Jay Springs with 7. The Skippers have had a strong defense the past couple of games which has helped lead them to their wins.
The Lady Skippers followed in the boys’ footsteps and took home a win. The win against Alpena was much needed for the Lady Skips because they have also had a rough patch. The Lady Skippers had the way paved for them by Tamira McCoy-Motton with 13 points, she also helped on defense with 11 rebounds. She had an outstanding game, and helped get the “W.” She was followed by Briann Alspaugh with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
The Lady Skippers needed a good game to get back on the swing of winning. Both Skippers teams needed a good win and they both got that. The teams both played great and it was even better because they got the win at home.

Skippers drop to 4-4 in conference play

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Men’s and Women’s teams suffer losses
Jason Watts II
Sports Editor

The St. Clair County Community college Men’s and Women’s basketball teams both suffered losses against Schoolcraft College by a large margin.
Starting with the Men’s team earlier this week, they lost to Schoolcraft by a score of 96-84. It was a close ball game for the first few minutes of the first half as the Skippers were giving the Ocelots a fight but found themselves down 47-34 at the half. The Men’s team struggled taking care of the ball. Apparently, there was a clear lid on the basket as the Skippers shot well under 40 percent the whole game.
On a positive note Chris Parker led the Skippers with 25 points, followed by Xavian Edwards with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Following them, Jay Springs had 10 points and 5 rebounds and Jason Watts had 10 points and added 11 rebounds to the team’s rebound total.
I was able to reach out to assistant Coach Mike Davis for his take on the loss against Schoolcraft College, “We were unable to sustain our defensive intensity for long enough periods of time in the game to stop Schoolcraft’s offense. Schoolcraft moved the ball well and made the extra pass to get great shots instead of just settling for good looks. We must learn to trust and run our offensive sets, and stay united on defense whether we’re in man to man or zone defense, especially if we want to beat a good team like Schoolcraft.”
In other news, the Women’s team also suffered a similar defeat against Schoolcraft. Schoolcraft scored 76 while St. Clair County Community College only scored 56. Leading the way for Schoolcraft College was Elise Tolbert with 25 points and teammate T’era Nesbitt right behind her with 15 points in the win. In the 20 point loss there was some bright spots for the Lady Skippers in the game. Madison Fox-Valko had 24 points and 5 rebounds to add to the team’s total rebounds of 47. Leah Humes scored 16 points and led the team in assists on the night with 7.

Skipping right on to number one

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Men’s and Women’s teams beat OCC
Jason Watts II
Sports Editor
This past Saturday afternoon the St. Clair County Community College Men’s and Women’s teams made a statement respectively to the rest of their conferences when they defeated Oakland Community College Men’s and Women’s teams.
Starting with the Lady Skippers coming into this game with a little bit of an attitude towards one particular player on the Lady Raiders Jasmine Parker who was a member of the Skippers last season, which made this contest more of a grudge match. It was a close game until the second half when the ladies starting to pull away.
Leading the way for them was Madison Valko with 29 points and 6 rebounds; also Kendall Stoll with 24 points and a game-high 16 rebounds; and lastly Leah Humes with 10 points 7 rebounds and 8 assists. The final score of the game was SC4 85 – OCC 71.
On to the Men’s team which was a nail biter right down to the last second. The whole game was a close game and a high scoring game as well. SC4 came into the game with intentions of becoming number one in their conference and they did just that in a tremendous fashion with a game winning shot made by Chris Parker.
Parker has been the leading scorer for the Skippers and has stepped up for them when it matters most. He lead the way for the Men’s team with 35 points, followed by sophomore Jason Watts with 15 points and 12 rebounds, Jay Springs with 10 points, and lastly Xavian Edwards had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
The Men’s team trailed the most of the game and kept battling till the end, eventually seizing control of the ballgame in the second half. The rebounding war was the X factor in this game was in the Skippers favor, which was won by the men’s team 41 to 35 in the last few seconds as the Raiders missed two critical free throws that would have sealed the game. The final score of the men’s game was SC4 86 – OCC 84.
The Men’s team’s next game is at home on Wednesday, Jan 20 at 7:30 pm against Henry Ford Community College. The Women’s team will play at 5:30 pm.

