Friday, March 27, 2009

Week Two, Round Three

With a berth in the Elite Eight and a Week Five matchup on the line, the four remaining Week Two authors were psyched and ready to go. The pre-game favorites were Poe and Frost, but no one would be suprised if Deaver managed to pull off another upset and Carl Sandburg was no slouch. Really, any of the four could advance, and two great games were expected-- and two great games occurred!

#5 Edgar Allan Poe vs. #7 Jeffrey Deaver
Two Cinderella stories in the finals of the Horror/Thriller division faced off last night, both coming off of surprisingly easy victories over higher seeds in the previous round. Nothing came easy in this game, however, as the defense was intense and the points were at a premium. Every shot was contested, and the officials let both men play tough, in-your-face, man-to-man defense. At halftime, the score was an ugly 3-2 in favor of Poe and both teams seemed a little stunned by the physicality of the game. In the second half, Deaver was able to stretch the floor a little, use his shot blocking ability to set up a some break away opportunities, and he surged to a 5-4 lead. Poe answered back with a defensive stop of his own and short, floating jumper in the lane to tie it up, but with time running down, Deaver was able to juke Poe off his feet, then slide to the side for an uncontested mid-range shot. Swish, nothing but net! The Cinderella story continued as the #7 seeded Deaver moved into the Elite Eight. Afterwards, a visibly exhausted Poe conceded that his condition-- dead-- may have contributed to his costly defensive lapse. "Yeah, I wore down in the second half. I mean, hats off to Jeff for keeping the pressure on and I don't mean to take away anything from him, but the century and a half... well, it caught up to me finally."

#1 Robert Frost vs. #2 Carl Sandburg
Unlike the Thriller/Horror bracket, the Poetry bracket had played out true to the seeding, with the top two meeting in the finals. Both Frost and Sandburg had needed to work to get there, however, eeking out 6-5 victories, and everyone was expecting another nip and tuck game as the two early 20th century titans of verse faced off. No one left disappointed. The midwestern Sandburg got the earlier jump, 2-0, but the New Englander Frost responded quickly, eveing it up at 2-2, then pulling ahead 3 to 2 shortly before halftime. Just before the buzzer, Sandburg was able to launch a shot tha caught the backboard and then rattled the rim before finally dropping for a 3-3 halftime tie. It was more of the same in the second half, with neither man able to gain more than a one point edge, leading to a tense 5 all score with time running down. Frost had an open look at the hoop with the shot clock running down, but he was just a little off target and Sandburg snatched the rebound. He raced down court with the game clock approaching double zeroes, then let loose just before the horn. Just as with the first half ending, this shot hit glass, then rim and this time glass again, before rolling nearly completely around the rim and dropping through. The result left Sandburg racing around the court, shouting and pulling at his jersey, while Frost simply kneeled at mid-court, unable to believe that two last-second heaves had cost him his shot at the title.

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