The “Claws” have it — PAL Tournament

20 02 2011

When all was said and done, the PAL tournament held no surprises — Burlingame and Terra Nova, the two top seeds, won going away.

Here’s a little video of Burlingame head coach Jeff Dowd cutting down the net.

I covered the two finals matches last night at Burlingame High school. One off note, I love the new bleacher set-up. I’ve always preferred to watch basketball games from the stands instead of the scorer’s table because I feel like I see more of the floor that way. With the new set-up at BHS, I get that “press box” feel. Anyways, congratulations to Burlingame for rolling to their fourth straight PAL tournament title and to Terra Nova for completing the 3-peat. Here’s an updated bracket for those looking for one:

I don’t remember how many games I covered this week from this tournament but here are some thoughts as we wind down tournament Version 2011:

(a) Terra Nova is going to win this tournament again next year. Terilyn Moe and Ivonne Cook Taylor are, for lack of a better word, beasts. Head and shoulders better than any PAL back court. And, because they have their senior season left, they’ll win it again going away next year. Plus, I believe they only had one senior on that Starting Five. What a great team.

(b) Here’s hoping that Burlingame’s Kyle Shaffer will be OK for the CCS playoffs. I think the Panthers are expecting to get a bye or two in their bracket and that will translate to having more time for the big man to rest and heal that ankle injury. A moment I thought spoke volumes was during that game against Jefferson, when Shaffer went down with that injury. As he laid in pain on the end line, point guard Kwesi Bailey kind of slapped the floor in frustration, kind of like saying “man, if he’s really hurt, there goes our chances in CCS.” Shaffer is a big part of the offense. Together with Rodrigo Puliceno, they make a formidable combo inside for Burlingame.

(c) Speaking of Rodrigo, when he’s introduced as part of the starting line-up at Burlingame, they only use his first name — I thought, “hey, that’s super Brazilian.” I had no idea whether he was or wasn’t since I’ve never met the guy. After the game, I talked to him for a few and sure enough, the accent sounded Brazilian to me. I’ll have to ask him next time I talk to him.

(d) I love left-handed jump shooters.

(e) Mills’ Kristen Lastofka is only a sophomore who plays with the guts and toughness of a senior. I like her game lots.

(f) South City’s Niles Smith had some monster block shots in the two games I saw him in. He’s got the size to do some things in the next level. Now if he can only work on moving his feet as he posts up, he’d be super good.

CCS playoffs start next week — fun times. Busy times.

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