Skippers Men’s Basketball gearing up for conference play

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Chris Nelson
Guest writer

It was November 13, and I had just finished watching the SC4 Women’s basketball team dominate their opposition with ease and was happy to learn the Men’s team was up next. I decided to stay and watch this game as well, however something triggered the fire alarms in the gymnasium and the building was evacuated outside to the chilly November evening while the Fire Department verified the building for safety. Having recently relocated to Port Huron from San Diego, it must have seemed colder to me than it actually was, and I decided at that point to head home. After sitting in on a recent Men’s team practice I now regret leaving that evening.
The 2015-16 Men’s squad is made up of only a few returning athletes from last year’s team mixed with a talented influx of new players, however the returning sophomores are very good and the team expects to be much improved from last year. I was fortunate to get an opportunity to talk with a few of the Skippers players who were clearly enthusiastic about this season. Sophomore Jason Watts is known to be the most prolific dunker on the team, being described as a Dwight Howard style power dunker. Jason stated, “We play together more, and have a lot more guys who want to work at it and learn together.”
Players from the Men’s team expressed that in both practice and in games thus far they are getting a lot better, learning to play together while becoming more comfortable with each other and the talents each teammate brings to the court. Sophomore point guard Jay Springs commented, “Compared to last year, the chemistry of the team is a lot better, right from the beginning in setting our goals. With conference games in January, we’re still a work in progress, still trying to figure each other on the court. Got to get better in practice, stay healthy.”
It is a close structure with this group, and it was evident they enjoy being on the court together. Xavier Edwards, a strong all around post player and rebounder who reminded me of NBA star Larry Johnson said, “Love these guys, they’re my family, I like the team, it’s a good team this year for sure.”
Freshman point guard Josh McClelland responded, “We can really do something in this conference. Everybody can defend well. Every game and practice were getting a lot better.”
Hard work ethic and the determination to improve as a team are obviously shared attributes for these players, and it is exhibited without difficulty. When asked if there were any final comments, the answer was simultaneous from the group “Go Skippers!”
While watching the Skippers at practice, Christopher Parker was brought to my attention, the Skippers leading scorer who is averaging roughly 27 points per game this season. Parker, a sophomore guard, has an effortless shot that never seems to hit the rim, only net. I think I saw him miss one shot, not sure though, because everything else went in. He is a natural talent on the court, moving with ease in transition, always seeming to be in the right position at the right time, and his jump shot was fast, smooth, and automatic.
Currently the Skippers are focused on the start of conference play in January, and same as the Women’s team, the conference is one of the strongest in the nation considering that the Skippers Eastern Division has two nationally ranked teams in it with Schoolcraft as the #1 team overall, and Mott at #13.
Head Coach Dale Vos commented on the significance of the conference strength saying “Our conference is so good top to bottom, there are no bad teams. We know Schoolcraft is going to be very very good, they’re ranked the #1 team in the country right now, they return 7 or 8 guys from the team that won the conference last year. Macomb will be a much better team, Oakland is always good, Mott is always good. There is never a night off.”
Coach Vos was also excited for the season to continue on, describing this year’s contingent as a uniquely balanced team that shoots the ball very well from outside the lane including three pointers, while also possessing a solid inside game that can score efficiently from the post. Despite being undersized in some positions, this years’ team has a nice mix that can run floor on a fast break when the opportunity presents itself, but also has the composure and patience to execute the set offense when a five on five situation occurs.
Leaving the Skippers practice midway through, I found myself really looking forward to seeing their next home game. Heck, they do have the talent, but I recognized most the camaraderie and genuine enjoyment they had while getting pushed through a hard practice. Fist bumps and high fives at practice? I don’t remember that at practice from when I played in school, but here it was.
Upcoming home contests for the Skippers will be Wednesday Dec. 9 against Rochester College JV @ 7:30 pm, and Lake Michigan Community College on Saturday Dec. 12 @ 3pm. Conference home slate vs Macomb Community College starts on Wednesday, Jan. 6 @ 7:30 pm, followed by a Wednesday, Jan. 13 matchup vs Wayne County CCD @ 7:30pm.

