Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NBA Draft Preview

Kyle Lynch and David Shonis
Staff Writers

The 2017 NBA Draft is three months away and the biggest news surrounding the draft is who will be selected 1st overall. Notable 1st overall selections in the past drafts were: Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, Patrick Ewing, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, and the great Hakeem Olajuwon. There were some players though who did not live up to the expectations of performing at a high level who were drafted #1, but there is always excitement surrounding the draft. With the 2017 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, some notable top players in the upcoming draft include Markelle Fultz from Washington, Lonzo Ball from UCLA, Jayson Tatum from Duke, Jonathan Isaac from Florida State, Josh Jackson from Kansas, Malik Monk from Kentucky and Dennis Smith from NC State. Many of these top prospects happen to be freshman, and getting drafted into the NBA at the age of 18 as a freshman is a pretty big deal. Throughout the season these highly-skilled freshmen players continue to thrive.
Every month there seems to be another upperclassman player breaking out each month. With the 2017 NBA draft nearing, NBA teams looking to acquire first round picks include the Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers after acquiring them at this past trade deadline. The NBA Mock Draft suggests that the Boston Celtics should pick up Markelle Fultz, freshman PG from Washington. Fultz offers more firepower as well as a potential future all star. Fultz would fit in well with the team and would be able to give Boston’s general manager more options. The Phoenix Suns could benefit tremendously from UCLA PG Lonzo Ball. This season they stand at 18 wins with no definite identity. Ball would be a crucial addition to the team and would promote ball movement and quick decisions.
As we look later on in the draft, teams such as Atlanta, San Antonio and Toronto will be looking to add to their arsenal of star players in an attempt to have more depth for when the playoffs roll around. Isaiah Hartenstein from Germany is getting many looks because of his big 6’ 11” frame, and he can be a threat down low. Atlanta is in desperate need of a big man to pair up with Dwight Howard so Hartenstein would be the ideal fit for the Hawks. Toronto may look to add some shooters to surround their star point guard, Kyle Lowry. Luke Kennard from Duke looks to be a great asset to the Raptors in an attempt to compete with the higher shooting teams in the league like Cleveland and Boston. San Antonio is in the hunt every year for a title and ranks usually at the top of the Western Conference but lack big men in the backcourt with rebounding and has costed them big games down the stretch of the playoffs. The Spurs will have their eyes on Johnathan Motley from Baylor, Cam Oliver from Nevada, and Tony Bradley from North Carolina. All of these men bring height and aggressiveness to the court and may get the Spurs deeper in the playoffs. The NBA Draft is almost here and questions will be answered as to what teams will draft the best and worst and most importantly, who will be #1?

Barcelona pulls off improbable Champions League comeback vs. PSG

Thomas Muzekari
Staff Writer

They were down and out. They needed to do something special. FC Barcelona needed to come back from four goals down after losing 4-0 to PSG in Paris in the first leg of the round of 16 back on Feb. 14. On Mar. 8 in the second leg, Barcelona dug themselves out of the hole in incredible fashion, winning at home 6-1, giving the squad a 6-5 win on aggregate and completing the greatest comeback in Champions League history.
 Barcelona stayed calm, both head coach Luis Enrique and the players. Before the second leg, Enrique said: “We have to be optimistic and we are.” Andres Iniesta said the team “must believe” and that they could cause the French side problems in the second leg. The team remained positive and didn’t lose their composure.
 Barcelona started the game off brilliantly as Luis Suarez scored a goal in just the 3rd minute. Then, near the end of the first half, in the 40th minute, Iniesta got a touch on a ball from Suarez in a dangerous area, sending it across the face of goal. The ball then deflected off PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa and into the goal for an own goal. With a 2-0 halftime lead, Barcelona was still down 4-2 on aggregate. In the 50th minute, Neymar was taken down in the box by a tumbling PSG defender, and then Lionel Messi buried the penalty kick, putting Barcelona up 3-0 and within a goal on aggregate.
 However, the Spanish club suffered a setback in their comeback quest when Edinson Cavani struck for PSG in the 62nd minute. This was vital, because it gave PSG an away goal, so a tie on aggregate would put PSG through to the next round. Barca went from needing one goal to tie it to needing three goals to avoid being knocked out of the competition.
 Time kept ticking and seemingly running out on Barcelona until Neymar’s free kick goal in the 88th minute gave the team another glimmer of hope. The match reached the 90th minute and the signal went up for five added minutes of stoppage time. Another penalty was given for Barcelona in the 91st minute after Suarez went to ground in the box, and things got really interesting as Neymar finished.
 At this point with a 5-5 tie on aggregate, PSG would have gone through with the away goal. So Barcelona, in a tense last few minutes, kept pushing, trying to provide one more touch of brilliance. Desperate, they pushed everyone forward, sending goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen upfield for a free-kick. On the free-kick the ball was headed out of the box but right back to Neymar, who chipped another floating ball that Sergi Roberto got on the end of and volleyed home with the outside of the foot. This 95th minute goal put Barcelona up 6-1 in the game and 6-5 on aggregate, and it sent the Camp Nou into a frenzy. Fans went wild, the players celebrated, and Luis Enrique ran around in joy.

