August 19, 2012

John Saucier '08 recaps game one of the Croatia trip vs KK Kastela

Sauceman (a/k/a John Saucier '08) here guest blogging, as Sheryl was feeling under the weather and not at the game.  Please know: this is being written two days after the fact, but I’ve been quite busy doing my best to take in the culture and enjoy the sights of this beautiful country. And believe me, I have.

Game one was Brandeis vs. KK Kastela played in an extremely hot gym at a school where we were told the showers had no hot water.  The warmup tape was an interesting - to say the least - mix of Croatian pop tunes, Dr. Dre, and the middle school dance classic “Cotton Eyed Joe”.  

Pretty good turnout for fans, about 75 people, mostly Croats.  I did try to go through and count, but a late arriving crowd forced me to just estimate.

Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start but it was apparent from the beginning that 'Deis was not just going to roll over this club.  The first international basket came a whole 2 minutes 4 seconds into the game when Jay Freeman '13 hit a pair of free throws to make the score 2-zip good guys.  At the end of our first 10 minute quarter, the score was Brandeis 17, Croatians 12.

The second quarter began with a Croatian 3-pointer from the corner in which the player used the backboard. I don’t know how he did it. Seriously, it was one of the more amazing shots I’ve ever seen.

The score was 19-all when Brandeis went on an 8-0 run highlighted by a pair of Derek Retos '14 trifectas. At the half the score was Brandeis 41, KK Kastela 28

Some halftime musings included a Meehan family poll. When I asked coach’s two sons, Nate and Jake, who their favorite Brandeis basketball player ever was, they both agreed on Vitas Kriskus '12.  Coach’s wife, Kris, went with Joe Coppens '08 (a current assistant coach) because, and I quote, “he’s from the South Shore”.  The entire Meehan family’s second favorite ever? Kevin Olson '09. 

At the end of the 3rd quarter, your score was Brandeis 59, Croatians 50. More interesting was the guy who kept coming out onto the court with a broom to wipe away the sweat from the floor, though. He was not wearing any shoes, but he was decked out in a long pair of blue and white flower patterned swim trunks. Nice combo.

Enter the fourth quarter, and the play is getting tight.  The Croats really want to beat the Americans on their home floor, but Retos stayed hot, hitting his sixth 3-pointer to make it 64-52 with 7:52 remaining.

The loudest cheer of the night came late in the fourth when Youri Dascy '14 caught a deflection in the middle and dunked it down hard with two hands.  A pair of young boys sitting near me jumped out of their seats for that one.

The Croatians made a run at the end to get close but the final score was Brandeis 73, KK Kastela 70.  It was a fun game, and Coach Meehan didn’t yell at the guys too much after. In my book, you can call that a success.  We are currently riding on a bus to our second hotel of the trip, the players, coaches, family members, and free riders like myself are in great spirits because Croatia is seriously an amazing country!

Hvala, molim pivo

-JS