Women’s hoops cruise to win in home opener

Lady Skippers win against Sinclair Community College
Chris Nelson
Guest Writer

SC4 Women’s basketball team, the defending Michigan Community College Athletic Association Eastern Conference Champions, cruised to victory in their home opener on Friday night, Nov. 13 with a 68-50 win against Sinclair Community College of Dayton, Ohio.
First-year Head Coach Akilah Edmundson welcomes several returning players from last year’s squad, as well as many talented newcomers, that will certainly place the Skippers once again as the team to beat in the conference. The Skippers open the season ranked #14 in the NJCAA Division II women’s basketball pre-season poll, while playing in the arguably the most competitive conference in the nation that boasts 3 nationally ranked teams.
The Skippers opened their game against Sinclair with a dominating 12-0 run, showing a fast paced offense that rapidly pushed the ball up court, keeping the Sinclair defense off balance. At the same time the Skipper defense was efficient and effective only allowing Sinclair’s offense to run set plays with little success. The Skippers early lead was easily maintained through the 1st quarter with a score of 21-13.
In the second quarter, the Skippers continued with the offensive pressure on Sinclair and dominated the paint with perfect execution in rebounding and boxing out. The defense was suffocating and relentless, usually allowing the opposing offense only one chance to score. The referees seemed to take a break in the 2nd quarter as the play got more physical, and what appeared to be apparent fouls went by without a whistle. Adding to this, Sinclair dropped in a couple Hail Mary 3 pointers and for a moment it seemed as if a game might be developing. Not so, despite the opportunities for Sinclair to edge closer before the half, control of the game was unchanged, and the Skippers led by 10.
In the second half, the Skippers continued with their excellent defense, hustling for loose balls, and rebounds while never letting up throughout. On offense, the women’s team continued to penetrate the Sinclair defense utilizing great passing technique to create multiple scoring chances and in turn drawing several fouls from the Sinclair defense that continued to look out of sorts. By the end of the third quarter, the Skippers were again running the court at full speed to which Sinclair had no answer.
Everyone on the Skippers roster was a contributor, though the superstar of the evening had to be Madison Valko. Madison ended the game with 32 points, on 50% shooting from the field including 3 pointers, and 80% from the free throw line. Valko seemed to score at will, and from anywhere on the court she wanted. Whether driving the lane for a hoop and foul, a jump shot or a three pointer, she can do it all, and did on this night.
Leah Humes a true point guard worthy of all the accolades she has received, was on full display for the home crowd distributing the ball to the tune of 9 assists, scoring from every angle including a nice 3 pointer in the 2nd, and on defense #4 shutdown the opposing Sinclair guards finishing with 4 steals. Tamira McCoy-Motten chipped in 8 points and 5 rebounds. Jenna Boyl contributed 6 assists from the guard spot, and added 4 points as well. Kendall Stoll and Keegan Nelson dominated in the low post leading the team with 7 and 6 rebounds respectively.
Dual sport stars from SC4’s super successful volleyball team contributed quality minutes with Briann Alspaugh scoring 10 points and 3 rebounds, Jordan Johnson added a put back hook shot for 2 points with 3 rebounds, and Caitlyn Carlson grabbed a rebound.
Sometimes you want to see a close game and a hard fought victory, well that wasn’t possible on this night. It was a dominating performance that was unrelenting on offense and defense for all 4 quarters. The Lady Skippers controlled the game from the first second to the last, ending with an 18 point victory.
The Skippers upcoming home games following the Thanksgiving break will be Tuesday December 1 at 5:30 pm against Northwood University JV, and Wednesday December 9 at 5:30 pm against Rochester College JV. The heart of the schedule will begin with Lake Michigan Community College coming to Port Huron on the Saturday December 12 at 1 pm. Be sure to get out and see some great basketball this winter, and support our Skippers Women’s Basketball team!

Skippers claim victory over Oakland

A close game between SC4 and Oakland
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor
Money ShotFerocity and raw passion covered the gym September 22 as the Lady Skippers went head-to-head in an exhausting five set game versus Oakland Community College. The Skippers emerged from the game victorious 23-25, 27-25, 19-25, 28-26, and 15-11, bringing them up to 20-1 for the season.
Shawnteze Williams, a 21-year-old Skippers fan from Port Huron, said, “The Skippers did a lot of things right, you feel me? The offense and defense gotta be equal or you’ll lose your footing. Oakland a good team, but Skippers are better”.
As stated by Paul Levandowski, an assistant coach for the Lady Skippers, “Oakland is a good team and coached very well, but our kids gathered themselves together and that’s ultimately how we won. I’m real proud of them”.
Kristen Michaelis, the head coach, spoke with pride in her voice, “I feel good that we won. This wasn’t one of our strongest shows, but we hung in there despite the ball rarely hitting the floor on Oakland’s side. I’m proud of how we responded and hung in there”.