 Just seconds after PSG resumed play, the referee blew his whistle. Four goals down. Then needing three goals in seven minutes. Barcelona did it. It was the end to a euphoric, historic comeback on a magical night at the Camp Nou.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Dissecting the UNC-Duke Rivalry

Thomas Muzekari
Staff Writer

The North Carolina and Duke rivalry is arguably the best rivalry in basketball. The two schools are just ten miles down what is known as Tobacco Road from each other. Both the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils obviously have great history, both being among the top five winningest programs in men’s college basketball history, and the two schools have had many exciting games against each other. Every time they play, the anticipation is immense, because of the great players, great coaches, and the overall historic significance of the programs and the rivalry itself.
 Roy Williams’ Tar Heels are 25-5 overall and have a 13-3 record and the lead in the ACC standings. The scoring for Carolina is led by Justin Jackson, who averages 18.8 points a game and Joel Berry II, who averages 14.8 points a game. Inside, Carolina is stout with their size, athleticism, and rebounding, led by Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.
 Meanwhile, Coach Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils are 22-7 overall and tied for fifth place in the league with a 10-6 record in ACC play. Duke is led by guards Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen, as well as Jayson Tatum. Kennard leads the team in points per game with 19.9, Allen averages 15.0, and Tatum 16.1.

 Duke and UNC already met once this year back on Feb. 9 at Cameron Indoor Stadium when the Blue Devils won 86-78 in front of their home fans. The two schools will meet again for their last game of the regular season on Mar. 4 at UNC. These games are always intense. Right now, Carolina currently holds a two game lead over the next spot in the standings, and Duke can’t catch them with just two games left. However, the rivalry game could alter seeding for the ACC tournament and could be significant leading up to Selection Sunday on Mar. 12.

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game

Connor Fitzgerald and Justin Horak
Staff Writers

The time many have been waiting for, the East vs West NBA all star game.The game where 12 players are chosen for each conference. There is five starters and seven reserves. The 2017 NBA All Star Game was played in the Smoothie King Center located in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference with a 192-182 final score. Anthony Davis, the power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, was MVP of the 2017 all star game. He scored an all star game record of 52 points. He had passed Wilt Chamberlain's record with 42 points in 1962. There was a ton of controversy on Russell Westbrook not starting for the Western Conference. Coming off the bench he scored a eye opening 41 points. This was outstanding for many people because he scored the second most points on the team while being the 6th man for the team.
 Brad Stevens was the head coach of the Eastern Conference team. He has been the head coach for the Boston Celtics since 2013. Before his start as a head coach of a NBA team he was head coach at Butler's Men's basketball team. Steve Kerr is an American former professional basketball player and the current head coach of the Golden State Warriors. He coached the Western Conference team of the All-Star game.  Steve Kerr has been the head coach of the Golden State Warriors since 2014. Steve Kerr played for the Phoenix Suns in 1988 and then traded in 1989 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Come join Athletes Helping Athletes

Kelly Hyland and Taylor Selbst
Staff Writers

New Hope-Solebury just added a new club, Athletes Helping Athletes (AHA). AHA is an amazing program that focuses on bringing mainstream students and students with special needs together to share athletic experiences and build lasting friendships. In doing so, everyone grows in their compassion and mutual respect for one another.
 Numerous colleges and high schools in our area are involved in AHA. Last year, NHS girls’ basketball team had an amazing experience with having an honorary captain, and participating in AHA fun nights at other schools. This season, the  girls’ basketball team plans on having more Honorary Captain events.
 “I love having an Honorary Captain at our games, I’m looking forward to having more Honorary Captain games this season.” Junior, Sarah Wilson said.
 In addition, the boys’ basketball team will be having Honorary Captains at multiple games this season. Other sports teams are also getting involved in bringing Honorary Captains to their teams.
 Joining AHA is a great experience and something every student should consider. If interested in joining the AHA club, please talk to Mrs. Yerkes, Bella DeVito, Kelly Hyland, Zoe Palau, or Sarah Wilson.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Patriots score historic victory in Super Bowl LI

Adrian Roji, Neftali Jimenez-Castro, and Charlie Stadler

Staff Writers
On February 5, 2017, Super Bowl LI kicked off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. The matchup between arguably two of the most efficient offenses in the National Football League was sure to be a high scoring and entertaining affair. People packed into NRG Stadium in Houston to watch the biggest sporting event in America, and it sure did not disappoint.
 When people view the box score and see a 34-28 final score, a Super Bowl passing yardage record by Tom Brady, they would assume this game was controlled by the New England Patriots. The irony however, is that the Atlanta Falcons blew the largest lead in Super Bowl history.
 To everyone’s surprise, the first quarter was scoreless, but beginning in the second quarter, the Falcons took total control of the game. After Devonta Freeman punched it in to score the first points of the game, Tom Brady threw a pick six. Things kept snowballing for the Patriots, and by halftime, Atlanta had built a 21-3 lead. The only thing that could seemingly turn the tide in the Patriots’ favor would be a 30 minute Lady Gaga performance.
 Unfortunately for Tom Brady, that did not happen. Atlanta kept rolling, coming out of halftime and  creating an insurmountable 28-3 lead. The game was over. With only a couple minutes left in the third quarter, it seemed impossible for Brady to capture his defining fifth Super Bowl title.
 Matt Ryan had played a perfect game up to that point, sporting a perfect passer rating going into the fourth quarter. To be honest, his play did not dip in the fourth quarter. After a quick score at the end of the third quarter, the Falcons led by 19 going into the fourth. As a Super Bowl caliber team with great coaching and a fantastic offense, Atlanta could just manage the last 15 minutes and come out with a comfortable and unprecedented Super Bowl victory.
 All of a sudden, the Falcons seemingly forgot how to play football and gave the best quarterback ever a chance to get back into the game, which he did. A field goal made the score 28-12, and soon after, Devonta Freeman blatantly missed his block and allowed for a strip sack of Matt Ryan, giving the Patriots the football at the Atlanta 25. Brady capitalized and after a two point conversion, it was a one score game. Everything seemed to be collapsing, but then there was Julio Jones. As it became a one possession game with under 5 minutes remaining, the Falcons just needed to score a point to make it a two possession game and end it once and for all. Julio Jones, on an on-the-run dime from Matt Ryan, made one of the most spectacular catches of the season in order to get the Falcons inside the New England 25 and effectively ice the game. Matt Bryant, the Atlanta kicker, was the best kicker in the NFC this year, so a 39 yard field goal would have been no problem for him. All Atlanta had to do was run the ball and play it safe.
 Obviously the box score shows a Patriots victory, so it is even more obvious to know that the Falcons did anything but run the football. Matt Ryan dropped back and took a sack. A holding penalty was called on the ensuing play. The Falcons punted.
 Surgical passing from Tom Brady and a miraculous Julian Edelman catch allowed the Pats to tie the game, after another two point conversion, and the game went to overtime. At this point everyone knew the Patriots just needed the ball and the game was over.
 They did just that, and the game ended in a James White touchdown. Brady’s legacy was cemented as the best QB ever. But, just like two years ago, the New England Patriots had no business winning the Super Bowl. The Seahawks lost their minds and chose to throw the ball at the one yard line, and the Falcons blew the largest lead in Super Bowl history.
 It is a rough time to be a Falcons fan right now. 28-3. Enough said.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

CFP National Championship Shocker

Oliver Colvin
Clay Asplundh
Tommy Lupo           
Sports Editors

This college football season came to a very similar end as last years season did. The Clemson Tigers took on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship. However, there was a large change in outcome for both of the competitive teams. After 36 years the Clemson Tigers were able to once again claim the National Championship Title. Led by Heisman finalist quarterback Deshaun Watson.
 Clemson came out slow in the first quarter. The defense struggled to contain the Alabama Offense and was trailing by seven points early on after a Bo Scarbrough touchdown. Watson seemed hesitant to move with the Alabama Rushers due to the consistent high pressure.
 Scarbrough found the endzone for a second time with a 37 yard touchdown run to put Bama up early in the second. Clemson got something rolling in the second when Watson ran right inside the pylon for the Tigers first touchdown of the game. Going into half Alabama held onto a 14-7 lead over the Clemson Tigers is Raymond James Stadium.
 Alabama started off with a field goal in the third, but soon after Clemson found the end zone with a touchdown reception by wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. OJ Howard of the Crimson TIde found the end zone on a 68 yard pass play that shifted the momentum big time.
 It was the fourth quarter and the game was becoming nerve-racking for Clemson as Alabama held their commanding  24-14 lead. The quarter opened with a Tigers touchdown from NFL prospect Mike Williams, thus making it a 3 point game.
 Wayne Gallman of Clemson then plowed his way in for the Tigers to put them up 4 points late in the game. This was the first time all year that Alabama had trailed at any point in the fourth quarter. However Alabama did not accept defeat and the Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts ran in for a touchdown putting them ahead again by 3 points.
 The Tigers drove all the way back down the field and in the closing seconds quarterback Deshaun Watson found wide receiver Hunter Renfrow wide open in the front corner of the endzone to win them the CFP National Championship. This was the first time since 1981 that the Tigers were back on top and the best college team in the nation.